- New Web Vitals initiative for AMP
- AMP v2.0 comes with two new template modes
- Mobile redirection feature in the new official AMP for WordPress plugin
The official Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) plugin for WordPress allows site owners to build a user-first experience (UX) on their websites, boosting speed, efficiency and accessibility.
A user-first site ensures that your website delivers experiences that your audience enjoys, increasing time spent on pages and, in turn, the success of your site as search engines Google perceives low bounce rates and high engagement levels positively.
Contrary to popular belief, the AMP plugin is not solely effective for mobile sites and is a fully responsive web component that can improve the user experience on both desktop and mobile.
AMP has prioritised UX since its inception in 2015, meaning it was built with the purpose of creating a user-first site that is fast, engaging and secure “for everyone, everywhere”. In that sense, optimisation is well aligned with AMP’s vision and design concept.
Essentially, AMP is a cost-effective tool that makes it easier for developers to create fast-performing sites by reducing the level of technicality and resources required to build a responsive website.
WordPress has also announced an exciting v2.0 of the official AMP plugin, allowing site owners to better serve their users through three template modes: Standard, Transitional and Reader. While these templates have different purposes, all aim to create a frictionless path for successful content publishing in WordPress.
We will provide an overview of the upgraded AMP plugin for WordPress, covering some of the highlights from this major release!
AMP and Core Web Vitals
WordPress’s official AMP plugin has recently been upgraded to include an option to build a website entirely with AMP!
The new Web Vitals initiative offers a collection of guidelines on quality signals that are fundamental to providing a user-first experience online. Essentially, the new Web Vitals update allows site owners to build a website that functions solely on AMP without duplicating pages to have two different versions, overcoming challenges associated with the existing framework.
The Core Web Vitals have also evolved, with the current focus in 2021 being: loading, interactivity, and visual stability. The core metrics that make up the Core Web Vitals are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures the loading speed and should take place within 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID) measures interactivity. According to WordPress, the FID should be less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures visual stability, and to deliver good UX; webpages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.
Regardless of technical expertise, the AMP v2.0 plugin is a powerful tool for experienced web developers and non-developers or those that struggle with development tasks by automating the integration of AMP-compatible components and reducing complexity.
When AMP versions of web pages are listed in Google, the original URL is not displayed. However, if an entire website is built with just AMP, there is no need to have standard versions of a page, meaning the URL displayed in Google would be the official web publisher address.
Still, there are some limitations to having an AMP-only website, especially if your site relies on significant amounts of custom programming. So, site owners will need to consider the demands of their site and whether committing to a pure-AMP solution is feasible.
Besides a Core Web Vitals update, the new AMP for WordPress plugin has brought about some other improvements, including:
- Content sanitisers: To help substitute HTML tags for their corresponding AMP components, implement optimisations, and feed validation information to the plugin compatibility’s tool.
- Compatibility tool: Assists with different AMP debugging.
- CSS Tree Shaking: To assist in the process of putting the CSS-house in order in cases where existing CSS rules exceed the maximum limit permitted on single AMP pages.
- Core theme support: Enabling full AMP validity for four default themes (i.e. 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019).
- Gutenberg integration: Enabling AMP content creation fully integrated with WordPress 5.0.
- Various enhancements: Including code, performance, and developer experience improvements.
- Compatibility enforcement: To ensure that a site stays AMP compatible and that only AMP-valid content is ever served.
The old Reader Mode has also been expanded to include full-site coverage, while two other templates have been introduced: Standard and Transitional.
The new official AMP for WordPress has come with two new themes/templates and upgraded the existing Reader Mode. We will deliver an overview of each template to help you learn more about these new features.
The Standard Mode template is the only option that serves requests for the AMP version of your site, meaning your business will benefit from reduced development and maintenance costs.
If themes and plugins used across your current site are AMP-compatible, or you have resources to create custom AMP pages, then the Standard Mode template will be your best bet.
The Transitional Mode also uses a single theme; however, this template can create an AMP and non-AMP version of a given URL – similar to the existing framework.
If your site uses a theme that is not wholly AMP-compatible, the Transitional Template would be a good choice as it offers mobile users the optimised AMP version of a web page while maintaining the feel and style of the non-AMP version.
Desktop users will continue to experience the non-AMP version.
The Reader Mode contains two themes, one for the AMP version and an alternative for non-AMP pages. As a result, two versions of the site are created, which means more work for developers and site owners.
However, if your site uses a theme that is incompatible with AMP, this would be the template of choice. The Reader Mode might also be a good choice for the less tech-savvy developer or those that want to avoid development tasks due to its simplicity and robust workflow that allows you to benefit from the AMP plugin with little effort.
As you configure the new plugin, you’ll begin to comprehend which mode would be most effective for the theme and plugins used on your site.
Although the service remains most important on mobile devices, the AMP acronym as we know it no longer truly represents the plugin, which has evolved leaps and bounds in the last few years.
AMP is a fully responsive web framework that enhances UX on mobile devices and desktops. For example, suppose you’re considering implementing a user-first AMP site. In that case, you might want to utilise the mobile redirection feature, which allows you to automatically direct mobile visitors to the AMP version of your site as you traverse toward full AMP compatibility.
Are you wondering whether there is any value in redirecting users to the AMP version of your site for mobile? Well, given that Google uses mobile-first indexing and AMP works to improve your site’s loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability, you’ll likely notice a performance boost on the AMP version of your site.
Website performance is one of the crucial factors in determining your position in SERPs, meaning the AMP version of your site could improve your site’s ranking position, which would also increase the number of visitors.
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