This month marks the one-year anniversary of Google’s accelerated mobile pages (AMP). Google in September added an AMP label to search results so you’ll know which articles will load faster on mobile, furthering the progress of the project. To keep up with the changes, Automattic announced updates to the AMP plugin, which is available for free in the plugin repository.
What Is AMP?
More and more people are surfing the Web on their phones. As many of us know, however, pages on mobile don’t load as quickly as they do on a desktop. According to Kissmetrics, “nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds.”
This means that, as a site owner, you’re potentially missing out on a huge audience because your site is loading slowly. Google started AMP to address this issue and improve page performance on mobile devices.
AMP pages are meant to load pages instantaneously. The project is open source and can be used on any device or platform, making it the perfect partner for WordPress.
WordPress And AMP
In February, Automattic released an AMP AMP plugin on the WordPress plugin directory that would make any WordPress site AMP qualified. As of writing, the plugin has more than 90,000 active installs.
The recent updates make it even easier to be more “Google friendly.”
“The biggest updates in the new version are the refreshed template and the addition of the AMP Customizer and, of course, lots of bug fixes and handling validation errors reported by users,” project lead Mo Jangda told Torque.
You can now customize your AMP design: change the header, text color, link color, and more.
Since its launch, the collaboration between Google and WordPress has received mostly positive feedback, according to Jangda.
“Site owners appreciate the ability to bring AMP to their site with the simple install of a plugin. Our initial focus was to build out the no-frills plugin with customization requiring code-level changes,” he said. “With the new AMP Customizer in place, we’re hoping this will empower other plugin developers to integrate with the plugin as well.”
That said, there are some aspects that need work, mainly validation errors reported by Google.
“The AMP spec is very strict in many areas and small violations (e.g. an empty src attribute on an image) can fail validation. The plugin tries to handle a lot of these issues but there are many edge cases and other plugins not behaving well (e.g. injecting script tags where they shouldn’t) so we still have work to do,” Jangda said.
Pros And Cons
While AMP is making the lives of mobile users easier, some are concerned that the opposite is true for publishers. Sites that can’t live up to these AMP standards could be left behind, leaving what was once a more open web harder to navigate.
This, of course, won’t be a problem for WordPress users. Learn more about these concerns on this week’s News Drop.
Though some are worried about a potential walling off of the web, others are seeing it as an opportunity to expand it even further. Only about half the world’s population has access to the internet. Many developing countries don’t have the proper infrastructure and cell phone data often doesn’t support the lengthy load times of most web pages.
Google AMP makes it possible for people in these areas to access to information. Not only is this bringing the web to all corners of the earth, but it’s also expanding the reach of WordPress.
AMP is already working to speed up the internet, and WordPress is a huge player. The project will bring access to the internet and WordPress to countries all over the world. These most recent updates are going to make it even easier to utilize Google’s project.