Why AMP & Facebook Instant Can Be Bad for Business (And What to Do Instead)

Why AMP & Facebook Instant Can Be Bad for Business (And What to Do Instead)

Then I’ll show you what you can do to fix slow page speeds, instead. So why, then, have huge brands been pulling back on publishing Instant Articles? Here’s an example of what my site looks like: By clicking the arrow in the bottom right-hand corner, you can compare your site to others in the industry to see how your site performance stacks up to top competitors. Get people into your content faster In an ideal world, your page content would load instantly. Load the content so that people can start reading and then load the images later. These will load your images from different servers around the world to decrease the amount of time it takes for people in different cities to load the same image. “Caching” with a plugin like W3 Total Cache will help your site load instantly for people who’ve already been to your site before. If your hosting provider is slow, your website will be slow, too, no matter what steps you take to speed up loading times. Because again, most websites are at almost two to three times the recommended 50. Then you know what your problems are and how to fix each one of them.

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Slow page speeds can chase away your customers.

And the worst part is that you might not even realize it.

The longer a page takes to load, the more likely users are to bounce.

In other words, they don’t stick around to buy your products or services.

You’ll especially feel this pain point when you analyze traffic from mobile devices. Limited processing power makes it difficult to load big, complex websites.

And that’s a problem because over half of all Internet users are now browsing via mobile.

One of the first alternatives you see online comes from Google and Facebook themselves.

AMP and Facebook Instant Articles promise instant load times. They both use special codes to help you provide people with a flawless mobile experience.

So what could go wrong?

As it turns out, a lot, unfortunately.

Quick solutions like AMP or Facebook Instant Articles are only temporary fixes to a much larger, more complicated issue.

These quick fixes might even cost you more leads and sales than your existing ‘unoptimized’ site.

Here’s why AMP and Facebook Instant aren’t the saviors they seem to be.

Then I’ll show you what you can do to fix slow page speeds, instead.

Why AMP can be bad for business

The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) defines itself as an “open-source initiative” to help webmasters improve surfing speeds.

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AMP accomplishes this feat by compressing extremely large files like images and decreasing the elements required to display your web page.

The technology does, to its credit, provide great performance.

For example, Wired Magazine raved about its 25% increase in site engagement. AMP was helping it rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs), while also keeping people on the page longer.

80% of Gizmodo’s traffic comes from new visitors who find its AMP content from search engines, too.

AMP isn’t “officially” a Google-owned project. But Google was instrumental in leading the creation of it.

And that helps get the attention of big publishers who are hoping to get any advantage in the SERPs.

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So you can just use Google’s own platform and hack your mobile SEO? Is it really that simple?

Unfortunately, it isn’t.

The first problem is that it can be technically difficult to set up.

In fact, Jan Dawson believes that it actually makes web publishing more difficult than ever before.

She says that AMP is a combination of custom HTML, JavaScript, and caching, yet the outputs of traditional online publishing platforms aren’t even compatible with these formats.

Worse, publishing directly with these formats requires developers and those with technical know-how. Many small businesses don’t have access to those human assets.

Fortunately, there are a lot of pre-built WordPress plugins for the rest of us. That way, we don’t have to be a code-ninja to get set up.

AMP for WP is one free example with decent reviews.

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There are also a few helpful guides to setting up AMP on WordPress websites, like this one from Search Engine Journal.

However, there are still a few other potential deal-breaking issues with AMP.

One of the first is that you completely lose all branding.

Basically, your content on AMP will lose a lot of the special design and brand recognition that you’ve worked so hard to build.

Content optimized and posted through AMP also doesn’t technically belong to the original creator. It sits on top of AMP’s architecture instead of your own.

That means there could be issues with driving advertising revenue.

You spent all that time creating new content, and yet you might not even be able to monetize it.

AMP is helpful. However, if you use some of the tactics that I’ll give you below, you can still beat its performance.

For example, Chris Hannah shows that there are other ways to speed up your site and even make it faster than an AMP version of it.

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A simple Google search for “avoid AMP” pulls in over 38 million search results in 0.98 seconds.

So I’m not the only one advising you to proceed with caution.

While AMP isn’t perfect, there are some scenarios where it might still make sense.

But it’s also clear that most website owners would be better off fixing what’s ‘under the hood’ of their own websites to keep them running smoothly.

And Facebook Instant Articles aren’t the answer, either.

Why Facebook Instant has problems of its own

That means they share many of the same strengths, weaknesses, pros, and cons.

First, the good.

Facebook Instant Articles loads pages up to 10 times faster than average!

Facebook Partners also saw a huge increase in the number of people who stuck around to read entire pieces of content.

Not only that, but their findings showed a 20% click-through rate on Instant Articles.

Once again, those are awesome numbers.

So why, then, have huge brands been pulling back on publishing Instant Articles?

For example, both NewsWhip and Digiday have been reporting that multi-million-dollar companies have drastically cut back in the last few months. Here are some of the biggest declines:

  1. Boston Globe – 100 percent of content to 0 percent
  2. Business Insider – 10 percent of posts to 2 percent
  3. The New York Times – Down 10 percent
  4. The Atlantic – 85 percent to 10 percent

BBC News, The Wall Street Journal, and National Geographic have also seemingly abandoned the service entirely.

It turns out they were running into many of the same problems that AMP users encountered.

The technology presented extra hurdles to clear. Their branding was minimized. And advertising revenue was thrown into jeopardy.

Instead of going for these quick fixes, these brands are taking the long view.

Instead of throwing a Band-Aid over their problems, they’re rolling up their sleeves to repair their sites from the inside out.

Here are a few tactics that you can use today to start increasing your own page-loading times once and for all.

1. Diagnose slow mobile pages with Google’s Test My Site

Google recently introduced Test My Site to help website owners discover what’s slowing down their websites.

Simply enter your site URL and start the…

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