When you think of carbon emissions, the culprits that come to mind are probably planes, cars and electricity production. But every time you browse a website, send an email or watch a video online, you are leaving a carbon footprint. Every online activity burns energy. Worldwide it is drawing equal with greenhouse gases emitted by the aviation sector, and it’s on the rise.
But there are improvements to be made. Websites can be built in more carbon-friendly ways and website designers are always looking at more sustainable web design to reduce the carbon output of the sites they build. Here are some examples:
- Page load speed: if your web pages load slowly, not only are your users in danger of looking elsewhere (yes, two seconds is too long), but they are using more energy in the process. The sooner they reach their target page or info, the better their experience.
You can improve page load speed by having lower resolution videos, compressing images, utilising typography to make text more visual – text loads quicker than images – and only allowing visitors to watch videos by clicking on them.
- Change hosting platforms: check where your website is currently being hosted. There are some excellent green options available with companies that are powered by renewable energy and who follow carbon conscious business practices. You can start with EngineRoom as this perfectly echoes our own hosting methods.
- Site and page audit: do you really need all the pages on your website? You may do, but go through them all, especially if your site has been around for a while. And do all those pages need so many images? Undertaking an audit can help reduce your site size and therefore energy usage, as well as tightening up your service offering.
- Effective SEO: the more targeted your SEO, the easier customers will find your page. Every time they land on the wrong page, they need to spend time and energy finding what they want. If they haven’t looked elsewhere by that point, they’ve wasted energy.
How can you measure your website’s carbon output?
It’s not easy to measure something so intangible. But thankfully, there are several great calculators and tools to help you. We use the Website Carbon Calculator. Have a go now and see what your carbon output is, and learn some more tips on how to reduce it.
We are all spending much more time online post-pandemic, with video conferencing and calling, an increase consumption of online material and entertainment, as well as the rise of online shopping. But if we all take responsibility for what we put out there as well as how we consume it, together we can lessen our impact.
If you’d like us to review your website, or help you reduce your online carbon footprint, please get in touch today.