At AWESEM we’ve been building responsive WordPress themes since 2012 and now mobile-first and mobile-responsive web design has spawned a host of services and programs that allow users to ensure their websites perform as well on mobile devices as they do on desktops. With more and more of us browsing on our mobile devices, it’s imperative that brands embrace this new technology and use it to their advantage, which is where services like the Google AMP come into play.
A relative newcomer to the game, alongside services like Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) allows businesses to reach their audience in the most effective way, whichever device they’re using. Only announced at the end of 2015, users are still getting to grips with Google AMP, so today we’re going to help you determine whether Google AMP is appropriate for your business and, if so, how you can use the service with your WordPress site.
What are Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?
In the words of those behind the project:
‘For many, reading on the mobile web is a slow, clunky and frustrating experience – but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an open source initiative that embodies the vision that publishers can create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.’
Simply put, it’s Google’s new piece of software that provides faster mobile browsing through its search engine. Users can now publish a pared-back version of their web copy or blog posts that will load almost instantly for mobile viewers.
To see Accelerated Mobile Pages in action, click the link to visit the Google Blog and open any of their demo links on your mobile device. The biggest news stories were the first to be debuted but categories like recipes and fashion were also among the first search topics to make use of the technology.
Are they right for your website?
The benefits of using AMP to deliver your content to mobile browsers is obvious – they load almost instantly, up to four times faster than standard mobile-optimised pages, and can use up to eight times less data. Before you get started though, take a moment to consider whether they’re the right choice for your website.
An easy way to decide is to consider the type of content you post. Google AMP was designed for those posting regular news content that need to reach their target audience as quickly as possible. AMP-enabled pages will rank higher in Google search results, meaning you’ll probably see a boost in views and engagement if you post this sort of content.
However, if you’re running an e-commerce site then Google AMP is not likely to enhance your web presence. It’s your products that attract people to your site, not your content, and Google AMP does not allow opt-in forms so you’re likely to lose out that way too.
How do you use them with WordPress?
So you’ve decided to adopt Google Accelerated Mobile Pages? Great. Hopefully you’ll start to see the increase in engagement that you’re looking for. Now, let’s discuss how you can use them alongside your existing WordPress site.
While you might think setting this new feature up on your WordPress site might be challenging, it’s actually surprisingly simple. There are a few helpful tutorials available on YouTube but you can have Google AMP live on your site with only two steps:
- Download the AMP plugin
- Install and activate the plugin as you usually would
…And that’s it! Before you finish, though, make sure your validate your AMP pages. Again, this process is pretty simple and full instructions can be found on the AMP Project site.
To make sure everything was installed correctly just search for an article that you want to test on your mobile device and add /amp/ to the end of the URL.
Everything’s set up and working correctly but how do you track traffic to your Google AMP-enabled pages? Numerous analytics services are currently supported (including Google Analytics, most users will be delighted to know) with more due to be added at a later date. For full instructions on how to enable traffic tracking, head over to the AMP Analytics page on GitHub.
What do you think? Are you excited to get your WordPress site set up with Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, or are you going to hold off until there’s more information out there about their performance?
*Update*: We recently came across a guide from the folks over at Kinsta that has some great information and advice about using Google AMP with WordPress, so do head over and read their AMP guide if you’re curious to learn more.