Did you know your website has a carbon footprint? 🦶🌎
Similar to the CO2 generated by our digital marketing efforts, website carbon emissions aren’t something most of us think about.
However, research has found websites with 10,000 monthly page views can have annual CO2 emissions as high as 60kg.
When you consider all the websites that exist (around 1.13 billion), the problem instantly becomes clear. This is especially the case for larger websites in terms of size or monthly page views.
It's not possible to stop making or using websites. After all, they are essential to how we all do business, shop, and basically live these days.
But you can aim to have a low carbon website, or better still: a zero carbon website.
If you’ve never even thought of your website's carbon emissions before today, here’s where to start.
Sustainable Web Design Terms To Know
💚 - Carbon neutral website: A website which looks to offset emissions generated through tree planting and similar initiatives.
💚💚 - Low carbon website: The website has taken steps to reduce its size, weight and load times to significantly lower its carbon emissions.
💚💚💚 - Zero carbon website: No traceable carbon emissions are being generated by that website when tested by various carbon calculators.
Reduce Your Website’s Energy Consumption
To achieve a zero carbon website, or even a low carbon website, you need to consider how your website actually uses energy. A website carbon calculator can work out how much CO2 your website produces.
The more it takes for your website to load up, the more energy it will inevitably use. This energy doesn’t just come from your servers, but your user’s servers too.
If that wasn't bad enough, your website is also constantly being crawled by search engines and SEO software, and the more data there is to crawl, the more CO2 this will generate.
So what can you do to reduce this massive drain on energy resources?
Remove non-essential pages along with complicated user journeys on your website
Remove any unnecessary images, content or elements from the page which don’t serve a clear purpose
Ditch infinite scroll on pages to cap the amount of carbon that a page can generate
Don’t set videos to autoplay
Reduce image use/sizes and use more efficient file formats such as AVIF, SVG and WEBP
Fix buggy codes which prevent pages from loading correctly
Use eco friendly analytics (i.e. GoSquared Analytics) which won’t clog your page load times.
Use SEO responsibly factoring in search intent, so that people land on your pages and only find relevant content.
Some of these steps you can implement immediately. But when it comes to slimming down your website pages and overall design, you might need to wait until you have a website overhaul.
In either case, one thing you should always do is involve your whole team in the process. For example, content writers, SEO specialists, developers, web designers, sustainability officers and managers.
Having a team effort ensures everyone knows what's required when aiming for the most sustainable website possible.
Switch To Green Website Hosting
Here at EcoSend we use energy-efficient infrastructure.
But when it comes to choosing a hosting provider for your website, the idea of green hosting (i.e. servers which run on renewable energies), isn’t talked about nearly enough.
Where you host your website matters, and not just because of the price, server storage or even overall speed capabilities. That’s because your hosting provider will also be creating a carbon footprint for your website - not to mention your business - unless it runs on renewable energy.
Examples of green website hosting providers:
Green hosting providers run on renewable energy such as solar and wind energy. For such a simple switch all businesses should be making green hosting a priority.
Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN)
For those unfamiliar, a CDN (content delivery network) stores a version of your website and replicates it in different locations around the world. The idea being to speed up the amount of time it takes for your pages to load when your website is accessed from another country.
However, the benefits of a CDN aren’t limited to your user experience, as a CDN can also make your website greener too.
Think about it. Every time your website has to be loaded from a server outside of the location of your website servers, it will take more time to load due to the increased distance the data has to travel.
BTW 💡: Your website servers may not even be in the same country as you, depending on who your hosting provider is.
So say your website is hosted within the UK, but your traffic comes from the US or even Australia - suddenly that data has to travel thousands of miles more than usual. Likewise, if your website is hosted on a .com domain in the US but you’re based in the UK, that’s extra carbon being generated for every single click.
If you’re not sure here, check both your website traffic stats (user locations) plus the location of your hosting provider. Unless the two align in terms of geographic location, a CDN may be needed to reduce your website’s carbon footprint.
Carbon Offsetting Any Unavoidable Emissions
Avoiding generating carbon emissions in the first place is always the preferred option to carbon offsetting.
Assuming you’re committed to following the above steps to reduce the size and weight of your website, carbon offsetting considers any unavoidable emissions.
Some carbon offsetting techniques include planting trees, switching to a renewable energy provider or investing in carbon offsetting projects as a business.
It’s good to keep in mind that carbon offsetting should be seen as a temporary measure. Once new technology or updates make it possible to have zero emissions generated from your website, these will inevitably offer a far better solution.
Even with EcoSend, many people just aren’t aware their emails have a carbon footprint. So it’s fair to say that sustainability is a learning curve for everyone. The concept of having a zero carbon website is no exception.
Regularly Measure & Reduce Website Carbon Emissions
Your website is constantly changing, and so is the web. Therefore, it’s not enough to only do a random emissions check every once in a while.
Instead, you need to consider the carbon impact of your website regularly. For instance, when adding new pages or features.
Given it only takes seconds for website carbon calculators to work, this doesn’t have to be a major hassle either. It’s simply about ensuring your good work continues, especially when you're striving to be a net zero business.
We also think your customers will be interested to know you’re doing your bit for the environment. If you don’t believe us, check out the following research by Google:
“66% of shoppers are now seeking out eco-friendly brands, with 55% saying they would pay more for more sustainable products.”
If it’s a choice between your zero carbon (or at least low carbon) website and a hugely polluting competitor, you’d definitely have the upper hand. Regularly measuring your progress will keep this competitive edge ultra sharp.
Why Stop At Your Website? Switch To Sustainable Email Marketing With EcoSend 🌳 ✉️
Calling all website owners, marketers, CEOs, sustainability officers and anyone else who wants to help the planet through their online habits.
If you do any kind of email marketing, then this too is generating carbon emissions. Emails can emit up to 50g of carbon, and with 300 billion emails sent per day, that soon adds up.
But if you want the good news, reducing your carbon emissions from email doesn’t take lots of steps like improving your website does. Instead, you can make an instant switch to EcoSend today.
Our systems run on renewable energy sources, and we’ll plant trees on behalf of your business for using us. We also reinvest some of our profits back into climate related causes.
Ready to make the switch to greener email today? Check out our plans starting at just $49 per month. Or start your free trial today to see what we’re all about.
Want to chat further with us? Please drop us a message and we’ll be right with you.