From recycling and repurposing products to using fluorescent rather than incandescent lightbulbs to using public transportation and walking more—collective small changes can help reduce our carbon footprints. But is it possible to carry those efforts onto the Internet? The tech experts at Web Design Relief know the answer: You can do your part for the environment, reduce your carbon output, and still create an affordable, great-looking author website by using sustainable web design.
How To Utilize Sustainable Web Design In Your Author Website
Sustainable web design is a growing movement that seeks to reduce rising carbon emissions due to digital media consumption. It’s not something that Internet users think about, but every click on a web page can impact the environment. How? While it takes a relatively small amount of energy to power your computer or smartphone to access a web page, it takes a massive amount of electricity to power all the server space holding all of the world’s digital content.
In fact, the Internet currently generates an estimated 3.7% of global carbon emissions (which is more than some entire countries produce!), and that number is expected to vastly increase within the next several years. Our dependence on an increasingly larger and faster Internet experience contributes to these environmental changes.
However, sustainable web design targets these concerns by encouraging minor changes to as many websites as possible. Together, these small changes can add up and have a significant impact on overall carbon output. The goal is to create high-performing websites while producing lower carbon emissions, and there are plenty of ways that forward-thinking web designers can achieve this objective.
5 Sustainable Web Design Options
Modern smart devices are capable of taking extremely high-resolution photos. These images can create eye-catching website designs, but can also cause the technology to use far more power to compensate. To reduce the potential environmental strain, consider using a plugin like Smush, which can compress large media files without sacrificing quality.
Use Lazy Loading
Despite its name, lazy loading is a way to speed up your website while also limiting the unnecessary use of web assets (and electricity). Lazy loading delays loading content on your web browser until it is actually needed. This means that content like photos and videos won’t render or load until a website visitor is ready to view them. Since your author website won’t need to cram everything onto all the web pages at once, the site can reduce loading speeds and conserve valuable bandwidth and resources—and your visitors won’t notice anything different.
Consider Website Caching
Website caching is the process of storing previously accessed data online for quicker loading speeds on subsequent visits. With a copy of your website stored on an online server, your website visitors won’t need to load each of your pages from scratch every time they access your author website. Website caching can help reduce excess power consumption and thereby generate fewer carbon emissions. We recommend using a plugin like WP SuperCache, which offers free and up-to-date cache storage for your web content.
Curate Your Content
It’s possible to cut down on your website content, produce fewer carbon emissions, and still have an effective author platform. In fact, it’s actually beneficial to your writing career to frequently update your website and remove any content that no longer represents you as a writer. We also advise condensing your website’s text if it exceeds 200 to 1,000 words per page.
You can also cut content by eliminating videos (or using shorter videos), clearing out repetitive images from your photo gallery, removing broken links, and deleting spam comments.
Darken The Design
Did you know that darker color schemes use fewer pixels than bright, vibrant colors? While your design should reflect you as a writer, you may want to consider choosing a website color palette that uses either darker shades or a full grayscale design. This will allow your website to limit electricity consumption and boost its sustainability. For maximum efficiency, you could build your website in Dark Mode.
You can calculate your author website’s estimated carbon emission status by using the free Website Carbon Calculator. If your website has a failing grade, it may be time to consider implementing the sustainability practices we’ve outlined above. Over time, even small changes to your web pages can have a big impact on the environment. For help rebuilding your author website using sustainable methods—or creating an environmentally friendly website from scratch—schedule a consultation call with the experts at Web Design Relief!
Question: Which sustainable web design options do you use?