Boost your website by going eco-friendly

Most of us subscribe to streaming services like Netflix to catch our favorite shows or Spotify to listen to uplifting music. It’s a great way to unwind and relax. It’s not a complete surprise they make up 80% of mobile data traffic.

If you combine it with other digital habits like storing your photos online, browsing funny cat comics and searching for funky pizza recipes, it all racks up to ~4% of CO2 emissions. Now that may not sound like much, but that’s about the amount of carbon as the entire airline industry.

As bandwidth hungry services gobble up data, leaving behind a carbon footprint isn’t something most of us think about. And it’s probably the last thing that crosses our minds when building or running a website. As a customer of Get Pro Websites, we design and build sites that are lightweight and carbon friendly all while giving users an awesome experience.

Eco-friendly makes for a better and faster web experience

While you may not be Netflix or Spotify, chances are that you have resources like CSS, Javascript, images on your site and a bunch of text. Behind all that is code that runs each time the page loads. And below that, servers, network gear and cables that are housed in a data center somewhere around the globe which is powered by electricity and cooled by water.

And as you add more stuff to your site plus grow your user base, it pushes for an increasing amount of gear to keep it ticking along. If your website isn’t designed with this in mind, it doubles down on the amount of data and energy required to keep it all humming.

Another way to think about it is that reducing the number resources and optimizing them lowers the amount of energy that’s needed to process, transfer and store it all. The upside of having content that’s optimized is that there’s just less to download which is a bonus for web performance and user experience. It’s minimalism with the benefit of saving the environment! Let’s take a look-see at some of the things we can do to lighten the load.

Tip #1. Create a persona

Personas are fictional characters. They’re like characters in a story. Each one of them has a personality, a place they come from, things they like or dislike and more. You create different profiles of the types of users or customers you have or plan to attract in the future.

Designing personas is a great way to decide on the content or features that really matter to your users. This way your site has fewer resources and it leaves behind a smaller carbon footprint because there’s less to process each time you have a user or customer swing by your site. If you are looking for ideas on creating personas, here’s an example of one from the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wikimedia Movement Organizers Persona Martin Wikimedia Promoter

Tip #2. Mapping journeys

Now that you have personas, it’s time to map their journey. User journeys are a little like planning your holiday so that you have the best experience. It starts with picking parts of your site that your users find valuable.

For instance, this could include learning about your business or you to reading your blog, purchasing a service or product. Once you have an idea of the things that your users or customers are after, the next step is to look for opportunities that improve the overall user experience such as fewer purchasing steps to navigation that makes it super easy to find information on your site.

With a clearer picture of the things that delight users, you naturally cut down on the number of things you need on your site and the energy required to keep your site buzzing.

Tip #3. Setting a budget

Choosing a budget for your site isn’t all that different to buying car, house or knickknacks. As a whole, every element including HTML, CSS, images and text makes up for the total size of your site. The more elements you have on your site, the more intensive it is to process it all.

With every visit by a user to your site, all the data has to be processed, transferred and downloaded to the user’s device. The lighter and smaller resources are, the less energy that’s required to bring it all together.

For example, keeping to 2 images that are less than 100kB is size for a given page or loading JavaScript files only when it’s needed. Here are a few more ways you can reduce the size of your site.

  • Use system fonts
  • Limit the number of web fonts
  • Host web fonts locally
  • Optimize images
  • Load images and videos lazily
  • Minify CSS and JavaScript
  • Cache CSS, JavaScript, images and fonts
  • Get rid of unused content

Wrapping it up

With some planning and discovery, you can cut back on as well as optimize the resources needed to give your users an awesome experience. The changes you make to your site go towards every little bit to save the environment and it also makes for a better and faster web experience.

And if you’re looking for other ways to save energy in your daily activities, here are a few examples:

  • Power down your devices when not in use
  • Unplug your devices when you’re done for the day
  • Dim your screen
  • Turn off autoplay from playing videos or audio automatically

If you need help or don’t quite know where to start, feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to work with you.