Accelerated Mobile Pages and WordPress

Everybody knows by now that a website’s speed matters a lot. (In case you don’t, read this: Case study: Mobile pages that are 1 second faster experience up to 27% increase in conversion rate.) Google stays in front of the effort to speed things up, motivating site owners by making page load speed a factor in their search ranking algorithm, most importantly, but also by providing tools and tips for developers, like Page Speed Insights and “mobile friendly” testing — not to mention the performance tools in Chrome’s excellent developer tools.mobile-case-study-conversions

Accelerated Mobile Pages is one of Google’s newest performance-related initiatives (from early October 2015, here’s the launch announcement), promising a systematic rather than a piecemeal improvement in performance by defining and enforcing a rigid structure for the content with constrained embellishment. The open-source initiative is loose in the wild (here and here), though uncommon. and pages built accordingly are expected to show up on Google SERPs in early 2016. Sitepoint has a good overview of the initiative.

Not surprisingly, because they were one of the initial partners in the initiative, Automattic (the guys behind WordPress.com) has already released a first-cut plugin enabling a WordPress site to produce AMP pages. Called “AMP” (on GitHub) simply enough, it lacks options and features but does take care of business, and is far-enough along and well-enough written that a decent developer can start using it now. It’s implemented on this site — you can view this post in AMP format by visiting http://www.steveclason.com/accelerated-mobile-pages-and-wordpress/amp/ [opens in a new tab]. That’s the default look — I haven’t done a thing, though the plugin has plenty of filters to allow some personal expression. Like the RICG responsive image engine, I expect this will roll into the WordPress core before long.

My guess is that this will get a lot of attention once AMP pages start showing up in Google SERPS. Content providers should think about stealing a march on the competition and implementing this soon. It will mostly benefit content providers and won’t affect SEO — or shouldn’t, in theory.

Mark Up A Book Review With Schema.org Microdata

I read a lot and usually write up a review of some kind for what I’ve read, partly as an antidote to shills and partly because I just enjoy doing it. In the interest of sharing the reviews as widely as possible without giving free content to any wealthy corporations, I recently took a little time to revise my WordPress templates, structuring the content using schema.org microdata so that book reviews would stand a better chance of showing up in search results.
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“Send to Kindle” Plugin for WordPress

I’m sorting out how I feel about this: “Send to Kindle: Send Once, Read Everywhere“. It’s a plugin that allows visitors to send your content to their Kindle to read later.

That sounds real handy, but if people are reading your content away from your context, the benefits are accruing to others, to some extent that seems unclear. The point of writing is to be read, for sure, but Amazon must be thinking they can piggyback a tiny part of their business on your content, in the same way that they piggyback a tiny part of their business on the reviews you write for them.

But then, I have a Kindle and like it very much, and as a reader I like the idea of this plugin a lot.

The WordPress Economy

Smashing magazine has a long and well-researched article on “the WordPress economy”, which I am tickled to be a part of. The article claims 14% of the Internet “runs WordPress” — I can’t imagine how you would come up with that number but let’s agree that it’s a popular platform.

The article is here, and worth a read, especially for developers but also for users.