Why should you pay attention to Core Web Vitals?
The most important feature of your website is that visitors can see it. Forget your Google search rank, your inbound links and the great reviews of your products and services.
If people can’t see your page, it may as well not be there. And if it’s slow to load, then you are throwing away unknowable numbers of potential customers.
A website is a complex thing, with dozens of technical elements whirring away in the background that make even a simple web page appear on a user’s screen. Each one of these actions uses up server resources, browser processing power, bandwidth and time, so the more of them you have, and the more intense they are, the worse the experience will be.
While some visitors will wait for your page to load, others won’t – everyone has their own cut-off point. If your page isn’t fully loaded and interactive within a couple of seconds, you’ll start seeing the numbers dropping off the cliff, and it just gets worse from there for every fraction of a second. In short, the faster it is, the better.
That’s why Google introduced Web Vitals, a system that measures your website’s performance down to a very detailed degree, so developers can fine-tune their site’s performance through adding, removing and tweaking background operations and some visible elements like images.
The problem is that Core Vitals are too niche and complex for the average guy with a website and a bit of WordPress knowledge to understand. That’s why Core Web Vitals was introduced.
Core Web Vitals was designed to imitate the user experience, i.e. what happens when a human being on a computer or phone, not a bot, visits your website. It then gives the main findings in an easy to read, actionable, graphical way using a traffic light system.
It essentially shows the low-hanging fruit of your website’s performance, so you can make simple, single steps that will have the greatest impact on load speed and interactivity of your site.
Keeping a close eye on your vitals is a really easy way for you to keep tabs on the things that might be slowing your site down. If you’re like most website owners, your site will be a dynamic, shape-shifting entity. You’ll be trying out new plugins and extensions, adding content, installing third-party add-ons and from time to time, changing your hosting provider.
All these things, however seemingly trivial they are, will have a cumulative effect on your site’s speed. And indeed, two plugins that are individually fast and smooth can sometimes come into conflict with each other if they are pulling on the same resources to make them do different things.
Keeping a close eye on Core Web Vitals will alert you to the direction of travel of your site, and let you make remedial adjustments before they become big problems. It will also let you know if something has come out of the blue that has a large impact.
On the internet, every millisecond counts when you’re trying to win or retain customers. Keeping an eye on your load times in detail is, well, vital, which is why you should use this tool.
However, if you’re still unsure about how to respond to the signals, or if you want to drill down into more complex elements that might have more subtle effects, we recommend using a professional front end developer or an expert in WordPress, Magento or whatever platform you’re using.