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How green is your website designing and development?

The World Wide Web is one of the most revolutionary inventions in human history, connecting people, information, and ideas from all over the world. It has been a boon to families, businesses, and academics alike. Its potential is immense. But at the same time, it can be a serious distraction, keeping people so busy with their digital worlds that they don’t have time to enjoy the real ones.

When you think about it, what does it really mean for a website to be “green”? “Green” in website designing and development has come to mean many things: being environmentally conscious; using renewable resources; reducing carbon emissions… For many designers and developers, “green” has become an excuse for not doing something.

But there’s a better way. We can website designing and development that is a resource to the community and planet, not just our customers. Designing and developing websites that we’re proud to share with our customers, friends, and colleagues is about more than just making it look good for them. It’s about making it wise for the rest of us, too.

There are many great resources out there from which you can learn how to get your website into shape as an eco-friendly web resource. Some things you’ll want to consider:

  1. Lead by example.

If your business is “going green”, let your website be an example. Label yourself, share stories that describe how going green affects your organization, and be the change you want to see in the world (greenly-speaking, of course!).

  1. Let your customer know what you’re doing.

People like to know what they can do to help the environment. So let your customers know, and ask them for suggestions. If their input is incorporated into the website, it’s like a little present from you to them.

  1. Avoid text-heavy pages.

We are living in an age of information overload, where we have access to more data than we can hope to process. As a design principle, “less is more ” is important for eco-friendly web resources: less text means less room for error, and fewer opportunities to waste natural resources like paper or ink.

  1. Reduce server load.

The more quickly a website loads, and the more bytes it uses per page request, the slower the server will be. Smaller and lighter pages load faster, saving resource usage and electricity.

  1. Keep your site accessible.

If your visitors can’t get to certain areas of your site, they won’t be able to enjoy the full benefits of your eco-friendly creation. Make sure that people with disabilities can access content as well as everyone else – this is just good business sense!

  1. Reduce spam.

Spam can be a huge waste of server resources. Spammers use automated programs (bots) to scour web pages looking for email addresses, and the bots can overload servers by requesting hundreds of thousands of pages at once.

  1. Use reusable code.

Unless you’re using a really elegant script that performs a function that no other code does, take something that somebody else has already written and use it on your website, instead of writing something new from scratch.

  1. Reduce graphics.

Since your website is a resource to the world, you’re asking people to visit it. And they’re probably doing other things while they’re there. Don’t waste server resources on pictures that are unnecessary.

  1. Make links work and then make them green!

If your website has lots of links, you will deplete your server’s memory and electricity faster than you can imagine. Take the time to think about how these links should be structured, and how they will affect server loads in the future.

  1. Think offline.

Websites are resources to the community, and they need to be available in all situations. Keep the website up-to-date with your latest press releases, products, and services.

  1. Get a good backup system in place.

For sites that you don’t control (say, public Internet sites), there’s no point in being green if you don’t back up your website regularly. You never know when a flood, fire, or computer virus will force you offline.

  1. Upgrade your website hardware and software regularly.

Attractive websites need to be maintained and updated to keep up with the latest technology. This means replacing hardware and software regularly, instead of waiting for it to break down beyond repair (which is oftentimes more expensive). What’s more, old hardware can contribute to pollution if it’s in a landfill somewhere.

  1. Take energy efficiency seriously.

The websites you visit consume a lot of energy. So does the computer on which you’re viewing them. Going green doesn’t just mean using recycled paper or re-used technology; it means using less power to do what you’re doing, and using fewer resources overall.

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  1. Think ahead – and think back!

We leave a lot of waste behind when we’re done with something. Make sure you have a plan in place to reduce waste, and that you’re thinking ahead to the point where you’ll be able to reuse what’s leftover.

  1. Use appropriate tools.

Take advantage of the tools that are right for the job. Raster graphics programs (like Photoshop) should be used for photos and images, while vector graphics programs (such as Illustrator or Inkscape) work better for logos, icons, and clip-art.



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