The internet is increasingly a part of everyday life. I’m guessing you agree if you’re here reading this right now.
And given the choice, most people would tell you that reading something online is greener than buying a book or magazine with the same information. After all, you’re saving all that paper, all that ink, the potential recycling of that product, the physical shipping it has gone through and so on.
Yet the internet itself uses a lot of energy. The servers that power the internet are always turned on, 24 hours a day. They use huge amounts of electricity to run and also need to be housed in temperature-controlled buildings they get so hot. Even a simple Google search uses a considerable amount of power.
And that’s before you start thinking about the process of creating your home computer or the servers themselves. All the plastics (from oil) and all the rare metals which have been mined, shipped around the world and then placed lovingly into your computer.
So the internet may not always be as green as it seems at face value. So any way in which we can make websites even greener must be seen as a positive step, so today I’ve put on my thinking hat and come up with a list of ideas to help make your website more environmentally friendly.
The quicker your website loads, the less energy will be used up performing that request so designing websites that are low on the images and have reasonably simple layouts will typically load faster, saving energy for the end user.
Ease Of Navigation
Every time a web page loads, it uses energy. So the fewer clicks that are necessary to find the information that your visitors are looking for, the more eco friendly it will be. Providing clear navigation such as a sitemap and/or a search box will help your visitors access the information they desire quickly and so save energy.
Build A High Quality Website
Readers of your website likely come looking for information or entertainment (or both). By offering high quality information on your website, you increase the chances once again of your visitors finding that they’re looking for, rather than clicking back and going off to another website to research their query.
Green Web Hosting
Having a website requires the use of a web hosting account which is essentially where you hire a space on one of those giant servers. You upload your website to it so that even when your own computer is off, people can access your website. And as we’ve already discussed, these “data centres” use a lot of power.
But there are now a range of web hosting companies who are powered by green energy such as wind and solar power making them more environmentally friendly.
Promote Environmental Causes
You can place adverts on your website supporting green charities and organizations to help them spread the word and recruit donors and so further their excellent work. Many charities offer banner adverts you can place on your website, and if they don’t, these can be easily made with a wide variety of free online tools.
Make Printing Your Content Simple
Printing from the internet can be a hit and miss affair. Obviously it is best if someone simply reads your articles online but there are still many people who like to print out from the internet and read content on paper.
Unfortunately, when you try to print from many websites, huge amounts of paper or ink are wasted due to the layout of the site. A variety of simple software applications are available to help you make your site “printer friendly” and so save paper and ink if and when your readers do opt to print your articles.