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How to Improve First Contentful and Meaningful Paint

You’re not optimizing your website to please a stopwatch. You’re optimizing your website for actual folks. So how are you going to decide when you’re attaining your aim?

You want to embrace metrics comparable to First Contentful Paint and First Meaningful Paint in your efficiency evaluation so as to measure how your website is performing out of your consumer’s perspective. Each will let you know extra about how your website is behaving within the wild so you possibly can optimize the issues that can actually enhance your consumer’s expertise.

On this put up, we’re going to focus particularly on how to cut back the period of time it takes to load content material in your WordPress website so you possibly can shorten the period of time to the First Contentful Paint and First Meaningful Paint and enhance your Google PageSpeed Insights rating within the course of.

Right here’s every thing you want to know in regards to the First Contentful Paint & First Meaningful Paint, and how to enhance them:


What’s First Content material Paint (FCP)?

First Content material Paint, or FCP, is a efficiency metric that measures how a lot time has elapsed earlier than the browser begins to show the primary parts of the positioning.

Often, the primary content material paint parts in WordPress are header parts, so the customer will first see the positioning brand or the navigational menu.

Right here’s an instance of the First Contentful Paint normally appears to be like like. We’re nonetheless ready for the content material to present up.

The First Content material Paint is necessary as a result of it supplies the customer with suggestions that their request is within the works. Have you ever ever clicked on a hyperlink or a button and then clicked it a pair extra instances as a result of nothing occurred? The FCP’s job is to talk “we heard you and we’re engaged on it.” This assures the reader that they will count on your website to perform appropriately and present content material.


What’s First Meaningful Paint (FMP)?

First Meaningful Paint is when the great things really masses. When the content material the consumer is searching for seems on the web page, that is referred to as the primary significant paint.

Screenshot of WPMU DEV Blog page fully loadedAn instance of what the First Meaningful Paint appears to be like like, the hero picture and intro textual content has loaded so I can begin studying

Screenshot of WPMU DEV blog images haven't finished loadingBut when I scroll down instantly to present you, you possibly can see that web page hasn’t completed loading, the photographs are nonetheless lacking. However who cares? The consumer will most likely not scroll down so quick, they’ll begin to learn by way of your content material whereas the remainder of the web page finishes loading.

Guests come to your website for content material, not to see the brand and navigation menu, so the content material holds extra worth for the customer. The primary significant paint is likely one of the most necessary metrics for evaluating how lengthy your customer is ready to obtain the data they visited your website for. The primary significant paint additionally includes the time it takes to load web fonts since they’re wanted to render your content material.


Probably the most priceless content material parts in your internet web page are often known as hero parts. This varies from site-to-site, however it isn’t onerous to decide what probably the most priceless a part of a web page is.

For video pages on YouTube, a very powerful component is the video. On social networks, the primary posts within the timeline which might be above the fold are a very powerful. For blogs, the physique of the weblog put up and the featured picture (whether it is featured above the fold with the weblog content material) are a very powerful as a result of that is what the customer sees first.

Different content material, comparable to photos, may be deferred till the customer wants them.

Utilizing Google PageSpeed Insights to Discover FCP and FMP

Each First Contentful Paint and First Meaningful Paint are often known as user-centric efficiency metrics. Google rewards websites that ship a greater consumer expertise with larger search rankings. Since Google desires to encourage website homeowners to optimize their websites for customers, FCP and FMP are two metrics which might be measured in Google PageSpeed Insights.

Screenshot of Lab Data in Google PageSpeed InsightsYou can even see a timeline of what your website appears to be like because it masses. Are you able to inform which is the primary contentful and significant paint?

Since November 2018, Google PageSpeed Insights has started using an open source tool called Lighthouse to simulate how your website masses for guests. Lighthouse returns 6 metrics within the Lab Information part, that paint a wealthy image of your website’s efficiency:

  • First Contentful Paint
  • Velocity Index
  • Time to Interactive
  • First Meaningful Paint
  • First CPU Idle
  • Estimated Enter Latency

First Content material Paint and the First Meaningful Paint are time-based metrics which might be measured in seconds. To realize a good rating within the eyes of Google, you need each the FMP and the FCP to be lower than a second.

5 Suggestions for Lowering Paint Instances and Bettering Your PageSpeed Insights Rating

If you run Google PageSpeed Insights, Google supplies you with tailor-made solutions on how one can repair your website. Running a test is one of the simplest ways to see how your website falling brief.

The next 5 solutions are straight from Google for all websites on how to improve first meaningful paint and how to improve first contentful paint.

Our aim with the primary 4 suggestions is to enhance First Contentful Paint by rushing up the time it takes to obtain assets and take away obstacles that block the browser from registering DOM content material. The final suggestion is to enhance the First Meaningful Paint.

We’re about to get into some techy particulars, however if you would like a easy answer, Hummingbird can assist. Attempt Hummingbird Professional free and see what a distinction it makes to your website. Model 3.0 is now obtainable to our members with an all-new scanner that features Lighthouse suggestions.

Contentful Paint Recommendations in HummingbirdContentful Paint, Meaningful Paint, and one-click fixes now included in Hummingbird Professional.

And for our Hummingbird free customers, you possibly can count on to see the brand new scanner someday subsequent week… or improve to professional and get it now 😉

1. “Reduce the variety of render-blocking exterior stylesheets and scripts upon which the web page relies upon”

What’s render blocking? When a customer is loading a webpage, something that’s getting in the way in which of rendering the DOM is referred to as render-blocking. They’re code obstacles that the browser has to course of first earlier than it may possibly do the rest.

Typically they’re necessary. Your CSS recordsdata, for example, are render-blocking, however they’re essential.

Different instances, the render-blocking useful resource can wait. That is why you need to transfer JavaScript recordsdata from the header of your webpage in the event that they’re not wanted to render the DOM. Load them after the DOM to enhance consumer expertise.

Should you can, one of the simplest ways to optimize web page velocity is to eradicate render-blocking assets altogether. In the event that they don’t spark pleasure, then byeeeee….

2. “Use HTTP Caching to velocity up repeat visits”

Caching is a dependable approach to enhance website velocity to your guests by storing property in a cache for sooner retrieval. There are a number of sorts of caches.

With HTTP caching, the browser shops a duplicate of property downloaded through HTTP by the consumer in its cache, so it will likely be in a position to retrieve them with out making a further journey to the server. This dramatically improves efficiency for repeat guests when performed correctly.

We just lately in contrast Hummingbird to different fashionable caching plugins and Hummingbird out optimized all of them.

3. “Minify and compress text-based property to velocity up their obtain time”

Your webpages include text-based HTML, CSS and JavaScript recordsdata. Should you can’t eradicate a file as a result of it’s important, you then want to cut back the file dimension as a lot as potential.

There are two methods to do that:

Minify your recordsdata
If you minify your textual content recordsdata, you take away all extraneous characters and areas, making a compacted file that’s rather more tough for people to learn, however a lot smaller. The browser doesn’t thoughts the dearth of readability and can be in a position to obtain the file rather more shortly.

Compress your recordsdata
Compressing your recordsdata is comparable to the method of compressing your photos. In the course of the compression course of, the compressor detects patterns and duplication within the textual content file and encodes them rather more effectively.

Each minifying and compressing your textual content recordsdata removes additional bytes that don’t have an effect on your webpage negatively however reduces paint instances.

4. “Do much less JavaScript work on web page load”

JavaScript is likely one of the worst offenders when it comes to slowing down your website. For one, JavaScript recordsdata take extra assets to course of in comparison to different property. Photos, for example, have to be decoded, however JavaScript have to be parsed, compiled, and then lastly executed, taking over plenty of priceless time.

It additionally doesn’t assist when JavaScript code is rolled collectively into one enormous file. I do know that feels counterintuitive, however creating one large file doesn’t assist efficiency one bit.

You’re a lot better off splitting up your code into bite-sized chunks with a course of often known as code-splitting. Then you possibly can transfer the chunks that aren’t essential out of the top of your website, lowering the primary paint time.

One other approach to decrease your JavaScript recordsdata is to prune out code that’s now not getting used. This course of is called tree shaking. As your website matures, you add in snippets of code, however not all of it’s utilized in the long run. You need to periodically undergo your JavaScript code and take away what you don’t want.

5. “Optimizing the Vital Rendering Path to obtain a sooner First Meaningful Paint”

The essential rendering path refers to the entire property that the browser wants to render to reply to the customer’s present request. You need to prioritize the property which might be most necessary proper now and load them as shortly as potential. 

It’s like touring. Should you want to get to an appointment on time and you’re working late, it’s most likely not the most effective time to run fast errands or perform a little sightseeing. Do this after!

This suggestion encompasses eradicating render-blocking assets, however it takes a broader perspective. You want to have a look at the entire work that the browser is doing to ship the webpage and discover a higher approach to serve the necessary bits and postpone every thing that may wait. If it isn’t essential then you possibly can defer it or load it asynchronously so as to ship a greater efficiency.

Preserve in Thoughts

As you begin to optimize your website, it will be significant that you just keep in mind that the outcomes returned by Google PageSpeed Insights solely represents a single perspective. They’re simulated outcomes, however they don’t totally seize actuality.

Guests who’re visiting your website on crappy units on a shoddy cell connection will expertise FCP and FMP which might be a lot for much longer. All of the extra purpose to proceed bettering even when you get an ideal 100.

Your aim ought to at all times be to optimize your website for actual customers, not a gold star 😉


First Contentful Paint and First Meaningful Paint are user-centered metrics that may inform you numerous about how lengthy your guests are ready for content material. Each needs to be lower than a second for the most effective consumer expertise. You could find out how your website scores with Google PageSpeed Insights.

In case your website is just too sluggish, one of the simplest ways to enhance time to first paint is to decrease render-blocking assets, use HTTP caching, minify and compress text-based property, do much less JavaScript work and optimize the essential rendering path. Should you’re undecided what you want to do, working a Google PageSpeed Insights check offers you focused solutions to your website.

Should you’re undecided how to enhance your paint instances, Hummingbird makes it simple. Get Hummingbird free on or attempt Hummingbird Professional free.


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