What are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

A short loading time is a decisive factor for the success or failure, especially for websites used on mobile devices. A growing proportion of internet users use mobile devices for shopping and information gathering on the internet. Recent surveys show that in most cases Internet users switch to another website if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds. For this reason, Accelerated Mobile Pages, AMP for short, were launched in October 2015.

AMP for shorter loading times on mobile devices

Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source, cross-platform framework whose development is primarily run on GitHub. Accelerated Mobile Pages are based on a heavily streamlined CSS, a proprietary JS library, the Content Delivery Network (CDN) and customized HTML code with specific tags. The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is supported by Google. Google’s support is certainly also due to the fact that similar services are already being offered by Facebook with Instant Articles, or by Apple with Apple News.

How is AMP different from traditional websites?

Accelerated Mobile Pages websites differ from normal websites through specific HTML tags, their own JavaScript library and the delivery of content via Google’s own Content Delivery Network.

Within the HTML source code, the usual HTML tags are replaced by AMP tags. Overall, the scope of the HTML code is significantly smaller. Content is only loaded when the user needs it and there is only one http request per page view.

The Accelerated Mobile Pages JS library handles external resources asynchronously and manages the loading of all elements of a website. Undisturbed by external influences, the pages are rendered faster. Slow CSS selectors are blocked and running IFrames elements in sandbox mode is supported.

The Google AMP Cache. Optionally, the websites can be delivered via Google’s global, proxy-based Content Delivery Network (CDN). For this purpose, the pages including the JS files and images are stored in the CDN cache, optimized if necessary and checked for functionality. When requested, the website content is output via the HTTP 2.0-based Content Delivery Network.

What is the advantage of AMP?

The big advantage of Accelerated Mobile Pages is the very short loading time of mobile websites. In addition to its own HTML code, its own JavaScript library, the very slim CSS of less than 50 KB and the Google CDN cache ensure that the content of a mobile website is not loaded in one go, but gradually. For example, initially only the layout, text and cover image of the website are loaded. Images, additional text, and other content from external resources follow in the background in order of priority. For the user, this means that he can already scroll through the text on the website while most of the content is being reloaded in the background.

What are the disadvantages of websites based on AMP?

With Accelerated Mobile Pages, various layout options for websites, such as animations or transitions, cannot be used due to the restrictions in CSS. The same applies to forms that cannot be displayed due to the heavily streamlined HTML. JavaScript code may only be used in extensions in which, for example, Facebook or Twitter embeds are executed and third-party JavaScript may only be executed in a sandbox such as iframe. However, according to Google, each page can also use its own advertising network and all advertising formats with AMP. However, this is subject to the condition that the user’s experience is not impaired. Accelerated Mobile Pages should also easily support various subscription services and paywalls. In this respect, no disadvantages are to be expected when using Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Who Uses AMP?

The first users were 30 well-known, international publishers and media houses. These include Spiegel Online, FAZ, Sport 1, Bild, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Welt from Germany, to name just a few. WordPress has also been there from the start. Meanwhile, the second CMS bolide Joomla is also part of the game. Extensions are available for both CMS, which support users in the implementation. The number of AMP users, especially from the world of media and large information portals, is growing almost daily. The fast mobile pages result in advantages for all participants, such as better positioning in the news overview, better website rankings and lower user bounce rates.

A look into the future of AMP
Even in the short period of time from its introduction until today, it is becoming very clear that the use of Accelerated Mobile Pages will be indispensable for serious blog operators and media houses, or already is, if they don’t want to be left behind by their competitors. Websites based on the framework have happier users and consistently rank higher in Google’s organic search results. With a probability bordering on certainty, one can assume that AMP will be a basic requirement if one’s own mobile website is to be found on Google. This is especially true given that Google made page speed one of its ranking factors back in 2010. The rapid speed of the AMP will certainly also be an interesting topic for modern e-commerce applications in the future. So we can look forward to the further development and distribution of the Accelerated Mobile Pages.

AMP and WordPress
Plugins are available for WordPress, which should enable easy integration into the content management system. However, since AMP is still a relatively young technology, incompatibilities with the WordPress theme or other plugins can occur. You often only find the right plugin after a little experimenting.

AMP Plugins for WordPress

  • AMP for WP – Accelerated Mobile Pages
  • AMP Supremacy
  • AMP
  • WP AMP Ninja
  • WP AMP — Accelerated Mobile Pages for WordPress and WooCommerce

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