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Sustainable web design tips for online stores

Sustainable web design - 10 tips for environmentally friendly websites and online stores

Do you want to sustainable web design try and a contemporary, Environmentally friendly website build up? That's a really good decision! On the one hand, because you can make your internet presence or your online store more sustainable quite easily - and on the other hand, because in times of the Climate change and increasing digitization is simply incredibly important for our environment. Because the Internet isn't just there - it only works through the use of vast amounts of energy.

So in this article, I want to share with you some tips and ideas that you can use to make your online store eco-friendly or build sustainable websites.

Tip: In a separate post, you'll also learn how you can basically still surfing the internet more sustainably can.

Why an eco-friendly website with sustainable web design?

I don't want to waste a lot of time here, I just want to show you with a few key points why we should make an effort at all to make the Internet and its websites more climate and environmentally friendly.

  • Global Warming: The cooling systems for increased computing power requirements are getting bigger - and consuming more and more energy.
  • Social development: Streaming services are running at full speed because we no longer rent DVDs from video stores, but stream movies and series from the Internet (every time anew).
  • Create added value: Simply selling products is no longer appropriate in times with major environmental problems. Increase the trust of your users, for example, by having an organization of your choice plant a tree for every purchase.
  • User Experience: Sustainable web design also means few clicks, short paths and a clearly arranged website. Because that saves unnecessary loading processes with every click and thus a lot of energy.
  • Memory requirements: Websites are getting bigger and bigger. On average, a normal website needs about 2 megabytes these days - just three years earlier, it was about half that.₁
  • Save costs: A sustainable website tries to be energy and cost efficient at the same time. Costs arise from energy-intensive background processes, for example for the web host and for the energy consumption for you as admin, but also for all users.

Whether it's a sustainable information platform or an online store - as you can see, it's all about reducing the energy consumption of your website. You can find out how your website is currently doing in this regard and what measures you can take, for example, with Websitecarbon.com can be calculated.

10 tips for sustainable web design and environmentally friendly online stores

Sooo! Now the theory stands, we also know our goal. Now it's time for the practical implementation. Here we refer especially to the Speed, on the User friendliness and the Goal setting, as well as to the Optics of your website. With the following tips and ideas, you can make sure that your website is as environmentally friendly as possible.

1. search for a sustainable web hoster

The foundation of an eco-friendly website is a carbon-neutral host that relies on green, sustainable data centers that, like yourself, are also Green electricity use and CO2-neutral. In addition to the monthly costs and the use of 100% electricity from renewable energy sources, you should also pay attention to possible awards and especially the Engagement of the provider. Some green web hosts, for example, run their company in the spirit of the common good economy.

2. program sustainably

Yes, even in web development you can think eco-friendly and long-term. Think of it like a contest: whoever has the clearest code of HTML, CSS and Javascript wins. The less, the better. After all, a cleanly programmed website is more sustainable because it loaded more energy efficient can become. Don't use too many plugins and external embeddings, which will only complicate your code and may even break it.

3. reduce the size of the web page

While users used to see almost exclusively text, today videos, social media, GIFs and high-resolution images are also provided. Rather reduce unnecessary ballast and unnecessary loading processes and limit the content of your page to the essentials for the user or reader. The smaller your website, the less CO2 must be applied for charging. Cache plugins or smaller images with lowered quality can help you, for example.

Tip: Reduce is also an important part of the Zero Waste Lifestyle. This also does the environment a favor through targeted "waste avoidance". Look gladly in the linked contribution past.

4. choose a modern but timeless design

Build eco-friendly websites and online stores

A sustainable web design is characterized by a modern design that is visually, functionally, energy efficient, user friendly and simply everything. durable so that it does not have to be constantly changed. In the end, of course, this also benefits branding.

Also the Navigation of an environmentally friendly website is logical and purposeful. Always remember: the more unsorted, the more users have to click and search wildly. As a result, they are more likely to leave your website quickly.

5. reduce the page load time

I have already given you some hints on this. But load time optimization is really a science in itself, which I haven't explored enough myself. To optimize your sustainable web design, here are a few more tips for you:

  • Removed unnecessary ballast: For example, Google Maps embeds or social media icons that communicate and load with the third-party sites every time you visit the website.
  • Reduce your images in posts: For one thing, you can reduce their size by turning down the resolution. Second, a good post doesn't need 10 images. Try to find a healthy balance of text and images.
  • Reduce your plugins: The more plugins, the slower and more energy intensive your page loads. For example, to make my site more sustainable, I replaced my former error message plugin with a simple Subpage with error message form replaced.

So that you don't lose users by the dozen, I can only advise you to simply check your website with a speed checker like Google Page Speed Insights embroider. There you'll find out in one fell swoop how fast or slow your page loads - and what you can do practically to optimize your load time to do the environment and users a favor.

6. create a responsive design

Websites and online stores have long since been used not only from the desktop, but above all from the smartphone. A sustainable website should therefore function equally cleanly on all devices. Because if users have to buy new devices because your site doesn't load on all devices, there goes your sustainability. However, setting up a responsive design not only makes your website more environmentally friendly, but also saves you time and a gray hair or two in its maintenance.

7. build educational content

This is of course optional - but if you also act environmentally friendly in everyday life and are passionate about environmental protection, then you should also make your knowledge available on your website. If you run an online store that sells off-topic products, I can of course understand that there is a lack of connection. But if you have the opportunity, you should also use the content on your sustainable website to promote a greater commitment to environmental protection. the environmental problems of our time advertise

Ideally, all the content on your website should also be on your own server, so that fewer external resources have to be loaded.

Tip: Please, please do without Greenwashing! Write environmental protection in capital letters on your website and in all actions related to it. And if you do this, then create appropriate subpages for company philosophy, mission or sustainability work. With this you can inspire your customers, but also other store owners.

8. offset the CO2 emissions of your website

Sustainable web design also means taking responsibility. This applies to you and your customers. For example, you can offer your customers to help offset CO2-emissions for your project by providing a voluntary option at the checkout of your online store for a transparent additional fee of currently 25 cents.

As I'm sure you know, you can also voluntarily create your own CO2-balance. Whether for the operation of your website, for air travel or for an event. You can learn more about this in the detailed article about the Offsetting emissions.

Tip: You can also have a tree planted for every order. And, for example, every 6 months, give an update to your community on how many trees have been planted with the help of purchases on your website.

9. prevent returns

The increasing number of online orders logically also ensures more and more courier trips. Bait offers like "free shipping" ensure that more orders end up being returned from your online store. After all, it doesn't cost anything extra. Of course, that's anything but sustainable. Hence the following tips:

  • Make self-explanatory product descriptions
  • Waive "payment on account
  • Ensure high product quality

You can get more tips from the dealer's and also from the customer's point of view in the detailed article about the Avoiding returns in online retailing.

10. take care of climate friendly shipping

in a sustainable online store should be the size of the Shipping boxes always fit the product size. So don't ship a lighter in a box that would fit a car tire.

The shipping costs should be adjusted to the resource expenditure and free shipping should only be available for higher order amounts. Also take advantage of sustainable shipping offers like DHL GoGreen for your products. In the best case, the products from your sustainable online store are also environmentally friendly. For example, like with us in the Plastic free store.

Tip: Alternatively, it is also a good idea to work with as many climate-friendly online stores as possible. For example, with affiliate marketing, in which you broker products from other providers instead of selling them yourself.

Build eco-friendly websites with sustainable web design

It's not that complicated, is it? If it is, you can get a web designer or an expert agency to help you with your project. In the end, you will reduce the energy consumption and thus the energy costs of millions of Internet users. And last but not least, you can also Save money sustainably.

Do you have any other tips for environmentally friendly websites or questions about the article? Then just write them to me in the comments.

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: Here at CareElite, everything revolves around a basically possible sustainable life. Learn, for example, how to Help animals in everyday life can!

References:
₁ How much web space & storage do you need (as of 18.12.2018), available at https://www.hosttest.de/artikel/wie-viel-webspace-1410.html. [07.04.2020].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you actively support my work with CareElite.de, because I get a small share of the sales revenue. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!

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Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

1 thought on “Nachhaltiges Webdesign – 10 Tipps für umweltfreundliche Webseiten und Online-Shops”

  1. Thank you for this post! I am also in the process of structuring my processes sustainably. Your contribution is very helpful for this!
    Love greetings
    Hannes

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