5 Easy Ways To Speed-Up Your Website By Improving First Contentful Paint.

A good First Contentful Paint for a website is crucial for a positive user experience. A slow website can cause visitors to leave quickly, increasing bounce rates.

One of the ways to measure website speed is by the First Contentful Paint (FCP). Lower FCP time means better user experience which can in turn improve search engine optimization making the websites rank better on Google search.

In this guide, we will explain what FCP is, why is it important, then show you how to improve it for a better user experience. 

What is First Contentful Paint (FCP):

First Contentful Paint (FCP) is a performance metric used to measure the loading performance of a website. It refers to the time it takes for the browser to render and display the first meaningful content, such as text or images, on the page after a user navigates to it.

 The lower the FCP time the better the user experience and the better the SEO rankings.

Below you can view the image of the First Contentful Paint score of a portfolio website when viewed on a desktop VS when viewed on a mobile phone

First Contentful Paint
First Contentful Paint


Why is the FCP time different for mobile and desktops?

The FCP time can differ between desktop and mobile devices for several reasons like network condition, screen size, and resolution, device and browser performance, server performance, etc 

Hence it is important to consider the First Contentful Paint for both desktop and mobile devices to ensure a positive user experience on all platforms.

If the First Contentful Paint measures the time to load the first content on the page then what measures other contents on the page?

There are various other metrics that determine this one of them being the largest contentful paint (LCP) that measures the loading performance of the largest content on the page. 

It calculates the time from when the page loads to when the largest element is rendered, similarly there are various other metrics that help improve user experience. 

Check out: Easy Ways to Defer Offscreen Images and Videos

Why is First Contentful Paint Important:

First Contentful Paint (FCP) is a key performance indicator for websites, as it measures the time taken for the first visible content to appear on the user’s screen, there are tools available that you can use to measure the FCP time of your website like a Lighthouse, Google page speed developed by Google.

In addition to improving the user experience, a low FCP time can also have a positive impact on search engine optimization. Google and other search engines use website speed as one of the ranking factors and a fast FCP time means a higher rank and improved visibility of the website.

Search engines aim to provide users with relevant and high-quality results, and user experience is a significant factor in determining the relevance and quality of a website. A slow-loading website can discourage users from staying on the page, and search engines may interpret this as a sign of low quality.

By lowering the FCP time website owners can ensure that their site provides a positive user experience, which can help to improve their search engine ranking and visibility.


How Much of an Impact will Optimize FCP Have on my SEO Rankings?

FCP is part of Google’s core web vitals initiative and will influence Google’s SERP (search engine result pages) rankings as a result its critical for websites owners to understand how to achieve excellent FCP scores 

What is a Good FCP Score? 

To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have a First Contentful Paint of 1.8 seconds or less. To ensure you’re hitting this target for most of your users, a good threshold to measure is the 75th percentile of page loads, segmented across mobile and desktop devices.

How to Optimize First Contentful Paint:

To improve FCP and website speed it’s important to follow best practices and implement optimizations here are some tips for optimizing FCP and improving the user experience:

Minimize JavaScript :

Excessive JavaScript can slow down website loading including First Contentful Paint. Mining JavaScript usage by embedding scripts asynchronously and reducing the amount of code used.

As if the JavaScript is render-blocking (not asynchronous) the browser must compile parse and evaluate before rendering the rest of the page

Whilst even being asynchronous the code would compete with other resources for higher bandwidth resulting in wastage of data which is a bad thing for mobile users not having unlimited data plans.

In addition to this, libraries like jQuery can be used to minimize and optimize JavaScript. 

Minimize javascript


What does asynchronous mean in JavaScript? Good

Asynchronous in JavaScript means that a task can run in the background, without blocking the rest of the code from executing. This allows for more efficient use of resources and a smoother user experience. For example, when loading data from a server, asynchronous code would allow the rest of the page to continue functioning while the data is being retrieved, instead of freezing until the data has arrived 

What is jQuery:

jQuery is a lightweight JavaScript library its purpose is to make it much easier to use JavaScript on your website. JavaScript takes a lot of common tasks that require many lines of JavaScript code and wraps them into methods that you can call with a single line of code.

Reduce page redirects : 

Page redirects are an additional HTTP request that adds latency and increases the time it takes for a page to load. By reducing the number of redirects you can improve FCP and overall page load speed 

Some of the ways you can reduce redirects are :

  1. Avoid redirecting to external pages: redirecting to external sites can significantly slow down your FCP, avoid redirecting to external sites whenever possible and instead link the target page directly 
  1.  Use permanent redirects (301) instead of temporary (302): permanent redirects are cached by browsers reducing the number of requests needed to load a page whereas temporary redirects are not cached and need an additional request increasing latency and slowing down First Contentful Paint.

To perform this optimization manually you can do redirect mapping and make sure that all internal links are pointing to the correct pages.

With RabbitLoader, you can easily manage redirects and eliminate unnecessary redirects to improve website speeds and lower First Contentful Paint times.

Minimize javascript,301,302

Utilize a CDN (Content Delivery Network) :

CDNs are a network of servers distributed globally that cache and serve website content to users based on their geographical location. Utilizing a CDN can help improve First Contentful Paint by reducing the distance data has to travel from the server to the user’s device. 

It increases the speed of content delivery, improves user experience, increases scalability, and enhances security 

To do this manually you can set up and configure a CDN for your website. With RabbitLoader, you can leverage the power of a global CDN network to enhance website speed and First Contentful Paint without the need for manual configuration


What is a CDN?

A Content Delivery Network is a large network of servers located in different geographical locations around the world. The purpose of a CDN is to provide fast and efficient delivery of website content, such as images, videos, and other media, to users, this is done by reducing the distance that the data has to travel from the server to the user’s device, which in turn reduces the amount of time it takes for the content to load.

Reduce your DOM size :

The DOM is a tree-like structure that represents the elements and content on a web page the larger the DOM the more data needs to be processed by the browser leading to slower website speed and slower FCP 

Methods to reduce DOM size :

  1. Avoid nested elements: nested elements increase the size of the page DOM and slow down your website consider flattening the structure of the DOM to reduce its size 
  2. Use CSS instead of HTML: using CSS to style elements instead of putting the style elements in HTML can reduce the size of the DOM and improve website speed 
  3. Minimize the number of elements: By minimizing the number number of elements on the page will reduce the DOM size and improve the First Contentful Paint.

FAQs : 

What is DOM?

DOM stands for Document Object Model, it is a tree-like structure that represents the elements and contents on a webpage the larger the DOM the more data needs to be processed by the browser leading to slower website speeds and higher First Contentful Paint times.

What are Nested Elements?

Nested elements are HTML elements that are contained inside other HTML elements. For example, you might have a “div” element that might have several “p” elements, each of which contains the text. The “p” elements are called nested elements inside of the “div” elements.

In simple language, it’s like having a box within a box. The inner box is contained in the outer box and is a part of it. Similarly, nested elements are elements within other elements and are considered a part of the outer elements 

First contentful Paint

Eliminate Render-Blocking Resources :

Render-Blocking Resources are scripts and stylesheets that block render till the page loads and do not display it until they have loaded, this can significantly slow down First Contentful Paint and lead to poor performance and bad user experience 

Some methods to Eliminate Render-Blocking Resources are :

  1.  Minify your JavaScript and CSS: This means removing all extra whitespace and unnecessary comments in the code.
  1. Generate critical CSS and inline it: inlining critical styles into HTML and CSS documents can help reduce the number of Render-Blocking Resources and improve First Contentful Paint.
  1. Use resource prioritization: prioritize the loading of resources based on their importance on the page. For example load images and videos before the scripts and stylesheets 

You can optimize your CSS and JS files by implementing various techniques 

With RabbitLoader you can eliminate Render-Blocking Resources automatically to improve website speed and lower First Contentful Paint time.


What are Render-Blocking Resources?

Render-Blocking Resources are scripts and stylesheets that block the render process until they have loaded, these files block or slow down the display of the page content as the browser must wait until these files have loaded, which can significantly slow down the First Contentful Paint time.

What does inlining critical CSS styles into HTML mean?

Inlining critical style into HTML and CSS means taking the essential and the most important styles that are needed to render the content of a web page and adding them directly into the HTML code of the page, instead of linking to an external stylesheet. This reduces the number of HTTP requests and improves the page load time for the initial view 

First contentful Paint,critical css

Use a faster server :

A fast and reliable server can quickly improve the website speed and first contentful time by reducing the time it takes to send and receive data between the server and users Browser 


What is a server?

A server is a computer that provides resources or services to other computers, in this context a server is used to server and store web pages for users who request them through their web browsers.

When a user requests a web page, the request is sent to the server hosting the website. The server then sends back the requested web page and its files such as images stylesheets etc, the browser then render the page for the user to view.

server,First Contentful paint

Enable lazy loading : 

Lazy loading is a technique that only loads that are in the viewport, reducing the amount of data downloaded and speeding up the First Contentful Paint. By enabling lazy loading visitors will only have to download the images that they need reducing the risk of slow First Contentful Paint time.

Enabling lazy loading not only reduces data usage but also enhances search engine optimization.

You can implement lazy loading using JavaScript files manually RabbitLoader can automatically enable lazy loading.


What is a viewport?

Viewport is the visible area of the web page that is displayed on a user’s display. It defines the size and scale of the web pages dom content and can be manipulated through CSS and JavaScript to create responsive designs that look good on any screen size. 

The viewport is an essential aspect of web design, as it helps ensure that web pages are optimized for different devices, including desktops, laptops, mobile phones, etc.

Monitor performance :

Regular monitoring is crucial for maintaining fast content and optimizing the FCP. Use analytics, real user monitoring, and performance reports to monitor First Contentful Paint and identify any issues that need to be addressed. By doing this you can quickly identify and resolve any issues on the website that may impact the FCP 

With RabbitLoader you can improve your First Contentful Paint without the hassle of manual optimization. RabbitLoader takes care of the optimization for you so you don’t have to spend time or money on each individual page. Every new time a page is added or changes are made to an existing page RabbitLoader will handle optimization for you


What is RabbitLoader:

RabbitLoader is a WordPress plugin that helps speed up and optimize your website using different techniques, one of which is by reducing First Contentful Paint time. One of the key advantages of RabbitLoader is its ability to optimize websites without changing their code; this means that website owners can take advantage of this without having to make any technical changes.


In conclusion, optimizing the First Contentful Paint (FCP) is a critical factor in improving website speed which can be measured with various methods like the paint timing API, user experience, and search engine visibility.

 By reducing the amount of data required to load a page, reducing the number of render-blocking resources utilizing a CDN, enabling lazy loading, and other optimization techniques you can significantly improve First Contentful Paint and overall website speed.

A fast and responsive website is essential for providing a good user experience and increasing engagement with your website. By prioritizing the optimization of FCP you can improve website speed search engine optimization and overall user experience additionally by continuously monitoring and optimizing the First Contentful Paint you can ensure that your website remains responsive and optimized for both users and search engines