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Sustainable Web Design-01

Sustainable web design

Is your website sustainable? Calculate your carbon footprint.

3 minute read

Sustainability is a hot topic, especially for those businesses looking to take a keen interest in their corporate social responsibility.

As a purely electronic medium, a website is already one of the most sustainable forms of marketing, but did you know your website’s carbon output can still be calculated and reduced by following a few simple steps?

A website’s carbon usage is calculated based on its volume of traffic, number of pages and source of hosting.

You can calculate your website’s carbon usage here.

Ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Websites are already very environmentally friendly. However, the energy required by users to access it can build up over time, especially for larger brands with higher traffic. Below are some of the things you can do to reduce your website’s carbon usage:

  • Choose a green hosting provider – choose a host with a high PUE rating, as this means they are energy efficient.
  • Use server caching – caching can help reduce load times, which reduces the energy used to deliver your website to users.
  • Choose a local host – opt for a hosting provider that is local to your users.
  • Optimise your images – images are one of the biggest contributors to page weight and require more energy to load. Reduce the number of images used on your website and optimise the ones you do use.
  • Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – these are mobile versions of your web pages that are fast to load and require less energy to deliver to users.
  • Minimise your use of JavaScript – JavaScript increases functionality but can add weight to your site, resulting in higher energy use.
  • Write clean code – clean code reduces page weight and bloating for faster loading.
  • Optimise your fonts – multiple fonts and non-system ones require more energy to load, reduce your output by using less variation or choose system fonts only.
  • Good UX – your website’s user experience can help reduce friction for users, making it easier for them to find what they’re looking for and, therefore, the energy used to find it.
  • Good copywriting – in a similar way to UX, good copy can help users find what they’re looking for quicker and reduce the energy wasted by searching.
  • Good SEO – the faster users can find a web page that answers the question they are researching, the fewer clicks required and, therefore, less energy is exerted.
  • Offset your output with trees – more organisations are choosing to plant trees in a bid to balance out their carbon footprint.

Key takeaways

A good website can help you reduce your organisation’s carbon footprint by choosing a local, green hosting provider and optimising your images, code, and content. You can also offset your website’s carbon usage by planting trees – something that is becoming more and more popular in the corporate world.

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