Eco-friendly web design 101

December 5, 2022

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When it comes to climate change, what are the first few things you think of?

  • Deforestation?
  • Oil and gas?
  • Transport and Vehicles?

Did you think of the internet as one of the causes? Probably not, which is completely understandable.

How can I be damaging the climate by simply browsing through Instagram or LinkedIn?

Now, you’re only partially damaging the climate by scrolling through Instagram and checking your job updates on LinkedIn. The things that burn a huge amount of energy are where the website is being hosted and how the data is being stored. Currently, the internet produces approximately 3,7% of global emissions and that number is rapidly increasing while we speak.


Melted pieces of icebergs in the sea.


We have summarized the concept of a sustainable website and how you can make your web design more eco-friendly.

What is a sustainable web design?


The concept of a sustainable web design is still fairly new but it’s becoming a focal practice for companies to follow.

Wholegrain Digital created a “sustainable web manifesto”, where they outlined the essential factors for web designers to keep in mind when building websites:

  1. Clean
  2. Efficient
  3. Open
  4. Honest
  5. Regenerative
  6. Resilient


Why is it important to have a sustainable web design?


As we mentioned the internet currently produces approximately 3,7% of global carbon emissions. To put that number in better perspective, the internet has over 5 billion users and 1,88 billion websites in the year 2021, so if the internet was a country, it would be the 7th biggest polluter. While the current state of the internet already makes a huge impact onto the climate, however, research predicts that 3,7% will be doubled by 2025.

The benefits of an eco-friendly web design

Besides benefiting the climate, here are some examples of how an eco-friendly web design can also benefit your website:

Accessibility

Part of having a sustainable website means the website has to be accessible and inclusive for all. Based on the world health organization, over 1 billion of the population have some sort of disability, therefore it’s important to have a web design that’s inclusive and accessible to everyone. Not only does it benefit the user experience but Google also awards this, so it will help your website’s SEO.

Speeds up your business

Having an eco-friendly web design will improve your page speed by streamlining your website. Which means your customers will be less frustrated with the long loading screens.


Woman in the library smiling while holding a phone..


As a result of having an eco-friendly web design, not only does it minimize electricity consumption by enhancing the search and page loading speed for your customers but it will also improve the user experience.


Tips on how to make your web design more eco-friendly.


Now for what everyone has been waiting for, how you can make your website eco-friendlier. Here are the top 5 tips you need to know:

  1. Green hosting your website

For the green energy hosting providers, it can be hard to choose between the many competitors in the market. But according to Chief editor Winterer: he recommends providers who are transparent with their suppliers and buys them from a valid source.


Solar plants in the sunset.


Additionally, it’s important to pick a provider that is reliable with their server uptime and service. For that, we recommend choosing providers that partially or fully operate with renewable energy credits. Solely based on if the provider’s main green energy supplier has an outage, they are able to temporarily switch over to fossil power. That way you will be able to maintain an almost-perfect uptime on your website all year around.

The importance behind having a stable uptime on your website is that if you don’t, Google will deindex your website.

  1. Optimize SEO

Everyone is probably getting tired of hearing the word SEO over and over again, and how important it is for your website. But besides the fact it will help you reach a higher ranking on the search engines and more visibility, having an optimized SEO will reduce the time and energy customers will spend on browsing the web. So, it can’t be said enough times, SEO is a focal practice every company should have optimized.

  1. Good user experience

Most people hate going back and forth through multiple pages trying to look for the piece of information they need. Not only it’s a tedious process for the customers but it’s also consuming more energy. By having an optimized UX, the customers will be able to find the exact thing they are looking for in fewer steps, and as a bonus, it will also reduce friction and churn rate on your website. So enhance your customer experience through a good UX, and make sure your website isn’t stuffed with unnecessary content.


Woman sitting on the chair in the minimalistic room.

  1. Optimize images and videos

Images that are not optimized play a big part in the file size of your website data, which again costs power to host and download resulting in energy consumption. One way to reduce the image file size is to compress the image to a smaller size, now before you say no, is it really necessary for you to have an image that’s 4000px x 2000px and takes an enormous amount of time to load? There are multiple free online services that can compress your images without much technical requirement. Same goes for videos.

  1. Clean plugins and coding

It can be hard to remove and manage all the plugins on your website, just like the old jar your partner keeps in the cabinet and won’t get rid of. The same story goes for the plugins, with the thought, that maybe one day we might use them again. But the harsh reality is that, that day probably will never come and it’s definitely slowing down your website. So having a clean code without unnecessary duplicates and only necessary plugins on your website, will marginally increase the load speed and decrease the energy consumption.


Check your own website’s impact on the planet.


Lastly, let’s put your website to the test and see how much impact it’s making on the planet.

Websitecarbon.com is an amazing tool to give you an insight into how much negative impact your website has on the planet. The analysis might not be 100% accurate, but at least it will give you an overall scope of how your website is performing.

Give it a try and see if your website needs improvements. If it does feel free to try out our recommendations and we can all contribute with a small step in the right direction.

About the author

Jiming Yang is a content writer at JumpStory.

Jiming Yang

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