Podcast | The Keys to Success on the Web with Alberto Medina

Podcast season 2 google success on the web Plesk

Hello Pleskians! Another month, another episode of the Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops. In this episode, we welcome Alberto Medina, Developer Advocate at Google. He and his team are focused on developer relations and the Open Web, with a keen interest in WordPress.

Podcast Plesk Alberto Medina

In This Episode: 4 Factors for Measuring Success on the Web

Just creating on the web isn’t the best approach when you’re trying to be a successful creator or business owner. Alberto knows that, and he, with his team at Google, are dedicated to helping creators by showing them how to be more successful.
Straight away, Alberto talks about why Google is interested in this. And it’s simple:

I am very interested in doing everything I can to contribute to the evolution and the quality of the web, for everyone…Google, like many other organizations, is a company that depends on the web, right? We are a web company; therefore, the success of the web is at the core of our success as a business.

A rising tide lifts all boats, as it were! Because of that, Alberto (and Google) have put a lot of thought into tools and concepts to help us all make better, engaging websites and content.
In fact, Alberto says that there are 4 key factors to measuring success:

  1. Quality Content: Content is king, and the more value you bring to your users, the more successful you’ll be.
  2. Performance: Your content needs to load fast, be accessible, and have a good user experience. People won’t wait around for content if it takes a long time to load or it’s hard to access.
  3. Monitoring: By tracking page views, monitoring performance, and learning how people are interacting with your content, you’ll better understand your users to create even better content.
  4. Monetization: Understanding that there are several ways to monetize your content allows you to get paid for what you enjoy doing, as well as spend more time doing it!

To help with these success factors, there are lots of tools and resources that Alberto mentioned, like:

In fact, the whole reason Google teamed up with Plesk to bring you this episode is because both organizations offer a whole suite of tools to help you create great, performant content that you can monitor and monetize.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating on the Open Web instead of just on closed platforms is better for your content in the long run. Web Stories, an Open Web form of the popular social media feature, is one way to publish your stories on your own platform.
  • While there are lots of ways to improve performance on your website, many are technical. This can be the hardest part of a good website experience. Tools like AMP can help.
  • You need to understand how your content is performing. Monitoring tools like Google’s Site Console, and Site Kit can go a long way…as can A/B testing.
  • The idea of User-perceived Speed is you want the least amount of time between a user going to your website and the first thing they see. Don’t block content with heavy resources, like big images or videos.
  • Core Web Vitals, which can be found at Web.Dev, provides a unified set of signals to help you deliver a good, quality experience, based on the 4 success factors.
  • Above all, be sure to focus on the user – tell stories that will help them!

The Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops Featuring

 

Joe Casabona


Joe is a college-accredited course developer and podcast consultant. You can find him at Casabona.org.


Alberto Medina


Alberto is a Developer Advocate at Google.


Did you know we’re also on Spotify and Apple Podcasts? In fact, you can find us pretty much anywhere you get your daily dose of podcasts. As always, remember to update your daily podcast playlist with Next Level Ops. And stay on the lookout for our next episode!

Understanding Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

AMP - Accelerated Mobile Pages

AMP, or accelerated mobile pages, is an open source framework that is commonly used on mobile devices – you’ve probably used it while searching for content without even knowing it. AMP was developed by Google, Twitter was also involved. The aim of AMP is to give mobile users better and faster experiences. AMP does this because it gives developers the option to simplify both CSS and HTML so that mobile users get a more “lightweight” experience.

Facebook started the trend with its Instant Articles and Google responded with AMP. However, AMP has gained a bigger foothold and today it is a commonly used way to deliver mobile content from search results at a much faster speed – compared to serving a standard page. In fact, AMP has become so prominent and so popular that Google has been pushing to get AMP included in the web standards framework.

How AMP works its magic

There are basically three main components to AMP. Two are code related, AMP’s version of HTML, and AMP JS. There is also a content delivery network (CDN) working behind the scenes with AMP. Let’s take a look at the three components:

  • HTML. Called AMP HTML, consider it a slimmed down version of standard hypertext markup language (or HTML). In essence, AMP HTML restricts developers in terms of which HTML tags they can make use of.
    Some HTML tags are restricted when using AMP and the goal of these restrictions are to improve page load speeds. The same goes for CSS, AMP also limits the CSS tags you can use. There is a full list of AMP HTML tags available which most seasoned developers will recognize straight away.
  • Developers cannot use JavaScript when coding AMP pages – again, like the HTML restrictions, the goal is to cut out code that can make a page load slowly. However, developers can use AMP scripts. AMP scripts are optimized so that pages load quickly. So, even though you cannot use JavaScript with AMP you can rely on AMP’s library of components – making animations, using dynamic content and editing the layout all using the AMP library of components. You’re even covered for data compliance.
  • Content delivery. AMP has a content delivery network (CDN) that speeds up the delivery of web content – it’s called AMP Cache. It’s proxy-based and acts as a cache, storing all valid AMP content – you cannot, by default, opt out of using AMP Cache. But don’t worry, if you have your own CDN you can still use it by layering it on top of AMP Cache.

Is AMP a good idea for your site?

It depends on what your website is geared to do. If you serve news and other stories that are mostly static AMP can work really well because it’s known that AMP generates more organic search referrals, particularly for media sites. Furthermore, media sites can make their content stand out using Google’s Rich Cards.

E-commerce operators might want to think twice as there’s currently no settled opinion on the value of AMP for retailers. At issue is the dynamic nature of these pages – e-commerce sites involve lots of user interaction such as sorting, filtering and adding goods to a cart.

Nonetheless, there is a general agreement that AMP, used correctly, can achieve the following for website owners:

  • Deliver a big boost for organic search, with much more traffic sent from Google
  • Improve conversion thanks to a much improved mobile experience, AMP can also boost engagement with mobile users
  • AMP CDN also reduces server load because content is served from AMP Cache
  • Implementing AMP can boost your prominence in mobile search results as your site will feature in the AMP carousel

Things to watch out for with AMP

Perhaps the biggest issue with AMP is the fact that it is quite an involved process – setting your website up to serve AMP pages requires a lot of work. While serving better mobile pages should always a priority you should weigh up the benefits against the potential costs of implementing AMP. In fact, putting AMP in place might mean that you run your site “in parallel”, with one set of assets for normal content, and one set of assets for AMP.

AMP also causes difficulty when measuring website traffic. Due to AMP CDN you won’t be able to rely on counting server requests to measure traffic. Instead you will need to find other methods to track users to get a real view of CTRs; it will be a bit more tricky to measure engagement on the AMP version of your site.

Another point to keep in mind is the user experience. Because AMP is stripped-down HTML you will not be able to deliver some content types – think about images that rotate, or a map that can be navigated. UX-heavy parts of your site will need to be re-built for AMP, so you’re running two sites in essence.

Finally, site owners should also beware of the fact that the nature of AMP means that users are more likely to head back to search results after they view your page, rather than engage further with your site. This has a negative impact on engagement and conversion.

Using the opportunities AMP provides

AMP has its drawbacks but many site owners will benefit from looking into the mobile traffic benefits that AMP can bring. You can start off by building an AMP version of your site so that you can feature more prominently in mobile web searches. Next, consider developing ways to easily route mobile users who land on an AMP page straight to your mobile app. Do this and you’ll mitigate the loss of engagement while also getting access to improved analytics. It’s also worth trying to get a full view of how your user journeys from AMP content to your app or to your website. Do AMP users convert? It’s worth trying to find this out as you experiment with an AMP version of your site.