In order to improve the mobile user’s experience by making mobile pages faster, as well as to respond to Facebook’s Instant Articles initiative, Google has published a new project, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). In cooperation with publishers and technology companies, Google has decided to put content at the forefront of the mobile experience.
As with all new Google initiatives, there has been active discussion about AMP since its release, and it has elicited the usual love/hate reactions. Obviously, this new trend will affect the WordPress ecosystem as well. As a company that aims to make the Web faster, easier and better, we have been getting a lot of questions about AMP and how it affects WordPress sites and performance.
What AMP Is
In plain English, AMP provides faster and lighter versions of your web pages delivered to mobile users that puts the primary focus on content, by eliminating all unnecessary scripts and elements. That means users will get very fast pages, pages that load instantly. On the other hand, the ability to control the functionality of AMP pages will be limited.
The AMP Project relies on AMP HTML, AMP JS and Google AMP Cache:
AMP HTML is a tailor-made version of HTML used for displaying AMP pages. It removes some standard HTML tags such as frame, frameset, object, param etc. Also, in AMP HTML some tags are replaced by specific AMP tags – img with amp-img, video with amp-video, audio with amp-audio etc. That’s not all, there is a full list of rules that should be followed in order to use AMP HTML properly.
AMP JS is library that provides built-in AMP Components used to load pages faster by managing loading of external resources, sandboxing of iframes, pre-calculation of layout, disabling slow CSS selectors etc.
Google AMP Cache is AMP’s CDN that ensures even faster delivery of content. It works as a proxy based CDN and uses HTTP 2.0 origin.
What AMP Is NOT
As we get a lot of different questions about this new project, it’s important to make a few things clear.
Can I use AMP as a mobile cache for my site?
If you are wondering whether you would be able to use AMP as a caching system for your site or not, the answer is – No. AMP is not a caching system. It doesn’t affect desktop versions of websites at all.
Can I use AMP as a mobile CDN?
It is not a CDN either. AMP can be considered as a new, custom-made technology for mobile devices rather than a caching or CDN system/replacement.
Can I use AMP as a mobile theme for my site?
Another possible misunderstanding of this concept is identifying AMP as a mobile theme for your site. Here we have another “No”. AMP is not a mobile theme for your website.
AMP and WordPress
In these days when WordPress powers 26% of websites, whenever there is a new development like this, the question on everybody’s lips, is of course, “is there a plugin for that?”
As is usually the case, the answer is “yes!”
It will take little effort if you want to implement AMP on your WordPress-powered website. All you have to do is to install and run one of these plugins:
- AMP by Automattic – Free version
- PageFrog – Free version
- AMP for WordPress by CreativeisG – CodeCanyon paid version
- Templatic AMP – Alpha release
At this very moment, the easiest, most painless way would be to run Automattic’s AMP plugin. Although limited when we talk about freedom of customization, it focuses on delivering AMP version of your articles, and it does it well. PageFrog and Templatic AMP are built on top of Automattic’s plugin, and these give more customization options through the admin panel.
AMP and WP Rocket
Do I still need WP Rocket?
This is one of the most frequent questions we received. The answer is:
Yes! You still need a caching solution for your website even when you run AMP.
As of v2.6.16 of WP Rocket, we are 100% compatible with Automattic’s AMP plugin. Compatibility is built-in, you don’t need to configure any settings.
AMP is a great tool that helps publishers create fast-loading mobile pages. Focusing on content is probably the most valuable feature delivered by AMP. Since it’s created by Google, there is a strong possibility it will affect your SEO rankings, although this is still not confirmed. AMP stories are indicated as such in search results, which could influence click-throughs. Eliminating scripts and additional sites’ resources and focusing on page speed is also a very good decision for user experience.
Inside WordPress, there are no further steps required other than installing a plugin, so no technical knowledge is needed to make it work on your site.
For now, the main weakness of AMP is the limited possibility for customisation and control. In case you need any extended functionality,this would be hard to accomplish.
Projects such as AMP could be considered as the right direction for the future of the web, because they focus on content and page speed as the most important factor of every website. Making things easier is a great step for a better, lighter and faster web.
Don’t hesitate to give us your opinion on this topic in the comments below.