When is it necessary to use AMP?

Recently, we found ourselves completely submerged in the world of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). This got us thinking because it is quite a complicated system and the implementation can be rather rough. When is AMP the answer and do all sites need it? Simply because of the amount of work required, the limitations and general lack of knowledge around it.

Before we dive headfirst, let’s ask the question…

What is AMP?

Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is a set of guidelines and web component based library to build sites that are faster than those normally developed. It was created by Google, probably as a side project by some on their search team, to help make the web faster.

From a code perspective, it is an open-source project, which means anyone can clone or fork the source code and manipulate it as they see fit. The project or concept is not solely championed by Google, but also enjoys support by Bing, Twitter, Pinterest, and many other parties.

As a reward for developing your site using AMP, Google ‘rewards’ pages with favourable search engine placement, specifically in mobile search results. Bonus!

Should you use it or not? That is the ultimate question.

So, when is AMP needed?

In a nutshell, AMP boosts a site’s speed dramatically (4x faster in most cases) by putting the HTML and JavaScript on a major diet.

The problem with most diets is that there are some restrictions and using AMP is no exclusion from this. There are large restrictions in terms of what you can build or do with it from a custom functionality or usage point of view.

This can lead to a major design problem because the JS (JavaScript) that you would have used to create this amazingly beautiful site won’t work. There is no AMP JS Library available for it unfortunately.

AMP is needed when a large number of your visitors are viewing your site on a mobile device. This is essential because as we know the longer your site takes the load the less likely it is that people shall remain on your site.

We also need to look at the marketing efforts that are being conducted. Google is pushing AMP into its ad serving facilities which only further pushes for AMP.

In this example, it would be essential to use AMP specific landing pages on your site. This will ensure that the time from clicking the ad to getting to your site is fast and responsive, specifically on mobile.

This is also reinforced when users are getting to your site via social media posts. This is, generally speaking, a faster loading site. Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn generally serve the content pretty quickly so getting to your site needs to be swift.

An AMP Plan

The first step is to assess what pages need to be AMP ready. The reason we say this is because not all your pages require using this HTML diet and it could be a pointless exercise in terms of budget VS reward.

Once you know which pages will require AMP you able to put together a timeline to building the lighter versions of these pages for enhanced user experience.

You also need to assess the number of users using your site from a mobile device only and ask the question would be worthwhile to move the whole site into AMP? We would suggest that if more than 60% of your users are mobile that it would be a good time to consider moving over.

This is because they will be using 3G/4G or slower non WiFi networks.

Let’s wrap this up

At some point, much like Schema markup, AMP is going to become a standard base for all websites and Web Apps because users are going to demand it. They are going to become accustomed to sites loaded at the click/touch of a link.

The problem is that it is still relatively new to most and we find a lot of our clients don’t know how to implement AMP or what it is. This is why we would suggest assessing the validity of implementing AMP based on your users. Start by doing a lot of research into the people that are using your site.

Then look at your marketing activities, once you have all this information you are able to make a choice whether this is necessary based on your users.

Still not sure if AMP is for you? Give us a call, we’ll be happy to answer any questions to help make this decision easier for you?

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Having been established in 2005, in Cape Town, South Africa, Elemental is primarily focused on providing web development services and digital marketing campaigns.