“How can a website be bad for the environment? Does there exist such a thing as an environmentally friendly website?”
These are questions we asked ourselves as the topic of sustainability continues to grow, and one of the main reasons for this was we are seeing scary climate changes. It’s difficult to imagine something completely virtual having a real-world impact. With ourselves, since we only work virtually we never really thought about the sustainable side of our business. But yet, the internet is responsible for 2% of global carbon emissions. That may not seem like much, but it is equal to the entire carbon emissions from air travel!
Over 5 billion people have used the internet since 2021, and this number is expected to continue to rise. There is a lot of information on the internet about living sustainably and the impact our decisions will have on the environment and future generations, but these terms are rarely applied to websites or the internet in general, despite the fact that we all use it multiple times a day.
So why not start now?
What can you do to make sure your website is environmentally friendly?
As we continue to make small changes offline such as recycling, changing our diet, and other measures, we decided to see what we could do online to minimize our impact and become a sustainable website. What’s more, we discovered that going green with your website has numerous advantages for both you and your customers.
- Using a green web hosting company is one of the most important changes you can make. This is a hosting company that runs on 100% renewable energy.
You can use a website like ‘The Green Web Foundation’ to check if your website host is running on a renewable infrastructure provider, then if it is not, you’ll be given the tools and services to allow you to move your website to a more eco-friendly host. If confirmed that your website is hosted green, you will be able to download a badge that you can add to your own website! This shows that you are becoming more environmentally concerned and being at the forefront of this development will attract like-minded people to get involved.
It is important to note though that this is only part of the website’s emissions and everyone that is downloading the page is still generating emissions on their side. But ‘The Green Web Foundation’ has been looking into more options to help clients offset their carbon footprint.
- Another way to reduce your website’s environmental impact is to use an eco-friendly website design. In short, the more complicated your website – the more energy it consumes to load it. For example, over-using animation/gifs on your website can have this impact. This may become beneficial in other areas too, as a fast-loading website is a ranking factor for Google and can improve your overall website search results – take it from us!
- Improving your SEO! Making your website more user-friendly and easily discoverable reduces the amount of searches and websites people are loading in one go. How many times have you had your tabs full with different websites of the same product or service, waiting for each one to load? And then picking the fastest. Combined with improving site speed, you will have an eco-friendlier website.
It can be easy to forget that the internet has real-life consequences because of its virtual nature. But like everything else in regards to sustainability with small steps, your business can begin to become more environmentally friendly.