There are about 1.5 million accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) on the web.
In this article, you’ll learn about the components of an AMP, how it works, its benefits, its restrictions, and where it stands in comparison to progressive web apps (PWAs) and responsive web design.
What is AMP?
Let's unpack what AMP is to understand it better.
Accelerated mobile page (AMP) definition
AMPs are a web component framework that enables the creation of accelerated mobile pages.
A combination of the three core components and optimization techniques ensures a super fast user experience.
AMP HTML is different from regular HTML tags as it contains AMP-specific tags as well. Also known as custom tags, these tags make it easy to execute AMP in the code.
AMP HTML restricts some HTML code for the reliable performance of the website. Google search engine and other platforms recognize AMP through HTML tags.
Everything from external resources is made asynchronous with AMP JS so as to prevent any delays in rendering. AMP JS also disables slow CSS selectors and pre-calculates page elements before loading resources to improve page performance.
Caching is a well-known technique for improving a page’s performance. AMP utilizes a proxy-based content delivery network in the form of AMP cache for valid AMP documents.
AMP cache comes with its own validation system. The system uses a series of assertions that validates a page’s mark-up against the AMP HTML specs.
A separate version of the validation system logs the validation errors directly into a browser’s console, enabling you to see changes in code that affect performance and UX.
Now that you know the core components that make up the AMP framework, let’s go over the optimization techniques that make the quickly-loading pages possible.
Static size for all resources
AMP likes to determine the size and position of each element before the resources are loaded. That’s the reason why any external resources like images or ads have to state their HTML size. Utilizing this information, AMP loads the layout of the page without waiting for any resources to download.
Inline and size-bound CSS
CSS tends to cause bloating and it also delays rendering. AMP HTML uses inline style to remove many HTTP requests to web pages. There should be 50 KB kept open for inline CSS—enough space for sophisticated web pages.
Efficient font triggering
A typical page consists of sync scripts and a couple of external styles. The browser doesn’t download the fonts until the scripts are loaded.
Running only GPU-accelerated animations
Heavy animations require GPU acceleration. GPU performs all its tasks in layers. Yet GPU cannot update page layout. It gives the task to the web browser, which is not as efficient from a speed perspective.
Prioritization of resource loading
One way that AMP maintains fast speeds is by prioritizing resource loading. It only loads resources as needed and also pre-fetches lazy-loaded resources.
Instant loading of pages
AMPs are loaded instantly because they are rendered even before a user points toward a page they’d like to navigate to. This is made possible via AMP pre-connect API without using a lot of bandwidth or CPU.
Benefits of AMP
User experience gets improved when pages of an app load faster than standard. It improves the web experience at different devices and platforms. Because of these innovations, AMP has many benefits.
Engage more customers
Your website visitors will get the information they need instantly. This is possible due to the median load time of AMPs being under one second. Such a brief load time leads to increased page engagement and makes visitors are more likely to act on your CTAs.
Just like a second of downtime can determine the fate of a conglomerate’s market value, a one-second delay on your website decreases your conversion rate by 12%. AMP offers a faster user experience on websites, ads, and post-click landing pages.
When you use AMP, you have the opportunity to use optimized web components. You can use CSS for styling and retrieving data from the web pages then conduct A/B testing to ensure the best user experience.
The process of AMP creation is simple and straightforward. Your entire archive can be converted to AMP with ease, including your CMS archive. There is no requirement of any special skill set for optimizing AMP pages.
After AMP pages are created, they are distributed to different platforms simultaneously. This feature of AMP allows the ads to be used both on AMP and non-AMP pages. Thus, you can build ads and deliver your brand experience across all platforms, maximizing your ad-budget ROI.
Create a sustainable future
As an open-source project, AMP aims to build apps that are committed to delivering faster and better user experiences. You can be a part of this sustainable future by deploying AMP in your mobile apps and websites.
Improve user experience
Your ultimate goal should be to build a better user experience. AMP can make your load time 15% to 85% faster. Even if it means only a second’s improvement, it’s worth trying AMP—you might be surprised at how much it improves your UX.
When ranking websites, Google’s algorithms recognize page loading speed and mobile responsiveness. Your mobile website’s load time will help determine your page rank. The faster it loads, the higher it will be ranked in the search engine result page.
AMP-optimized pages feature a green lightning bolt icon under the title, indicating their fast loading speed. AMP-enabled pages also get featured in carousel form above paid ads on SERPs.
Restrictions of AMP
No doubt AMP pages provide a lot of advantages, but there are some shortcomings that can’t be overlooked. Here are a few of them.
No Google Analytics tracking
The reason why AMPs are faster also restricts AMP from using Google analytics. Google uses a cached version of the AMPs instead of loading pages from the server. It does not keep a track on the number of visitors until and unless you make GA configurations and use separate tracking codes.
AMP vs. other optimized frameworks
AMP is an innovative way to achieve faster load times for your mobile pages, but it isn’t the only optimized framework out there. Here’s how it stands against the alternatives.
AMP vs. Facebook Instant Articles
Both AMP pages and Facebook Instant Articles speed up the process of loading information. Even though AMP pages are more popular in comparison to the web alternatives, the engagement rate and speed of a Facebook Instant Article is much higher than that of an AMP. This is because Facebook started prioritizing text and video articles, leading developers to stop using instant articles.
AMP vs. responsive web design
Mobile websites have been ruling web applications since 2015 when google launched its mobile-friendly algorithm—an event referred to as mobilegeddon. Mobile web pages created with responsive web design provide flexible formats for different screen sizes and orientations.
AMP combines with existing responsive websites without necessitating the redesigning web pages, but to develop a responsive web page to combine with another one, redesign is necessary. Responsive web design scales web pages rather than working on speed. AMP has more limited functionalities that allow it to load web pages much faster than responsive web design pages.
AMP vs. PWA
AMP is optimized for speed, whereas progressive web applications (PWAs) emphasize the look and feel of the website. PWAs update web pages dynamically without interrupting user experience.
AMP and PWA, if used together, can help you create a dynamic website with a fast page-rendering process.
AMP up your mobile pages
With a range of optimized frameworks like AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, and PWAs, there is really no excuse for poor engagement and high bounce rates on your mobile pages. Utilize AMP optimization techniques to provide a powerful experience and meet Google’s speed expectations.
Aakansha is a content marketing expert at Galaxy Weblinks Inc. Her expertise includes marketing content, blogging, social media, as well as strategic policy.
She has an in-depth understanding of design and development processes and often writes about user experience, designing, web development, mobile apps, security, and more.
She works alongside senior management to facilitate implementation of strategic policy and in-house training. She strongly believes communication is key to any system, algorithm, design, or life in general.