AMP - what is it and how can it benefit Shopify merchants.
In this blog, we will explain what is AMP, how does it can help merchants with their e-commerce business, and why we believe that Ampify offers the best solution on Shopify.
Most merchants who have reached some scale knows that speed matters. AMP pages help solve the speed issue for merchants and in doing so, bring SEO benefits. But before we go ahead ourselves, let us understand more about AMP.
WHAT IS AMP?
Accelerated Mobile Pages, commonly known as AMP, is an open-source initiative aimed at improving the performance of web page. AMP was launched in 2016, led by Google, to address the problems users face when accessing web pages on mobile devices, such as slow loading times and poor user experience.
It is designed to enable developers to create fast-loading mobile web pages. AMP was built in collaboration with thousands of developers, publishers, websites, distribution companies, and tech companies. More than billions of AMP pages have been created to date.
WHAT MAKES AMP FAST?
If you were to consider how to speed up a page and create a framework for the entire web to
get faster, you may first look at what are the leading contributors to a slow loading page.
In addition, AMP does a bunch of other things to optimize your pages. Some of these include techniques to do efficient font triggering, minimize style recalculation, prioritize resource loading, minimize layout shift like specifying the sizing of each resource upfront so the browser can load the layout of the page even before all the resources (like fonts / images / etc.) are downloaded. They also create highly optimized and extensive AMP components (like carousels, accordions, lists, etc.) that allow the creation of modern highly functional and converting pages quicker. If this sounds complicated, think of it as a series of steps that AMP takes to speed up most sources of delay in your pages. If this sounds interesting, you can read more about the steps that AMP takes on the official AMP website.
For all the optimizations that you do, it will not help if your users make a request but your servers are sitting half way across the globe. No matter how well designed your pages are, you still face the delay of having user requests travel all the way to your servers and the server response making its way back to the user. This network latency can be reduced by having your servers right next to your users. If your pages comply with the AMP standard and the design practices recommended, then AMP pages are stored on the Google AMP cache which is a global Content Delivery Network (CDN). This keeps copies of your pages on Google’s global network of servers so that your pages load from servers closest to your users. Whenever possible, Google serves the cached copy of the page while simultaneously updating the cache to make sure it shows the latest information.
The other advantage that AMP pages have is prerendering. What this means is that when your results show up in an instant on Google, even before the user has gone ahead and clicked on your link, AMP begins downloading above-the-fold resources (the first thing a user sees before they need to scroll down a page). This makes the page even more fast and makes it feel instant when the user clicks on it. They do this while preserving privacy so that until the user actually clicks, it is not visible to you nor does it show up in your analytics.
THE BENEFITS OF AMP?
Amongst the many advantages AMP, I have hand-picked the top 3 benefits for you and listed them below:
For the reasons given above, AMP pages are designed to load quickly and efficiently, regardless of the user's internet connection. This can help to reduce bounce rates and increase engagement, which can ultimately lead to higher conversion rates. This is vital as studies show that users usually abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load; as such, businesses that adopt AMP could help to drive mobile abandonment rates down and increase conversions. If you want to know more about why speed matters, click here
Increased Search Engine Visibility:
Core Web Vitals makes page performance a critical factor in deciding search rank. Faster pages mean that your AMP pages rank at the top of search results for mobile users, which can improve click-through rates and lead to increased traffic to your website.
By reducing page load times and improving performance, AMP can help to reduce the overall cost of maintaining a website. This is because faster loading times can lead to lower bounce rates and increased engagement, which can result in a higher return on investment. This is also why many use AMP for faster landing pages in their ads.
HOW DOES AMP WORK ON SHOPIFY?
AMP pages are lightweight and fast-loading, with optimized images, simplified navigation, and streamlined code. They also use the Google AMP Cache to provide even faster loading times for customers and these pages begin downloading even before users click on the link. So how does it work on Shopify. Let’s take a look at our app - The AMP app?
The AMP app creates and hosts custom AMP pages (across product / collection / blogs / home etc.) for your shop with no coding required. All of the optimizations and conforming to the AMP standard gets done automatically at our end. We do not replace your regular Shopify pages but have AMP pages that sit parallel to your regular Shopify pages and these pages are cached by Google. The only change to your theme or to your pages is a line that publishes meta data that tells search engines where your AMP pages can be found. This meta data is not visible on your pages and can only be seen by search engines. When they crawl your non-AMP pages, they see the meta data pointing to the AMP version of the page and then crawls the AMP page and indexes them. This makes the AMP App a good option to improve the speed of your store and get SEO advantages without worrying about breaking changes to your theme.
WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF AMP ON SHOPIFY?
While AMP provides significant benefits in terms of mobile performance and user experience, there are also some downsides or limitations to using AMP that Shopify merchants should be aware of. The main complaints are:
- It is hard to implement. As described above, AMP places stringent conditions on how a page should be built and optimized. This would normally need developers to be familiar with building AMP and Shopify pages, create these pages and then efficiently host these pages. The great thing about the AMP app is that it makes all this automatic. There is no need for code or developers. We handle the entire process of creating your AMP page, integrating seamlessly with your Shopify information and data, and hosting it at high level of availability.
- One potential issue with AMP is that it can limit the customization options available to merchants because the theme that you use in your Shopify store has to be created from scratch in AMP so that the look and your pages remain consistent in AMP. We are working on adding more themes to natively work in AMP. This takes extensive work and testing before we can release it but the plan is to keep doing so. In addition, we do custom development to replicate the design and features of your regular pages in AMP (more suited for larger Shopify stores).
- Not all apps work on AMP. One of the great things about the Shopify platform is how it allows merchants to augment their store functionality using apps. This functionality has to be replicated in AMP for many apps that modify the front end. We do support most use cases like reviews, analytics, etc. but if you are concerned about your app functionality in AMP, please do reach out.
These are the major concerns of merchants about using AMP on Shopify. However, thousands of merchants do use AMP as the benefits of using AMP outweigh the drawbacks and we can help manage the drawbacks. By optimizing mobile performance and providing a better user experience, AMP helps merchants to increase engagements, conversion rates, and sales for thousands of Shopify stores.
One of the key features of our app is its ability to automatically generate AMP versions of product and collection pages on Shopify stores. This helps to improve loading times and reduce bounce rates on mobile devices. The app also provides a number of customizable templates and design options, so merchants can ensure their AMP pages maintain a consistent brand identity. The AMP app provides a comprehensive set of solutions to help merchants optimize their Shopify stores for mobile users. By leveraging the power of AMP technology, merchants can provide faster and more efficient mobile experiences, which can lead to higher conversion rates and happier customers.
WHY CHOOSE THE AMP APP?
The AMP App, serves thousands of Shopify merchants and has rating of 4.8 on Shopify app store. The below reasons are why you must choose us vs. the others are:
- Speed: The key feature of The AMP app, is speed. We constantly focus on speed. This means a regular update cycle where we constantly work to integrate with Shopify’s latest updates, API updates, and constantly optimize to use latest optimization techniques to implement into AMP.
- Customer Support: We know that your store is super important to you and we try to offer the best customer support to address your concerns. In addition, we also have a detailed FAQ that guides you through the most common issues and questions.
- Theme 2.0 support: The AMP app is the ONLY app that supports the Dawn theme in AMP. We have created it so that you are able to import your theme settings from you existing store into AMP with minimum customization. This allows you to have high control over your AMP pages giving you all the flexibility of Dawn while using automation to save on 90%+ of the work for merchants to set up their AMP pages.
In conclusion, if you are looking at improving your Shopify store speed and boosting SEO, you should think about AMP. On Shopify, The AMP app is your one stop shop for your AMP needs giving you the highest customization, the optimal speed and page experience, and helping your SEO and Google ranking.