It’s important to note that there is no magic button here. We have tested a number of different WordPress plugins that were supposed to make a site blazing fast when turned on. Unfortunately, they didn’t improve the score as much as we expected.
Where to Start
If you’re willing to make the effort, doing some of these things has the potential to really help your website’s score. Consider approaching this like a scientist. Come up with a hypothesis that could potentially help your score. Test it out. See if it works and then try again.
Use a lab coat while you’re doing it. Seriously, it’s been proven to help.
Reduce the Amount of Third-Party Code
Third-party code is one of the biggest culprits for a poor Core Web Vital score.
These code snippets can be anything from
Google tag manager
An Email Service Provider like Convert Kit or Flodesk
Of course, there are some real legitimate reasons to embed these codes on your site. You just have to weigh the pros and cons and determine what works best for you. A general rule is to only add them if you really need them.
If you haven’t looked at your advanced settings in a while, it might be a good time to see if there’s some code there you aren’t using anymore.
It’s also worth seeing if there’s another service that has a better solution that taxes your Core Web Vitals less than the one you’re currently using.
Bottom line: it’s a good idea to be smart and selective about what third-party code you’re adding to your site because it will almost definitely impact your Core Web Vital score. In other words, don’t just embed code because someone told you you should. Think about it critically and make the best decision for your site.
Optimizing images for Showit
When you’re uploading images directly to a Showit page, Showit does a lot of the work to compress and resize them automatically. BUT, images on your blog post aren’t handled the same way. So, it’s important to make sure your blog images are optimized before you upload them to WordPress.
One thing you can do is crop the original image to reflect the dimensions of the image that ends up on your page. If you use Showit or WordPress to crop the original image it will ping your score.
You want to try to keep the images you upload to Showit the same dimensions of the actual image on your web page. For instance, if you’ve got an image on your site that is only 500px by 300px there’s no real need for the image that you upload to be 2000px by 1200px. That makes the browser do a lot of unnecessary work. It doesn’t matter if the image you upload is bigger in scale as long as the height and width are the same ratios as what ends up on your web page.
Using an application like Photoshop can help to adjust the images and save you precious points on your Core Web Vital score.
It’s also important to choose the right file type when exporting your images.
Static vs. Dynamic Canvases
Showit allows you to build your blog by connecting to WordPress. You can also pull those blog posts dynamically to different canvases on your site. What that means is rather than having to go and replace the actual images and text on a canvas every time you update your blog, Showit does it for you...AUTOMAGICALLY.
The problem is when you pull in any content dynamically it’s more work on the server and the user’s browser WHICH MEANS it negatively affects your Core Web Vitals score.
Obviously, pulling in a blog post dynamically is one of the main reasons website builders enjoy WordPress. So, it might not make a lot of sense to turn all of your blog post feeds into static canvases that you have to manually update.
This is another scenario where you have to look at your performance budget and determine whether or not it makes sense for your scenario.
You might consider reducing the number of dynamic blog post canvases on your site if you have multiple. OR if you’re not updating your blog a ton, it might be a good idea to get rid of the dynamic canvases altogether.
What about your Sidebar? These dynamically pull in things like “the latest post” or WordPress categories. Sidebars might be really popular tools on blogger sites, BUT they take up a lot of resources. So, it might be a good idea to ask whether or not your users are even using your sidebar?
If it’s not a huge benefit to a visitor then it might be a good idea to take it down or cut back on how much you’re pulling in content dynamically.
It’s really a scenario where you have to weigh the pros and cons and determine what makes sense for you. BUT, reducing or eliminating dynamic elements on canvases altogether will probably help with your Core Web Vitals performance.
Reduce the Complexity of Your Site Design
With Google Core Web Vitals, the less complex a page is the better it scores. So, it might be a good idea to consider reducing the complexity of your website.
You can do this in one of 3 ways
Reducing the number of canvases per page
Reducing the number of elements on each canvas SPECIFICALLY the very first canvas
Reducing the number of fonts you use to 3 or less
Again, this goes back to your performance budget. You’ve got to determine how important it is to have a complex site vs. a well-scoring site.
But, it might be a good idea to ask questions like “Do I really need 15 different fonts per page? Is having that many fonts really going to make a big difference in whether or not someone enjoys my site?
You might be surprised at the results of making your site less complex. It’s possible that a simpler site can actually increase the number of conversions you get.
I’d encourage you to test out some options and see which performs better both with Core Web Vitals and whatever the goal of your site is (a visitor buying a product, signing up for a service, subscribing to your newsletter, etc).
Another option that takes a bit of coding is something called Pre-Loading and Pre-connecting.
In full disclosure, when we tested this on a few Showit sites, it didn’t make a huge difference BUT this is something that Google recommends and so it might be worth it to test it on your own site.
The concept is fairly simple. For the biggest elements on your page, you tell the browser to prioritize loading them. And, for the third-party embeds that are linking out to different URLs, you tell google to prioritize linking to them.
Google actually gives you some suggestions in this regard on the Page Speed dashboard. Under “Opportunities”
To pre-load these images you’d need to add this snippet to the Custom Head HTML in Advanced Settings:
<link rel="preload" as="image" href="LINK TO THE IMAGE">
To get the link you’d just need to right click on the link Google Page Speed gives you and choose [Copy link address].
You can also pre-connect to links from your third-party embeds that are taking a while to load.
The snippet for that looks like this:
<link rel="preconnect" href="LINK TO URL">
<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="LINK TO URL">
The reason for the two different types is that some browsers don’t support rel=”preconnect” So, rel=”dns-prefetch” is a fallback in case the users browser doesn’t support the new rel attribute.
Be cautious with pre-loading or pre-connecting to many things. You want your max to be two pre-connects and two pre-loads.
If you prioritize everything on your page then you’ve really not prioritized anything.
Unfortunately, there is no “magic button” to increase your Core Web Vital score just like there isn’t a diet that will magically help you lose weight without watching the food you eat or without exercise.
If you want to improve your Core Web Vital score it’s going to take some work and intentionality. BUT, it’s not impossible.
The best approach to have is to think of your website visitors FIRST. See it through their eyes.
That might make things harder on you as a site owner BUT Google is prioritizing the experience of the user over and above any inconveniences you might experience building a site. If you reward the user with your own hard work Google will reward you.
AND, hopefully, these suggestions will be helpful as you work to make your Showit site a better experience for everyone that visits.