If you aren’t aware of it already – load times are important, especially for mobile. In fact, one research suggests that up to half your visitors will click away if your mobile site takes more than 3 seconds to load.
This might be news to you – but it shouldn’t be. Load times have always been important. But they’re even more important on mobile.
Many website owners neglect thinking about how fast their site runs while they think about other aspects of their business. The reality is, page-loading speed is as important as creating a compelling offer, writing great content and getting good quality backlinks. It could be one of the main reasons why people stay on your site and do business with you – or simply click away after a few seconds.
Before you continue with growing your business, you need to test your site speed and know exactly how many users you’re losing from slow loads. You need to make site-loading time your priority, and give it the importance you give to the other parts of your business.
The growth of mobile
Mobile searching used to be a small fraction of total internet users – but that’s simply not the case anymore. Now mobile is one of the main ways people connect to the internet and browse – meaning your site needs to be optimised for mobile browsing.
Many website owners have been slow to catch up with this trend and spend more of their efforts optimising for traditional web browsers. While you will still need to make sure your site works well on such browsers – you shouldn’t neglect the importance of mobile – and especially your site’s loading speed on mobile.
How can you improve site loading speeds on mobile?
Recently, Google launched a new software that’s designed to do just that – improve your site’s loading speeds on mobile. Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) aims to speed up mobile traffic and improve revenue streams for those who target mobile extensively.
Google AMP has been specifically designed to revolutionise your site’s mobile version and helps speed it up by creating a “lighter” version, actually hosted on Google’s servers. That means anyone who visits your site on a mobile will get ultra-fast load speed, being able to access your content much faster than before. That means you’ll lose far fewer of them. Hopefully, it also means that as people spend more time on your site – it improves revenue as they would be more likely to make a purchase or interact positively.
That’s why mobile loading speeds are so important. With more and more people using their phones to not just browse – but also make purchases and do business, faster loads and longer sessions on your site should mean more revenue.
How does AMP really work?
In order to make your site load faster, the lighter version of it that Google creates purposely ignores some parts of your site. Google will hide certain parts of your site so that what is actually displayed on the mobile version loads much faster. While this might make your site look simpler than its full version – it’ll load much faster.
It’s also an open source project, allowing independent programmers to contribute to improving and utilising the service.
AMP relies on a minimum level of HTML and Java to load pages – it ignores some of the other more elaborate languages that many modern websites come with. While AMP could be huge for your revenue stream, you need to make sure your site is optimised to make the most of it.
While AMP could improve your rankings for some mobile searches – you need to be aware that certain widgets and optimisation techniques will not load. This could affect the way you’ve designed your site for SEO, so it’s something you need to consider carefully.
How to set up Google AMP for your WordPress website
Setting up AMP for your site should be fairly straightforward, especially if you’ve already got some WordPress experience – which you probably have if you’re reading this article.
There’s an official Google AMP plugin that makes things easier.
- Simply click on “plugins” in your WordPress panel
- Then click “Add New”
- Search for “Accelerated Mobile Pages” and you should see the official Google plugin, click download.
- After this, simply click “Activate” and follow the process to install.
While the actual installation really is that easy – you might want to take a bit longer to configure some of the options and set up Google AMP properly for your site.
Firstly, let’s look at configuring Google Analytics for Google AMP. One small drawback of AMP is that it doesn’t currently support any other third-party analytical packages. This could be a problem if you don’t use Google Analytics.
You’ll need to find your Google Analytics tracking ID. For this, log into Google Analytics and click on the”Gear” icon at the bottom left of the page. This takes you to the admin panel. Under the Property section, you will see a tab called “Tracking Info”. Click this to find your tracking ID.
After this, login to WordPress and click Navigation on the left sidebar. Then go to AMP and click on Analytics. Paste the tracking ID you just found at the Google Analytics section. Then save the changes and exit. This should have integrated Google Analytics into AMP.
Configuring the plugin
Once you’ve got the plugin installed – the next step is to get everything working well by configuring a few of the options.
If you’ve got Yoast SEO installed – then follow these steps to configure the plugin:
- Go to the Yoast plugin page and click on AMP
- Then click Post Types
- From there – you can select the type of posts you want to be able to be used on AMP. You don’t have to send all of your posts to the AMP infrastructure.
You’ll also be able to customise the appearance of your content on AMP by clicking on the Design tab. This is a reasonably important step, as AMP will optimise your content and not show everything – so you need to make sure the design works for you and your business.
After this, you might want to start testing your site on AMP. Make sure all your URLs work properly. Load up your mobile browser and try a few of your pages to make sure not only that it loads quickly – but importantly that it looks great and has all the info you want. Also, make sure Google searches for your content are getting to the right place.
You can also go to search.google.com/test/amp and enter your site URL (or a few of your other pages). Running this simple test will give you some diagnostics and let you know how well things are running. You can also try validating your site with another test found on validator.ampproject.org.
Submit your URL
Once you’ve seen that the test results are ok, you can simply click “Submit to Google” so that your AMP mobile sites can start being indexed on the search engine (an important step). You can also do this through your Google Search Console account, by also clicking “Submit to Google”, but this is sometimes slower.
You might also want to check in your Google Search Console and click on “Accelerated Mobile Pages”. This will show you how many of your AMP pages are indexed and any errors for ones that haven’t been. You can then troubleshoot some of these errors to help get all your pages indexed.
You can also test your page load speeds with a few useful tools such as WebPageTest.
Hopefully, you’re now sorted with Google AMP and you should start to see improved results with your mobile users for your WordPress website.