Largest Contentful Paint WordPress

Your site’s overall performance can significantly impact your rankings in search engines. Google uses several metrics to measure the quality of your site, including Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) in WordPress. Therefore, improving your LCP score can help your website perform better and rank higher.

Fortunately, you don’t need a lot of technical expertise to get started. By identifying the heaviest element on your page, you can take the necessary steps to optimize your content and speed up your site.

In this post, we’ll look at how to measure LCP. We’ll then share five strategies that can help you improve your Largest Contentful Paint score in WordPress. Let’s get started!

How to measure Largest Contentful Paint in WordPress

In 2020, Google introduced the Core Web Vitals project. The popular search engine uses this set of metrics to measure the performance and quality of your site.

One of these metrics is called Largest Contentful Paint, and it measures the time it takes for a page to fully load the largest item on the screen. In most cases, this content is a prominent visual element, such as the hero image:

A hero image such as this one can negatively impact your Largest Contentful Paint score in WordPress.

You can measure your LCP score using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool collects real-life performance data from different users and gives you a breakdown of each score:

A PageSpeed Insights Report that shows the Largest Contentful Paint Score

Beyond just giving you the time, it will also identify the actual element on your site that Google uses to determine Largest Contentful Paint in the Diagnostics section further down the page:

How to find Largest Contentful Paint element

Most other speed test tools can now also test for Largest Contentful Paint, which can give you a little more flexibility for testing from different locations, devices, and connection speeds.

According to Google, a good LCP score should be 2.5 seconds or less [1]. If the largest element on your pages takes longer to load, it can result in a poor user experience (UX). This may, in turn, lead to a higher bounce rate. Therefore, optimizing your site for a better LCP score is essential.

Five ways to improve your Largest Contentful Paint score in WordPress

As we have seen, your LCP score plays a vital role in your site’s overall performance. With this in mind, let’s look at five effective ways to improve this score and make your website load faster!

  1. Optimize your images
  2. Eliminate render-blocking resources
  3. Use a content delivery network (CDN)
  4. Remove unused plugins
  5. Reduce your server response time

1. Optimize your images

As we mentioned earlier, LCP measures the time it takes a website to render the largest element on the page. Media files such as images and videos tend to be the heaviest files.

To address this, it’s essential that you optimize your photos. In fact, this method is recommended in your PageSpeed Insights report:

PageSpeed Insights recommendation for resizing images can improve your Largest Contentful Paint score.

To resize your pictures and optimize them with tactics like compression and the WebP format, you can use an image optimization tool such as Optimole:

This plugin optimizes your WordPress images in real-time and ensures that every graphic is properly resized for different devices. It also compresses your photos without compromising on their quality.

Additionally, Optimole will serve your images via a content delivery network (CDN). This way, when someone visits your website, the optimized graphics will load from the nearest network location instead of your WordPress site’s server, which reduces download speeds.

By resizing and compressing your images, you can significantly boost your site speed. Smaller files will load faster, which will, in turn, improve your LCP score.

2. Eliminate render-blocking resources

Render-blocking resources are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files that force browsers to delay rendering content on your site. Therefore, these elements increase your page loading times, which results in a poor LCP score.

You can resolve this loading issue by eliminating render-blocking elements or forcing them to run after everything else has loaded. Fortunately, this process is easier than it sounds.

In fact, you can use a plugin such as WP Rocket, which will do all the work for you:

The WPRocket Plugin can improve your Largest Contentful Paint scores.

This tool will automatically remove any render-blocking CSS and JavaScript on your website. As such, the plugin will help minimize any delay in content rendering, resulting in faster loading times for your site users.

If you’re using WP Rocket, the most useful settings to enable are in the File Optimization tab.

Under CSS files, enable the following:

  • Optimize CSS delivery > Remove unused CSS

Under JavaScript files, enable the following:

  • Load JS deferred
  • Delay JavaScript execution

3. Use a content delivery network (CDN)

Another effective way to improve the Largest Contentful Paint score in WordPress is to use a content delivery network (CDN). This is a network of servers distributed across different locations.

When you utilize a CDN, your visitors will be served cached copies of your content from the server that’s geographically closest to them. This way, your site will load faster for your users.

Moreover, a CDN minimizes the load on your hosting server. This can further boost your site speed.

If you’re using Optimole, you’re already benefiting from a CDN to load your images. But you might also want to use a CDN for your other static files as well to further improve LCP.

If you want to set up a CDN without any hassle, you can check out RocketCDN. It is directly integrated into WP Rocket:

This tool automatically applies optimal configuration settings to improve your site’s performance. The CDN is powered by StackPath, which has over 45 edge locations worldwide.

Getting a CDN may be a good investment if your site caters to an international audience. It can ensure that your content loads quickly for all users, no matter their location. This setup may significantly improve your LCP score.

4. Remove unused plugins

Your LCP score can also be affected by the plugins you use on your WordPress site. Heavyweight software can slow down your site, especially if these tools utilize a lot of CSS or JavaScript.

PageSpeed Insights recommends removing any plugins that add bloat to your pages:

PageSpeed Insights recommendation for reducing unused CSS

More specifically, you’ll need to delete any tools that load unused CSS and JavaScript. Having many unused scripts on your site adds unnecessary data transfer. By doing so, these processes slow down your content rendering.

The PageSpeed Insight report gives you the URLs of problematic scripts to help you identify those heavy plugins. However, if you have a large number of tools on your site, removing them can still be a time-consuming task.

Therefore, you may want to start by removing any unused or unnecessary plugins from your site. You can then try to find more lightweight alternatives.

5. Reduce your server response time

The server response time, also known as time to first byte (TTFB), is the time it takes for a user’s browser to receive the first byte of content on your page. Slow server response times will lead to page loading delays, which will affect your LCP score.

As noted in PageSpeed Insights, your plugins, themes, and hosting service can all impact your server response time:

PageSpeed Insights recommendation for reducing initials server response time.

If you’ve removed unused plugins and scripts from your site and you’re still getting a poor LCP score, the issue may be your server. Therefore, it might be time to upgrade to a better hosting plan.

Shared hosting is often the best solution for new websites because it’s affordable. However, with this package, you’re sharing a server with many other website owners. Therefore, if the server receives a high number of requests simultaneously, it can slow down your response time.

As your site grows and you start getting more traffic, it’s worth considering switching to a more advanced plan. We recommend opting for managed WordPress hosting. With this package, your web host will handle all optimization tasks required to keep your website running smoothly.

You may even consider a virtual private server (VPS) plan or dedicated hosting. While these services can be a bit pricey, you’ll get more server resources. Moreover, the provider will configure the server to your specific needs and requirements. Therefore, it will be better equipped to handle large amounts of traffic and efficiently deliver your content.

💡 For some good picks here, check out our collection of the fastest WordPress hosting.

Speed up Largest Contentful Paint in WordPress today

Your site’s user experience (UX) and loading times can affect your visibility in search results. Therefore, it’s crucial to improve your site’s overall performance, including your LCP score.

In this post, we looked at five effective ways to improve your Largest Contentful Paint score in WordPress:

  1. Optimize your images, using a compression tool such as Optimole.
  2. Eliminate render-blocking resources with a plugin like WP Rocket.
  3. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as RocketCDN.
  4. Remove unused plugins from your site.
  5. Reduce your server response time by switching to a more powerful hosting plan.

👉 For some other tips to speed up your site, check out our guide to WordPress performance issues. And if you’re having problems with Core Web Vitals, we also have a post on how to fix First Input Delay problems on WordPress (which is another Core Web Vitals metric).

Do you have any questions about improving your LCP score in WordPress? Let us know in the comments section below!

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