Core Web Vitals are a (relatively small) ranking factor that changes the way websites need to be built. While this is frustrating, it ultimately focuses on improving user experience, which everyone on the web benefits from.
Changing standards are both an issue, and an opportunity. Without changes, you would not be able to compete with the websites that came before you. These changes for the better are what allows new sites with a better user focus rise to the top. It's not the first, and it won't be the last. It's a part of life in the digital world.
While any setup can pass core web vitals with enough time and money thrown at developers, we have a relatively easy, straight forward path to passing Core Web Vitals that has worked time and time again for our customers. We believe our current setup is the least expensive, and easiest way to adapt to this change.
It breaks down into:
- Good hosting
- Setting up the Feast Plugin
- Pagespeed optimization (WP Rocket)
- Plugin audit (removing outdated/incompatible plugins)
This is entirely possible to do yourself, but there's a steep learning curve, even for experienced bloggers.
If you're paying under $30/month, you're not on WordPress optimized hosting, period. There is no substitute for having properly configured server settings, dedicated server resources, and good hosting support.
Our two recommendations are BigScoots and Agathon.
This is the simplest step. Sign up for either one, have them migrate your site for you, and move on.
The Feast Plugin lets us release plugin updates through your dashboard, instead of having to update your theme manually (99% of the time). Your theme is still installed and used for styling, but the theme functionality (homepage, menu, sidebar, footer) are all replaced by more modern versions.
Themes are built be designers, and are focused on aesthetics.
The Feast Plugin is built from a holistic approach from designers, consultants and developers, that encompasses aesthetics, SEO, pagespeed, and accessibility. Following the Feast Plugin Setup has you fix a number of core WordPress issues, then replace the theme functionality piece by piece, with the:
Core Web Vitals are continually changing, and the only way to keep up with the changes is to gradually tweak the functionality to comply.
Pagespeed optimization can only be done by plugins and developers that specialize in it.
- Ad networks can't do it
- Hosting can't do it
- Free plugins can't do it
If you have a "pagespeed" plugin by any of the above, it's inferior, period.
This is another simple solution: WP Rocket is the only pagespeed plugin we've seen that performs consistently and with minimal issues.
They're not perfect by any means, but have performed better than any alternative for years, and are regularly updated to accommodate Core Web Vitals.
Total blocking time
See this post on Total blocking time from WP Rocket.
Much like the themes, most plugins simply aren't designed for Core Web Vitals. They can:
- connect to too many external resources
- not test their widgets with screen readers for accessibility
The overall goal here is to eliminate any unnecessary plugins and replace poorly performing ones, with better ones. This is site-specific and generally requires expert assistance from companies like imarkinterative or nerdpress.
Check out the CWV post by nerdpress.