Sustainable web design in four simple steps

27th February 2024

You’d be forgiven for thinking your web presence had a small, rather insignificant impact on the environment, but research shows this isn’t the case.

In fact, the average website produces 4.61 grams of CO2 for every page view. For websites that have an average of 10,000 page views per month, we’re talking approx. 553 kilograms of COeach year. For high-traffic websites and businesses with multiple domains, that figure represents just a fraction of the actual emissions you’re putting out.

That’s right. Your website has its own carbon footprint.

The internet consumes a lot of electricity: 240-340 TWh per year according to the IEA. In fact, if the internet was a country, it would be the world’s 4th largest polluter – ranking higher than the United Kingdom.

With businesses around the world committed to reducing their emissions and helping to fight climate change, it’s important we all take responsibility for our digital footprint, too.

By investing in more sustainable web design, we’ll also benefit from faster load times, a more enjoyable user experience, and a better chance of ranking higher in Google search results. Basically, everyone wins.

What is sustainable web design?‍

Sustainable web design is an approach to designing digital products and services that focuses on environmental impact first and foremost. It respects the principles of the Sustainable Web Manifesto, which calls for the internet to be clean, efficient, open, honest, regenerative, and resilient.

4 simple steps to website sustainability

To help you navigate the world of sustainable web design, we’ve put together a few top tips. For more comprehensive guidelines, download your FREE checklist.

  1. Embrace JEDI design

No, i’m not talking about harnessing the force. JEDI stands for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Remember, not everyone’s surfing the web with perfect vision, the latest tech and lightning-fast connections. Justin Reyna put it perfectly when he said: “Not creating accessible products is just rude”. So let’s make the digital world enjoyable for all, not just a privileged few.

By striving to meet the highest possible accessibility standards, you can enhance code quality, which in turn boosts energy efficiency and elevates your SEO rankings –it’s a no-brainer.

  1. Simplify user journeys

Did you know that 90.6% of web pages get zero traffic from Google? That’s why it’s best to prioritise page quality over quantity. Simplifying the user experience doesn’t only serve to help people find what they’re looking for. It’s also more energy-efficient, because it reduces the number of wasted clicks needed to navigate your website.

  1. Reduce page weight

Lightweight pages load faster and consume less energy. Saving your assets in optimal formats and sizes, using video content efficiently, and embracing dark mode can all help.

  1. Choose green hosting

Last, but not least, switch to a hosting provider powered by 100% renewable energy, e.g. Krystal. Unsure about your current hosting? The Green Web Foundation’s checker can help.

How do you calculate your website’s carbon impact?

Whilst it’s relatively straightforward to track the environmental impact for most major industries (e.g. miles per gallon for cars or energy per square meter for homes), it’s not as simple to measure the amount of COproduced while browsing the internet. Fortunately, the team at Sustainable Web Design have created a comprehensive methodology for estimating emissions.

If you have any questions about your website’s sustainability, you can request a free website audit here and we will send you a breakdown of different areas that you could improve. Or feel free to contact us at [email protected], for a no obligation chat.


About Proctor + Stevenson

Game-changing strategy, creative and technology that means more impact for your marketing. And more power to your business.

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