CrUX July 2021 Core Web Vitals scores are in. WordPress makes steady improvements but so does Wix. This how they measure up
Google engineer Rick Viscomi tweeted that the Core Web Vitals Technology Report was updated to include July 2021 data from CrUX and HTTPArchive. The data showed how much WordPress and Wix continue to improve in all three Core Web Vitals metrics, FID, LCP and CLS.
There can only be one winner this month.
CrUX stands for the Chrome User Experience report. It is a report of actual user experience and is where the core web vitals (CWV) information comes from.
The data is collected from Chrome browsers that have opted into contributing their information.
This information is what is called Field Data.
First Input Delay (FID) is a measurement of how long it takes for a website to become interactive in terms of buttons, links, dropdowns and other interactive elements.
WordPress is the clear winner over the Wix publishing platform in terms of the First Input Delay metric.
WordPress FID performance improved by six percentage points between May and July 2021, going from 89.4% in May receiving a good FID score to a whopping 95.71% of publishers experiencing a good FID score by July.
That’s a significant performance improvement for WordPress and shows that the WordPress development team is making progress on improving the page experience for users visiting sites published on WordPress.
Wix on the other hand started out as the leader in May, with 93.79% of publishers enjoying a good FID score. But WordPress overtook Wix in July as Wix only improved the FID score by less than one percentage point.
Wix went from 93.79% in May to a marginally better 94.6% in July, losing the crown of FID champ to WordPress.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a measurement of how long the main content takes to load and become ready for a user to interact with it.
WordPress showed a minimal improvement in the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric, rising by less than a percentage point, from 27.51% in May to 28.11% in July.
Wix on the other hand improved by a more impressive 4%, going from 29.16% in May to 33.43% in July.
That means that, as measured by CrUX, 33.43% of Wix publishers offered a fast LCP page experience versus 28.11% on WordPress.
Wix publishers have a five percentage point lead over WordPress publishers.
While Wix gets the nod for LCP scores, WordPress is virtually neck and neck with Wix.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is a measurement of how much page elements shift around while a page is downloading.
A page where a visitor clicks a button and the button jumps around, causing the visitor to click an ad and leave the website is an example of a page that offers a poor Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) score.
This is an important metric because pages with elements that jump around can quickly frustrate users and cause them to bounce back to the search results.
Related: Wix vs WordPress: Which Is Better for SEO?
The WordPress CLS scores actually deteriorated between May and July 2021, sinking from 60.52% in May to 59.94% in July.
WordPress CLS performance had a less than 1% negative degradation.
Wix actually improved their scores by over 7%.
Perhaps even more stunning, while 59.94% of WordPress publishers have a passing CLS score in July, a whopping 80.49% of Wix publishers enjoyed a good CLS score.
With an over 20 percentage point lead, Wix is the winner in the contest between Wix and WordPress over which offers the best CLS scores.
Things like advertisements, images, embedded videos and tweets can cause CLS.
It’s possible that the way publishers use WordPress is responsible for the significantly poorer CLS performance compared to the Wix platform.
The report shows that WordPress is steadily improving its CWV performance but at a modest pace of only 1% per month.
WordPress improved by only 2% between May and July 2021.
The following are the percentages of websites published with WordPress that received good scores.
WordPress CWV Performance
Wix showed impressive improvement between May and July 2021, achieving a six percentage point improvement between May and July 2021.
The following are the Wix Performance Metrics:
For the overall Core Web Vitals scoring, Wix leads WordPress by 9 percentage points.
WordPress’ poor CLS performance (relative to Wix’s significantly higher scores) dragged down the overall CWV score for WordPress.
In the overall Core Web Vitals score, Wix leads WordPress by 9 percentage points.
Facts are facts: More publishers on the Wix platform achieve overall good Core Web Vitals scores than publishers using WordPress.
For the month of July 2021, 19.1% of WordPress publishers achieved good CWV scores while 28.5% of Wix publishers enjoyed good CWV scores.
That’s a nearly ten percentage point better performance of Wix over WordPress.
The Wix approach to managing their web technology may have an advantage over WordPress because Wix is able to control and tune each web page element so that the website can perform to their standards.
WordPress is an open source content management system (CMS) with thousands of third party developers who contribute themes and plugins that may negatively affect the page experience performance.
The Wix approach to proprietary closed system shows a faster rate of improvement than WordPress. From May to July, the Wix Core Web Vitals scores jumped by six percentage points, going from 22.6% to 28.5%.
WordPress experienced an improvement but that improvement was by a modest two percentage points, crawling from 17.1% in May to a modestly better 19.1% improvement in July.
Again it must be said that because WordPress is an open source system, individual publishers can create websites with faster performance scores than Wix. Publishers on the Wix platform don’t have the freedom to improve their performance scores.
But in the Wix publishing ecosystem, having little control over web performance is feature and not a bug for publishers who want to focus on business and not on babysitting the underlying technology.
Clearly the faster pace of improvement in CWV scores shows that the Wix approach has advantages for certain publishers.
But WordPress is not that far behind.
The contest for Core Web Vitals excellence continues.
I’ve updated the Core Web Vitals Technology Report to include the July data from CrUX and HTTP Archive.
Looking specifically at desktop experiences, the Shopify/Squarespace/Wix saga intensifies 🤠🍿https://t.co/MdS1nCAFTX pic.twitter.com/5yJzsXjev5
— Rick Viscomi (@rick_viscomi) August 10, 2021
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