We take sustainability very seriously here at Bullhorn. Perhaps you’ve seen us talk about our B-Corp certification or have reviewed our impact report. We care for our environment so much, we try to ensure that even the websites we design and develop for our clients have the smallest environmental footprint possible. As it turns out, best practices for the web are not only good for performance. They are also the current best steps towards a sustainable internet.
Hold up a second. You mean to say that these ephemeral, digital experiences have a carbon footprint? Unfortunately, yes. It takes a surprising amount of electricity for someone to view your website. But, there are tangible ways to lessen a site’s impact on the environment. From renewable, green energy-powered web servers to a solid SEO strategy and highly performant code, we take action to minimize impact in every step of the chain.
Data on the internet has to go somewhere. Each time you browse the internet or click through pages on a site, you are requesting data from a physical server – an action that requires energy. When we began researching how to improve our digital carbon footprint, we realized that this was our biggest hurdle. If we wanted to use green servers, we thought we would have to change our hosting provider completely. But, our website hosting partner, Flywheel, recently announced a plan to transition all of our hosted websites to Google’s Cloud platform. This means that all of our hosting will soon be 100% powered by renewable, green energy. For all of the energy used by Google Cloud, they purchase the equivalent amount of renewable energy.
Targeting search engine optimization helps minimize environmental impact by ensuring that search engines are well-informed about the content on your website. By giving our clients the tools to edit metadata on their websites, we enable them to efficiently communicate the purpose and subject of each page or post. When search engines know your content so intimately, they are better informed to direct users to the specific content they are looking for. Less time spent searching means less power used by the user and the server combined.
We put a lot of care and research into making our sites as performant and efficient as possible. This relentless pursuit of higher and higher performance allows us to serve up elegant, well-designed digital experiences with the leanest footprint possible. The average website now uses almost 1.7 MB of data (up from 0.5 MB in 2010). As sites continue to grow in complexity and intricacy, we continue to hone our performance tactics to keep ahead of the curve.
Before we began walking the walk of sustainable business, I was like many people out there — I didn’t really consider the real-world impact of our digital work. We think the internet is here to stay, so we want to be sure we do less harm than good. Our processes today are vastly different than our processes five years ago. We’re excited to see how we can continue to improve — especially when it comes to sustainability — in the next five years and beyond.