We all have experience with AMP pages, whether you realize it or not. Google is trying to make the web a more uniform experience, where the only distinction between website is the content – not the speed, or ads, or any of the other quirks that normally hinder the experience of a website. As a result, you often see the little “lightning icon” in the search results as shown here:
This means that the page to which you’re about to click through is an “AMP” page. These have the following characteristics:
1. Served from Google Cache
Unlike normal web pages which come from your origin server or (in special cases) your CDN, AMP pages are served directly from Google – arguably the biggest CDN network in the world! So you’re guaranteed to have blazing fast load times if the user sees an AMP page instead of the regular one on your site.
3. All CSS is Inline
No more external stylesheets. In-line CSS with a limit of 50KB is all you can have. Since content is blocked while the browser downloads CSS via an extra HTTPS request, this sees a significant improvement in speed.
So AMP is Great Right?
Not exactly. It might seem that AMP is the ultimate solution to page speed issues – why wouldn’t you want your pages to load fast, and be preferred by Google.
The reason is that AMP can sometimes completely destroy the intended user experience for your site. Here are my top 3 reasons for avoiding AMP on certain pages:
1. Tables are Not Responsive
Lots of pages use tables to display structured data. Particularly since Google itself is partial to tabular information and often uses it in featured snippets. The problem comes when you try and display a table on a mobile page. There are all sorts of tricks we can use to shrink our table for small screens – like making them scrollable, or collapsing the columns into rows, and many other innovative solutions.
Unfortunately, none of these are AMP compatible. The AMP standard doesn’t allow the “overflow:auto” CSS rule, and so tables are cut off on the right-hand side. This makes AMP pages useless for displaying any table with more than say 3 short columns.
For me personally, this is a deal breaker because I love to display tables in my posts.
Do you display code on your site that a user can click on to copy? Forget about using it with AMP!
3. Often No Comment Sections
In both scenarios, AMP pages completely hide all comments. This means that when I see an article I like, I have to manually search for the non-AMP version to read the comments. Especially on apps like Google News which doesn’t give you the option to switch to the original page in the top bar.
For these reasons, AMP is a double-edged sword. I only use it on pages where I’m sure I won’t have any additional elements that are integral to the user experience. I suggest you make the same determination on a case-by-case basis as well.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!
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