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AMP Only – Converting to a Pure Accelerated Mobile Pages Website

- January 5, 2017

AMP I’m going to attempt to revive my interest in writing by converting this website to an AMP only website. It’s not going to be easy but I know I can do it. When I get done, the non-AMP website will no longer exist. The URLs for each page or post will still be the same. I’ll explain the big difference in a moment or two.

The Automattic team created an official plugin to support AMP nearly a year ago and from what I can tell, they’ve only updated it once. It’s still lacking in features. That’s okay, because there are other plugins I can mangle to do what I want them to do.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are Faster than Standard Mobile Pages

Even if I have my website optimized for mobile to the max and responsive and all that, an AMP version will still be faster. Each page is a stripped down version of HTML called AMPHTML.

Without getting into all the details, it’s faster from the get-go because a whole bunch of assets (like jQuery) aren’t allowed. CSS files aren’t allowed. In a nutshell, anything that could potentially interfere with the page load isn’t allowed.

Google is maintaining a cache specifically for AMP on their servers. That means any search result with an AMP lightning bolt next to it will pull the page from their cache, not my web server.

AMP Ads and AdSense

The first time I tried it, months ago, I got things to work somewhat before I gave up on AMP completely. Well, it’s going to be a lot easier to do it this time. A Google AdSense help page tells me all I need to know to create an AMP ad unit now.

Even though it seems simple, something always seems to trip me up. I’m sure I’m going to have to fiddle with something before I get things working the way they should.

No Contact Form and No Comments

If I wait for the powers that be to get their acts together, I’ll probably be older and grayer than I already am. Although AMP forms are now supported, detailed instructions on making them work are seriously lacking. Therefore…

I’m just going to go back to leaving my e-mail address on the contact page. Anyone with half a brain can copy and paste to an e-mail client.

I’ve used Disqus for comments for some time. I don’t like it. Unfortunately, because I converted to a completely static website, native comments aren’t available. I know I can use an AMP-enabled version of the Disqus code when I convert this website, but I won’t. Why? I’m lucky if I get a single comment here in any given month. Therefore…

I’m going to place an instructional paragraph at the bottom of every article to say you can comment in the places where the article is shared (Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus). That’s where I get comments now, so it’s not really a change, is it?

I’ll be Done when I’m Done

I have to edit someone else’s plugin to get certain things to work the way I want them to work. I also have to move things around in one of a few template choices.

The one question I expect someone to ask is why I’m doing things this way. The answer is simply this: I don’t like working on more than version of a page at a time. It’s confusing and I’m too old to care.

In the end, it won’t look much different from other websites, on mobile screens or on desktop screens. The difference will be the speed. Most pages on this website load in under three seconds on a desktop, probably a couple of seconds more on a mobile phone. I want to see if any will load in under two seconds on a mobile phone. Anyway…

Don’t expect things to be ready to go today or tomorrow. I’m not that enthusiastic about it (or anything really these days). I hope I’ll be able to share the experience (the details) when everything works the way it should.

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