Site performance and user experience matter to the Times of India, and therefore we keep tabs on new solutions and advanced technologies that allow us to make our website faster, more engaging, and more user-friendly. This is why we decided to evaluate the official AMP plugin for WordPress to leverage the performance and usability advantages that AMP enables. Our goal was to evaluate the plugin on some sections of our web presence, and then scaling it across other Times of India sites.
We started this project with Timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs. At the beginning of the evaluation we faced some expected challenges having to do with the need to make changes to the site to align it with AMP principles, such as CSS size constraints and the removal of 3P JS. Some of the aspects that were tackled included the refactoring of certain components and widgets, such as the Social Share widget to implement them using AMP components, replacing pop-ups with the AMP-lightbox component, implement tab panels using the amp-selector component, and other similar changes required to make the site compatible with AMP. One important change was the replacement of all the Google Ad Manager/CTN ads on the site with AMP ads.
During the implementation process we took advantage of the available documentation on both AMP in general, and the AMP plugin in particular, and we interacted with AMP team to get their support in answering our questions and guiding us towards fixing all of the issues we encountered. Although the entire evaluation process took about two months, the actual implementation effort took us only about two weeks. And we are happy to report that the results were fantastic!
We are currently using version 1.0.2 of the official AMP plugin 1.0.2, since this and later versions allow us to make our entire site fully AMP compatible (i.e. AMP First). The impact on key metrics we are seeing after rolling out the new implementation was quite amazing: a 59% improvement in page load time (11.40 secs before vs. 4.35 secs after), and early measurement data indicates the number of page views increased by 4% . We expect this to go substantially higher as we continue to improve the experience.
The technical investment we made for evaluating a fine-tuned AMP implementation of our site setup was well worth it as it has made our pages much more user-friendly and faster. Furthermore, we are planning to scale it up across other websites in Times Internet wherever it is applicable.
Although making our site AMP compatible was a learning experience for us, the end results are rewarding and impressive, enabling a reduction in load time from 11.4 secs to 4.35 secs.
Puneet Walia: Technology head – TOI, GadgetsNow, eTimes & Mirror
Quick, Easy & Fast:
Launching our first fully AMP WordPress site has yielded excellent results not only in terms of performance but also on ranking and revenue; we observed a spike in revenue traffic of about 4% during the first week.
Rudra Kasturi: Vice President, Organic Growth Head for Times Group Sites