This is a mobile-first age, there’s no doubt about that. All of us, for the majority of the time, are using our smartphones to access the world of the web to get our information, news, memes, whatever we need.
And in this mobile-first age, the first thing one has to think of when making a website is how to make it mobile-friendly. There are various ways of doing just that, and one of these ways is accelerated mobile pages.
AMP is an open-source framework that strips the web pages down to its very basic and helps load the page instantly. However, the project started way back in 2015, and after 5 years, many argue that it has run its course. Is that true? Are AMP pages done and over? Or is it still worth investing in? Let’s see for ourselves. But before that, let’s look at accelerated mobile pages meaning and functionality.
How Exactly Does AMP Work?
Announced way back in October 2015, Google AMP was created as an answer to Apple News and Facebook’s instant articles. In September of 2018, Google turned it into an open governance platform, enabling developers from all around the world to develop mobile websites that load faster and help publishers, developers, and users.
An AMP consists of three elements. These elements are-
I). AMP HTML
II). AMP JS
III). Google’s AMP cache
In case you were wondering which pages on the SERPs are accelerated mobile pages, look for this symbol-
Because of the fact that it restricts all but the basic content from loading, the use of AMP has been under fire for a long time. Especially pages with ads seem to get fewer benefits from this technology. So standing in today’s scenario, where users are slowly losing their patience at even the responsive pages, one really has to look at both the pros and cons of this technology before integrating it within their own website. So without much ado, let’s consider the pros and cons of accelerated mobile pages and their pros and cons.
AMP Advantages: What Makes It Worthy?
We all know the basic pros of using AMP plugin and what it entails. Now, we are going to take a deeper look into these and then decide whether it is really worth investing or not.
1. Increases The Speed Of Pages
There’s not a lot to say when we are talking about the loading speed of the pages. We all know that in the internet hierarchy of things, pages that load fast take the crown, and in this case, AMP pages reign supreme. Why? Because using AMP pages can render even before they are clicked on.
2. Ranks Better Than Competitors
Google has always preferred pages that load faster and ranked them higher. And that makes it obvious why web development companies prefer this technology.
The speed with which the AMP content loads increases the chances of better ranking. In fact, it might even appear as a carousel post on the top of the page. And better ranking always leads to more traffic on the websites, we all know that.
3. Better CTR
What happens when the website ranks high?
It gets more clicks.
Click-through rate is a critical metric that helps to understand the amount of engagement and traffic the site is getting. The higher the page ranks, the better click-through rate you will get on the site as well as the ads you might have on your website. The AMP web design optimized websites stand out in the SERPs and drive more clicks on the website.
5. Reduction In Server Load
We have already talked about how the AMP website is created using Google’s own Content Delivery network. And this increases the Google mobile-friendliness quotient of the site as well as reduces server load.
The sites are hosted by Google’s domain and server, which means that the pressure on the business server reduces thanks to the AMP integration. Needless to say, this leads to a better maintenance process for the business.
AMP Disadvantages: What Makes It Unworthy?
Now that we know how Google AMP works, there are a few disadvantages we can point out from. Let’s take a look at them before making a conclusive decision on whether these websites are truly worth it in 2020.
1. Kills The UX
The first disadvantage of AMP is that it kills the UX.
No matter how well the site is optimized, and how nice the UX design is, with AMP it will get the standard Google look and that’s about it. Any added components, such as chatbot would not load, and that affects the UX of the site badly. And this seems like too much to sacrifice just for a faster mobile experience.
2. Negative Influence On Branding And Conversion
Just like it kills the UX, with AMP your branding and conversion attempts will be adversely influenced as well.
When loading an AMP page, the website will show Google’s domain in the address bar, which is not exactly good for the health of a business. A website user uses your URL and SSL certificate (as shown in the address bar) to authenticate the website in use. And seeing Google’s domain name instead might induce confusion, increasing the bounce rate.
Then comes the branding problem. The UX of your website is developed with brand identity in mind. And we have already talked about what the integration of AMP does to the website UX. Any kind of brand-specific element you might have had on the website will be stripped down, whether it is a logo, an illustration, or an image. And that’s why it can be easily said that AMP websites make it very hard to integrate any kind of branding and conversion elements on the website. And that’s why before making a snap decision, you should consult with a web design agency from New York or any other major cities about AMP effects on the website.
3. Too Much Effort, Too Little Return
On top of everything web developers have to do to create a successful website, AMP integration is just another extra element. It takes too much effort to just make the website fast, that too at the expense of numerous UX elements.
It is a separate element than your responsive pages, and to track Google cache for the AMP pages, you will have to configure Google analytics separately. All this added to the constant work of updating the website content is too much effort, with too little return. And that’s why many developers have declared it redundant to go through AMP optimization.
4. Losing Control Over Servers And Pages
Even if you garner all the resources and effort needed to optimize the mobile pages for AMP, you will still lose control of the mobile pages.
It is because these pages are cached on Google’s own server, and when the links are clicked on, users are directed towards Google’s pages, not the website. This means that despite high mobile search engine rankings businesses will lose control over the mobile pages, creating some serious SEO and marketing issues that will be hard to fix.
So, Is It Worth It?
Now we come to the final discussion.
Is AMP worth the effort and investment?
In truth, the kind of effort it takes to integrate the AMP tech on a website is better directed towards creating stunning web pages that are responsive. However, some websites might benefit from Google’s AMP technology.
Especially text-based websites, as well as news websites, are able to leverage the benefits of accelerated mobile pages. This will help the websites to get more traffic as well as better ranking in a competitive market.So yes, at the end of the day it really depends on the goal of your website. If your website is specifically designed and developed for conversion and branding goals in mind, then going for an AMP optimization might not be a great idea. And that’s why you should be talking to a mobile app development company before you even think about integrating this technology.