In 2015, Google announced a new mobile technology known as Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP for short. AMP is an open source platform that promised to cut down web page loading times until they were almost instant.
It accomplishes this through its development library that builds on the existing HTML language. It’s supported by many different browsers and works on a number of platforms, giving it fantastic compatibility with most devices that are in circulation now.
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According to Google, the median load times one could expect from AMP pages is 1 second when utilising the full library of features and optimisations available from AMP HTML.
However, the question on everyone’s mind is; is it worth switching over? Let’s start by talking about a couple of the benefits to expect from AMP HTML.
The Pros of AMP HTML
1] Increased SEO performance
For a long time, Google has been separating its algorithms to rank websites differently based on the platforms used to access the search engine.
If you search on a mobile device, the algorithms will prefer mobile accelerated pages because they’re more relevant and provide a better experience to mobile users. This ultimately improves your SEO performance.
2] Faster loading times offer a better user experience
The idea around AMP HTML is to significantly speed up the rendering process, resulting in near instant load times for web pages on a mobile device.
This will give your users a much better browsing experience so that they’re more likely to return and convert into sales instead of bouncing.
3] Better load management
AMP HTML web pages are cached on Google’s servers so that your personal web servers don’t have to manage the load. This can improve performance because your servers won’t be congested during peak times and it also means that a cached copy can load for users in the event your web server goes down.
4] Increased conversion rates
Research has shown that AMP has a huge impact on conversion rates of eCommerce websites.
These are the main reasons to switch over to AMP for now. As the name of the platform implies, AMP is mainly designed to improve your mobile presence and offer your users a better service.
Desktop users won’t be affected by any of these benefits, but you do run the risk of negatively affecting your desktop users by implementing changes that require you to strip features from your website in order to be compatible with AMP HTML.
The Cons of AMP HTML
If AMP HTML was all benefits and no negatives then everyone would be using it and integrating it into their website, but the fact is not everyone has made the switch over and there are a couple of good reasons why.
1] Your analytics services could experience trouble
Although easy to implement, using AMP HTML means that users will load your site from Google’s servers and not your own, meaning you will need to reconfigure analytics services.
This is fairly straightforward but could still cause problems for people that aren’t used to managing their own website yet.
2] AMP HTML can be difficult to implement
Depending on your existing site and its needs, implementing AMP HTML and converting your website could require a lot more work than you’d be willing to do.
Depending on the approach you take and the size of your site, converting everything to AMP HTML can take a lot of time and resources.
3] Differences in the libraries can cause conflicts
AMP HTML is designed for speed, meaning that some features of regular HTML will be stripped down. This usually doesn’t cause many problems in practice, but it can lead to buggy websites that will need to be redesigned from the ground up to accommodate AMP HTML.
As you can see, there are very few cons of using AMP HTML and if you have an experienced website developer available to help, you can make the switch with relative ease.
However, if you don’t know anyone that could help, then you should expect to pay a rather hefty sum in order to hire a website developer that can help you implement AMP and test it to ensure your website works as intended on mobile platforms.
Deciding on Using AMP or Not
At the end of the day, the big question should be whether you should use AMP or not for your website. The answer isn’t simple and it has to take into consideration your website and all of the things you use it for.
For example, product pages aren’t particularly very feature-rich and they usually just contain text and images. In addition, product pages are common places to visit for mobile users because they like to make purchases on a convenient device like their phone.
As a result, product pages are suitable for AMP and we definitely recommend them if you want to take advantage of the pros of using AMP.
If your page already loads fairly quickly or requires the use of a lot of add-ons and plugins that aren’t supported by AMP, then you’ll need to find a different solution.
Google will continue to improve AMP and start supporting newer technologies so that you can easily implement it into your current website, but for now, it might be a little too much work to be worth the benefits.
In addition, the work required to switch to AMP could be a little overwhelming for most business owners unless they seek out the help of a professional, meaning it can become quite expensive to implement Google’s new platform.
The bottom line is that you need to take a look at your website and decide for yourself if AMP is worth it. If your site is relatively simple and the majority of your traffic comes from mobile devices, then implementing AMP is a smart solution and well worth your time.
If you still rely a lot on desktop traffic and plan to utilise different web technologies that aren’t supported by AMP, then you should stay as you are now and wait to see if Google develops any changes that could benefit you.