To celebrate Earth Day, I teamed up with Sydney Vanderwood of Twin Ferns, an eco-conscious web developer based in British Columbia, to bring you a handful of Earth-friendly website tips. Each tip is easy to implement – and though these changes are small, if we each implement just one from the list, we can make the world wide web a little greener.
1. Use Images Sparingly
Having images on your site is great! But they use the most data of any element on your site. Be mindful of this when you’re adding images to your site – take a couple of minutes to choose fewer, more impactful images to use instead of filling your site with them.
2. Optimize the Images You Do Use
Never upload an image straight from the camera roll to your site! Taking a few extra seconds (literally!) to resize and compress your images before uploading them to your site will dramatically reduce your site’s carbon footprint. And it will speed your site up significantly as well – win-win! I use TinyPNG to optimize my images (it’s free!).
3. Take 5 Minutes to Clean Up the Back End of Your Site Every Couple of Months
Data piles up on websites – all of those photos and graphic files that you uploaded to your site but didn’t end up using in the final design. Take a few minutes every month to comb through those and delete whatever assets you’re not currently using. If you need them in the future, you can upload them from your external hard drive!
4. Use On-Page SEO Strategies
On-page SEO practices are focused on optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and reach your target audience in search engines – but they’re also aligned with the goal of reducing your site’s carbon output! Speed up your site? Check. Rank higher in Google searches? Check. Reduce carbon footprint? Check!
5. Consider a Green Host
If you’ve completed the above steps and are excited about continuing to reduce your site’s carbon footprint, consider switching to a green host!
Your website is hosted on a server in a physical data centre somewhere that has a significant CO2 output due to the power that’s needed to keep a server up and running.
A green host refers to a website host that has eco-friendly initiatives in place to mitigate the impact that web hosting has on the environment. Check on your site here!
While switching over to a green host may take more than 5 minutes, it is one of the best ways to make your site more environmentally sustainable.
If you’re curious about the intersection between environmental sustainability and web design, follow Sydney on Instagram! I’ve learned heaps from her – she’s one of my favorites to follow!
Happy Earth Day!