How to Make Your WordPress Website Greener
Here are a few simple ways to make your website less taxing on the environment.
1. Choose the Right Web Host
One of the biggest steps you can do to reduce your website’s environmental impact is to find a web host that has the same goal.
Hosting companies own the physical data centers that contain your and other people’s websites. How they choose to get their energy needs met has a direct impact on how environmentally friendly your own website is.
Consequently, the first step in improving your site’s carbon footprint is to choose a green host. That means, their servers are powered by renewable energy, the companies make use of energy use offsets, and adhere to other environmentally-conscious practices.
2. Get Your Energy from Renewables
What goes for the computers serving up your website to visitors also extends to the equipment you use to build websites. Yours or other people’s.
When running or taking care of a web presence, chances are you are spending a lot of time on a computer. Come to think of it, if you do any work these days, chances are pretty good a good chunk happens in front of a screen. Like servers, these use up energy. So do all other appliances in your work environment.
Therefore, to reduce the footprint of you and your website, switching over to an energy provider running on renewables is a good idea. If you are in the US, you can find some here.
3. Opt for an Eco-Friendly Website Design
Here’s the long and the short of it: The more complicated your site design is, the more energy it consumes when loaded.
Each element of your site – the graphics, animations, code, etc. has a bearing on the energy footprint. Sites that load slowly draw more energy, and so do frequent server requests.
In addition to that, by focusing on what is absolutely necessary, you might just make your site more user friendly in the process. Studies have shown that users prefer less complicated websites as they’re easier to navigate.
4. Have Print-Friendly Content
Does the following scenario sound familiar? You read something interesting or important on the web and need a hard copy of it. You quickly click on print to get it.
Yet, when you get to the printer, you realize that some of the graphics aren’t showing properly. So, you make a few changes and print it again only to find that now some of the text isn’t showing. This type of thing repeats a few times until you finally have your printout, plus a much larger “note paper” pile.
To spare yourself and others this kind of experience, it’s important to make your content printer-friendly. Doing so will reduce the number of times people will have to re-print it, saving energy and resources in the process.
Luckily, there are plugins you can use to achieve that like Print, PDF, Email by PrintFriendly.
5. Improve Your Site Speed
As already mentioned, a slow website is one that uses a lot of energy. Besides that, users also really hate slow-loading websites. So much so, that page speed is a ranking factor to Google, including for mobile.
If that is not going to convince you to make page loading speed a priority, I don’t know what will. If you are set to make your site blazingly fast, here are the right articles for you:
- How to Speed Test Your Website (Metrics, Tools, Optimization Tips)
- 14 Ways To Speed Up WordPress And Decrease Page Load Time
- 9 Advanced Techniques to Make WordPress Faster
6. Educate Your Visitors
The thing about trying to save the planet is that you can’t do it alone. There are over seven billion of us and we can only make significant changes if we do it together.
So, besides sticking a green website sticker in your footer, another step you can take is to make your users aware of their own carbon emissions.
An example of how to do this without sounding condescending or trying to enforce your views can be seen on Loco2. This is an online booking service for train travel in the UK and Europe.
When you use their service to plan a trip, besides just giving you the costs, the site will also let you know how much carbon emissions you’re saving by choosing that route.
This encourages visitors to start or continue to play their part making a difference. If you can do similar things with your site or service, go ahead!
Running an Eco-Friendly Website Isn’t Complicated
Due to its virtual nature, it’s easy to forget that the existence of the Internet has real-life consequences. Since all that data has to live somewhere, everyday technology usage is ramping up its environmental toll.
With more and more people having accessing the web, this will only increase. As a consequence, there has never been a better time to take steps to reduce your personal footprint and that of your site. In this article, we’ve given you the first steps to do so:
- Choose an eco-friendly web host
- Power your work environment with green energy
- Stick to simpler designs
- Remember to make your content printer-friendly
- Reduce the loading speed and make your site faster
- Educate others about their carbon footprint
The cool thing is that many of these practices improve both your environmental impact as well as the user experience. Why not take advantage of a win-win situation?