What is AMP and How it Affects Your Site Speed

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Speed matters a lot on the web. It is common knowledge that if your website is slow , you will lose visitors.That being said, you should never miss out an opportunity to speed up your website.
While there are a lot of methods and steps to boost your website’s speed, there is one such technique which is growing in popularity day by day: Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP.
So what is AMP? More importantly, how can it prove useful for your website? In this article, i will attempt to answer these questions.

First, let us answer the obvious question: what is AMP?

What is AMP?

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. Judging by the name, you might have guessed by now that it has something to do with speeding up a web page’s performance for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

AMP is an open source project that received Google’s backing way back in 2015. However, it was in early 2016 that Google started rolling out support for AMP pages in search results for mobile users. Essentially, AMP is a project that intends to make web pages faster by loading scaled down and less heavy versions of web pages on mobile devices.

How Does AMP Work?

AMP enhances the speed of websites by loading stripped down versions of web pages — any dynamic content is generally avoided, and mobile users are given a static version of your content. There is no rocket science involved here — AMP relies on knowledge that you already have when it comes to improving page load times.

For example, when dealing with images, AMP lazy loads them. As such, rather than fetching all images at once, they are loaded as and when the user scrolls down to the given image.

 

 

Similarly, AMP ditches all the fancy elements and focuses on functionality and speed. This allows Google to pre-render and instantly load web pages in search results.

Now, doesn’t this mean some important parts of your web page might be ignored? What about your ads and revenue? Well, AMP is smart enough to distinguish elements that matter from ones that don’t — it supports mobile ads and integrates well with both search and display ads.

The Importance of AMP

Quite possibly, the biggest and most visible advantage of AMP is that it can boost the performance of your website in terms of speed. Furthermore, Accelerated Mobile Pages have now become something like a social media presence — whether or not you like it, you just need to set it up and use it simply because your competitors are already on the wagon. With Google openly preferring AMP pages over non-AMP ones, missing out on it is one risk that you just cannot take.

Next, AMP also provides better user experience by offering mobile users a clutter-free reading and browsing experience. Since pages are pre-rendered into search results, there is no need to use an external application to open the page — this can save memory on smartphones and devices that are less on RAM.
Lastly, since AMP is an open source project, it can be used by virtually anyone in any form. This is especially important for content publishers as networks such as Pinterest have been showing a keen interest in AMP.

How to Set it Up?

If you have not already set up AMP for your website, now is the best time to do it. Thankfully, there is a specialized plugin for WordPress users that lets you get the job done without any effort required on your part. Get the official AMP plugin — download, install, activate, and you are good to go!

It is worth noting that the above AMP WordPress plugin does not support pages and archives — only posts. Plus, having AMP on your site does not mean that all mobile viewers will get to see the AMP version. AMP is detected by AMP clients and served therein to your visitors — so if a visitor on a mobile device comes via a search engine or browser that does not support AMP, your regular responsive website will be displayed. On the other hand, if a visitor on a mobile device comes via an AMP consumer client, say the Google search app, he or she will get to view the AMP version.

Conclusion

Accelerated Mobile Pages have risen in prominence and are already highly popular. In fact, AMP is now becoming the next crucial factor in mobile browsing, pretty much like responsive design.
You should note that, however, AMP is not a unique solution. Facebook too offers Instant Articles which provides similar functionality for links clicked via the Facebook news stream. So, Instant Articles would ensure faster performance of your web pages and smoother mobile browsing experience if a visitor comes via Facebook (say, a link you shared on your FB page), whereas AMP will do the same for links clicked via AMP-supported clients, such as Google search.
The only difference, primarily, is that Instant Articles is not entirely open source and is not available for platforms outside Facebook. That said, considering the fact that Facebook and Google are two of the biggest names when it comes to traffic, you should consider using both Instant Articles and AMP on your site.
Do you use AMP on your website? How has your experience been? Share your views in the comments below!

I am a writer, published author, web developer, and coffee-lover. I manage several popular magazines, write books, and build websites. Find more about me at Sufyanism.com

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