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Introduction – How to Fix “Ensure Text Remains Visible During Webfont Load”

Optimizing page load times is a crucial task that directly impacts user experience and SEO rankings. A common issue developers encounter is ensuring text remains visible during webfont loads. This issue is frequently highlighted in performance audits like Google’s Lighthouse with the directive: “Ensure Text Remains Visible During Webfont Load.” The How to Fix “Ensure Text Remains Visible During Webfont Load” article delves into why this issue occurs, its importance for SEO and user experience, and comprehensive strategies to resolve it effectively.

Understanding the Issue

When a website uses custom web fonts, browsers typically wait for the font files to be downloaded and processed before displaying any text. This delay can lead to a phenomenon known as the “Flash of Invisible Text” (FOIT), where text blocks are invisible until the web fonts are fully loaded. Not only can this affect a website’s aesthetic appeal, but it can also frustrate users and negatively impact site metrics like bounce rates and time on the page.

The Importance of Fixing the Issue

Ensuring text remains visible during webfont load is critical for maintaining a smooth user experience and improving content accessibility. From an SEO perspective, Google and other search engines favor websites that load efficiently and provide immediate information to users. Addressing this issue can help enhance site engagement, reduce bounce rates, and boost your SEO performance.

Strategies to Fix the Issue

Using font-display CSS Feature

The font-display property in CSS offers the simplest and most effective solution to this issue. This property allows developers to control how web fonts are displayed as they load. There are several values you can choose from:

  • Auto: The browser selects the loading behavior (default).
  • Block: The fallback text is invisible for a short period. If the font isn’t loaded, the fallback is used.
  • Swap: The fallback text is shown immediately until the font loads.
  • Fallback: The fallback text is shown; if the font loads within 100 ms, it’s replaced.
  • Optional: The fallback text is shown, and the font is used only if loaded quickly.
@font-face {
font-family: 'MyWebFont';
src: url('/path/to/webfont.woff2') format('woff2');
font-display: swap;

Using swap is often recommended as it ensures text remains visible in fallback fonts until the custom font has fully loaded, thus eliminating FOIT.

Preloading Fonts

Preloading key web fonts can significantly improve font display time. By informing the browser about the resources needed for the initial view, it can prioritize fetching them earlier in the load process.

<link rel="preload" href="/path/to/webfont.woff2" as="font" type="font/woff2" crossorigin>

Effective Use of Font Loading APIs

Developers can use JavaScript-based APIs like the Font Loading API to gain greater control over font loading. This API allows for dynamic font loading, complete control over the loading process, and the ability to set font-display behavior programmatically.

const font = new FontFace('MyWebFont', 'url(/path/to/webfont.woff2)', { style: 'normal', weight: '400' });

font.load().then(function(loadedFont) {
    document.fonts.add(loadedFont); = 'MyWebFont, Fallback, sans-serif';

Monitoring Font Display with Performance Tools

Tools such as Google Lighthouse can be used to audit how fonts are impacting page performance and visibility. Regular audits help identify fonts and other elements that could be optimized further.

Implementing Best Practices

While fixing the “Ensure Text Remains Visible During Webfont Load” issue, it’s also vital to consider other best practices:

  • Choose the Right Fonts: Opt for performance-optimized fonts designed to load faster and more suitable for web use.
  • Limit Font Weights and Styles: Only include your site’s font styles and weights to minimize unnecessary resources.
  • Compression and Font Formats: Serve fonts in WOFF2 format, offering better compression and faster loading times than older formats.

Advanced Techniques for Font Optimization

Optimal Font Resource Hints

Beyond preloading essential web fonts, other resource hints, such as preconnect and dns-prefetch can be employed to optimize the loading times of fonts. By establishing early connections to the necessary domains, these techniques reduce the time to fetch the font resources:

<link rel="preconnect" href="" crossorigin>
<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="">

Font Subsetting

Font subsetting is a technique that involves including only specific characters and symbols that are used on the website, significantly reducing the font file size. This can be particularly useful for languages with large character sets or for pages that use a limited number of characters:

<link href=";subset=latin,latin-ext" rel="stylesheet">

Avoiding Invisible Text During Font Revalidation

To mitigate the impact of invisible text during font revalidation (when the font is cached but must be checked with the server), setting an appropriate Cache-Control header for font files can ensure that fonts are stored and revalidated less frequently. This keeps fonts ready to use without re-downloading unless necessary:

Cache-Control: public, max-age=31536000

Impact of Webfonts on Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is another crucial factor web fonts affect. CLS measures the stability of content on a screen as it loads. To minimize layout shifts, it’s essential to specify font size, weight, and style in CSS as early as possible. Additionally, reserve space for fonts to prevent layout adjustments when web fonts are applied:

@font-face {
    font-family: 'CustomFont';
    src: url('/path/to/customfont.woff2') format('woff2');
    font-style: normal;
    font-weight: 400;
    font-display: swap;
body {
    font-family: 'CustomFont', sans-serif;

Using Font Loading Libraries

Font-loading libraries like WebFont Loader provide more control and flexibility over font-loading events. These libraries enable WordPress development experts to add classes to the body tag when fonts are loading, loaded, or failed, allowing for more responsive and adaptable UI adjustments based on font availability:

    google: {
        families: ['Droid Sans', 'Droid Serif']
    active: function() {

Best Practices for Responsive Typography

Responsive typography ensures that text is legible and aesthetically pleasing across all devices. Using scalable units for font sizes (such as REMs), responsive font sizing with CSS clamp, and media queries can enhance readability. And provide a better user experience:

html {
    font-size: 62.5%; /* 10px browser default */
body {
    font-size: 1.6rem; /* 16px */
@media (max-width: 768px) {
    body {
        font-size: 1.4rem; /* 14px */

By integrating these advanced strategies with the core methods outlined earlier, developers can significantly enhance their websites’ performance and visual integrity. These techniques help achieve a better user experience and positively affect SEO by optimizing text visibility and loading times on web pages.

Continuous Monitoring and Iteration

Continuous monitoring and iteration are crucial in maintaining and improving the performance of web fonts. Developers should use performance monitoring tools regularly, such as Google Lighthouse or WebPageTest, to track the impact of implemented font optimizations and detect any new issues. Adjustments may be necessary as site content evolves or new fonts and optimization technologies become available. By staying proactive about web font performance, developers ensure their sites remain fast, accessible, and visually appealing, aligning with the latest best practices and user expectations. This ongoing commitment to excellence in web performance enhances user satisfaction and strengthens SEO outcomes, solidifying a site’s reputation and standing in search engine results.

Seeking Professional Assistance

If you find these optimizations complex or prefer not to manage them directly, consider enlisting the expertise of a professional WordPress service. By partnering with specialists, you can ensure that your website remains optimized without needing to delve into the technical details yourself. This approach saves time and leverages professional skills to enhance your site’s performance, ensuring a superior user experience and robust SEO results.

Conclusion – How to Fix ‘Ensure Text Remains Visible During Webfont Load’

Fixing the “Ensure Text Remains Visible During Webfont Load” issue is not just about eliminating a warning in a performance audit. It’s about enhancing the user experience, speeding up content visibility, and improving overall website performance metrics critical for SEO. By implementing the outlined strategies, developers can ensure that their websites are optimized for speed and usability.

Key takeaways include the utilization of the font-display property, preloading essential fonts, and using font-loading APIs to keep your web content accessible and engaging from when a user lands on your site.

Fonts can negatively influence your CLS. Keep their number to a minimum and remember to preload/prefetch them. You can use a tool like OMGF to handle fonts automatically. It’s an excellent tool. Just remember that no tool is perfect.

FAQ: Ensuring Text Visibility During Webfont Load

What is the Flash of Invisible Text (FOIT)?

FOIT refers to the momentary invisibility of text on a webpage while custom fonts are loading. During this period, users see nothing instead of text, which can negatively affect user experience and site performance.

Why is ‘font-display: swap‘ recommended?

font-display: swap‘ is recommended because it allows text to be displayed immediately in a fallback font while the custom font is loading, thus preventing FOIT. This ensures that the content is always accessible to the user, which benefits usability and SEO.

Can font preloading affect website performance?

Yes. Font preloading can significantly enhance website performance by ensuring that the web fonts needed for the initial page load are downloaded in advance. This reduces the time it takes for text to become visible to users, improving the website’s overall speed.

How does the Font Loading API enhance font loading control?

The Font Loading API provides more granular control over font loading than CSS alone. It allows developers to programmatically check fonts’ loading status, apply fonts dynamically, and manage the fallback behavior more precisely. This is particularly useful for complex web applications that require dynamic content rendering.

What are the best practices for choosing web fonts for performance?

When choosing web fonts for performance, it’s essential to:
Select fonts optimized for web use: These fonts are usually smaller in file size and are designed for quick loading.
Limit the number of font styles and weights: Only load the styles and weights you use to avoid unnecessary bloat.
Use modern font formats like WOFF2: These formats offer better compression and faster loading times, enhancing overall performance.

How often should you audit font performance?

You should audit font performance regularly, preferably as part of a comprehensive website performance review. Tools like Google Lighthouse can help track fonts’ impact on load times and suggest optimizations to improve performance.

By addressing these frequently asked questions and implementing the strategies discussed, developers can ensure that text remains visible during webfont loads. Enhancing the user experience and SEO outcomes.

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