How to Design & Develop an Eco-Friendly Website

It’s projected that the United States web activity will use about 73 billion (with a “B”) kilowatt hours by the year 2020. To put that into perspective, it would take about eight large nuclear reactors to produce this type of energy. For those wondering about their personal carbon footprint, it equates to 300 pounds of carbon emissions per person per year. Wowza.

As businesses become more eco-friendly, it’s imperative that leaders make strategic decisions to reduce (or at least try to reduce) their carbon footprint. And since millennials actively seek businesses that prioritize green practices, there’s an additional incentive.

Whether your website is an eCommerce goliath or a 10-page lead feeder, you can design and develop an eco-friendly website. Here’s how.

Fewer Pages

Every page on your website takes up space on your server which takes energy to store and render. The fewer pages you have, the more energy you can save.

While there is some benefit to having many pages to capture search queries and paid clicks, there is also the benefit of having a fast and energy-efficient website. We like to challenge all businesses to trim the fat and boil products and services into simple, effective pages that relay the most important information.

If most of your web traffic comes from organic traffic, you’ll need to rethink your SEO efforts to mitigate drop off. Being more strategic in your terminology, relevancy, and site structure can help. When creating marketing content, focus on quality over quantity i.e., rather than pumping out 10 blog posts, make one killer eBook.

Lite Web Pages

In the same vein, and no matter how many pages you have, make sure they are individually lite and nimble.

Websites with massive assets and multiple scripts require energy to load. Some of the biggest energy-sucks are embedded homepage videos, too much javascript (think Google Tag Manager and third-party tracking), and large image files.

Embedded homepage videos: Hero videos are still trendy, but can significantly slow down a website, especially if accessing it via cellular data or old devices. If you want to utilize video (undoubtedly beneficial for many industries), embed them on subpages and require an elective button click to play.

Javascript: JS and JQuery are powerful web development tools, but can add clunky commands and energy-sucking load times. Use only when necessary.

Large image files: Large image files take time to load, which use additional energy and impacts web performance. Compress all images before loading to your server or use a plugin to compress them dynamically.

Web caching: Cache things like style sheets, certain JS, downloadable content, and media files.

Intuitive Sitemap & Navigation

Every time a user clicks a new page, energy is used to load that page’s assets and scripts. The only way to reduce user clicks is to strategically display your website’s information and the next steps in an intuitive way.

Analyze your customer journey, user flow, and the common roadblocks your user might encounter and then optimize them with web design and information architecture.

Host with Renewable Energy

If possible, choose a web hosting company that uses wind or solar energy to power their servers. A few that offer this type of carbon-free hosting include:

Web Purging

Do you have old service pages, PDFs, or product listings that you no longer offer? Take the time to purge obsolete assets from your server. Complete this purging twice a year for maximum benefit and minimum time spent.

Designing and developing an eco-friendly website requires strategic planning to ensure that you communicate your brand and products without wasting energy. Before designing and launching your next website, have an eco-friendly consultant that can weigh in on best practices.

The post How to Design & Develop an Eco-Friendly Website appeared first on Zenman.

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