How to Improve Core Web Vitals on WordPress

Now for the critical question — if you aren’t currently meeting Google’s recommendations for the three Core Web Vitals metrics, how can you optimize your WordPress site to improve your Core Web Vitals scores?

The strategies are different for each metric. Most optimizations involve implementing WordPress performance best practices, though with a few points of emphasis — and that’s why choosing the best WordPress caching plugin will help you with no effort from your side.

How to Improve Largest Contentful Paint on WordPress

Optimizing for Largest Contentful Paint is the most straightforward metric as it’s pretty much entirely WordPress performance best practices:

  1. Set up page caching. Page caching speeds up how quickly your server can respond and reduces the server response times (TTFB). Did you know that WP Rocket enables this automatically?
  2. Optimize browser caching. You should set the right option for the static files that your browser keeps in its cache. By doing so, you’ll address the “Serve static assets with an efficient cache policy” PageSpeed Insights recommendation. Guess what? WP Rocket enables the optimal expiration length automatically.
  3. Optimize your images. A lot of times, your LCP element will be an image. Optimizing your images will speed up your site and address PageSpeed recommendations such as “Properly size images”, “Defer offscreen images”, “Serve images in next-gen formats”, and “Efficiently encode images”. You can use Imagify to optimize WordPress images automatically.
  4. Optimize your code. Loading unnecessary CSS or JavaScript files before your main content will slow down the loading time. You can fix this by eliminating render-blocking resources on your WordPress site. You should also minify CSS and Javascript files and remove unused CSS. Optimizing your code will help you address the “Avoid chaining critical requests” PageSpeed recommendation. Once again, you’ll get most of the job done by setting these optimizations up in the File Optimization tab in WP Rocket.
  5. Use server-level compression. Using Gzip or Brotli compression will reduce your site’s file size, which speeds up LCP and addresses the “Enable text compression” recommendation. WP Rocket automatically enables Gzip compression.
  6. Use preconnect for important resources. Preconnect lets you establish important third-party connections early and addresses the “Preload key requests” and “Preconnect to required origins” recommendations. You can learn more in our tutorial.
  7. Use a content delivery network (CDN) for global audiences. If you have a global audience, a CDN can speed up your LCP time for visitors around the world. It’s another effective way to reduce the Time to First Byte (TTFB). You can use our RocketCDN service.

The easiest way to implement most of these best practices is to use WP Rocket. WP Rocket will automatically apply page caching and server-level compression as soon as you activate it. It also includes other features to help you optimize your site’s code and performance, all of which improve your LCP time.

How to Improve Cumulative Layout Shift on WordPress

Optimizing for Cumulative Layout Shift is a little more technical because it deals more with your site’s code.

Some of the most common problems and fixes are:

  1. Fix images without dimensions – if you add images via the WordPress editor, WordPress automatically adds dimensions for you. However, make sure to add dimensions if you’re manually adding images anywhere using your code. You’ll then address the best practice about serving scaled images.
  2. Fix ads, embeds, and iframes without dimensions – just as with images, loading embeds without dimensions can also cause problems. Make sure to always specify sizes when using these embeds. Or, if placing ads, make sure to “reserve” space for each ad.
  3. Optimize web fonts (FOIT/FOUT) – if you’re using custom web fonts, a late-loading font can cause issues such as Flash of Invisible Text (FOIT) or Flash of Unstyled Text (FOUT). As a result, you won’t follow the PageSpeed recommendation: “Ensure text remains visible during webfont load”. One strategy to fix this is web font preloading. If you need help, keep in mind that WP Rocket automatically optimizes Google Fonts. As for other fonts, the plugin helps you solve the issue through the Minify or Combine CSS option — already mentioned for improving LCP (Optimize your code).
  4. Be careful with injected content – don’t dynamically inject any content above existing content unless it’s in response to a user’s action.

How to Improve First Input Delay on WordPress

Optimizing for First Input Delay is the most complicated because it entirely deals with code. Specifically, you’ll want to limit heavy JavaScript execution so that the browser can still respond to user interactions quickly.

You should start by eliminating unnecessary JavaScript, if possible.

By doing so, you’ll address PageSpeed recommendations such as “Reduce javascript execution time”, “Remove unused JavaScript”, and “Minimize main thread work”. The Delay Javascript Execution feature and the Load Javascript deferred option provided by WP Rocket will help you deal with these issues.

As for the LCP, optimizing your code and images, using server-level compression, and using preconnect for important resources can help you improve your FID score.

In general, improving FID can be difficult if you’re not a developer. That’s why WP Rocket can help you save time and energy. If you want to dig deeper, though, Google has a good explainer on the more technical parts of optimizing this metric.

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