If you have been following Google's suggestions for SEO, you must have been keeping a keen eye on your WordPress blog's core web vitals. Core web vitals encompass three aspects: how stable the layout is, how long pages take to load, and how long it takes for enough of the web page to load before it becomes interactive. WP Speed of Light is a WordPress plugin that makes it easier to keep tabs on these three aspects of SEO.
WP Speed of Light has recently received a new update, pushing the WordPress add-on to version 3.0. Since it's a new major version, the WordPress extension might need some reconfiguration. In this post, we take a quick tour of WP Speed of Light. In particular, we explain why its changes to grouping and minification make the reconfiguration a worthwhile mini-chore.
WP Speed of Light is a plugin designed to make it as simple as possible to manage your WordPress website's core web vitals. In fact, every aspect of your blog's SEO strategy is laid out in one straightforward dashboard that highlights your website's health.
From your dashboard, you easily spot any vulnerabilities in your core web vitals and take action. For example, if you note that cache activation is off, you can click on it to activate the cache. Caching, as well as CDNs and cache pre-loading, are WP Speed of Light features that speed up your website's loading times: one of the core web vitals.
Further down, if you have the WP Speed of Light Pro add-on, you can also enable image compression and image lazy loading. Image compression is self-explanatory: if you enable image compression, WP Speed of Light greatly reduces the size of your media files, but without affecting quality.
Image lazy loading is slightly less intuitive, but simple and essential nevertheless. Lazy loading only downloads media when and if the user needs them. In other words, by default, lazy loading does not download images, but if a visitor scrolls down and a media file comes into view, WP Speed of Light downloads it.
On their own, these features might seem unremarkable. Take lazy loading, for example: if you use media sparingly, lazy loading might affect only a few pages. However, the quicker the website loads, even if partially, the quicker your users can interact with web pages—an important core web vital. Therefore, while the magic happens when all of WP Speed of Light's features work in unison, it's important to adapt the plugin to your WordPress blog's needs.
WP Speed of Light also contains another important feature that affects your SEO strategy: the speed test. You might not be sure if a compression would be a worthwhile step, or you need to check how file grouping and minification affects loading times. With WP Speed of Light's speed test, you can directly measure the impact of your changes on loading times.
The speed analysis test, available from WP Speed of Light's dashboard or the sidebar, analyzes your core web vitals. Running a test only takes a few seconds or minutes, and at the end, tells you how long a page took to load, or how much time passed before it became interactive. And so, WP Speed of Light lets you measure your improvements.
WP Speed of Light 3.0 has revamped an important aspect of SEO: grouping and minification. Although the two are often used together, there is a slight difference. Grouping, as the name suggests, groups together different files and serves them as one, while minification reduces the size of those scripts.
Grouping and minification are important because they both affect your core web vitals. When you group files, users do not make one request for each script, which adds overhead, but one request for each group. And when you minify, the responses to those requests are smaller, which means that browsers download files more quickly.
In the past, grouping and minification could break down your WordPress website, which is why testing was so important. For example, it was possible that a script was loaded before another file on which it depended, therefore raising an error. WP Speed of Light 3.0 has solved this bug, which means that scripts are grouped and minified in the same order as they were originally.
To enable grouping and minification, look for them in the dashboard under advanced optimization, or from the group & minify tab in the speed optimization menu. Simply toggle on the grouping and minification options and save changes when you're done.
Keeping an eye on your WordPress blog's core web vitals has never been so easy. With WP Speed of Light, monitoring your site's health is just one glance at a dashboard away, and you can measure your loading time performance with the in-built speed test. Now that even grouping and minification have been made more robust, what are you waiting for?
Do you want to harness WP Speed of Light's new updates to improve your core web vitals? Click here to learn more about our WordPress SEO plugin!