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What is FCP and Why Does it Matter?

Brent Peterson December 28, 2021

The FCP, or First Contentful Paint, notes how long it takes for a browser to render a first piece of content from a web page, such as text or images. Essentially, it’s the timestamp where a visitor to the site can begin to see and interact with content.

FCP is not to be confused with LCP, or Largest Contentful Paint. LCP aims to measure how long it takes for the main page elements and important content to load, whereas FCP is concerned with the first appearance of any content.

Importance of FCP

FCP is defined by Google as a user-centric performance metric. Once a user can see content appearing on their screen, they’re reassured that the page is actually loading successfully. Therefore, the faster the FCP occurs, the more likely it is that the user will remain on the page and continue to interact with the site. Google’s algorithm prioritizes websites with quick loading times and mobile-friendly themes, and FCP is a key measurement taken into account during a Google PageSpeed Insights report.

In other words, if you want to boost your site’s SEO rankings or improve user experience, knowing your FCP is a must.

Ways to Measure FCP

Google engineer Philip Walton explains that FCP can be measured with lab tools or field tools. He recommends the following resources for analyzing your own website:

You can also measure FCP in JavaScript by following the instructions listed here.

How to Improve FCP

Most FCP and speed performance audits will suggest personalized recommendations based on the results of the test. However, if you’re looking to improve your FCP score in general, there are some best practices you can follow. To boost the loading time of most websites, try the following fixes:

  • Eliminate render-blocking resources
  • Minify CSS and remove any unused CSS
  • Preconnect to required origins
  • Reduce server response times (TTFB)
  • Avoid multiple page redirects
  • Preload key requests
  • Avoid enormous network payloads
  • Serve static assets with an efficient cache policy
  • Avoid an excessive DOM size
  • Minimize critical request depth
  • Ensure text remains visible during webfont load
  • Keep request counts low and transfer sizes small

Lastly, if you need more assistance with improving your website, Wagento can help! Our professional developers can tackle anything from site maintenance to upgrades and everything in between. Connect with us today and learn how we can build a customized plan that will make your online store get the attention it deserves!

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