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Home  /  geekspeak  /  Google aims to whip the mobile web into shape

Google aims to whip the mobile web into shape

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If your business website tends to run slow on mobile devices then it’s worth listening to Google’s advice on slimming down.

Early mobile-friendly websites were lean and mean to allow for slow mobile broadband connections, but as download speeds have risen so has the size of webpages. It’s not just mobile, the web in general is feeling kind of slow and sluggish these days thanks to bloated websites. But you really notice it when you’re browsing from your smartphone.

They say that 40% of people abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load, which means a slow website might be costing you lost business. It’s worth investing some time and effort into speeding things up.

Google has launched several initiatives in recent times to help slim down websites so they’ll load quickly on any device. The search giant has made these advancements freely available to everyone, although it’s certainly in Google’s interest to keep people using the open web rather than companies locking their content away in apps which tend to load faster on handheld devices. Google is particularly worried about more content being locked away on Facebook.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is one initiative that is primarily targeted at news websites but is open to anyone to use. It doesn’t rely on new technology, it’s simply a new optimised way of coding your webpages which reduces them to one-tenth the size and sees them load four times as fast. It ensures the actual content loads before anything else on the page to ensure people aren’t left waiting.

AMP also lets you cut down on the amount of JavaScript and other advanced features that slow down page load times. For example, AMP can collect page stats and hand them to your various analytics packages, eliminating the need to embed separate trackers for each analytics service into every page.

Google’s AMP standard is free and open to anyone and is designed to work with any web browser, plus there are plugins for major publishing platforms like WordPress. AMP employs responsive design, changing page layouts on the fly to cater to the screen size, so you might even decide to do away with separate desktop and mobile websites. You can also use AMP files within an app to help content load quicker.

The next step in Google’s web overhaul is Progressive Web App (PWA), which is designed to speed up entire mobile websites while adding app-like features. This includes faster load times, smooth scrolling, app-like notifications, easier sign-ins, improved support for mobile payments and greater access to the device’s advanced features. For some businesses a slick PWA website might eliminate the need for an app completely.

If your business website could do with a makeover, Accelerated Mobile Pages and Progressive Web App could be the solution to your problems.

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