As our lives are increasingly consumed by the digital world, it’s easy to forget about the environmental impact on our online activities. But with the growing awareness of climate change and the urgent need to reduce our carbon footprint, it’s important to consider becoming greener online, starting with website sustainability.
The manufacturing sector is becoming greener in its practices, so aligning that with your website is key for consistent messaging. Below is everything you need to know about website sustainability and how to achieve sustainable web design. It’s time to make the digital world a greener space - starting with your website.
What is website sustainability?
Website sustainability refers to building websites that are designed not just with the user in mind, but with the planet in mind too.
Sustainable websites are efficient and more accessible to users. This can be achieved through file compression, site speed optimisation, using a green web host, and regularly clearing unwanted data. We’ll dive into these topics later on.
When thinking about websites and the online world, it’s easy to just imagine an inanimate object floating in the clouds (ha, get it? 🥁), so how exactly does it affect the planet? Here’s where it gets interesting.
Websites are stored in physical servers around the world. They require specific environmental factors to keep them working, such as staying cool enough as to not overheat. To actually power these huge servers, it takes a lot of energy. That energy is then released into the atmosphere.
According to Website Carbon’s calculator, the average web page tested produces approximately 0.5g of CO2 per page view. In 2022, there were approximately 1.98 billion websites, and with around 3.5 billion web users, it equates to a huge mass of CO2 being released. .
Keeping websites optimised to use as little energy as possible will reduce the amount of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere.
Five ways to make websites more sustainable
We’ve touched briefly on what steps businesses can take to make their sites more sustainable. Here they are in more detail:
- Optimise site speed: When a website is efficient, the time it takes to load up a web page decreases. If your site is running quicker, it uses up less energy, reducing its carbon footprint.Auditing your website regularly will help you to identify any issues with your website that need to be fixed, and prioritising them based on urgency. We would recommend checking the site every month to keep on top of its health and address any issues quickly.
TOP TIP: A quicker loading page can also increase the amount of time a user spends on the site, reduce bounce-rate, and convert more visitors into customers.
- Optimise images and videos: Image and video content are great assets for your audience to visually understand products and services, but they can take up a lot of space. The larger file sizes slow down your site speed and are the biggest problem on a website the majority of the time.
- Using a green web host: Green web hosting is what it says on the tin - a more sustainable way to host websites. These hosting companies place sustainability at the forefront of their service to reduce their carbon emissions. Using a green web takes some of the pressure off doing it all yourself and is more cost-effective than traditional hosting. The two main types of certifications to identify green web hosts are Renewable Energy Certificates and Carbon Offset Certificates.
- Clear unwanted data: Unwanted data and code can clog up your website and a bloated website runs slower. If it takes a while for your web page to load, it could be worth looking at the code on your site and tidying it up. Websites can become bloated with code over time, drastically reducing site speed. Removing anything unnecessary not only helps you make the world a greener place, it’ll also keep your development team on side.
- Use sustainable web design: Designing your site with sustainability in mind is a sure-way to make your site a greener place. But how?
- Change the colours: “Dark mode” has become popular on websites and not only does it lessen the strain on the user’s eyes, it also takes less energy to power.
- Make your site easy to navigate: When a user is loading up several pages while trying to find what they’re looking for, it uses up a lot of energy and is less likely to convert. By creating a clear navigational pathway throughout your site, you’re speeding up not only the website, but also the time it takes the user to move through the customer journey.
- Have a weight limit on the page: This refers to how heavy the files used on the webpage are in terms of kilobytes or megabytes. Having a limit will ensure that the files that are being transferred don’t bloat the website and slow it down.
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