You might be wondering why digital sustainability is important. Surely if your website is on the internet, it doesn’t physically exist, so it can’t have an impact on the environment – right?
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Even though your website might not physically exist, the servers needed to host your website are real, and they consume a huge amount of energy. Whilst we might not have the ability to make the internet more energy efficient (yet), there are things that designers, developers and individuals alike can do to begin improving their own online carbon footprint. Here are three of our top tips for improving your website’s digital sustainability.
When it comes to website assets, make sure you optimise everything! Almost every website built requires assets – from images and videos to animations and downloadable resources. Optimising these assets drastically reduces their file size, whilst retaining as much quality as possible. There are a few different ways you can optimize your assets – most software programs will have a ‘save for web’ function, which will enable you to save your asset out at a smaller file size whilst retaining as much quality as possible. Optimising your assets is a great way of keeping your website lightweight and reducing loading times.
Keep It Simple
When designing and developing your website, always keep in mind the user’s journey and how they will interact with the website. The more complicated your site design is and the more pages it has, the more energy it consumes when loading. Ideally, the user needs to be able to find what they are looking for quickly and with ease. Try to keep your website concise with straightforward navigation reducing the number of things a user needs to click on to find what they are looking for, thus reducing the amount of energy consumed when on your website.
This may be an element of your website which is out of your control, but wherever possible, always opt for a green hosting provider. As demand has increased for sustainable hosting, many different hosting providers are now offering ‘green’ packages. Make sure to check these packages and compare them against one another to avoid pitfalls – some green hosting providers only offset their emissions, whilst others have data centres which are solely powered by renewable energy. It may take some time to find an option best suited for your business, but it is worth researching to develop an understanding of their sustainability commitments. Whilst we inevitably need energy to power our websites, we can at least choose sustainable energy.