5 Ways You Can Improve First Contentful and Meaningful Paint

Most companies tend to constantly update and optimise their websites by adding more and more content. However, they tend to overlook the fact that website and webpage performance is much more important than the content because this is the first thing analysed during user experiences. Simply choosing an SEO company is not enough; you must check analytics to analyse user experience.

This is why First Contentful and Meaningful Paint play such vital roles in page performance. Google has provided these metrics to measure how your site is performing from a user’s perspective. They come from Google’s PageSpeed Insight Tools (PSI) and tell you how successful your website is and what areas need improvement.

This guide will walk you down everything you need to know about First Contentful and Meaningful Paint and how you can improve them.

What is First Contentful Paint?

Before we discuss improving these performance metrics, it would be helpful to get a refresher on what they are.

First Contentful Paint (FCP) refers to the time it takes for the website to display the first few pieces of content. These typically include the header, but it can be any content that appears first. The main aim of FCP is to show that the website is functioning correctly and will provide the requested content. 

What is First Meaningful Paint?

First Meaningful Paint (FMP) refers to when the actual content is displayed on the website. This holds much more value because this is the content that visitors come to your site for. Hence, FMP refers to how long visitors have to wait actually to see this. 

This meaningful and valuable content differs according to the website it is. It could be anything; written content like blogs, videos, images, etc.

How to Improve Your Website’s First Contentful and Meaningful Paint

First of all, you should be using Google PageSpeed Insight tools to measure these performance metrics. This metric should ideally be less than 1.8 seconds, which will allow you to get a favourable score from Google.

It also provides you with tailored suggestions on improving these scores. The most valuable and common recommendations they give include the following five:

  1. Eliminate Any Render-Blocking Obstacles

Webpages are rendered by the browser when multiple elements are combined, such as HTML, JavaScript scripts, and CSS stylesheets. Any of these elements that get in the way of rendering the DOM when the page is loading is rendered-blocking.

These are code obstacles that the browser has to process when loading the webpage. The browser will download them, parse them, and render the webpage. The HTML pages usually are much smaller compared to JavaScript and stylesheets. This is why it is one of the first things downloaded by the browser.

However, it will be waiting for all the other resources. These are known as render-blocking resources. Some of these resources are important, while others are not so much. Hence, you should remove JavaScript files from the header if they are not necessary so that you reduce the blockage. If possible, you should eliminate all render-blocking elements.

  1. Leverage HTTP Caching 

HTTP caching is when the browser stores resources from a website to reduce server lag or paint time. These include content, fonts, styles, and media files. Retrieving and downloading all of this takes time. 

Hence, you can also make use of HTTP caching for repeat visits. It can help improve site speed for those visitors coming to your website again because it stores assets in a cache for faster retrieval. It does this without making another trip to the server, saving time.

As a result, overall speed and performance metrics are significantly improved when this is done properly. It can make a world of difference to your page loading speed.

  1. Reduce File Sizes to Speed Up Downloads

Webpages consist of various files, including JavaScript, HTML, and CSS files. If you cannot eliminate these files, you should at least try to minimise them and reduce their size. You can do this either by minifying or compressing them.

To minify file sizes, you must remove all extraneous spaces and characters. This would be harder to read for humans, but it will be much smaller and compact. The browser does not have issues with the lack of readability and will download it quickly.

Alternatively, you can also compress these files by identifying patterns and duplication and then resourcefully encrypting them. This will reduce paint time by removing excessive and unnecessary bytes.

  1. Avoid JavaScript

JavaScript significantly increases page load times, which is why you should avoid doing a lot of JavaScript work if possible. This happens because JavaScript uses more resources to process when loading. It is usually compressed into one big file, which is not great since it increases the lag. 

It is better to split these codes into small chunks that are easier to process. You can also minimise the load from JavaScript by pruning out code that is no longer needed or of use.

  1. Optimise the Critical Rendering Path 

Critical Rendering Path includes all of the assets needed by the browser to load the page and tend to visitors’ requests. You want to prioritise those assets that are essential to the visitor at that moment, which can only be done by optimising the Critical Rendering Path.

Final Words

When optimising your website, you must remember to keep testing and incorporating the suggestions provided by Google PageSpeed insights. Both the First Contentful Paint and First Meaningful Paint should be at least one second.If your website is too slow, the best way to improve it is by using the suggestions mentioned above. You can also implement them successfully by leveraging Web integrations- a web design company in Aberdeen. They can make the process easier for you.

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