Ensuring your business is sustainable is important these days. Having the smallest footprint possible on the environment is not only doing good business. It’s keeping our world a better and healthier place to live.
When the Internet first began running, everyone thought this was going to be a great way to cut down on paper, not travel as much, and more. That would result in fewer trees being cut down, air pollution, and more. However, over the years, the Internet and its use have grown.
According to Website Carbon, one average website uses 211,000 grams of CO2 each year, while streaming a video online may create 0.2 grams of CO2 per second.
Over the coming years, these figures are set to increase. What’s more, the tech industry is predicted to use as much as 20% of the world’s electricity.
So, now is the time to stop and consider how to lower your company’s website carbon footprint. We’ve put together some tips to get you started.
1). Reduce Energy Consumption
Because the Internet is run by electricity, it can create as much CO2 as some major countries. The carbon comes from the use of devices that access the Internet, as well as the servers that host each site’s data.
To reduce your site’s energy consumption:
Ensure your data is optimised for speed. The faster it loads, the less data is used to serve the site’s pages. That means a lower carbon output.
Reduce the Number of Resources Used
Each resource on your site requires energy. When pages are loaded each time visitors use the site, those pages are loaded thousands of times. This includes even small PNG files.
So, try to reduce the number of files requested, which will, in turn, reduce your site’s carbon footprint.
Optimising images is a great way to reduce your site’s size, as well as lower the amount of data needed to serve the site. This also works to increase your site’s speed.
You can find free and easy-to-use methods of reducing the size of your site’s images with a service such as TinyPNG.
Lazy Load Images
Use lazy load images. If you’re not familiar with the term, it means that images are only loaded when they’re required. For instance, images at the top of a web page will always load. However, images farther down on the page will only load when a user scrolls down to where they’re located.
If the user doesn’t scroll down, then the images are not loaded. The result is CO2 savings for your website.
Choose a Sustainable Hosting Company
You can also reduce the power used by your website by choosing a sustainable hosting company. Look for a hosting company that advertises it gets electricity from sustainable (renewable) sources. For instance, look for hosting companies that use solar or wind power.
Many web hosting companies may outsource their server management, which may mean they have no control over the types of energy used to power the servers. However, there are others that do use green hosting methods.
2). Make It Easy for the Use of Legacy Devices
It’s a fact that when we update a website to work better with new technology, then the site users are more or less forced to upgrade their devices. This is because legacy devices may not work or provide the level of service a user requires. So, they have to upgrade to a new device. This can be wasteful.
Instead, choose to use new technologies such as CCS Grid, which reduce markup size and speed up websites. This is a technology that legacy devices are able to manage. This way, your site users can keep their devices a few more months or another year, which works to reduce overall CO2 for your site and for your site users.
3). Help Users Make Better Choices
Most website users are conscious of their energy usage and want to do better. For that reason, you can help make things easier for site users, too.
Make your site more findable, which means fewer page loads and fewer resources needed. Not only can you improve the search accuracy of your site, but you can also improve the navigation directly on the site itself. This can be done through breadcrumbs, linked text, and more.
Anything you can do to help users find content faster will reduce your site’s carbon footprint. It will have the same effect on your site users, too.
Offer Feedback on Energy Used
When you let a site user know how much energy they’ve used to access your site, they may appreciate this. This will appeal to those who are environmentally aware. For those who don’t care, they will ignore this information.
Don’t Remove the Shipping Rate Information
Many ecommerce sites offer free shipping for customers who order a specific amount. This is a great way to increase sales; however, by not showing the shipping rate, it makes it look as if there was no shipping involved.
Of course, a customer knows the items are shipped, but the psychological tendency is to just not think about that aspect when shopping online, especially if the shipping rate information is not included.
So, if you’d still like to absorb the shipping costs, that’s OK. Just add the shipping to the invoice and then deduct it as a discount. This will remind customers there’s shipping involved, which includes an environmental and financial cost.
Sustainable Web Design is Good for Your Business
Using the fundamentals of good website design, you can create a sustainable website. When the site loads fast and is easy to use, it also becomes energy efficient. It also improves your user experience and cuts down on the resources needed to serve your site. That’s good for your business and for the environment!
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.