The Impact of CMS and eCommerce Platforms on Core Web Vitals Scores
Core Web Vitals (CWV) are no longer new, but having your website earn high scores on these Google tests is still a major challenge for most website owners.
Google created these Core web vitals metrics to give site owners insights into loading speed and user experience issues. They are intended to help you improve your website. They’re also used as one of the many ranking factors in Google’s organic search algorithms.
Initially, the obvious solution to addressing the issues uncovered by these tests was to ask your developers to fix the existing coding of your website. However, the frontend themes that many websites were built with can make this process difficult and expensive. You can wind up rewriting much of your theme in order to earn better CWV scores.
Without an easy path to success, many site owners have not achieved the Core Web Vitals scores that they’ve hoped for.
What many website owners don’t realize is that this is an across-the-board problem. It can be hard to achieve good Core Web Vitals scores whether your site is built with an open-source or SaaS platform, a CMS system or an eCommerce solution, or even a progressive web application (PWA) or a traditional theming solution.
However, we’ve seen many website owners assume that the “grass is greener”. It’s easy to believe that users of other technologies and platforms are not facing the same challenges… but that’s rarely the case. Often, you don’t need to migrate to a new eCommerce platform or content management system (CMS) to get the Core Web Vitals scores that you desire.
Things Are Getting Better All The Time
The good news is that high CWV scores are achievable. The percentage of websites earning “good” Core Web Vitals metrics is indeed on the rise. Don’t take our word for it. This is illustrated in a dynamic Core Web Vitals Technology Reporting tool that’s been made available as part of HTTP Archive via Google Data Studio.
Here’s a comparison of 15 different technologies (out of the many) that they’re tracking:
About This CWV Data:
If you want to learn more about the methodology used to create these data sets, be sure to check out: https://discuss.httparchive.org/t/new-dashboard-the-core-web-vitals-technology-report/2178
Like all raw website data and statistics, we don’t take these numbers to be absolutes. However, it’s very interesting to see open-source PHP platforms like Shopware leading the pack, alongside other modern solutions, like the Hyvä theme for Magento 2.
It’s important to keep in mind that there is a difference between causation and correlation. For instance, according to this data, Magento users are, by and large, still facing a lot of Core Web Vitals issues. So are users of Adobe’s PWA Studio. However, users of the Hyvä theme are, on average, earning much higher CWV scores. This illustrates that it’s not simply a question of the underlying platform you’re using – such as Magento, but rather, the frontend theme that you have deployed.
JetRails Has Been Putting This Theory To The Test
To illustrate this, JetRails has been working on an internal project. We’ve built our own swag store using Magento 2 and the Hyvä theme. There is still more that we plan to do with this site, but it is a live store that is already taking orders using Bolt’s One-Click Checkout solution.
Of course, this environment is running in a highly-optimized JetRails hosting account, with a range of caching solutions, image optimization, and so forth – the same Magento hosting stack that we make available to both our SMB and Enterprise clients.
Here are the current Core Web Vitals scores that this site is generating:
We do hope to bring these numbers up a bit in the future, but we were excited to see how high this site is scoring without “reinventing the wheel”.
If you’d like more information about how we achieved these scores, or if you’d like a coupon to test out the checkout and get a piece of JetRails swag, please reach out via https://swag.jetrails.com/contact, or ask your JetRails rep for more information.
Additional Thoughts on the Core Web Vitals Technology Report
This data also suggests that simply paying top-dollar for a platform like SAP Commerce Cloud or Adobe Experience Manager won’t guarantee you the CWV scores that you desire. Likewise, switching to Magento’s PWA Studio, VueStorefront, Nacelle, or another PWA frontend isn’t always going to be the most direct path to success.
That’s not to say that these systems don’t have their own pros and cons – they do. Rather, it’s worth noting that users of these platforms are having Core Web Vitals challenges too. You’ll still need to follow a variety of best practices with any platform you’re deploying in order to get great results.
There are many other factors that this report does not account for which could lead to misinterpretation. For instance, there are many Magento 1 websites in the wild that are using very dated themes. Comparatively, SaaS platforms like Shopify have grown more rapidly in recent years. Such platforms have a comparatively high frequency of small sites launching and shutting down. This can paint a misleading picture since newly launched sites have the benefit of starting off with newer themes.
Another factor to keep in mind is the size of the average website on a platform. If the average Drupal website is larger than the average WordPress website, those sites may benefit from more frequent updates and larger budgets to address issues like Core Web Vitals. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s harder to address Core Web Vitals with a WordPress site.
As we’ve mentioned, more and more sites are addressing their Core Web Vitals issues along with their overall loading speed optimization challenges. This leads to lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates. It can also lead to improved organic SEO rankings and higher Quality Scores in Google Ads.
In considering your options for addressing CWV for your site, you should look at a variety of factors. Beyond reviewing your scores with your web developers, here are some tips that will help you achieve your goals:
- Your web host can and should be helping alongside your web developers.
- The tech you’re using will have an impact, so cutting down on apps and extensions that are slowing down your loading speeds can make a big difference.
- You may want to consider replacing the theme of your website with something more modern, like Hyvä.
- If you’re considering migrating to a new website platform, you may want to consider platforms like Shopware and Drupal where users are generally earning high CWV scores – but only if these platforms align with your long-term business needs.
Don’t assume that your core eCommerce platform or CMS is the root cause of your over-arching CWV issues. Your biggest challenges may come down to your theme and other replaceable components. Core Web Vitals should rarely be the main cause for all of your content, data, and integrations to have to be moved to a new website platform.