Do we need Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?
Google is promoting AMP as the final solution for Mobile webpage loading speed, should you jump on?
Top UI and UX designers are excited about a breakthrough in mobile web development.This breakthrough allows them to augment pages, reducing throughput, and enabling mobile users to get an experience that is closer to the one they get on their computers. The developers are looking forward to this new technology because it solves a significant problem for them.
With the rising penetration of mobiles, a peculiar problem has emerged. The speed with which the mobile pages used to load has decreased. As more and more people are joining the digital revolution by accessing their favourite websites from mobiles, the website needs to be a lot more capable in order to cater to the needs of everyone. To solve this problem, Google has come forward with a revolutionary new technique of building websites.
AMP can prove to be the game-changer in web development, but is it for you?
Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is the latest technology in web development developed by Google. The technology helps developers build mobile sites that are faster to load. Google has always stated that one of the key ranking factors for a website is it's loading speed; in plain English, websites that are faster to load are better ranked by Google.
This is just one of the many advantages that an AMP offers. But if something sounds too good to be true, then it usually is. Now we are not naysayers that are saying that you should altogether ditch the idea of an AMP, but you should know the other side of the coin before you jump onto the AMP bandwagon.
What exactly is AMP and how it works
AMP is an open-source framework that allows developers to build mobile websites that can load the webpages pretty quickly on mobile.
AMP eliminates all those unnecessary elements that can be a hurdle to the speed and performance of your mobile website.
Here are some ways in which AMP works;
• AMP has tweaked specific properties of HTML to make it faster. The custom elements imbibed in AMP help to speed up the site's performance by enabling the much more straightforward implementation of the standard tags.
• A significant aspect slowing down the speed of browsers is that they need to wait until the entire code is loaded to figure out the best possible way to layout a particular content.
• Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP solves this issue by ensuring that the position and size of every single element is pre-determined in the HTML code before loading the actual resources.
• AMP caches the AMP HTML pages, accelerating the page load times significantly. This also makes the web pages accessible to discover by search engines.
What are the benefits of AMP?
Enhanced User experience
The AMP website helps in improving the user experience as anyone who visits your site will enjoy a much faster loading process. Apart from this, the user won't have to sift through a lot of unwanted content as AMP gets rid of things that it finds unsuitable for the user.
This will reduce the likelihood of users bouncing off from your website, as they will easily find the information that they are looking for.
When you start using the AMP project, Google rewards you by giving you a prominent place in its search rankings. Your website will rank higher than usual on the carousel because you have chosen to build an AMP website. Also, as the page loading times improve, Google automatically assigns a better ranking to the site, when considering all the other factors of the competitor website and the website in question have turned out to be equal.
Better server response
If you have a website having lots of mobile users, then AMP can help you in improving your server performance by reducing the load on your server substantially. This is because the AMP uses pre-fetched content, which reduces the load on your server.
The Cons of having an AMP website
Having understood some of the positive aspects of AMP what about the not so good aspects about AMP
Let's take a look at some of the cons of using AMP websites.
Decreased ad revenue
While the AMP project officially supports ads, installing them on the AMP pages is not an easy task. This reduces your ad revenue as the AMP pages get rid of all the extra things that they deem unnecessary for the user. Even meaningful advertising is taken off in this process.
Not easy to implement
Installing AMP requires some coding knowledge. Although some will argue that if you have a wordpress website, then you can quickly get an AMP plug-in and boost your site's performance. But understand that this way, the website does not perform that smoothly, and you will require some form of manual coding.
The consistent template updates and conflicting information available on the web make the implementation of AMP all the more cumbersome.
Analytics is not that good.
Understand that your AMP page is different than your original non- AMP webpage. Google supports AMP analytics differently by using a separate set of tags. This makes tracking the AMP pages all the more difficult, and you need to apply special efforts to make the analytics work, which may take time.
AMP pages do not show email pop-ups and opt-in forms. Nor do they show any side-bar widgets which are typically placed near social sharing buttons, this way, your website can lose potential email subscribers and leads.
When to use AMP
AMP is best suited for static websites, although it can handle media-rich content, the speed slows down negating the advantage of AMP.
With some extra effort, you can easily add some cool features to AMP but understand that it won't be without considerable cost and labour. Websites like news websites, advertising agencies, and small single-page websites use AMPs extensively.
AMP websites can prove excellent for blogs and article sharing sites, since the fast-loading speed provided by AMP helps in much-faster loading of these kinds of websites, improving the engagement substantially.
Some famous names using AMP are:-
• The Washington Post
• Fast Commerce
• U.S. Xpress
Is there any difference between AMP and Responsive Design?
A significant difference between responsive web design and AMP is that while responsive web design is focused on flexibility, AMP is focused on speed.
While AMP can work with an existing website, responsive web design will replace the current website completely.
As discussed earlier, while an AMP is more suited for static content, while responsive web design can work with any content.
Many people will argue that when you are using AMP, then there is no need to invest in a responsive design website. Although AMP has a lot of advantages like faster load speed and better UX along with lower bounce rates, the major drawback that AMP has is that it ties your website with Google. Your website will be virtually helpless without the cache that is stored on Google servers. Also, understand that AMP is not that easy to built. Your developers will have to code manually and place all the necessary tags to make the website work smoothly.
Don't get AMP up
So, we can conclude that while an AMP is useful for certain kinds of websites, it is not that good for ALL types of websites. It would be wise to assess your needs and make a decision accordingly. If, after weighing all the pros and cons of going the AMP way, you find that AMP will benefit you, then you can approach any of the top web developers who can efficiently help you in rejigging your website.