It’s no secret; we are in the midst of a climate crisis. Now, this isn’t a call for panic, but instead, a call for action. As we wait for our leaders to take more decisive action, there’s plenty we can do to help on both an individual and business level. People may look down on small changes, but if we all do a little bit, it adds up to a lot.
One way that every business can make a difference is through its website! Believe it or not, even our websites have an environmental impact. Like most things in the digital age, they require energy to run which, depending on your energy provider, will cause more emissions.
To put this in perspective, there is research that says the combined carbon footprint of the internet and all the devices it connects to, accounts for almost 4% of the world’s carbon emissions. This figure is predicted to double in the next few years. This might not sound like much, but every little step counts.
Think of it like pennies in a jar. Each penny on its own isn’t worth much, but when you tip the whole jar out, suddenly you have a lot more money than when you started!
So, how can make your website more eco-friendly? Let’s find out!
Choose the right Host
The best place to start is by choosing the right web host. Web hosts provide data centres that house all the files, data, and information for your website – without them, we wouldn’t have websites.
These data centres are physical buildings where large amounts of computers are running 24 hours a day, storing and processing the data of the world’s websites. There are millions of these data centres worldwide, and each of them requires a lot of energy to keep the internets lights on and cool themselves down.
Remember when your computer overheated? Now imagine an entire warehouse of computers doing the same thing.
Enter green web hosts. These are companies that offer all the hosting power you need, whilst offsetting or negating their emissions through various avenues. Before choosing your host, do your research on their efforts to ensure they are as committed to saving the planet as you are.
Streamline your Site
A great way to think of your website is like a car’s engine. A car with a larger, more powerful engine, that needs to run multiple gadgets and gizmos for the driver will consume a lot more fuel than a smaller car. In a similar fashion, the bigger the website, the bigger its carbon footprint.
Take a moment to reconsider the design of your website – do you really need every video, pop up, page, plugin, chatbot, and image that you’re currently using?
Think about how you can streamline all of these features to achieve the same result with less (yes, it is possible). In doing so, you’ll reduce the bandwidth and data needed to run your website and in turn, its carbon footprint.
Speed up your Site
A faster website is something everyone can get behind – it provides a better user experience and is better for business. Everyone’s a winner, even the planet.
Start by finding out how long your site takes to load, then examine ways you can get it to load faster. There are a number of things you can do such as fixing broken links, compressing the images on your site, checking your host is loading it correctly, amongst other tactics.
The quicker your site loads, the less energy it will use, and therefore, the fewer emissions it creates.
Increase your SEO
This is another tactic where everyone benefits. Improving your SEO will not only get more traffic to your website, but it will allow the people looking for your products or services to find you with less hassle. It also reduces your carbon footprint.
A single Google search produces about 0.2 grams of CO2. This might not sound like much, but as we said earlier, little things add up. It only takes 1000 searches to reach the same level of emissions as driving an average car 0.6 miles.
Increasing your SEO means the people searching for you or what you offer can find you quicker, and saves them from performing multiple searches and loading multiple pages, and racking up the emissions.
Taking these simple steps can make a big difference for both you, and the planet! Above all else, people want to give their business to companies that share their values. Showing customers that you are making a difference for the planet helps them to buy from you with confidence knowing they’re part of the solution.