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How to Setup Google AMP on Your WordPress Site

It’s vital to know how to setup Google AMP on your WordPress site the right way. Your website should look great on smaller screens, load fast, and be easy to navigate. Why? Because over 50% of all internet searches worldwide are now from mobile devices. Site owners who don’t optimise their blog or website for mobile screens lose out big time.

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is here to support mobile viewers. This tutorial makes the process straightforward and painless, even for WordPress beginners.

How Google AMP Works for WordPress

Google’s AMP is an open-source initiative. It exists to help sites load faster on internet-connected mobile devices. That matters because online users have become increasingly impatient. Most visitors don’t wait more than a few seconds for a page to load before hitting the back button. Thus, fast-loading sites, blogs, and stores offer a better visitor experience and improve traffic.

Google AMP works by limiting JavaScript and cutting down HTML and CSS to its bare minimum. The Google AMP Cache hosts the restricted web content, which it then serves to web users. The cached version is available the moment someone clicks on the link to your website.

Moreover, Google AMP is platform-agnostic, which means it’s not tied to any specific program. It works with all web browsers, viewers, and apps.

Google AMP Pros and Cons

The idea behind the new Google AMP makes a lot of sense, but it does have critics.  Below is a breakdown of the top pros and cons of using Accelerated Mobile Pages.

The 5 Google AMP pros include:

  1. Amp pages load much faster; especially useful for slow internet connections
  2. Google seems to favour sites using AMP in its mobile search results
  3. Reduces the load on web servers for high traffic sites
  4. Faster load speeds result in more page visits and lower bounce rates
  5. Faster loading ads get more eyeballs

The 4 Google AMP cons include:

  1. Loss of control over your post and page displays on mobile devices
  2. Lack of available resources for site administrators
  3. Limited advertising options
  4. Changes the user experience, though that can be a good or bad thing

The first con is significant for site owners who use dynamic scripts, opt-in forms, and LIKE boxes, etc. Thus, Google AMP is not for everyone. But it is worth consideration for sites that get a lot of mobile traffic. You can always remove AMP from Google Search and non-Google platforms later if you want to. It’s more hassle than setting it up, though, so think carefully before you decide.

How to Set Up Your Google AMP in WordPress

Follow the simple steps below to install the Google Amp plugin on your WordPress website.

Read this plugin guide first if you’re unfamiliar with WP plugins.

Log in to your WordPress admin area.

Search for AMP from the Add Plugins screen in Dashboard. There may be a few options, so look for the one that reads AMP for WP – Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Note: Another plugin to consider is simply named AMP (By AMP Project Contributors). It has more active installations than the one above but fewer user reviews and a lower star rating.

Install and Activate the AMP for WP plugin.

Amp for WP asks you to choose a Basic (Beginners) or Advanced (Experts) panel view. Choose Basic for now. You can explore the Advanced options later if you want to.

Now go to Amp => Setup from your Dashboard side menu.

The setup options are for the plugin’s backend.

From the Setup screen, select your Website Type if different from the default blog.

Next, select/deselect where you need Accelerated Mobile Pages from the options boxes. You can choose only the homepage URL, posts, pages, archives, or all the above.

The Design and Presentation option lets you add a site logo (optional).

Setup Google Analytics Tracking by adding your Tracking ID for the best AMP experience.

There are 17 tracking options in the Add Analytics Type dropdown.

Next up is the Privacy Settings. The Cookie Bar lets you discreetly notify site visitors that the site uses cookies. GDPR (Recommended for EU Citizens) complies with European privacy regulations.

The penultimate setup is for Advertisement (optional). Click the View Setup link to see a list of the best AMP integration ad programs. You can also choose ad positions and optimise ads.

Last on the basic setup screen is 3rd Party Compatibility. You can choose from 9 SEO plugins and 3 recommended plugins.

An orange exclamation mark inside a circle—next to the Setup link—means something is missing. Moving your mouse over the icon reveals what still needs doing to complete your AMP setup.

In our example, AMP for WP informs us that Analytics Tracking is not yet set up.

Explore the Advanced Setup if you need more backend controls and customisations. In this guide, we only look at the design options as the extensions are for the premium version.

Design Options

Click the Advanced link, then Design to open the theme selector AMP templates.

This is where you get some control over the look and feel of the Accelerated Mobile Pages output. There are four free themes and the option to create your own using the AMP Theme Framework.

Select each theme from the dropdown menu for a sneak preview of how your AMP looks on mobile screens. There’s also a Demo link at the bottom of each preview.

More control using AMP Layouts

The free customisation is limited to the four templates, but there are other options. The plugin’s Pro version offers a range of AMP Layouts. AMP Layouts are pre-built modular designs that don’t require any coding. That means anyone can create unique styles with only a few clicks.

Layouts give you lots of control over the look, colours, fonts, and content arrangement, etc. But they still maintain a stripped-down version of your website so that it continues to load fast.

The only caveat is that no AMP Layouts are not part of the free plugin.

Extensive Range AMP Tutorials

There are lots of practical, updated tutorials if you’d like to learn more about this plugin. The author’s help topics will always be up to date for as long as the plugin is.

Go to AMP => Documentation from the Dashboard side menu.

Click the View Documentation button to visit the tutorials page.

Closing thoughts on AMP

For some WordPress site owners, Google AMP is a no-brainer. For others, sacrificing site style and functionality is not worth the switch. Only you can decide if AMP is suitable for you, your project, and your visitor’s experience.

Want to Learn WordPress?

WordPress is an amazing platform for building any type of website.   It’s used by large corporations and small mom & pop sites.

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