Starting in May, Google will be a little stricter in the way it evaluates the user experience of websites. The goal of Google Search is to provide its visitors with the best search results. This does not only mean that Google will look for websites that beste match the search query, but the websites at the top of the results should also be “pleasant” to browse. After all, the better those websites are (in terms of user experience), the better Google’s reputation.

Of course, you might ask how exactly Google measures what a “good” website is. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you…. Nobody can. The algorithm by which Google determines the quality of a search result / website is a secret.

However, Google did indicate that from May 2021 the “core web vitals” will play a gigantic role. These core web vitals try to stick a score on the performance of a website. The faster a website works, the more pleasant it is to surf on.

In preparation for this change in the algorithm, I have already tried to optimise this website as well as possible. The home page of this website achieved a score of 95 / 100 for mobile, and 100 / 100 for desktop. And I can say with some pride: that’s super good.

Before these optimisations, my score was around 60 / 100. Not disastrous, but definitely room for improvement. The steps I took to improve my score are listed below.

1. CloudFlare APO

CloudFlare’s technology is advanced, but easy to set up. Since runs on WordPress, I have enabled CloudFlare APO. What this is exactly, how it works, and how to activate it can be found in the related blog post.

2. Partial Bootstrap import

In the previous version of my website, Bootstrap 4 was fully loaded. For performance reasons, I not only use Bootstrap 5 now, but I also only load the parts of Bootstrap that are necessary. I use maybe only 5% of the Bootstrap framework. It’s not necessary to let visitors load the other 95%.

3. Ditched jQuery

A few years ago jQuery was still hot and trending. To this day, it is still loaded into WordPress by default. If you have a theme made (or written) to measure, you may not need it. Since I am now using Bootstrap 5 instead of Bootstrap 4, I don’t really need jQuery anymore. Both jQuery and jQuery migrate could therefore be safely switched off.

4. Image optimisation

Images are often a pain point when it comes to performance. You may be optimising everything from JavaScript and CSS, but once you want to load a few images it takes a lot of time. That’s why I enabled CloudFlare Polish.

This ensures that all images on my site are as lightweight to load as possible. This feature can be enabled within the CloudFlare dashboard. CloudFlare will then try to optimise all images on your site as much as possible.

5. Lazyloading images

As mentioned above, images are often the culprit for poor performance. Lazyloading is a technique where not all images on a webpage are loaded at once. Images that are at the bottom of the webpage are only loaded when the user scrolls towards that image. Not everyone views the entire page. Images that will not be viewed do not need to be loaded.

In conclusion

I have rebuilt a large part of my website. So more has happened than what is written above. But these five interventions had the biggest impact.

Is your website already optimised? Please let me know if you would like to have a look at it with me. Send me a message, and we’ll talk soon.