How to Design a Green Website

The Internet is a huge thing, and it’s one that uses a ton of energy. Supposedly, the amount of energy needed to power a single Google search is the same energy used to boil a cup of water. Fortunately, more and more companies are seeking to go green-though this has the troubling issue of having different definitions to whomever you ask.

Plenty of reasons exist to design a green website, from the economical to the moral and everything else in between. Not all energy is clean and renewable, which makes it critical to go green and keep things clean.

Picking Green Web Hosting 

It’s a common starting point to pick your web host when you’re designing a website, especially if you don’t already have one of your own. This is a stage where many companies tend to overlook the eco aspect-that is, your web host should be a green company too.

GreenGeeks is one such host offering the ability to quickly create simple websites while also supporting huge, complex websites. Not only that, but GreenGeeks strives to provide only the greenest experience in web hosting at all levels. New users will also have the ability to register a free domain name to accompany their new website.

FatCow also offers green hosting options thanks to its reliance on wind energy. Users who opt for FatCow hosting will also have the ability to display a certificate on their websites that show they’re supported by a 100 percent eco-friendly host.

Finally, DreamHost is another well-known web host that has also made the move to greener days. Between its energy credits and conscious practices in the workplace, DreamHost offers a carbon-neutral experience, although it does not use solar or wind energy for its data centers yet.

A quality green web host will provide at least some of these elements:

  • Servers that run on renewable energy
  • Using a carbon credit to offset energy use
  • Using a Renewable Energy Credit (REC) to offset energy use
  • Optimizing servers for the most efficient energy use
  • Environmentally friendly practices throughout the company

In other words, you want a web host that minimizes its footprint.

Choosing a Platform 

While there are countless different platforms that can help run your website, one of the best would have to be WordPress. Why? Besides the fact that it’s the most commonly-used blogging platform, there are several benefits:

  • It’s free: As open-source software, WordPress doesn’t cost anything to the user, even if you’ll make money with the website.
  • Mobile-friendly: By default, the WordPress theme offers a mobile version, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone; now you don’t need to develop a separate mobile-friendly platform.
  • Scalable: Whether your company is small and local or huge and global, WordPress is versatile enough to support your website needs. It can easily grow along with you.
  • User-friendly: Even barebones technical knowledge will easily take you through WordPress menus and setup.
  • Huge community: And for the problems that might be over your head, a huge community exists to help solve your problem.

Using a Green Web Designer

You know about green web hosting, but what about green web designers? It’s not just that they’ll do something different than other web designers; these companies live green throughout the day. That includes using biodegradable pens, recycled paper, energy-efficient lights, repurposed furniture and everything else in between.

A company practicing green techniques in all aspects of the workplace understands the approach you’re looking to take. You’ll get the chance to support this company by using them to design your green website. It also means you can be sure your website will be optimally designed to use the least amount of energy.

Optimal Website Design

Hiring a green web designer can get you the best design for a green website, but if you’re doing it yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Simple Design

Both ends of a server request use up energy. The more data it has to transfer, the more energy is needed to achieve the task. Having a simple design means reducing how much data your server needs to send, and the energy it must spend, by proxy. Stop using Flash, lose the JavaScript widgets and cap the resolution on your images.

Faster Website

This will also help speed up your website, which is valuable to search engines. Not only will you reduce your spent energy with a more efficiently designed website, but visitors will greatly appreciate how quickly your website loads.

Lighter Colors

It’s a common misconception that your monitor spends more energy displaying lighter colors. Actually, it’s an outdated thought; old CRT monitors did use less energy on black-dominant screens, but new LCD monitors are the opposite way. Given how common the LCD monitor is, it’s a safer bet to rely on lighter colors for saving energy in the long run.

Minimizing Your Own Footprint

Thinking green can only go so far with your website. The best way to maximize your green efforts and minimize your own footprint is to extend it to the rest of your life.

For example, will you buy something from a local farmer’s market or something that was mass-produced from another country? Will you use a website that outsources its work to the other side of the world or someone who believes in going green? You can encourage your website visitors to continue the trend, too.

Eco Incentives

It’s not easy getting new subscribers on your website. However, using eco incentives, you may be able to kill two birds with one stone again. For example, planting a tree for every new subscriber can be an excellent way to encourage new visitors while leaving a positive mark on the world.

Encourage Change

Regardless of your blog’s subject, people are reading your words. You can use them to encourage others to make green commitments, or even teach them how to use less energy in their own homes in as few steps as possible. Remember that people may be willing to commit to a better cause, but too much perceived labor could be discouraging.

You’ve now taken the first few crucial steps needed to design your own green website. There are no limits to what you can create and achieve at this point.