If everything depended on your website, from sales to reputation management, would you settle for mediocre page speed and performance?
Every business owner wants the right tools for better conversions. One key metric to look into which reflects your customer’s optimal browsing experience is the first contentful paint (FCP). If this is your first time to read about it, don’t worry – we’re going to simplify things for you in this article.
In the following sections, we’ll walk you through how to make your pages faster that contributes to your visitor’s improved navigation, potentially leading to higher sales.
Why First Contentful Paint in WordPress Matters?
FCP is a client-driven measurement for perceived website load speed. Essentially, it is the amount of time it takes for your visitor to see content as they browse your site.
The faster first contentful paint you have, the better it is for your clients as it affirms that everything is working properly. Both speed and convenience that you are offering them are crucial in keeping them engaged to your site.
Otherwise, a relatively slower measure can lead to exit rates, which can impact not just your potential leads but also your website’s SEO.
How Do You Identify FCP Measurement?
The good news is, there are tools readily available in measuring FCP. Some of it that you can look into are:
Or if you don’t have the time nor the team yet to analyze the results of these tests, allow our expert developers to help you run a comprehensive health check and explain these.
The Ideal First Contentful Paint Speed
According to Google, the ideal FCP is not more than 1 second. Having this score gives your site guests a decent experience.
If your FCP is more than 3 seconds, expect more than half of all mobile users to leave your site.
To give you a concrete picture, an online business making $100,000 every day, with a 1-second page delay might cost $2.5 million lost deals each year. Now, this metric is something worth paying attention to.
The FCP Equation
What causes high first contentful paint depends on several factors which we’ll explore one by one in the next section. Let’s start by giving you a macro perspective through this simple equation:
FCP = Time to First Byte (TTFB) + Content Load Time + Render Time
Maximize Your FCP: Proven Methods & Tips
Now that you have an idea of how to measure your FCP and check if that matches the ideal score, we lead you through how to improve first contentful paint in WordPress.
Lessen Server Response Time (SRT)
SRT is measured through Time to First Byte (TTFB), which simply amounts to how fast a browser gets your web content’s first byte.
Earlier, you’ve discovered that TTFB is part of the FCP equation, and focusing on this metric is one of the practical ways on how to fix first contentful paint. Below are the quickest techniques to reduce TTFB.
Select a Fast WordPress Host Provider
Who wouldn’t want the best resources for their company? In building your website, one of the surefire ways to get ahead of the competition is speed.
Choosing a fast host will not only make your visitors’ experience more smooth but also your admin panel navigation for content building. Otherwise, a slow host will make everything more difficult with wasted time.
Here at Rank Defender we use Flywheel’s managed WordPress hosting, as we find it to super fast.
Limit and Regularly Update Your Plugins
WordPress regularly adds improvements to their updates, implying optimized and enhanced proficiency of codes. While updates help, them having huge plugin support makes it easy to install a new one even when not needed. The result is a slower website.
One rule of thumb is to keep the plugins you only need and remove the rest. We suggest running P3 to test what slows down your website and remove it accordingly when not used.
Pick a Reliable Content Delivery Network (CDN)
If you operate your business worldwide, a CDN is not something you would want to miss.
It makes sense to host your website in the same location as your majority users, for example, in Canada. However, what about your customers outside the country? Without a CDN, they will have to wait longer as it crosses worldwide to the device they’re using.
In contrast, a CDN has your content and records on file in all parts of the world. The outcome is a faster browsing experience for your customer outside Canada.
Enable Browser Caching
If you’re an e-commerce company or have a shop page on your site, more often than not, your guests will visit multiple times from the time they’re reading up on your product/service offers to when they decide to purchase.
Unless you’re regularly updating your website content, which is highly unlikely, it would be beneficial to enable your browser cache so that the returning visitors won’t have to reload each time. This entails setting up which pages to store and the amount of time they would last.
If you’re still uncomfortable in going through the nitty-gritty of these things, we have our expert team to help. At Rank Defender, we fix the issues that hold your website back.
Did you know that you can compress images and media without entirely losing its quality? The results are shorter image loading times!
While these scripts relatively weigh less than images, they add up, impacting your performance. The reason behind this would be the need for browsers to execute the codes individually.
Avoid Script Dependent Elements in the Above Fold
As a guideline, avoid putting these in the above fold:
- Menu plugins
- Social media plugins
- Google Ads
Remove Lazy Loading in Above Fold Images
While lazy loading can help shorten your FCP as it defers rendering until viewers scroll down to view more of your content, knowing where to use this is important.
- parent node of the image
Redirects can’t be completely avoided, especially when your website has been around for quite some time and you have made changes such as migrating to a new domain. However, each time a visitor is redirected, your pages take additional time to load, hurting your FCP.
Eliminate Broken Links
Broken links are URLs that don’t work because they weren’t properly redirected. Having a lot of these can highly impact your user’s experience, and more so, additional effort on your server to process the connection.
We understand that constantly monitoring your broken links can be taxing, especially when you have other aspects of your business to focus on such as content management or marketing. If this speaks to your situation right now, contact us and let our team do the work for you.
Bonus: A Peek Into On-Site SEO
Getting into the details of optimizing your website’s performance can seem complicated initially, especially when you’re unsure where to begin. However, as you gradually learn the elements on your site, it gets simplified, and you’ll realize how they relate to one another.
Everything that’s within your site is called on-site SEO. Towards the end, you’ll get more clarity on how each component contributes to your customer’s overall experience, thereby improving your desired results and Google ranking. A strong optimization strategy focuses on the following:
- Performance: This metric consists of your website speed as detailed in the earlier section, along with optimized images and minimized page redirects for better user experience.
- Security: Having the right SSL certificates and safe links is a good measure.
- Accessibility: Accuracy of your images with labels, links, and descriptive texts are essential to make sure that the different elements of your site are easy to understand.
- Crawlability & Indexability: You need to check the validity of your sitemap and ensure your pages are indexed and updated to get ranked.
- Analytics: Verify if code is present on all pages for you to analyze traffic and customer interaction effectively.
- Social: Ensure that open graphs for Facebook and Twitter card previews are valid and optimized to entice people to click and visit your website.
- Content: Maintain the validity of heading, page title, and meta description.
What Are Keywords Used For?
SEO without keywords is like a company without a vision. They must always go together.
The relationship between these two may have changed radically over time, but at this point, a keyword exists as a tool to execute your SEO strategy. These are the phrases your target audience is searching for, so it’s crucial to build your content around the keywords to provide optimal value.
On-page SEO starts to focus more specifically on the individual pages of your website. It’s crucial to identify which components on your page haven’t been optimized which includes the following:
- Unique, Relevant Content
- Image Alt Text
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Internal Links
- External Links
Learn more about how you can make use of these as your best marketing tool.
Sitemaps and Indexability
Sitemaps are crucial for search engines to discover your website’s URLs. Think of it as a way of telling the web crawlers, “hey, this page exists.”
Otherwise, if your sitemaps are not created nor updated, it would be difficult for you to rank.
Create a Sitemap
An XML sitemap is like the business model of your website. By having this list of URLs found within your webpage, you’re making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your pages.
One thing that you have to remember, however, is that you should only include the best and high-quality pages in your sitemap.
Noindex the Low-Quality Pages
Aside from excluding the low-quality pages in your sitemap, there’s an added step that you need to secure for your SEO to be optimized: using no index tags. It will assure you that Google will not display these unnecessary pages in the search results.
SSL Certificates and Security
Any stable business is built on trust. If you are partly or fully operating online, you have to ensure that your visitors and potential customers feel safe when browsing your site. It becomes even more essential when you process payments and collect user information such as name, card details, number, address, and more.
One straightforward way of checking if you have an SSL certificate that contributes to security is by checking your URL. If you see a padlock on the left as shown below and it starts with “https”, you’re all set.
However, if you only have “http”, it’s time to contact your hosting company today to install one.
Having SSL certificates help you both rank for Google and strengthen customer trust.
Online or offline, would you want a slow service?
In a time when we can get everything instantly at our fingertips, fast website speed matters, and it goes a long way. Why?
- Good user experience through site speed encourages more people to spend time on your site.
- More time spent on your website improves rankings and leads to more inquiries.
- More inquiries mean potentially more sales.
Don’t let your potential leads go. Start assessing your website performance through web.dev’s measure tool.
If your website’s performance score is flashing red similar to what’s shown above, reach out to us today so we can help!
Don’t Forget the Structured Data
Structured data helps you get rich snippets and stand out in the search results. Also known as schema, this data is a code that gives search engines a better picture of your content and website. It includes the following:
- Company logo
- Shop pictures
- Opening hours
- Brief bio
- Map URL
- Other basic business information
Although this code varies per industry, putting this up can help search engines give you wider exposure.
Conversion Rate Optimization
To put it simply, conversion from your website is genuinely about your customer’s user experience. Make time to understand clearly the pains of your target market and incorporate them into your SEO strategy to offer valuable solutions. When all your pages’ elements are SEO optimized, you won’t just be ranking sooner – you’ll also have better conversions.
Supercharge Your Results Through Website Speed
Similar to filling out the components of your business model canvas to understand the overall picture of your company, first contentful paint serves as one of the key metrics to optimize your website’s overall performance. Without it, you may become blindsided and interpret things the wrong way.
Now that you have a better understanding of its implications, you can start to have a holistic approach to your website fixes. If you haven’t implemented the best practices mentioned earlier, now is the right time to do it.
Rank Defender has a pool of experts who can spot and remove what’s holding your website back into its optimal speed. Contact us today!