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How green is your business website?

These days regularly thinking about our impact on the environment in our daily lives is becoming commonplace. How can we recycle more, is it time to buy an Electric/Hybrid vehicle or how we can use less energy are all things we are thinking about.

But as a business have you ever thought about your website’s impact on the environment? I’m guessing probably not.

The internet is a virtual place that we access through our browsers, so it is easy to forget that even though it is digitally accessed, behind the scenes it still takes a huge amount of energy somewhere to power and deliver that content to us all and that leaves a massive carbon footprint.

At East River, we’ve recently made a pledge to do whatever we can to improve our processes and tools to lessen the impact they have on the environment. We believe if every business can make even a small change these small changes can all add up to have a big impact on global climate change.

As we are prodominantly a website design and hosting company we had a pretty good idea that the first area we should look at was the hosting partner we use and what their green credentials are. After all, it should come as no surprise that the large data centres used by hosting companies take a huge amount of energy to power.

In fact 40% of all of the energy used to power the internet is used to keep the servers from overheating. Source: Green Geeks

Just the above stat alone is an eye watering one. The more you dig into these sort of numbers on internet and data energy consumption you’ll realise just how much carbon emissions the internet produces. In fact it’s currently equal to the world’s entire airline industry and growing fast!

You might be asking yourself how you can make a difference, surely it is the hosting companies and data centres that are responsible for this problem and there’s nothing you can do to change the energy they use, right?

However there are actually a number of small things we can all do as businesses to help make a big difference:

  1. Use a sustainable hosting provider that pledges to use green energy and has made a pledge to offset their carbon emissions.
  2. Lighten the loading size of your website to in-turn lessen the energy consumption that’s required to visit your website. An optimised and fast loading website which Google loves is also better for the environment.
  3. Make sure your website has an effective server or plugin caching solution in place with a longer cache lifespan set. This helps because pages loaded from a cache are quicker and minmise load on the server.
  4. Plant trees to offset your website and business’s carbon footprint using an initiative like Woodland Carbon.

So, we mentioned earlier that we started to look at our own hosting partner and website to see how green and sustainable they were and we were pleasantly surprised with what we found.

Using the website carbon calculator we found testing our own website that the home page is 89% cleaner than other web pages and that our host already runs on sustainable energy which was really great news.

Website carbon calculator result for our home page

But whilst it was good to know the host we use for our clients was already running on sustainable energy, so we wouldn’t have to make any major changes in that department, there are other factors that played a part in gaining this great score.

  1. The theme we use is one of the lightest – We use the Generatepress theme on our website and all client projects by default. Why? Because it is one of the lightest and most performance focused themes on the Wordpress market and allows us to achive great loading times.
  2. Ditched the use of bloated page builders – Going forward we now use the default block editor for all projects. The most popular page builders for Wordpress right now are mostly too bloated with lots of features we don’t need which made it overly difficult to achieve good mobile scores.
  3. A refined plugin tool stack – We’ve purposefully chosen to reduce the number of plugins we rely on to build ours and our client’s sites, so the solutions we deliver are as lean as possible for great Core Web Vital metrics and in-turn more environmentally friendly. Using a regular and trusted plugin stack also gives us less headaches and more confidence that our solutions will be perfomant and as issue free as possible.

Final thoughts

Hopefully you’ve found this article helpful and it has inspired you to find out more about your own website and hosting’s green credentials and things you can do to improve how environmentally friendly your business’s website actually is.

If you are interested to know more about how you can improve your website’s green credentials using the methods we touched on above or you would just like to chat to us about how your current website can be improved with no obligations don’t hestitate to get in touch us.

About the Author

Gary

Gary is an experienced Wed Designer and Wordpress enthusiast from Exeter, Devon UK. WIth over 20 years of experience in web development and graphic design, he specialises in crafting creative web solutions and consulting on Wordpress matters. He founded East River Studio in 2019 with his wife Emma where they strive to help other local businesses effectively compete online by creating winning websites that load fast and convert customers.

We are a web design and digital marketing agency based in Exeter, Devon offering high quality website design and development, seo optimisation, hosting and support.

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