Core Web Vitals are a handy checklist of things that might be holding back the performance of your website. You can find them on your site’s Google Console and they read like the traffic light nutritional information you see on food packaging.
Why is it important to know? There are two reasons. First, and probably most important, your site performing suboptimally puts it at a disadvantage compared to your competitors. We know that every second your page takes to load increases the odds of visitors abandoning it and checking out a different one.
But that can also affect the ranking on Google too. So added together, fewer people will find your site, and of them, a smaller proportion will stick around to see what you are offering.
WordPress is a superb open-source CMS, but that doesn’t mean it automatically runs perfectly. You do still need to pay attention to performance. Check the following elements are optimised, and if there are issues, you should notice a boost in visits, engagement and conversion as time passes.
Images are perhaps the easiest way to quickly get a boost in page speed. You might not realise just how many images there are on a page, but feature images, product description pictures, background design and general UX graphics like buttons and dividers can all add up to a lot of bytes.
You can use WordPress itself to optimise images – it converts your images into ones with a smaller file size, and the difference is all but indistinguishable to the human eye. There are also plugins that will do the job for you.
Alternatively, optimise them yourself in a graphics package like Photoshop, so you have complete control over the quality. Also look out for high resolution images that might only appear at a fraction of their size on even the biggest screen.
If you’ve got a cheap hosting package, you’re probably sharing the server with many other websites, and that will slow them all down. That’s not to say you need a dedicated server all to yourself, but generally speaking, the more you pay for a reputable hosting package, the faster it will be.
Plugins and themes
Keep an eye on all your plugins to make sure that everything you have running is absolutely necessary.
They can cause some serious strain on your site’s performance, and Core Web Vitals analysis will pick up on it.
Most WordPress sites use some plugins, but just try to limit yourself. Themes can also hinder performance, especially graphics-heavy ones. Do you actually need a complex theme for your site? Perhaps you should consider using a WordPress developer instead of taking free themes or buying off-the-peg ones.
The way your site displays on mobile phones will also be an important part of the analysis. That’s because mobile browsing is more prevalent than using desktop or laptop PCs nowadays, so if you’re not optimised for mobile (or preferably both), you can expect a hit in performance.
Get these basics right and you’ve got a fighting chance of being competitive in search rankings and conversions. Why not ask for a quick quote to find out how we can help boost your site’s performance?