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AMP Web Design

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Professional AMP Website Design

AMP Website Design or more notably known as Accelerated Mobile Pages is Google’s Open-Source Project for mobile websites. There can be no doubt that we as a society have very little patience. Our time is stretched in many different ways between family and friends, work or school, and relaxation. Thus, conducting various activities quickly is essential for providing enough time to accomplish everything we need to in a day. This principle holds just as true for our online activities as it does for those away from a computer. Time wasted on slow-loading pages adds up to videos we could have watched or information we could have learned. This problem is only compounded when surfing on our mobile devices, which accounts for a major amount of web traffic. HTML and JavaScript-heavy pages designed for a standard browser can take ages to load on the mobile device. To tackle this problem, Google, alongside over 30 other companies, launched the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP websites).

 

A faster AMP website

Before diving into Accelerated Mobile Pages. It’s beneficial to understand the importance of faster web pages. Whatever the goal of a website, it can’t be accomplished if users abandon the page due to slow load times. Yet users are extremely impatient and will often abandon a webpage that doesn’t load after several seconds. According to Kissmetrics, web pages that haven’t loaded after four seconds can expect 25 percent of users to abandon the page. Users on mobile devices are no more forgiving on slow pages than their computer counterparts. Over half of surveyed users expected mobile pages to load almost as quickly as those on a desktop or laptop.

In another survey, 49 percent of users would abandon a mobile webpage that took longer than ten seconds to load. For websites, this means that slow web pages cause lost traffic, advertising revenue, and for commercial sites, lost sales.

 

Launched in 2015 by Google

In order to better optimize mobile pages, the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project was launched in October of 2015. The project was founded by Google, in coordination with several other companies, including Twitter, The Washington Post, and WordPress. Setting it apart from competitors such as Facebook Instant Articles, the AMP Project was completely open-sourced. This allowed any developer to participate, to further the goal of faster loading web pages. AMP’s were to benefit from a more prominent position in Google Search results.

 

Google AMP Cache

The last component of Accelerated Mobile Pages is the Google AMP Cache. The cache maintains a collection of all validated AMP documents to future speed up webpage load times. The cache contains its own validation tools, which it will run after fetching a new AMP document. This validation tool confirms that the document meets the AMP HTML standards, as well as verifying the page will load. The tool also checks to see that the webpage does not rely on external resources in order to function. Once a page is added to the cache, the webpage, JavaScript, and images will all load from the same location. The cache utilizes HTTP 2.0 for, as the AMP Project boasts, “maximum efficiency.” All these functions serve to accelerate webpage loading times as quickly as possible.
 
 

Only in-line CSS styles for an AMP website

AMP website or web pages also incorporate other tricks beyond a central cache and streamlined HMTL and JS. The system only allows inline CSS styling to reduce HTTP requests and limits the style sheet to 50 kilobytes (How AMP Works, n.d.). Another method to reduce the number of HTTP requests is to require all rescores to be statically sized. This allows the layout of the page to be determined before any resources load. Those resources are then loaded as needed by the user, with additional resources prefetched to be rendered when needed. Web fonts are another sticking point of AMP webpages. As web fonts tend to be rather intensive, they are loaded first before any other HTTP requests are permitted. These features and more serve to speed up AMP’s by reducing the number of wasted calculations.

Others Joined the Project

Soon after announcing the project, more companies pledged support, including CBS, Newsweek, and the Local Media Consortium. Additionally, advertising companies including AdSense, OpenX, and Outbrain joined the project to streamline the mobile webpage advertising experience. With this, the project was set to overall everything about mobile web pages, from their content to the ads that funded it. What makes an Accelerated Mobile Page different from a standard webpage?

 

Modern Web Pages

A modern webpage uses a combination of HTML 5, CSS 3, and JavaScript to create a vibrant interactive experience. However, when speed is the primary goal, many of the features in this trio of tools become superfluous. AMP’s instead draw from an open-sourced, slimmed-down version of these tools to create quick yet impactful mobile web pages. Every AMP page is built with three major components: AMP HTML, AMP JS, and the Google AMP cache. The first of these tools, AMP HTML, is not that dissimilar from HTML 5. The AMP Project website describes AMP HTML as, “basically HTML extended with custom AMP properties.”

 

AMP website and HTML

Essentially, it is a limited HTML library, tuned for speed. Many of HTML’s tags port directly over into AMP HTML, while others are replaced with specific AMP versions. These AMP HTML components are designed to, “make common patterns easy to implement in a performant way.” One benefit these AMP HTML components have is full support for attributes not otherwise fully supported in HTML 5. An example provided was the amp-img tag’s full support for the srcset attribute. Finally, a special link tab is provided to alert search engines and other media on the AMP page’s presence.

 

AMP website and JS

As AMP HTML is a streamlined HTML, AMP JS is a stripped-down version of JavaScript. The largest difference is that all AMP JS is executed asynchronously. Thus preventing JavaScript from delaying a webpage from rendering. AMP prevents author-written JavaScript, instead allows custom AMP elements. The result of this is potentially preventing detrimental load times (How AMP Works, n.d.). When third-party JavaScript is absolutely necessary, it is confined to iframes and prevented from blocking the main page from loading. Additionally, any restyling calculations needed by the third-party JavaScript occurs very rapidly inside the iframe, without affecting the main page.

AMP website found to be twice as fast!

Such web pages offer several benefits over traditional mobile web pages. The most obvious benefit is load speed. According to Forbes, an AMP website loads twice as fast with a tenth of the delay before loading as a non-AMP mobile page. AMP’s also provides greater visibility for a website (a factor in effective SEO). Hence Google reserving a carousel above search results for AMP verified pages. Additionally, search engine rankings are indirectly helped despite Google not directly using AMP’s for website rankings.

Faster loading sites lead to more visits and referrals, with the increased site traffic naturally increase search result rankings. Forbes also found that AMP’s had users staying longer than traditional pages. Site visitors are thought to view more contents and engage with features when the webpage was quick and functional.

 

Over 2 billion AMPWebsites created!

With lightning-fast load times and a variety of other benefits, the number of AMP sites has drastically expanded. In May of 2017 at the Google I/O Developer conference, Google touted the massive growth of AMP’s. In the two years since the launch of the AMP Project, over two billion AMP’s across 900,000 websites were created.
 
Tumblr was noted for alone having over 340 blogs across 500,000 domains, all in AMP format for mobile devices. Adoption by foreign companies was increasing, with two of the three largest social networks in China headlining the converts. Google also announced AMP’s expansion amongst e-commerce websites, with eBay adding millions of AMP’s to its existing 15 million pages. Other major e-commerce sites were adopting AMP’s as well, including China’s AliExpress and Myntra in India.
 
 

Drawbacks on an AMP website

Despite the list of advantages, the glowing reviews, and the numerous sites joining the project. AMP’s are not without criticisms. Forbes particularly found the AMP protocols difficult to write, despite Google’s in-depth tutorials and videos. For example, the tutorials were
derided as being difficult to follow, especially for those who were overly experienced in web development. This resulted in pages that could take several hours to convert to AMP format or outsourcing to an external developer. Google’s AMP version for analytics was also criticized for only offering the most essential tracking metrics.
 

Drop in Traffic

Another area of concern with the rise of AMP’s is their generated ad revenue when compared to non-AMP pages. As traffic increased to the faster AMP webpages, the websites suffered a drop in traffic than traditional websites (effective SEO). In addition, some publishers found that the AMP’s suffered from reduced revenue. In some of these cases, the AMP webpages were reported to only earn half the usual mobile page ad revenue. The criticisms primarily lie in how AMP’s integrate advertising.
 
Since many AMP ads rely on banner images, some publishers feel unable to sell specialized advertisement slots, such as pop-ups. Google’s response to these claims seems to lay the blame at the feet of individual publishers. Richard Gingras, Google’s VP of news, stated that publishers are making full use of AMP’s tools and saw similar revenue as non-AMP.
 
 

Largest Complaints regarding AMP websites

One of the largest complaints against AMP’s surrounds the involvement of Google itself. While the AMP Project is an open-sourced venture of many companies, there are fears that Google has too much control. Critics complain that though the AMP project is open-source, Google has the final say. Others fear that Google will punish those companies publicly critical of the AMP format or remove their AMP pages.
 
Those refusing to adopt AMP pages could be penalized in the future, should Google start prioritizing AMP’s in the search results. Overall, the main concern was Google’s involvement was for more control over the web and a percentage of advertising revenue. With all AMP’s loading from Google’s cache, publishers fear to lose some control over their content as it’s hosted by Google. Google refutes these claims, stating the cache is merely for faster loading, and traffic still goes to the content providers.
 

What about Cybersecurity? and securing an AMP website

The final issue concerning Accelerated Mobile Pages cybersecurity. Various cybercriminals have discovered a vulnerability in caching properties of the AMP format thus allowing for phishing scams. To speed up mobile search load times, AMP’s are preloaded directly from Google’s cache. A side effect of this process is that these pages display a Google.com URL. The original domain is only visible at the top of the page and disappears should the user scroll too far. Should a user miss the original domain at the top, they can easily be fooled by legitimate looking fake sites. These fake sites can then scan email addresses and passwords from such users. This flaw was highlighted by attacks by Russian state-sponsored hackers, using the flaw against journalists critical of the Russian government. Those fooled by the schemes had their emails broken into, with their contents downloaded and later released (sometimes altered) online.
 
 
 

Combat phishing sites

Eventually, Google came public with some changes to combat phishing sites in November 2017. The main point of their changes was to require AMP’s to closely resemble their standard webpage counterparts. The goal was to cut down on AMP teaser sites linking to a standard webpage. Furthermore, in theory, this should reduce the phishing sites masquerading as those simple teaser sites. No matter what your viewpoint on Google and the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, there exists a demand for fast mobile web pages. A slow webpage loses viewers, which in turn means less traffic and less revenue. With mobile devices accounting for such a large portion of web traffic, developers have to have tailored web pages. For those who can get past the drawbacks in the AMP format, there exist many benefits to the system. As the adoption rates by companies around the world prove AMP’s are a major player in web content.
 

Final Thoughts…

AMP website may sound really promising in helping businesses in a number of areas, but its still early days to see if this technology will catch up with the mainstream.
References - AMP website
  • Besbris, D., & Gingras, R. (2015, November 24). Bringing You Up To Speed On AMP. Retrieved from Accelerated Mobile Pages Project: https://amphtml.wordpress.com/2015/11/
  • DeMers, J. (2017, December 1). Should You Be Using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)? Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2017/12/01/should-you-be-using-accelerated-mobile-pages-amps/#44b41f4e2710
  • What is AMP. (n.d.). Retrieved from Accelerated Mobile Pages Project: https://www.ampproject.org/learn/overview/
  • Work, S. (n.d.). How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line. Retrieved from Kissmetrics: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time
  • AMP website and interactive web pages
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We offer a range of medical web design services for the healthcare industry. In fact, our medical website solutions branch out to all areas of the healthcare field. For example, effective dental web design services, offered by our dental web designers serve Dentists, Dental Clinics, specialized  Dental Practices, Orthodontists, Dentistry, and Dental Practices. For example, Bothell Dental Care is one client where we have helped the site gain an online presence. 

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AMP Website Development for Small Businesses

AMP Website Website Development by a local Website Designer

 

AMP Website Designer also offers SEO services nationally

Besides providing SEO and online marketing to local businesses we also provide such services to small businesses in other states. For example, local cities include SeattleFederal Way,  Issaquah, Kirkland, Lakewood, WA, Monroe, Olympia, Tacoma and Bellingham, WA.

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Whetheryou’rer looking for your website to be converted to an AMP Website, server-side scripting, front-end coding or SEO call us at (425)-336-0069.

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