Discovering what’s slowing down your website with Web Analytics

Discovering what’s slowing down your website with Web Analytics

Web Analytics is Cloudflare’s privacy-focused real user measurement solution. It leverages a lightweight JavaScript beacon and does not use any client-side state, such as cookies or localStorage, to collect usage metrics. Nor does it “fingerprint” individuals via their IP address, User Agent string, or any other data.

Cloudflare Web Analytics makes essential web analytics, such as the top-performing pages on your website and top referrers, available to everyone for free, and it’s becoming more powerful than ever.

Focusing on Performance

Earlier this year we merged Web Analytics with our Browser Insights product, which enabled customers proxying their websites through Cloudflare to evaluate visitors’ experience on their web properties through Core Web Vitals such as Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and First Input Delay (FID).

It was important to bring the Core Web Vitals performance measurements into Web Analytics given the outsized impact that page load times have on bounce rates. A page load time increase from 1s to 3s increases bounce rates by 32% and from 1s to 6s increases it by 106% (source).

Now that you know the impact a slow-loading web page can have on your visitors, it’s time for us to make it a no-brainer to take action. Read on.

Becoming Action-Oriented

We believe that, to deliver the most value to our users, the product should facilitate the following process:

  • Measure the real user experience
  • Grade this experience — is it satisfactory or in need of improvement?
  • Provide actionable insights — what part of the web page should be tweaked to improve the user experience?
  • Repeat
  • And it all starts with Web Analytics Vitals Explorer, which started rolling out today.

    Introducing Web Analytics Vitals Explorer

    Vitals Explorer enables you to easily pinpoint which elements on your pages are affecting users the most, with accurate measurements from the visitors perspective and an easy-to-read impact grading.

    To do that, we have automatically updated the Web Analytics JavaScript beacon so that it collects the relevant vital measurements from the browser. As always, we are not collecting any information that would invade your visitors’ privacy.

    Usage

    Once this new beacon is updated on your sites — and again the update will happen transparently to you — you can then navigate to the Core Web Vitals page on Web Analytics. When entering that page, you will see three graphs grading the user experience for Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Below each graph you can see the debug section with the top five elements with a negative impact on the metric. Lastly, when clicking on either of these elements shown in the data table, you will be presented with its impact and exact paths so that you can easily decide whether this is worth keeping on your website in its current format.

    In addition to this new Core Web Vitals content, we have also added First Paint and First Contentful Paint to the Page Load Time page. When you navigate to this page you will now see the page load summary and a graph representing page load timing. These will allow you to quickly identify any regressions to these important performance metrics.

    Measurement details

    This additional debugging information for Core Web Vitals is measured during the lifespan of the page (until the user leaves the tab or closes the browser window, which updates visibilityState to a hidden state).

    Here’s what we collect:

    Common for all Core Web Vitals

    • Element is a CSS selector representing the DOM node. With this string, the developer can use `document.querySelector()` in their browser’s dev console to find out which DOM node has a negative impact on your scores/values.
    • Path is the URL path at the time the Core Web Vitals are captured.
    • Value is the metric value for each Core Web Vitals. This value is in milliseconds for LCP or FID and a score for CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift).

    Largest Contentful Paint

    • URL is the source URL (such as image, text, web fonts).
    • Size is the source object’s size in bytes.

    First Input Delay

    • Name is the type of event (such as mousedown, keydown, pointerdown).

    Cumulative Layout Shift

    Layout information is a JSON value that includes width, height, x axis position, y axis position, left, right, top, and bottom. You are able to observe layout shifts that happen on the page by observing these values.

    • CurrentRect is the largest source element’s layout information after the shift. This JSON value is shown as Current under Layout Shifts section in the Web Analytics UI.
    • PreviousRect is the largest source element’s layout information before the shift. This JSON value is shown as Previous under Layout Shifts section in the Web Analytics UI.

    Paint Timings

    Additionally, we have added two important paint timings

    • First Paint is the time between navigation and when the browser renders the first pixels to the screen.
    • First Contentful Paint is the time when the browser renders the first bit of content from the DOM.

    A lot of this is based on standard browser measurements, which you can read about in detail on this blog post from Google.

    Moving forward

    And we are by no means done. Moving forward, we will bring this structured approach with grading and actionable insights into as Web Analytics measurements as possible, and keep guiding you through how to improve your visitors’ experience. So stay tuned.
    And in the meantime, do let us know what you think about this feature and ask questions on the community forums.

    Source:: CloudFlare