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AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) In Modern Sites Design Benefits

Whether you are a publisher, e-commerce company, storyteller, advertiser, or email sender, AMP makes it easy to create great experiences on the web. To enumerate, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) ready and responsive website pages and posts are as important as the website itself. Mobile has been slowly overtaking desktop in terms of usage for all web-related activities.

In general, Accelerated Mobile Pages are designed to make really fast mobile pages. For one thing, which potentially improves usability. Equally important, they are helpful in convincing visitors to stay longer on your site engaging with your content. However, neither does AMP improve engagement on its own nor does it make your content more useful or entertaining.

The shift has been gradual, but powerful. In fact, as of 2018, mobile accounted for over 50% of users worldwide, finally surpassing desktop at 45%. Implementing mobile compatibility on your website is vital for your web design. Using the accelerated mobile pages (AMP) framework will help your business stay on top of trends.

How AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Benefits Modern Sites Design 

For your information, AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages  and was introduced by Google in October of 2015. Furthermore, AMP is an open-source custom web development framework. Not to mention, created to speed up the loading time of web pages on mobile devices. An Accelerated Mobile Page (or AMP, for short) is a project from Google and Twitter.

AMP has been around for a while already and many companies have optimized their web pages for AMP. However, most recently both Google and Facebook announced changes to their algorithms. And which ultimately is going to penalize websites that are not Accelerated Mobile Pages supported.

The simple reason why is that they both want to offer customers a better experience when they click on a web page. AMPs are essentially pages that use a very specific framework based on existing HTML in order to streamline the information exchange with browsers, creating a seamless, faster, and more efficient user experience.

Considering a large number of smartphone users, adopting AMPs for your website will drastically improve results in terms of traffic and retention of visitors. Below are other additional AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) benefits.

1. Faster Load Time

Developed by a large community of professionals and backed by Google, the AMP framework works perfectly with all browsers and integrates flawlessly with the most widely used content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress and Drupal. Whilst, making it a viable alternative for companies seeking to adapt their websites to these mobile-friendly times.

Accelerated mobile pages are all about speed. The entire project was founded on the idea that mobile users expect results quicker, so pages adjusted for smartphone use should load at optimal speeds. Naturally, this means that some of the more complex pieces of back-end programming had to be pragmatically reduced in order to favor efficiency.

So, how do AMPs make pages load faster? For one thing, content rendering never stops. See, normal pages obey a loading order specified by the underlying code which the browser follows to the letter, rendering each part by turn. This means that, until certain loading criteria isn’t met, the next piece of content on the page won’t load.

A third-party script (such as an ad) could, for example, take longer to load, stalling the entire rendering process. As you can guess, this makes things slower. The AMP framework resolves this issue by making all its own components load simultaneously, while at the same time not allowing any sort of script that can impede that one golden rule of parallel rendering.

2. Asset-Independent Layout

Essentially, all the interactive features on the page will be handled by custom AMP elements designed to never interfere with performance. This doesn’t mean your pages can’t enjoy some Javascript, of course. There are ways to create dynamic and interactive content within the AMP framework, as long as it is handled with caution.

Usually, browsers need every single asset on the page loaded before they actually know what the page will look like. This is because the layout includes various images, media elements and scripts that need to load before their size and even their effect on the page can be known. In AMP, all of this is handled through HTML.

So that; even before any of these elements load, the browser knows what the layout will be because the size has already been established and predetermined in the underlying code. This is called “static layouting”, and it allows pages to load at once without waiting for other resources. This means that your company has a better chance of ranking higher on results pages.

AMPs are not the only framework out there designed to improve mobile website performance. It is, however, the most flexible one in terms of granting access to a streamlined stylesheet. And also, the one with the best speed results precisely. Because it is built around the idea that mobile users want their content immediately.

3. Inline, Size-Bound CSS

AMPs only allow a single stylesheet. By limiting the number of CSS, they reduce the HTTP requests to just a single one. Not only that but the CSS size is restricted to 50 kilobytes, which is ample enough for some nice degree of design while still forcing the developer to use clean and efficient coding. AMP-ready pages also allow for font optimization.

Normal websites wait until everything else is loaded before downloading the rather large fonts often used on pages. Because AMPs limit the CSS and use of external scripts, the system requires no HTTP requests until the font has been downloaded. There are also minimal style and layout recalculations.

This is again related to the fact that dynamic scripts on normal websites can have an impact on the page layout, changing it based on interactions by the user, which in turn forces the browser to recalculate how the content will look. The limits put in place by the AMP framework reduces the need for these sort of calculations.

The AMP framework prioritizes resources that are likely to be seen by the user. This means everything above the fold, but also resources that are predicted as important, which can be pre-fetched prior to loading precisely because of the static layouting. Basically, the information is there and ready to use but only renders when a user actually needs to see it.

4. Lower Bounce Rate

In this case, recent research by Google found that not only do mobile users expect fast loading times, but their expectations play a vital role in their decision to stay. Their study found that load times of up to three seconds have a bounce rate of over 30%. Up to five seconds, that bounce raise increases to a whopping 90%. At the six-second mark, the rate surpasses 100%.

What this means for mobile pages is that optimization is crucial in order to survive and stay ahead of the competition. By this logic, and given the mobile browsing market share, having mobile-friendly websites will make or break businesses. By making load times almost immediate, accelerated mobile pages can be the one factor that sets your company apart.

The AMP framework will also boost your website traffic and stay ahead of the competition. This trend has been steady and powerful enough to motivate Google to create the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, an open-source effort to help optimize websites for mobile browsing.

When a CPU renders a page, it uses layers for the images, then sends the media to the GPU (graphics card) for further actions. AMP only allows images to be handled directly by the GPU, which makes load times significantly shorter. By the same token, there is also prioritizing of resource loading.

5. Higher-Performance And Flexibility Acceleration

This in no way means other alternatives – such as Responsive Web Design or Progressive Web Apps – should be dismissed. Thus, it is worth asserting the importance of giving this very viable option proper consideration. Performance and speed are very important factors in terms of retaining and converting visitors, no doubt.

But, in order to drive traffic to the website you need to rank in search engines. And, as we aforementioned, the AMP Project is backed by Google based on the increased mobile browsing trends, which means they vest this particular subject with a lot of importance. In fact, in 2018 the search engine giant rolled out mobile-first indexing, among other algorithms.

Basically, which assigns ranks based on just how friendly pages are for mobile navigation. This means the usual best practices necessary for efficient SEO as part of your digital marketing strategy are no longer enough. Making your website mobile-friendly, and, in fact, optimizing it with the use of the very framework backed by Google is the main element here.

AMP pages with structured data can appear in the Top stories carousel, host carousel of rich results, Visual stories, and rich results in mobile search results. These results can include images, page logos, and other interesting search result features. That said, you can find out more info on structured data for AMP in detail.

How Accelerated Mobile Pages Work

As mentioned, AMPs are about speed. This means other aspects of the page come second to performance. Your ideal web design may need to be altered, with some details sacrificed in order to fully embrace the speed enhancements granted by AMPs. If you are unwilling to change that design, then weigh your options carefully.

And then, decide whether your mobile visitors would rather have a page with all the bells and whistles you envisioned, or one that loads almost instantaneously. Just remember that, in this mobile-friendly era, faster gratification might be a more valued asset in terms of user experience. Essentially, the mobile webpages design framework consists of 3 basic parts.

Including the following key parts:
  • AMP HTML: A subset of HTML, this markup language has some custom tags and properties and many restrictions. But if you are familiar with regular HTML, you should not have difficulty adapting existing pages to AMP HTML. For more details on how it differs from basic HTML, check out AMP Project’s list of required markup that your AMP HTML page “must” have.
  • AMP JS: A JavaScript framework for mobile pages. For the most part, it manages resource handling and asynchronous loading. It should be noted that third-party JavaScript is not permitted with AMP.
  • AMP CDN: An optional Content Delivery Network, it will take your AMP-enabled pages, cache them and automatically make some performance optimizations.

In general, your web pages need to load faster and be optimized for mobile viewing. And this is exactly where Accelerated Mobile Pages come into play. Here’s an example of JSON-LD code on an AMP page with Article structured data.

<html amp>
<head>
<title>Article headline</title>
<script type="application/ld+json">
{
"@context": "https://schema.org",
"@type": "NewsArticle",
"mainEntityOfPage": {
"@type": "WebPage",
"@id": "https://google.com/article"
},
"headline": "Article headline",
"image": [
"https://example.com/photos/1x1/photo.jpg",
"https://example.com/photos/4x3/photo.jpg",
"https://example.com/photos/16x9/photo.jpg"
],
"datePublished": "2015-02-05T08:00:00+08:00",
"dateModified": "2015-02-05T09:20:00+08:00",
"author": {
"@type": "Person",
"name": "John Doe"
},
"publisher": {
"@type": "Organization",
"name": "Google",
"logo": {
"@type": "ImageObject",
"url": "https://google.com/logo.jpg"
}
}
}
</script>
</head>
<body>
</body>
</html>

Essentially, AMPs are pages that use a very specific framework based on existing HTML In order to streamline the information exchange with browsers. Whilst, creating a seamless, faster, and more efficient user experience. In other words, it makes the loading speed for pages almost instantaneous.

How To Utilize AMP Plugin And Other Features In Your Website

The AMP Project is an open-source initiative aiming to make the web better for all. Accelerated Mobile Pages enable web experiences that are consistently fast, beautiful, and high-performing across distribution platforms. Furthermore, the Official Accelerated Mobile Pages Plugin for WordPress supports fully integrated AMP publishing for WordPress sites.

More so, with robust capabilities and granular publisher controls. Additionally, the features and capabilities provided by the plugin include:

(a) Compatibility Tool

The compatibility tool assists in the development of the Accelerated Mobile Pages experience. For instance, by enabling AMP debugging. In particular, with detailed information about validation errors that may exist. In addition to the website markup/scripts causing them. And the specific components on-site (e.g theme, plugin, core) are responsible for that page content.

(b) CSS Tree Shaking

Assists in dealing with cases where the defined CSS rules on a site exceed the CSS size limit allowed on single Accelerated Mobile Pages.

(c) Core Theme Support

Further enabling full AMP validity for four default themes (i.e. Twenty Fifteen, Twenty Sixteen, Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Nineteen).

(d) Gutenberg Support

Generally enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages content creation fully integrated with Gutenberg.

(e) AMP-first Experiences support

Enabling full-site AMP experiences without sacrificing the flexibility of the platform, or the fidelity of content.

(f) Content Optimizations Structure

A myriad of code, performance, and developer experience improvements: from customization flexibility to better UI flows, internationalization, accessibility, etc.

With the official AMP plugin for WordPress, the WordPress ecosystem is provided with the capabilities and tools it needs to build world-class AMP experiences without deviating from its standard, flexible, and well-known content creation workflow. Just Get Started for free today! And then learn how to utilize AMP features on your website below.

Firstly, you’ll need to create two versions of your article pages because AMP does not support form elements and third-party JavaScript. Therefore, you will not be able to lead forms, on-page comments, and some other elements. In addition, you will also need to rewrite your site template.

To include AMP features such as:
  • Your CSS in Accelerated Mobile Pages must be in-line and be less than 50KB.
  • images need to utilize the custom amp-img element and must include an explicit width and height.
  • There is a custom tag that must be used to embed locally hosted videos via HTML5, called amp-video

In order for Google (and other technologies supporting the AMP Project) to detect the AMP version of your web pages you will need to include the tag: (<link rel=”amphtml” href=”http://www.example.com/blog-post/amp/”>)

Whilst also including the Schema.org metadata “is a requirement to make your content eligible to appear in the demo of the Google Search news carousel”. And if you’re using WordPress there is an official plug-in amp-wp GitHub page. Equally, Accelerated Mobile Pages improve the speed of your website loading time and will help your search engine ranking.

Are AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) A Yes Or A No?

One thing is for sure, AMPs are not without some setbacks, so to say. And, as we mentioned, you likely will not be able to fully replicate your normal web design if it’s too complex and charged with dynamic elements. This can be sidestepped with some clever programming, but it will require creativity and patience.

Also, the framework does not naturally allow for Google Analytics tracking because of its heavy reliance on cached information, but this too can be fixed with rather simple solutions readily available. While these can be points of contention against the use of AMPs, the simple truth is that users are now more inclined to favor speed above all else.

So in the act of balancing things out, your company may very well choose pragmatism over aesthetics. Of course, the idea of having a faster mobile internet with content that loads instantly sounds like a great idea, right? Unfortunately, there are still a lot of concerns among web developers when it comes to AMP. Below are more concerns others equally worry about.

1. Disappearing links and ad revenue

One of the problems with the Accelerated Mobile Pages concept is that content built utilizing AMP is served up through a cache on Google’s server. Rather than actually linking to the original page on a publisher’s website.

Whereas, this means that the reader is spending more time on Google’s site and will be seeing Google advertising. As opposed to any paid advertising on the content provider’s site. More money for Google, less money for the actual content creator.

2. Less analytics and more work

Although Accelerated Mobile Pages do work with Google Analytics, you have to use a different tag, which can be quite time-consuming. If you don’t include the new tag, you miss out on a ton of analytics information. Plus, AMP is not particularly easy when it comes to installation. You’ll oftentimes have to do all the coding manually.

Basically, this puts you in a dilemma. Either design your site the way you want it and the way it will convert and set it up for AMPs later,  or disregard conversion and aesthetics and make it an Accelerated Mobile Pages site from the start.

3. Less control of your content

Because AMP is a stripped-down version of your original content, you are at Google’s mercy when it comes to how (and even if) your content is actually displayed. You give up the overall styling of your page in return for a really quick download.

Furthermore, if your site features a lot of videos, Accelerated Mobile Pages would not be that beneficial for you as the download time would pretty much remain the same. Another most important thing is that; Google is pushing AMPs adoption by their regular means of propaganda. Whereas, for your information “AMP sites will rank higher on Google!”

4. Less control of your design

Basically, Google is “forking” the web into a version of the internet that looks exactly like what Google wants. The amount of tags is very limited, so most Accelerated Mobile Pages have a very plain look — a custom web development becomes a sort of an unrealistic and unnecessary field. It also becomes harder to spot “fake news” and web stories.

With more and more emphasis being placed on the damaging effects of fake news, AMP makes it even harder for readers to spot these types of stories. Because AMP strips content down to the bare bones and hosts it all within Google’s server, everything starts to look alike.

5. AMP websites seemingly are Google controlled

Surprisingly, there are reports that Google is mostly preoccupied with chasing their competition lately. Likewise, the Accelerated Mobile Pages introduction seems to be Google chasing Facebook / Instagram / Messenger ecosystem: carousels, instant articles, and web stories.

Whereby, Accelerated Mobile Pages works the same way to bring the content into Google’s properties: search result pages and Gmail. As a matter of fact, not everyone feels comfortable giving up their content and letting it be served from Google’s cache. But, not every webmaster acknowledges their choices!

Takeaway Notes:  

With this in mind, a partnership with WordPress might bring Accelerated Mobile Pages enabled by default to millions of unsuspecting webmasters. As a result of Accelerated Mobile Pages implementation, most web surfers won’t ever leave Google. Since everything they search for will be served to them on Google’s “portal”.

Of course, this is not really a “web” of interconnected websites anymore, but a centralized dystopia. Above all, we can all agree on the fact that a faster mobile web experience is better for everyone. Especially since the majority of web surfing is now done via mobile. However, the costs of implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages may just be too high.

Therefore, if you have a well-designed responsive website with optimized images and video, you really don’t need to worry about Accelerated Mobile Pages. Use the following useful and related topic links for your further research guides.

More Resourceful Web References:
  1. Structured Data Schema Markup Design For AMP Rich Snippets
  2. Responsive Web Design (RWD) | For Overall AMP Ready Websites
  3. Accelerated Mobile Pages For WordPress Website Designers And Developers
  4. Getting Started With AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages FAQs And Answers
  5. What Is A Web Page? & How Does It Work With Examples?

Finally, we hope the above-revised guide on Accelerated Mobile Pages and AMP Stories was useful. But, if you’ll have additional questions, contributions, or even recommendations in regards to the above topic, please Contact Us and let us know. Additionally, you can let us help you create an AMP Ready and SEO Responsive website just like our very own site.


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