Recently, I’ve committed to learning more about green marketing practices and have been diving deep into how to make our websites better for people and the planet. If you are investing in your first website or are interested in making your website more eco-friendly, there’s plenty you can do to make it greener.
Below are 3 steps you can take to lessen your website’s carbon emissions and make it more inclusive and accessible for your audience.
But first… What is the digital carbon footprint?
Everything we do online emits a small amount of carbon – whether that’s sending emails, streaming videos or visiting websites. The carbon emissions created by the production and transfer of data through our internet use is called our digital carbon footprint.
Happily, a recent report suggests that the carbon emissions produced by the internet are not as concerning as originally thought. This is due to data centres becoming more energy-efficient and some even running on renewable energy.
However, the internet is still responsible for carbon emissions. And as eco-conscious business owners, there is work we can do to reduce our websites’ carbon footprints and continue making our corner of the internet a little greener.
And of course, there is always work we can do to make our websites more accessible, inclusive and ethical for the people who we share this planet with.
So, with this in mind, here are 3 steps you can take towards a more eco-friendly website.
3 steps to a more eco-friendly website
1. Switch to green website hosting
Many of us (myself included until recently) don’t tend to give much thought to choosing a website host, beyond perhaps price, our own requirements, and the company’s reputation.
(If you’re not familiar with website hosting, this is where your website ‘lives’ online. Every website is hosted on a server, and this lets your website be viewed on the internet.)
The issue is: the servers that our websites are hosted on require energy to run. And if this energy is generated by fossil fuels, it has an environmental cost.
This is where green website hosting comes in.
Green website hosting is kinder to the environment as the servers and data centres are run on clean, renewable energy, such as solar, wind and wave power. There are also types of green hosts that don’t use renewable energy but instead offset their carbon emissions. This is not as good as renewables-powered hosting, but it’s still greener than standard hosting.
2. Implement eco-conscious website design
Your website’s carbon footprint is linked to the file size of your website. By implementing green web design practices, you can significantly reduce the file size of your website, which:
Reduces your website’s carbon emissions
Makes your website faster
Benefits your SEO
(because google favours quick sites)
Improves accessibility for those with slower internet speeds
Green website design also considers people with disabilities, such as those with visual or hearing impairments. By being conscious of making your website design accessible, you can make sure that you are not excluding people from being able to access your website.
For me as a copywriter, green web design is a whole different world. So, to save my own mental energy and ensure a great result, I outsource anything to do with design to a professional. If you’d like to do the same and need some recommendations of great green website designers, feel free to reach out – I have a whole stack of designers I can suggest.
To improve my own knowledge, I’ve recently learnt a lot from The Green Marketing Academy, Michelle Miller at Minty Made, and Amy Greenwald at Blue Raspberry Design. Again, these aren’t affiliate links – I just love Michelle’s and Amy’s work and recommend giving them a follow if you’re interested in learning more about green website design.
3. Invest in ethical, sustainable copywriting
The third piece of the ‘eco-friendly website’ puzzle is the words on your website.
Sure, wording doesn’t physically affect your website’s carbon footprint in the same way as green hosting or green web design. However, your copy is important for showing your customer why you are a sustainable choice, and communicating your brand’s ethos, offering and impact in a clear, transparent way (without greenwashing).
Sustainable copywriting is about making sure your messaging serves your brand and your ideal customer. It ensures sales are sparked from a place of trust and consideration, rather than pressuring or hurrying your customers into making a decision.
Rushed decisions perpetuate the cycle of overconsumption and as eco-conscious businesses this is the very thing we want to avoid.
Your copy also has an important role to play in making your website more inclusive and accessible. We need to be conscious of the language we use as, obviously, we don’t want to exclude people or make anyone feel bad or unwelcome. Some examples of this are:
- Avoiding sense-dependent descriptions that may be inaccessible for people with visual or hearing impairments (I learnt this from Rebecca Thorne at Connect With Your Crowd – I recommend following her if you’re interested in learning more)
- Avoiding gendered language
- Avoiding ableist language
- Not making assumptions about people’s situation or lived experience (shout out to copywriter Robyn LeRoy-Evans at Echo and Scribe for educating me on this one)
If you’d like to learn more about sustainable copywriting, try my recent blog post: Eco Copywriting 101: How to write sustainable copy for your brand.
Or, if you’re thinking this sounds like a lot and want to outsource your website copy to a copywriter, feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to help.
I hope these 3 steps are helpful in your journey towards a more eco-friendly website.
Until next time…
Keep making waves!