Getting Your Website Ready for INP: Google’s New Core Web Vital

Google’s introduction of Interaction to Next Paint (INP) as a new Core Web Vital (CWV) underscores a fundamental shift in focus to website speed having a high weight on search engine rankings. At Galexia, we specialize in crafting WordPress websites that not only dazzle but also deliver on the performance metrics that matter most. Let’s dive into what INP is, its importance, and how you can optimize your website for this crucial metric.

Understanding INP: The New Frontier in User Experience

Interaction to Next Paint (INP) measures the responsiveness of a website by calculating the time it takes for a user’s interaction (like clicking a link or pressing a button) to result in a visual change or response on the screen. This metric is pivotal because it directly impacts user experience; the quicker a site responds, the more seamless and enjoyable the user’s journey is.

Why does this matter? In the digital age, user experience is king. A website that responds swiftly to user interactions is more likely to retain visitors, reduce bounce rates, and ultimately, convert traffic into loyal customers or clients. As Google continues to prioritize user experience in its ranking algorithms, integrating INP into your website’s performance strategy is not just beneficial; it’s essential.

Preparing Your WordPress Website for INP

1. Audit Your Current Performance

The first step in optimizing your website for INP is understanding where you currently stand. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse can provide a comprehensive view of your site’s performance, including INP scores. This audit will highlight areas needing improvement and help tailor your optimization strategy.

2. Optimize Your Website’s Loading Speed

Since INP is a measure of responsiveness, reducing the time it takes for your website to load can have a direct impact on improving this metric. Here are a few strategies to speed up your WordPress site:

  • Use a Reliable Hosting Provider: The foundation of a fast-loading website is quality hosting. Galexia offers tailored WordPress hosting optimised for speed. We use a Virtual Private Server (VPS) with a custom configuration to ensure your site is served to your users in an instant.
  • Optimize Images: Large images can significantly slow down your website. Use image optimization tools to compress images without sacrificing quality. When you host with Galexia we automatically convert your images to WebP on upload, but it still makes sense to tweak the size and quality of the original images before you upload them.
  • Minimize HTTP Requests: Reduce the number of elements (scripts, stylesheets, images, etc.) that need to be loaded. This is especially important for 3rd-party tracking tools. Think about whether you can consolidate some. Does Business A offer what Business B is offering?
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs distribute your content across multiple servers worldwide, reducing the load time by serving content from a server closest to the user. Galexia’s CDN of choice is Cloudflare, which we utilise with our hosting service.

3. Enhance User Interaction Feedback

For a better INP score, ensure that your website provides immediate feedback during user interactions. This could be as simple as implementing loading indicators or progress bars for actions that take a few seconds to complete. Such feedback assures users that their action is being processed, enhancing the perceived responsiveness of your website.

4. Simplify Your Website’s Design

A cluttered or complex website design can hinder performance and negatively affect your INP score. Simplifying your website’s design can improve loading times and make it easier for users to interact with your site. Consider the following:

  • Streamline Navigation: Ensure your site’s navigation is intuitive and straightforward, enabling users to find what they’re looking for quickly.
  • Reduce Non-Essential Elements: Every additional widget or plugin can impact your site’s loading time and responsiveness. Evaluate the necessity of each element on your website and keep only what’s essential.

5. Regularly Update and Maintain Your Site

WordPress websites require regular maintenance to perform optimally. This includes updating WordPress core, themes, and plugins to their latest versions. These updates often contain performance improvements and bug fixes that can directly impact your INP score. If you host with Galexia, no need to stress, we take care of your WordPress updates for you.

6. Utilize Caching

Caching stores copies of your website’s files, allowing subsequent visits to be served faster. Implementing caching solutions can drastically reduce load times and improve INP by ensuring that repeat visitors experience quicker interaction times. There are many different caching solutions for WordPress and some people often think to install them all. This can create quite a few issues so it’s recommended to get a professional to set up caching on your website. Some hosts do this for you; Galexia is one of them.

Embracing the Future with Galexia

At Galexia, we understand the challenges and opportunities that come with optimizing for Google’s new Core Web Vital, INP. Our expertise in WordPress websites, combined with a deep understanding of what small businesses need to succeed online, positions us uniquely to help you navigate this new landscape.

Remember, optimizing for INP is not just about ticking a box for Google; it’s about committing to providing the best possible experience for your users. By focusing on performance, responsiveness, and user-centric design, you can ensure that your website not only meets but exceeds the expectations of today’s digital consumers.

As you embark on this journey to optimize your website for INP, know that Galexia is here to support you every step of the way. Together, we can unlock the full potential of your online presence and set the stage for sustained success in the digital age.