When counting the environmental hazards, the Internet ranks among the top ten. It is one of the major sources of producing and emitting Co2 in such a large quantity that it is contributing towards the greenhouse effect; hence global warming. Anywhere in this world, when someone browses a website, they are using energy which, as a result, generates carbon dioxide. Indubitably, the situation is getting worse, but it is not beyond help. If we move towards creating energy-efficient websites, we can reduce carbon emissions and be on the eco-friendly side.
Can Green Websites Reduce Carbon Footprint?
The answer to it is certainly YES! We need to act fast before it is too late. Let us briefly explain what does Carbon Footprint mean? The amount of Carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere as a result of the activities carried out by a particular individual, community or organization is referred to as Carbon Footprint. A study shows that an average web page generates 0.5 grams of Carbon dioxide per every new page view. It may not sound too much, but if you look at the greater picture, you will see that your page gets 10 thousand views every month, making it a total of 60 kilograms annually. Drop after drop makes an ocean. If you have a bigger or more complicated site, it might take more time and energy to load; therefore, more CO2 would be released. And if you are a company that has to create a complete portfolio site to deal with a large variety of clients will generate a much heavier Carbon Footprint that we do not realize truly. We are slowly walking toward our demise, but all is still not lost. Many steps can be taken to limit carbon emissions by making the Internet a sustainable place with eco-friendly websites.
Impacts of greener websites
Being on the side of promoting greener websites, you reduce your carbon emission, profiting the environment. Moreover, you can attract more clients with the approach of providing them with eco-friendly websites with limited carbon emissions. In this way, you will be able to reduce their carbon emission along with yours as well.
Not only this, but you can also make your site work more efficiently and better. These sites offer faster load times, stronger SEO, and better optimization. All of these factors would lead to a good visitor experience and better lead generation, hence more business for you and your clients. Now the question is how to make greener sites. The following are five ways of building such websites.
How to make greener sites?
We have discussed the benefits of having a greener site, and now it is time to discuss the ways which can be incorporated to make websites greener and cleaner.
Every website has images to provide the audience with a visual aid for better understanding and engagement with them. But these images are the culprits of making your webpage heavier and greedier for energy; therefore, more carbon emission. The more the number of images per webpage, the more energy consumption and CO2 release. Henceforth, be very specific about your image selection. Choose the images which communicate your message to your audience. Secondly, always compress your images before uploading them to your site so that they would not take up more space and would require less time and energy to load.
There are also some caching tools available that make your images greener. They cache every image when the user visits your website for the first time, so it needs less energy the next time someone visits. In addition, you can also use lazy landing tools to optimize your images without losing their quality. They work by loading images as the viewer scrolls down the page. Implying such tools will make your web page load quicker, increase your PageSpeed score, and boost your SEO as well.
Quick loading fonts
You have a ton of font options for your website. Your choice of font has a huge impact on the performance of your website. Undoubtedly you have to choose a font that reflects your brand image; therefore, a balance between sustainability and legibility is important. So the tip here is to opt for simpler fonts with less variation, and you will find consistency in your brand with a quick load time and less energy consumption. Go for a font that is generally present on the majority of devices already, and the browser would not have to make a special request whenever someone opens your site; fewer resources would be utilized.
By any chance you do not want to go for simpler fonts, Google fonts is another option on the list, which is greener as well. When you use its CDN, the code generated by the browser will automatically send the smallest file to each viewer, depending upon the technologies used by those browsers. I still did not find a satisfying font; look at Adobe Fonts. It is next in line after google. It is less efficient than Google, but it still provides sufficient and energy-efficient load times.
Some modern font options like Web Open Font Format (WOFF) 2.0 offers 30% better compression than its former version. If you are serving your fonts locally on your site, these formats will be incorporated automatically into your font file.
UX and SEO
When you create a less complicated and accessible site through which users can navigate easily and get their work done in fewer clicks, you will be able to conserve energy, hence less Carbon Footprint. Try to make your copy clean and concise, prioritize UX, and have a strong SEO along with visibility. Google will indubitably appreciate your efforts over this, and you will be able to make a difference for this planet.
Incorporate Cleaner Codes
Getting rid of the junk and keeping your codes clean will automatically help your website to load faster with minimum energy. It also has other advantages, like you do not have to go through trouble caused by cluttered codes hidden on the surface of your website. Remove all the duplicate codes and compress all the things that you want to keep to have free space and quick load times for your website.
In addition to all the above, dispose of all the unused CSS and unimportant WordPress plugins, as it will help in improving your SEO ranking and making your website eco-friendly.
Moreover, suppose your website is usually accessed more on mobile phones. In that case, you should use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to avoid unnecessary codes, improve visibility, and deliver a more lightweight version of your site, hence saving energy.
Choose Greener Web Hosting
It all starts with web hosting! Websites are hosted at large data centers, which require huge amounts of energy to transmit data, keep the systems running, and cool servers. So look for hosting providers who use renewable sources of energy to reduce the Carbon Footprint of your site. Use the website’s Carbon Calculator to check whether your current hosting provider uses renewable energy sources or not. Try to use the services of the hosting providers from the same country as the majority of your audience so that the data does not have to travel a long distance whenever someone opens your website, requiring less energy. You can ask your hosting provider a list of questions to make sure that their services are eco-friendly or not.
- Are they carbon neutral or offsetting their carbon now?
- What are the sustainability measures they have been following in their offices?
- Are they cautious and keep track of their Carbon Footprint?
- What type of energy-saving features have they been implementing in their hosting services?
We all have been aware of the catastrophes that our planet has hit with due to the environmental hazards we have been causing for so long. All the CO2 and other dangerous chemicals released in the air causing global warming will eventually lead us to our demise if we do not take any steps to control it before it is too late. The Internet, one of the leading causes of carbon emission, should also be brought to light. People should move towards making it greener and more sustainable, reducing carbon emissions by incorporating eco-friendly measures and tools. We have to make this planet survivable for the next generations. So start acting now!