Designing a Sustainable Website
Updated: Aug 14, 2019
Sustainable living is growing in popularity and has become mainstream. Businesses are now making changes to become web-based. But is becoming web-based always the greener alternative? The internet has been thought of as a greener marketing solution since it replaces paper and the need for printed material. However, according to the American Marketing Association, the internet’s annual carbon footprint is 830 million tons, while the print industry estimates 305 million tons in the year 2020 (according to Scott Canonico of Hewlett Packard). How can a business reduce its carbon footprint? One option would be creating a sustainable website.
What Is a Sustainable Website?
A sustainable website is a site which meets the needs of its users, without compromising the content that is necessary, it is designed to operate over a long period of time without degrading itself or the environment. A sustainable site will use less energy, water, and natural resources which will lessen the internet’s carbon footprint.
Designing for Sustainability
The concept of designing a sustainable website is still new, as businesses integrate eco-friendly practices, developing a greener website has become a second thought. A sustainable website can be constructed using the building blocks for sustainable web design. Adjusting findability, performance optimization, design, and user experience are ways to include sustainable designs.
Findability is essential, the easier it is to locate your content will mean fewer pages will need to load in order for the user to access your website, by using keywords this will increase your findability rate and your search engine optimization. Designing a visually pleasing and efficient site is necessary for the user’s experience. Your clients expect to view the contents of your website instantly and when a site runs efficiently this will result in using less energy to load your web pages.
Making the Switch
The first step to creating a sustainable site is to estimate how much energy it currently takes to keep your website running. WebsiteCarbon.com is a site that will estimate how much CO2 your webpage emits by inputting your site’s URL and the estimated amount of monthly page views. Another resource available is Ecograder.com, where you input your URL and it instantly ranks your SEO and user experience. It offers ways to improve your page and shows whether your site is using renewable energy or not.
There are many ways to integrate energy-efficient practices in your existing site. Such as reducing file sizes, using lazy load for media content, and switching to green hosting. By reducing the file size of images and prioritizing the photos that are necessary, one can reduce load time and energy consumption. When uploading media, using “lazy load” will help improve speed. Lazy load is the function of loading images when it is required, meaning the image will load progressively as the user scrolls down the page. If a user scrolls to the bottom of the page, not all images will need to load which will help the page load more quickly. Since servers require power 24 hours a day, switching to renewable energy is an impacting step in creating a sustainable website. A major way to save energy is switching to green hosting. Green hosting is a web hosting solution powered by environmental friendly resources such as renewable energy. A2Hosting.com is a green hosting resource that offers high-quality support and impressive server speed.
Implementing more ways to make your site sustainable doesn't only benefit the environment, but also the user’s experience. Using more keywords on your site will enhance your findability rate and increase your search engine optimization. Creating a minimal design that is visually pleasing and accessible will help the user find the content faster. These examples create a more efficient and optimized site, resulting in less energy required to keep it running.
Incorporating energy-efficient practices to your site will reduce the amount of energy to help lessen the internet's carbon footprint as well as designing a more efficient and optimized site.
As Galveston's premier marketing agency and web design firm, we pride ourselves on custom solutions for our clients, we offer sustainable resources and greener options upon request. Ask us about ways to create a cleaner, greener website. Let JanMar agency help. We know marketing and design.