Mobile apps have gotten us used to fast loading content, offline viewing and fast interfaces. But mobile sites often lag behind, literally. This is particularly true for news and blog sites, which make use of many widgets for ads, analytics, sharing and commenting. You can test this easily by installing a content blocker on an iOS device and noticing the speed increase.
Sure, you can use a responsive theme to alleviate some of the problems, but responsive design doesn’t deal with page load performance. Most times, responsive is at the root of the problem: we design websites able to fit on displays of many different resolutions and we fail to create an experience optimised for the smallest displays, lower CPU performance and the slowest connections. With responsive design, all desktop assets and functionality will still load when the page is rendered on mobile, often resulting in poor performance. According to Facebook, the average loading time of a news article on mobile is 8 seconds.
While some of us are lucky enough to have 3G or 4G network connections on our smartphones, you just need to get out of urban centers for network speeds to drop dramatically. And of course there’s the “next billion” people and devices connecting from developing countries where fast network connections are just not available yet.
Fortunately, things are moving in the right direction, with all of the big players working on ways to speed up content loading on mobile devices. Facebook launched Instant Articles, a solution for fast loading web content, though one limited to their walled garden. Apple has launched its own News app. Google launched AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), an initiative with a similar purpose as Facebook’s but an open standard approach.
WordPress recently announced they added support for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to WordPress.com and to WordPress.org sites in the form of a free plugin.
So let’s see how you can add AMP to your WordPress.org blog or news site and benefit from the latest tech to speed up your website on mobile devices.