Originally published March 3rd, 2020. Updated for May 25th, 2021.
When was the last time you thought of the internet as something that consumes energy? It’s a bit mind-boggling when you consider all the electronic devices that have to work to power the internet. Every site on the web has a carbon footprint. That is why sustainable website design is becoming more important by the day.
Web design for sustainability sets a goal on efficiency and clean energy. The cleaner and neater your website is, the faster it loads and the less energy it consumes. This benefits your visitors because they get what they are looking for faster. It also benefits you because your bounce rate goes down. And it benefits the planet with energy conservation.
Here are three tips that will save you time when you choose to design for sustainability:
1. Keep a “Less is More” Mindset
There is a lot of extra information on many web pages. Even when a page looks smooth and clean. Improper formatting and unnecessary embeds use up a lot of energy. Try reducing and optimizing your image sizes to keep data transfer down. You don’t need canvas print-quality pictures in order for them to look great online. Examine every element on your page. Then determine if it’s adding anything useful to the user experience. A strategic video placement here and there can be more powerful than having several all on one page.
2. Switch to a Green Host
Many servers, cooling devices, and other network essentials get their energy from coal. A green hosting company chooses to get energy from clean and renewable resources.
3. Clean up Your Content
Every time a webpage loads it burns energy. While you want people to find your site, you don’t want to mislead people who are looking for information you don’t have. Carefully choose your keywords and SEO strategies. Make sure that you are optimizing each page only for what is relevant to that page. This will cut down on unnecessary data transfer requests.
Cleaning your content will also clean the back end of your website. This makes it easier for updates and organizing files. It also prevents broken links.
It’s in everyone’s best interest to design for sustainability. It’s worth the time and effort you’ll invest. That is true from a business standpoint as well as an environmental one.
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