By Praminder Bhuller | Graphic Design Agency | September 26, 2022

Factors A Web Design Agency Should Consider For Sustainable Website Development ?

You might have already heard about sustainable fashion, buildings, and many more things. But the thing that shocked you most was the sustainable website development. Right? With environmental degradation at higher speed, it was obvious that there will be a solution for making websites environment friendly as well.

When we talk about sustainability, it isn’t just about the environment, it also considers social and economic factors The three pillars of sustainability are 3Ps: Economic (Profits), Environmental (Planet), and Social (People).

Here in this article, we will learn about sustainable website development and how you can do it!

What is a Sustainable Website?

Websites that are developed keeping in mind the future of people, the planet, and profit in mind. A sustainable website runs on renewable energy without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs of the 3Ps. Hence, they are ethical, value-adding, and non-exploitative.

What Are The Characteristics of a Sustainable Website?

As mentioned in the Sustainable Web Manifesto, the following are the characteristics of a sustainable website:

  1. Clean: The company provides a service that uses renewable energy only.
  2. Efficient: The company offers products and services that use minimal energy and materials.
  3. Open: Users have access to the company’s products and services, and their data is controlled and accessible.
  4. Honest: The company’s products and services don’t mislead or exploit users through their design or content.
  5. Regenerative: Our company offers products and services that support a healthy economy.
  6. Resilient: Potential customers can depend on the products and services provided by the organization when they need them.

It is hard to measure and compare the sustainability of the website. However, there is one way of quantifying the sustainability of a website, which is through greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions).

Now, as you’ve read about the characteristics of a sustainable website and are sure that your company can thrive on it, let’s see how you can make your website sustainable.

A Sustainable Website: How To Make It Happen

Before you move ahead and make your website more sustainable, you first need to check whether your company premises are sustainable. Change light bulbs, recycle old electronics, and switch office equipment over to energy-efficient models to reduce your carbon footprint in the environment. Don’t forget to check the other two factors of sustainability and work upon them too.

Once that is done you can move ahead with sustainable website development. Here are a few practices you can follow for sustainable web development in London:

1. Get the green web hosting

Your foremost first would be to get green website hosting. The companies providing green web hosting run their data centers on renewable energy. As this concept is still new in the industry, you must verify the web hosting provider.

A reliable and committed green web hosting would indicate who their green energy supplier is! Also, pick the provider that ensures real uptime and service, or you might face deindexing from Google. It’s better to go with the provider that fully or partially operates with renewable energy credits (RECs). The reason behind that is they can switch to fossil energy if the main green energy supplier has an outage and maintain the uptime.

2. Optimize images and videos

Images and videos take the maximum loading time and use up the most energy. While optimizing images and videos, check if you can remove them altogether. The web page may contain redundant or unnecessary decorative images that you can remove.

If you can’t remove the image from the webpage, optimize it and lower the image resolution. Many websites help you lessen the size of the image. If not, take the help of a graphic design agency and ask them to create images that are environment-friendly.

They use photoshop to create images and can choose the option “Export for web” for smaller resolution and low quality. As for videos, you can’t resize them, but rather than putting up the whole video; you can use embedded video content from YouTube.

If you have trouble coding efficiently, you can always hire an agency offering web development in London.

3. Do the perfect SEO

Do the perfect SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is what gets the traffic to the website and leads for your business. Do the SEO as you normally would, but with just a few changes like optimizing images and videos, taking backlinks from green websites, etc.

SEO revolves around the keywords and getting you traffic through that. The SEO process is still the same as decades ago:

  • identifying the right keyword,
  • creating content around that,
  • getting backlinks, and building authority to rank on SERP.

However, Google has now evolved to a great extent. It can now understand the search intent of the users’ queries and provides the exact result. Consequently, that evolution has brought a change in content creation.

Rather than writing one brief topic, we would recommend going for content clusters with internal linking.

Create the content on one parent topic and include all the related information in it, along with that add an internal link to their detailed solution. This will eliminate the need for users to search for something else on Google and save energy.

If that seems overwhelming, search for SEO services London and let them do the sustainable SEO for you. Now the question arises, is SEO sustainable? Well, the answer is fully sustainable. Let’s see how:

  • A long-term, cost-effective growth model gives economic sustainability to businesses.
  • As it helps people find what they are looking for, it is socially sustainable.
  • Since it reduces the need for users to visit (multiple) other, less environmentally friendly websites, it is environmentally sustainable.

4. Go for the sustainable web designing option

When we talk about sustainable website design, it includes many factors, including fonts, minimizing the Cumulative Layout Shift, using preconnect attributes, etc. You can always rely on a sustainable web development agency to do the work for you. However, you should know what it is!

  • Simplify the fonts on your website, as even they take time and use up energy to load. Another thing is readable fonts act as an agent of user retention and branding. We would recommend using a maximum of 2 different fonts on your entire website to go sustainable.
  • Next up is minimizing the cumulative layout shift, which occurs when long-loading elements are positioned above those that load quickly. Use CSS height and width attributes to define the dimensions of all relevant elements when going sustainable. This will also improve the UX making it smoother and getting you visibility on the SERP.
  • Consider applying the pre-connect attribute to load certain files concurrently that would otherwise be loaded individually. This won’t only speed up your website but will make it more power-efficient and reduce your website’s GHG emissions.

5. Use CDN and caching strategy

The last but not least method for sustainable website development is using CDN and implementing the caching strategy. Content delivery networks, or CDNs, can speed up the loading time of your website and save energy by allowing users to reach their destinations faster.

Moreover, bounce rates are reduced as well. In short, CDN narrows the geographical distance between client and server.

Another thing to implement while going sustainable is implementing the caching strategy. Storing cache helps the website to reload quicker on future requests. Its main motive was to reduce the load on web servers and improve the internet user experience while browsing.

When you go for the caching strategy as a sustainable website, you need to consider the frequency and importance of content changes as well.

Things to avoid while going sustainable with the website

Here are the things that you should avoid or aren’t necessary for your website and will increase GHG emissions:

  • Go for CMS-based websites. Static websites need to be downloaded to make changes and then uploaded again.
  • Don’t block all the bots or Google bots might not be able to crawl your website.
  • Don’t straight away delete the content. Hire an expert for the same. You can repurpose, edit, update, move, merge, or delete the content.
  • Think twice before adding the dark mode toggle. It soothes users’ eyes but can keep them awake at night and uses up the same energy to load.

Go Sustainable With Your Website and Reduce GHG Emissions!

Do you know Google has been running on a sustainable website for the past 4 years?

And if you look closely at the algorithm updates, it matches the most sustainable website requirements, except for the need for AMP and other few things. However, it never said that you have to compulsorily apply those!

Let’s summarize the article on sustainable website development. You need to:

  • get the green web hosting,
  • do the SEO properly, optimize images & videos,
  • go for sustainable web designing,
  • and make use of CDN and caching strategy.

With this, we would like to put an end to the article on sustainable website development. What did you learn? A sustainable website provides profitability, minds the planet, and generates value for the people in the long term. There are tools available to check your carbon level, like the website carbon calculator.

Praminder Bhuller / About Author

I started work as a freelance Graphic Designer for print-based media. This moved over to Graphic Design for the Internet. I have now moved over to online marketing. This includes working with Graphic Designers, Website Developers, SEO Marketers and many more experts. This journey has been going for 20 years.