If you’re a WordPress website owner, you may have heard of the term “Cumulative Layout Shift” or CLS.
CLS is a metric that measures how much visual instability a user experiences when interacting with a web page.
In other words, it measures how much the layout of a page shifts around as it loads, which can be frustrating for users.
If you’re experiencing CLS issues on your WordPress website, you’re not alone. Many website owners face this problem, but the good news is that there are ways to fix it.
In this article, we’ll cover some effective solutions to help you reduce your CLS score and improve the user experience on your website.
From optimizing your images and fonts to using plugins and tools, we’ll explore different strategies to address this issue. So, let’s dive in and learn how to fix CLS issues on your WordPress website.
Identifying the CLS Issue
If you are experiencing Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) issues on your WordPress website, it is important to identify the root cause of the problem.
This section will discuss two ways to identify CLS issues: using Google PageSpeed Insights and using the Chrome DevTools Performance Tab.
Using Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that analyzes your website’s performance and provides suggestions for improvement.
To use this tool to identify CLS issues:
- Go to the Google PageSpeed Insights website.
- Enter your website’s URL and click “Analyze.”
- Wait for the analysis to complete.
- Scroll down to the “Opportunities” section.
- Look for any opportunities related to CLS. These will be labeled as “Avoid large layout shifts” and will include suggestions for improvement.
Using the Chrome DevTools Performance Tab
The Chrome DevTools Performance Tab is a tool built into the Google Chrome browser that allows you to analyze your website’s performance.
To use this tool to identify CLS issues:
- Open your website in Google Chrome.
- Right-click anywhere on the page and select “Inspect.”
- Click on the “Performance” tab.
- Click the “Record” button to start recording your website’s performance.
- Navigate through your website, performing actions that could cause layout shifts (such as clicking on links or scrolling down the page).
- Click the “Stop” button to stop recording your website’s performance.
- Look for any spikes in the “Layout Shifts” section of the Performance tab. These spikes indicate instances of CLS.
Common Causes of CLS Issues
When it comes to Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) issues on your WordPress website, there are several common culprits that you should be aware of.
Here are some of the most frequent causes of CLS issues and how to fix them.
Images and Videos Without Dimensions
One of the most common causes of CLS issues is images and videos without dimensions.
When images and videos load without a specified size, the browser has to guess the dimensions, which can cause layout shifts.
To fix this issue, you should always specify the dimensions of your images and videos in the HTML or CSS code.
Ads and Third-Party Scripts
Ads and third-party scripts can also cause CLS issues. These elements often load asynchronously, which means they can shift the layout of your page as they load.
To prevent this from happening, you should always load ads and third-party scripts after the main content of your page has loaded. You can also use lazy loading to delay the loading of these elements until they are needed.
Web fonts can also contribute to CLS issues. When web fonts are loaded, they can cause a Flash of Unstyled Text (FOUT) or a Flash of Invisible Text (FOIT), which can shift the layout of your page.
To prevent this from happening, you should use font-display: swap in your CSS code. This will ensure that the text is visible while the web font is loading.
You can also use a content delivery network (CDN) to speed up the loading of these files.
By addressing these common causes of CLS issues, you can improve the user experience on your WordPress website.
How to Fix CLS Issues
If you’re experiencing Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) issues on your WordPress website, there are several steps you can take to fix them.
Here are some effective solutions:
Adding Dimensions to Images and Videos
One of the most common causes of CLS is images and videos without specified dimensions.
When the browser doesn’t know the dimensions of an image or video, it has to guess, which can lead to layout shifts.
To fix this issue, you can add width and height attributes to your images and videos. This will help the browser reserve the necessary space for the media, preventing layout shifts.
Lazy Loading Images and Videos
Another way to prevent CLS caused by media is to use lazy loading.
This technique allows images and videos to load only when they are visible in the viewport.
By deferring the loading of media that is not immediately visible, you can prevent layout shifts caused by images and videos loading in unexpectedly.
Optimizing Ads and Third-Party Scripts
Ads and third-party scripts can also cause CLS issues.
To minimize the impact of these elements on your site’s layout, you can reserve space for them in advance.
This can be done by using a placeholder or fallback element.
You can also place non-sticky ads in the middle of the page, away from the top of the viewport, to avoid layout shifts caused by ads loading in.
Preloading Web Fonts
Web fonts can be a significant contributor to CLS, especially if they are slow to load.
To prevent layout shifts caused by web font loading, you can use the preload attribute to load them before they are needed.
This will ensure that the fonts are available when they are required, reducing the likelihood of layout shifts.
By reducing the number of resources that need to be loaded, you can speed up your site’s performance and reduce the likelihood of layout shifts.
If uou can follow these steps, you can effectively fix CLS issues on your WordPress website.
Remember to test your site’s performance regularly to ensure that it remains optimized and free of layout shifts.