What Are AMP Pages and Why Do I Need Them?

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The Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is an open-source initiative to provide faster mobile web browsing. The project was announced by Google in October last year.

We hope the open nature of Accelerated Mobile Pages will protect the free flow of information by ensuring the mobile web works better and faster for everyone, everywhere.

The AMP Project is asking website publishers to create lightweight and very fast web pages using AMP HTML, a new open framework. This means that a website would have two versions of some pages, the regular version and the AMP-ed version running alongside each other.

Note: Writing a post or article won’t change. A website system should be able to create regular posts and AMP-ed versions automatically; your website editors and writers won’t have to do more work.

Why Do I need AMP?

Google will be promoting AMP-ed articles and posts in its mobile search results (this is limited so far but is increasing). As a result, you could be losing out on website visitors from mobile browsing and from other sources/locations if you don’t do this.

The AMP framework is designed to be very fast - so pages should be easy to use - and this could lead to more conversions.

There’s no need to panic though. I expect AMP to become more important over coming months so now’s the time to assess your website content and how you might implement AMP versions of your website pages.

I’d say that it’s most important to create AMP versions of your blog posts and news articles first. After that, you can consider if other pages might need AMP versions.

How Do I Do This?

It’s best if a website assessment of the work needed for AMP-ing pages is carried out because each site’s content will be structured differently. The amount of work needed will depend on the site, its content management system (CMS) and how the page or post content is created within that.

Having said that, here are a couple of different options:

WordPress sites

Initially at least, it’s a simple process to create AMP-ed posts with WordPress because there are two plugins that will AMP-ify and optimise posts on a WordPress site. I’ve used both on Clive Goes Cycling and here’s the result with one of my most popular posts about buying a hybrid bike.

Here are the plugins:

  1. WordPress AMP plugin
  2. Glue for Yoast plugin

Like many plugins, these two work in a specific way and, although there are some configuration settings, they are relatively inflexible.

So, please bear in mind that your AMP posts will still need to be checked using Google’s AMP validator tool.

I found that the plugins worked OK for my own site. All my pages are valid with Google’s validator.

Further reading: Here’s an article about creating AMP pages with WordPress that describes the process and some problems that needed to be solved.

Perch CMS sites

For this very site, I’m using Perch for the site content. The way that the content is structured means that I can easily create a specific AMP template for my news articles. And with a few tweaks to my regular posts template, I can provide the standard posts and my AMP-ed articles.

I highly recommend Perch because it makes template amendments like this very easy. And the templates and content are totally customisable.

More about Perch CMS Development.

Other sites

Other popular website systems (for example, Drupal) have solutions in place for AMP.

Each site will be different so it’s best to discuss this with your web developer.

Overall

In my opinion, it’s well worth creating AMP versions of posts and articles - although the full benefits may take a while to filter through.

Also, the process of creating AMP pages gave me a good reason to assess my sites and their code. As a result, I’m planning to look again at what I actually need on my site and strip out the rest. I hope this will give me a more streamlined site and the lightweight, super-optimised AMP articles.

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