Have you ever thought of the internet industry as a sustainable industry just because it’s paperless? If yes, then you’re highly mistaken. The Internet is one of the highest contributors to pollution, responsible for 3.7% of global carbon emissions. This means that more than 1 billion tons of greenhouse gases are released into the environment each year.
Global warming is a reality that we face every day in form of increased temperature and heat waves. Now more and more businesses are moving towards eco-friendly or sustainable solutions and having a sustainable website is crucial to achieving this goal. We know that the use of the internet is not something that can be replaced or avoided.
However, having a sustainable website means reduced or no carbon emissions while developing or browsing your website. In 2022 there are more than 1 billion active websites in the world and every time a user visits (an unsustainable) website some amount of carbon is emitted. This adds up to be highly damaging to our environment.
Loading an average web page produces around 1.76g of carbon dioxide. Imagine how much CO2 is emitted when a single website gets more than 1000 daily page views. Also, keep in mind that active internet users are more than 4.65 billion with a 7.5% increase each year.
This shows how important it is for us to make our websites sustainable. A significant amount of carbon emission is just because our websites are not eco-friendly. The trend has changed drastically over the past few years and website owners are now interested in making their websites sustainable.
5 Easy Ways to Make Your Website Sustainable
Now that people are more aware of the effects of their carbon footprint on the environment, it’s time to take a step in the right direction. However, many people are still unsure of how to make their website sustainable. Let’s get started and see the steps you need to follow:
#1 Use Green Web Hosting
Shifting from conventional web hosting to green web hosting is a major step towards making your website sustainable. Consider it a crucial and necessary step as data centers of conventional hosting are energy intensive. To keep them up and running 24/7 fossil fuel is used as a source of energy for generating electricity.
Fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal) burned by these data centers emit a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, if you switch to green web hosting that means data centers are operated by green energy, and no CO2 is emitted.
You must keep a few factors in mind while shifting to green web hosting. This will help you make sure that the hosting provider isn’t contributing to pollution.
- Are their data centers powered by renewable energy? Or
- Do they offset carbon by planting trees?
- Is it certified to be green web hosting?
- Are they using energy-efficient hardware & appliances?
#2 Implement Web Caching
By implementing the caching solution, we can decrease the number of requests made to the server. This will minimize the energy consumption of the server significantly. Loading each element of the website that has repeat visitors is inefficient. So, implement web caching and make your website more sustainable. To implement caching, plugins like W3 total cache can be very helpful. If you are running a wordpress-based website WP Rocket can help you get the job done.
#3 Improve Website Loading Speed
Your website loading time shouldn’t be more than 2-3 seconds. A website with a slow loading speed consumes a lot of energy from servers which end up using more electricity. If you want to make your website sustainable then improve your website loading speed as much as possible.
A website that takes 10 seconds to load consumes double the amount of energy than the one that loads in 5 seconds. Your website’s loading speed is also a major ranking factor on google.
It is also proved in the study conducted by google that if your website loading time is more than 5 seconds then your bounce rate would be 90%. Just by taking a few simple steps, you can easily improve your website’s loading speed and make it sustainable. Some of them include:
- Use Content Delivery Network (CDN) so that request goes to the server that is located closest to the visitor. For example, Cloudflare CDN.
- Implement lady load for media (images & videos). This will only load media files when necessary. For example, a3 lazy load.
- Use compression tools like Optimizilla or Tiny PNG to reduce the size of images.
#4 Create Eco-Friendly Website Design
If your website design is very complicated, then it consumes much more energy compared to an eco-friendly web design. Every element, component, animation, image, and video on your website contributes to the carbon footprint. Having a website design that is not user-friendly should also be avoided.
So, we’ve listed a few pointers that you can follow to ensure your website design is sustainable.
- Delete everything you don’t need on your website. This includes unused media files, plugins, tags, themes, categories, and broken links.
- Improve the navigation of your website and make it user-friendly. Help visitors find the information they’re searching for.
- Implement a light theme on your website that doesn’t have any unnecessary features.
#4 Use Green Energy Source & Print Friendly Content
Use green energy sources in your work environment because all the hardware and appliances you use in your office also consume a lot of energy. Carbon is also emitted when you are developing or working on your website. So, to make your website more sustainable you can shift from non-renewable energy to renewable energy.
Having print-friendly web content might seem a small step but make a huge difference in making your website more sustainable. If your website content is not print-friendly and the user wants to print it on paper, then the text will be uneven or unreadable. Printing it, again and again, will require more paper and energy. So, you can use any “Print Friendly” plugin to fix this issue.
#5 How Sustainable Website Is Beneficial For Us?
A sustainable website is beneficial for both you and your clients in many ways. Besides the obvious being environment friendly and carbon neutral it helps you in better ranking as well. So, let’s see some of the benefits of making your website more sustainable.
- It helps you with your brand identity and marketing since we know that there is a booming trend for sustainability.
- Your website’s loading time would be comparatively faster which will reduce your bounce rate.
- Have a better ranking on search engines because it improves your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Helps you in improving your website design and navigation. Since it will be carbon neutral which means you will be contributing to the environment as well.
Making A Website Sustainable Is Easier Than You Think
Many website owners avoid getting into the debate of making a website sustainable because they think it’s a very hectic process. Well, it’s not the case as you just have to make a few changes and require a small effort. However, this effort would be worth it to reduce carbon footprint.
All the steps mentioned above in this article will help you make your website sustainable and all this can be done just by using plugins. It seems a bit complex at the start but once you make these changes, you’d know that it doesn’t take much of your time and is much valuable for your business.
Additional Steps to Make Your Website Sustainable
If you want to go the extra mile and make sure your website is not contributing to global carbon emissions, then you can take these additional steps mentioned below.
- Use energy-efficient hardware and appliances
- Do carbon offsetting as much as possible by planting trees
- Follow green business practices in your office and encourage recycling
- Spread awareness about sustainability to your website visitors, and readers
It’s necessary for us to move towards sustainability and making your website more sustainable is the best way to get started. You can follow the 5 steps mentioned in this article but, if you still have any queries then do let us know in the comments section down below and we’ll be glad to help.