AMP: Who Should Use It & Who Shouldn’t

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a project started by Google with the objective to speed up the mobile web. It is a closed platform that only allows specific JS with limited CSS and Google’s own “AMP HTML” The pages are then cached on Google’s high-speed servers as a way to improve the load time. This makes for very fast loading page, albeit with minimalistic design. However, some users are taking AMP out of context. It is not being used for what it was designed for.

AMP is not something that was designed to fit every type of website. Trying to make your entire website comply with AMP is nothing more than a mistake and waste of engineering. AMP was originally designed for news articles and blog posts. This was meant to be a platform to improve the load time of users who are looking to digest the news and do it quickly. However, some websites are taking it a bit farther. Especially in the WordPress ecosystem, where everyone is trying to make every site “AMP compliant.”

Examples Where AMP Is Not Needed

  • E-Commerce –  The decrease in page load times, may attract you to using AMP, however you will use on of your most useful features: shopping carts. If you are using a shopping car in your menu, AMP versions will not support this feature. This is because your website is dependent on giving each user, a unique session and updating their unique cart with Ajax or PHP. With AMP, you lose this functionality. A functionality that is key to your user experience.
    • Workaround: If you are running an e-commerce store, focus on improving your website performance through common methods. Or have a developer do it for you, instead of making your user’s online shopping experience feel archaic. If you need help, contact us!
  • Social Networks: On social network websites, AMP has little functionality. It adds little value and is a waste of resources. AMP takes away from your intended user experience. If you use AMP on a social network style website, you lose any value and instead get a fast loading, non-user focused website.

When It Is Needed & It’s Original Intention

AMP was designed to be used on content creation and news websites. It was meant to give publishers a tool to compete against Facebook’s instant articles and engage their users at a faster pace.

Websites based around community are not going to need to focus on AMP because those users are going to those websites for the experience. To interact with other people in their community. This does not mean you should’t try to improve your page load times by installing an AMP plugin in hopes it will improve your load time overnight. That is a grave oversight. It is something that should not be used without careful consideration.

Instead of focusing on AMP, I think everyone needs to take the principles of AMP (fewer ads, much less tracking code, overall more optimized code and much smaller amounts) to improve the performance of their overall website.

You don’t need five different tracking services on your website, just use Google Analytics and call it a day. You don’t need 50 JavaScript files loading on every page. Especially when only 10 of them are needed on your front-page and 20 for your forums.

Less is more.

scott hartley

About the author

Scott is a web performance geek, lover of all things coffee, and avid video game player. His WordPress work delves into web performance, web security, and SEO.

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