Recent algorithm updates including one focused around the usefulness of a website when accessed from a mobile device have hinted for a while that Google is taking mobile devices more seriously. With their creation of Accelerated Mobile Pages (nicknamed AMP for short), they’ve taken things to a whole new level.
Page Loading Times Matter
Google has a page speed test to verify how long a page takes to load. Independent testing has indicated that 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. Indeed, it is now acknowledged that the average page loading time is a ranking factor with Google; slower loading sites risk fewer visitors arriving because the search giant may reduce the rank of pedestrian websites.
AMP Websites 101
Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source development initiative by Google to encourage developers to provide sites for mobile devices that load much faster. The idea with an AMP Website is to cut the page loading times for mobile devices by providing an alternative, lighter version of most pages of a website, by design. This is as true for AMP eCommerce themes as it is for newspaper sites providing news stories using AMP.
Why Are AMP Websites Faster?
AMP pages are usually smaller in size to download because they have fewer lines of code. The reduced size is achieved by cutting out many of the added features that tend to clutter up pages. There is a significant focus on using lazy loading to delay the retrieval of multimedia elements like photos and video content until the visitor scrolls down far enough to need to see the element, at which point it loads in. Therefore, a page that’s one-third written content and two-thirds graphical images doesn’t load the images, other than perhaps the logo at the top of the page, at first. As a result, pages show sooner in the web browser.
Smart caching is also employed with AMP pages. A type of pre-caching is adopted that acts to load follow-up complex elements and later pages before the visitor reaches them. Therefore, while they’re reading page one, page two is being downloaded. When clicking through to view page two, it seems to show instantaneously when in fact it was downloaded before.
How Are AMP Pages Put Together?
AMP uses a special type of HTML markup that reduces the complexity in the code. When writing a paragraph, HTML is used to indicate (mark-up) that a section of writing is a paragraph. This way, a web browser understands the information. Therefore, markup helps a web browser app understands how to both interpret and display a page that’s received over the web. It understands which parts are paragraphs and the words to show in bold or italics, etc.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS for short) is also used to style the content. CSS could be used to show how much space there should be visually between each paragraph. Therefore, HTML is for markup and CSS is for styling that markup. Both languages have gotten complicated and bloated over the years. With AMP, it uses a simplified and constrained version of both computer languages to lighten the load, keep the code tighter and speed up page rendering.
Approved Component Library
Adding Other Elements
There is a set way to include a video within an AMP page. Similarly, there is a set method to add a photo too. To display a row of social media buttons, there’s already a feature to enable this and link to relevant social accounts. However, these are set features which much be used precisely. A programmer cannot come in and create their own unapproved video plugin and expect to use it on an AMP page.
AMP Code Validation
All code for AMP and AMP eCommerce pages should be validated to check that it conforms to the AMP coding standard (Google also supplies a useful Google Chrome extension too). When coding doesn’t validate, it won’t qualify as an AMP page and won’t be rendered as one either.
Programmers must keep to the streamlined code and use standardized elements to make sure pages intended as part of a mobile-ready site qualify as having been AMP’ed. When wanting the site to show up in mobile search indexes with special links to their AMP site in search engines, getting it right is imperative.
While AMP has been mostly used for news sites and basic content presentation up until now, sites like eBay are actively using it to get into AMP eCommerce to facilitate customer transactions. Lighter product pages load faster on mobile devices and it’s been shown that conversion rates increase as a result. Companies are now interested in using AMP eCommerce themes and adapting them for their brand to avoid starting from scratch.
AMP is still new. Not many designed themes exist yet. To use AMP eCommerce themes, you really need one of the AMP eCommerce Companies to at least give some instructional guidelines on how to proceed. When your company has a large IT team, then they may already be familiar with AMP e-Commerce Business transactions that delve into the Progressive Web Apps to manage the transition of visitors on an AMP eCommerce themes rendered page to enable shopping features that exist on the full desktop version of the site.
Advanced Mobile Development with AMP
Use an Expert
Given the newness of AMP eCommerce web development practices, it doesn’t make sense for SME’s or even larger corporations to try to create AMP sites themselves. It’s not only a matter of knowing the latest changes but understanding how to extract the most benefit for site visitors on pages that have reduced functionality. AMP eCommerce Companies are at the forefront of that effort making the mobile web faster for reading news as it is for online shopping, while smoothing the transition between the simplified AMP page and the shopping cart to give the greatest value for their clients.