Is a more eco-friendly website possible?
Yes, and I can show you how.
If you never thought that a website could be bad for the environment, I don’t blame you. Few people are aware that 3.8% of global carbon emission are caused by the internet data. That’s the same carbon footprint as global air travel, and if the Internet were a country, it would be the world’s 6th largest polluter!
How that happens?
Mostly because of two factors: devices (like your phone or laptop) and server farms and data centres that store websites and all kind of digital information (remember that information needs always to be stored somewhere.) — They require an enormous amount of energy and resources, consequently, harmful emissions are produced.
What is a data centre?
Every time we use the Internet, data gets transferred between our device and the server that the website or software is hosted on.
Each server is kept switched on and working 24/7, which requires electricity and air conditioning to keep it cool. Imagine leaving the computer at your office desk continuously switched on — most of us try to avoid this as we know it uses energy.
The difference with servers is that there’s no computer screen to look at, and they’re generally a lot more powerful and efficient than desktop computers.
The more data that is sent and stored, the more electricity and energy is needed. Even though this is relatively small at the individual level, when this is multiplied by the billions of people globally that are now connected to the Internet, it really mounts up fast.
What can you do?
1. Choose the right web host
Many of these data centres we mentioned, get their electricity from dirty fossil fuels rather than renewable sources. But you can find a company that has the same goal as you, and where the servers are powered by renewable energy and has environmentally-conscious practices.
2. Opt for an Eco-Friendly Website Design
The more complicated your design is, the more energy it consumes when loaded. So, even that 3D web animations, complicated effects, and lots of informations might look cool, they are not eco-friendly. That’s a must for conscious brands to know before hiring a super hype studio or designer.
Also, sites that are slow to load aren’t good for the user experience, and gets lower positions in Google searches.
3. Educate your Visitors
Use this space and the power in your hand to inspire people to work with you for a better world. Make your users aware of your efforts to have a eco-friendly website, explain about how carbon emissions are dangerous for all of us, and be respected by your audience. Many studies have showed that consumers are becoming more environmentally concerned and are seeking out for business that cares too.
4. Eco-Friendly Newsletter
The more emails we keep in our inbox, more server space we are using. You can try to send less email or at least incorporate a small warning note, remembering your client to delete after he reads it. That’s also a remind of how your brand is working for a better world while you can also educate the audience.
Remember also that the less images and videos, the better. Keep only what is really important.
5. Performance Optimisation
Optimise images, videos and multimedia content before you upload it. Digital materials sometimes can be quite heavy with no reason. A mp4 file, for example, has the same quality then a mov file but much lighter. You can also save images with 80% or less quality (most of the cases, impossible to see the difference at the screen) and also save some extra mb.
6. Donate to NGOs
As part of your brand strategy, you can also donate 1% or more of your online selling for NGOs. Remember, nowadays a brand is much more than just products and logos, it's also their values and their purposes.
The key for a greener website is to be mindful and aware of the amount of data we use and the providers we hire. Both brands and web designers can contribute to making the world (and the world wide web) a better place.
Sources: Internet Health Report, Sustainable Web Manifesto
If you are looking for digital products and creative services that uses the least amount of energy and material resource possible, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or access https://louisetamiazzo.com