This week: WordPress and Composer, FSE theme, Plugin Check, layoffs in Evanto, how to do Code Review, and much more.
Jono is the Head of SEO at Yoast, where he makes decisions that influence the organic visibility of over 13 million websites across WordPress, Shopify and beyond.
He’s an expert in digital strategy, SEO, analytics, WordPress, web performance, structured data, marketing technology, conversion rate optimisation, growth, PHP, CSS and more.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen explosive growth in the field of web performance. Speed has always been hugely impactful on the bottom line (see wpostats.com), but it’s often been neglected. Now, Google is explicitly rewarding page experience, of which speed is a key component. That’s scrambled digital marketers and SEO practitioners to measure, monitor, and speed up their sites. It’s also spurred competing website solutions – like Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace – to invest heavily in dialing up their performance. And despite a rich and healthy performance plugin ecosystem, WordPress core got left behind. Despite improving over time, we’re now the slowest major CMS.
Now, we’re finally making long-overdue strides into the space. The WP performance team is exploring ways to address long-standing performance problems, and searching for opportunities to speed up the whole platform. They face big challenges, which touch on almost every part of WordPress; from handling multiple and emerging image formats to implementing alternative database structures, to developing smarter caching strategies, and beyond.
But there’s lots more to do if we’re to catch up with – and perhaps even get ahead of – other content management systems. Web performance is a fast-moving space, where standards and technologies are continually coming, going and evolving. The work that the performance team is doing is the beginning of a long journey, which will require long-term, ongoing investment.
So they look inwards to find ways to address existing performance bottlenecks, I’d like to take a look outwards to what’s new and next in the space.
One of the easiest ways to speed up your website is to cheat. With the right technical setup, you can get Google to preload your page directly in and from the search results. For users, it’ll load instantly. That’ll also benefit your web vitals metrics, and you can enable it via Cloudflare. Check out the recent support for cookie and viewport support, too.
WordPress is notorious for being slow in its initial loading and response phases. So what if you could make use of that ‘dead’ time? Now you can use early hints to start sending critical resources (like CSS, JS and fonts) whilst the server is still processing the response. Magical, and trivial to implement via HTTP headers using Cloudflare.
Check out Google’s Jake Archibald exploring how a page transitions browser API could be used to create seamless, app-like transitions on conventional websites – without having to build a (almost universally unperformant) single page app or headless thingamajig.
LearnDash is taking cutting-edge e-learning methodology and infusing it into WordPress. Trusted to power the learning programs for major universities, small to mid-size companies, startups, entrepreneurs, and bloggers worldwide.
Anders Norén has created another great theme. Davis Blocks is minimalist and FSE compatible.