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Reducing Total Blocking Time in WordPress

WordPress is a powerful platform that powers a significant portion of the web. However, like any platform, it can sometimes experience performance issues. One such issue is the Total Blocking Time (TBT), which can significantly impact user experience and SEO rankings. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can employ to reduce TBT on your WordPress site.

Understanding Total Blocking Time

Total Blocking Time, or TBT, is a performance metric that measures the time between First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Time to Interactive (TTI). It quantifies how non-responsive your website is to user input, like clicking a button or scrolling, during page load.

High TBT values can lead to a poor user experience, as users may perceive your site as slow or unresponsive. This can result in lower engagement, higher bounce rates, and negative impacts on your SEO rankings.

Identifying High TBT in WordPress

Before you can reduce TBT, you need to identify if your WordPress site has a high TBT issue. Tools like Google’s Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights can help you measure your site’s TBT.

These tools provide a detailed report of your site’s performance, including TBT. If your TBT is high, these tools will also provide suggestions for improvement.

Using Lighthouse to Measure TBT

Lighthouse is a free, open-source tool that can be run in any Chrome browser. It measures several performance metrics, including TBT. To use Lighthouse, navigate to the page you want to test, right-click, select “Inspect”, then “Lighthouse”.

After running the test, Lighthouse will provide a detailed report. If your TBT is high, it will be highlighted in red. Lighthouse will also provide specific suggestions for reducing TBT.

Using PageSpeed Insights to Measure TBT

PageSpeed Insights is another free tool from Google that measures site performance. Unlike Lighthouse, PageSpeed Insights can be used directly from your web browser without any installation.

To use PageSpeed Insights, simply enter your site’s URL into the tool. It will then analyze your site and provide a detailed report, including TBT. If your TBT is high, PageSpeed Insights will provide specific suggestions for improvement.

Strategies for Reducing TBT in WordPress

There are several strategies you can employ to reduce TBT in WordPress. These include optimizing your site’s code, reducing the number of render-blocking resources, and implementing lazy loading.

Optimizing Your Site’s Code

One of the most effective ways to reduce TBT is by optimizing your site’s code. This includes minifying your CSS and JavaScript files, which reduces their size and helps them load faster.

There are several WordPress plugins available that can help with this, including Autoptimize and W3 Total Cache. These plugins automatically minify your site’s code, reducing TBT.

Reducing Render-Blocking Resources

Render-blocking resources are files that prevent your site from displaying until they’ve finished loading. These can significantly increase your site’s TBT.

To reduce the number of render-blocking resources, you can defer non-critical CSS and JavaScript, and inline critical CSS. This allows your site to display content faster, reducing TBT.

Implementing Lazy Loading

Lazy loading is a technique that delays the loading of non-critical resources until they’re needed. This can significantly reduce your site’s TBT, as it reduces the amount of work your browser needs to do during page load.

There are several WordPress plugins available that can help implement lazy loading, including a3 Lazy Load and Smush. These plugins automatically apply lazy loading to your site, reducing TBT.

Conclusion

Reducing Total Blocking Time in WordPress is crucial for improving user experience and SEO rankings. By understanding what TBT is, identifying high TBT on your site, and implementing strategies to reduce it, you can create a faster, more responsive WordPress site.

Remember, optimizing your site’s performance is an ongoing process. Regularly measure your site’s TBT and implement improvements to ensure your site remains fast and responsive.

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