So you are thinking about starting a core web vitals agency…. Plastered all over social media these days on how all this stuff is going to work, everyone is talking about the big changes coming to websites everywhere, and the inevitable gold mine literally waiting on you that will fill your pockets with wads of internet cash.
.. wish it was that easy
Since the first moment I pressed publish and the WPCoreWebVitals website went live, it’s been full Vin Diesel ‘Fast and the Furious’ right from day one. I wasn’t really looking for customers out the door quite yet, but people have been consistently finding us and submitting their sites for review.
And it’s been that wild core web vitals frenzy that has encouraged every digital marketing and SEO agency, contractor and just about everyone else thinking it’s going to be a cakewalk offering website optimization services.
As a moderator for the Facebook group WP Speed Matters, what I see are these agencies and contractors asking questions daily about how to optimize their client websites. They never disclose that it’s actually for a client, but bottom line is that they have no idea what they are doing and looking for help on how to fix things.
I’m also watching the majority of these folks doing it wrong, and even more core web vitals/website optimization companies blatantly ripping people off.
It makes me angry and I hate watching people getting taken advantage of with unrealistic promises, and not really understanding what offering core web vitals optimization actually means in the first place.
So what have I learned so far? Here are the Top 5 Things You Need To Know Before Starting A Core Web Vitals Agency
1. Core Web Vitals Agency Process
I guess this holds true for any business, but the biggest challenge out the gate for me was establishing a proper process on how we do things here.
Sure this includes on how to best manage client deliverables, but it also involves engaging my team and providing a nurturing environment for everyone. The first couple of optimization projects was pretty much ‘controlled chaos’, there was no process and everything was done basically on the fly. I realized that this wasn’t going to be sustainable if we wanted to grow, so what were the things we needed to improve internally and evolve as a company moving forward?
We communicated via email and messenger exclusively, so we researched and introduced a new project management portal where we keep all of our project notes within the first couple of weeks. It was decided that we also establish a knowledge base of best practices of the latest caching and performance plugins, where we discuss optimal settings, test results and shared experiences across the entire team.
What do we do with an above the fold Revolution Slider carousel with WP-Rocket? We’ve done that before, here’s the best way to deal with it….
This collective approach has fostered a great atmosphere for everyone, the discussion/debate has lasting value and we’ve captured that shared knowledge. From the moment someone sends us their website optimization needs and looking for a quote, to getting a client website out live in their production environment, it’s all about maintaining a solid process the entire way.
2. Recruitment. How To Find The Best Core Web Vitals Specialists
It seems everyone is a core web vitals expert these days, but I can tell you from personal experience that this is far from the truth.
I spent weeks interviewing dozens of potential website optimizers to join my team before the site went live, and only a handful of them got an offer to work on client projects.
In my recruitment efforts, you can usually spot qualified talent pretty quickly and then effectively weed out all the other pretenders. We charge top dollar to optimize client websites and they expect people with top talent to get the job done. Our customers trust us with their websites, and we do our best to get the results they need.
I’m sure I’ve offended many people along the way over the last couple of months, I don’t think they’ve experienced rejection before when I tell them that we’re still looking at other candidates. I have about 100 canned questions that I choose from to qualify what they know about speed optimization and that’s followed-up with a ZOOM or Skype call to learn more about them.
People that apply here should expect very specific optimization scenarios with ‘what would you do if’ and most can’t answer those questions.
If you want to start a core web vitals agency, then you better surround yourself with people that are smarter than you are. My entire team is definitely smarter than me.
3. There Aren’t No @#$$# Easy Website Optimization Wins
Let me tell you that this holds true 100% of the time. People that generally pay you to fix and optimize their websites are never the easy ones.
Every morning on a new project kickoff, the conversation usually starts with an ominous tone — “hey take a look at this one”
Teeth clenched, I’m usually the most dramatic one of the group and ask the team what the hell are we going to do to fix this website?
My team always seems to be amused and laugh when they sense my anxiety, telling me to ‘go away’ for a while, and let them get to work.
And there is truth to the matter, every website follows the same PageSpeed Insights list of issues and opportunities that you need to address before you can fix any core web vitals problems.
So if you are expecting easy websites to optimize, it ain’t happening — Expect the worst of the lot and be ready for a challenge every time.
4. Your WordPress Website Is Totally Broken!
I’ve been building WordPress websites for a long time now and let me tell you that I’ve seen some things that are pretty hard to believe since starting WPCoreWebVitals.
I was never the type of kid to keep a tidy room growing up, but I do keep all of my WordPress websites up to date.
The majority of websites we start working on have one thing in common. A ton of plugins and worse – a ton of plugins that need to be updated!
It’s not unusual to see a WordPress site running 70-100 plugins upon initial review, not all of them are active and can be dumped, but I’ve never even heard of most of them.
We have two general rules before initiating any website optimizations that apply to all clients.
1 – Delete at least 50% of your plugins. You decide on what ones you really need and make the cut, kill the other half
2 – All plugins, themes, and page builders must be updated before our team can start on your website. PHP and WordPress versions also have to be updated to the last stable release
Another major point/rule that I try to review with clients upfront is getting on a better hosting plan or completely changing hosting companies…
Before you drop $1000 on getting your website optimized, why don’t you invest in some decent hosting that will help load your website faster. We can’t fix slow hosting!
I’ve seen client sites that have active conflicts and plugins that haven’t been updated over multiple versions, one plugin hadn’t been updated for 6 years!
I’m amazed that these websites haven’t been hacked yet, to be honest… Our optimization work only begins after you clean your room first!
5. Core Web Vitals Is Changing At A Furious Rate!
Let’s be honest, this whole core web vitals thing is moving fast and Google hasn’t exactly told us how it all works so far.
I noticed that Google updated their Core Web Vitals FAQs yesterday, there has been lots of speculation about how vitals actually work before May approaches and clarification on key points was welcomed by everyone as important questions were answered.
But Google is only a small part of the entire ecosystem that’s scrambling right now to get ready for the official core web vitals launch.
The WordPress core continues to get updated with an emphasis on getting faster (Gutenberg and new elements like automatic lazy loading)
Theme and page builder developers are competing to be the fastest, stripping away bloated code and introducing leaner ways to get the same thing done.
Plugins are replacing legacy dependencies and making sure they are more performant, people will simply move to faster plugins that do the same thing.
Hosting and CDNs are now upgrading their stacks to make sure their customers are squeezing the best performance from people hitting their sites.
.. even the browsers themselves are constantly releasing updates to make sure people are getting the optimal experience.
So still want to launch your own core web vitals agency? I see new ones popping up every day now. Make sure you are ready for what’s coming your way!