What is it?
It’s the Google Accelerated Mobile Pages project, and is pronounced Amp, as in the unit for measuring electrical current.
It’s an open source html project that enables pages to load much faster on mobile devices thanks to some tweeks to the html of the version received by mobile devices.
So, as with Apple and Facebook, Google (plus partners including Twitter and a range of major online publishers), wants to speed up the mobile web.
This video explores the problem with the slow mobile web that they’re trying to solve:
The difference is that AMP is a collaborative project in contrast to what Apple and Facebook are doing – an open source alternative to Instant Articles and Apple News
It’s designed, to quote one of the speakers in that video: “To make the web great again” by enabling publishers to create mobile optimised content once and have it load instantly everywhere.
Thirty major publishers are helping develop it, according to Google.
Here’s what the Nieman journalism lab found out about publishers’ attitudes to it.
Nieman says: “Unlike its platform-specific counterpart Facebook Instant Articles, Google’s AMP initiative applies to the open web and will rely on participating publishers and technologists to contribute (non-proprietary) code of their own to get AMP pages to a place where they reflect the fullness of the ‘regular’ web.”
Should you use it?
According to TechRepublic, that’s a very easy question to answer: “Here’s the short version: if you use WordPress.org, install the AMP-WP plugin.”
Here’s why it’s considered a no-brainer if you are publishing on WordPress.org: “The open source plugin AMP-WP automatically generates Accelerated Mobile Pages for your site – with /amp/ added at the end. WordPress also plans to support AMP on WordPress.com.”
Not all opinions are quite as glowing, but even those with reservations say you should use AMP. Yoast.com, which offers SEO plugins for WordPress, plus a couple of AMP related ones, hosted this comment in a post: “I have a personal opinion about AMP which is not very flattering…Regardless of my opinion though, with Google pushing it this hard, news sites and blogs basically have no choice but to implement it.”
How do you publish on it?
- Login to your WordPress.org site with an administrator account. Then:
- Go to Plugins, choose ‘Add new’ and search for ‘amp-wp’
- Install and activate the plugin
- From your dashboard, choose’Settings’ and then ‘Permalinks’ and click to save changes.
Validate the AMP version
To validate that the plugin properly created the AMP version of your page, check your site with Chrome Developer Tools. In Chrome:
- Paste the URL of your Accelerated Mobile Page into the omnibox. Add ‘#development=1’ to the end of the URL, then press enter
- Press Ctrl-Shift-I (or navigate to ‘More Tools’ then ‘Developer Tools’ as shown)
- Select ‘Console’
- If the plugin is working, ‘AMP validation successful’ displays.
With the plugin active, your site will generate compatible versions of your pages by adding /amp/ at the end of your post urls.
When potential readers on mobile devices find your pages on Google search, they are automatically served the much faster AMP versions.