In this amp plugin review we are going to see the different options to be enabled for AMP pages to load quickly and elegantly. AMP Google is developed with an intention to decrease page loading of mobile pages. The best AMP plugin for WordPress is AMP for WP
This AMP plugin has lot of settings. For a naive WordPress user it becomes difficult to understand all the options and can get “confused”.
I had personal experience using the Pro version of this plugin and had some issues implementing the layouts.
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But if your requirement is to set up a plugin for AMP and forget about the background “code”, then the free version of AMP for WP is enough. There are little hiccups here and there with AMP for WP when using theme frameworks like Thesis.
What is AMP and its Advantages
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a web component framework developed by Google for creation of fast loading websites, stories, emails and ads. To implement AMP for your site in WordPress, you can either manually code with the help of Google guide.
But for publishers and webmasters this is a difficult task. Content developers using WordPress are looking for plugins that makes AMP implementation easy. There are different AMP plugins like the one coded by AMP developers themselves, which are very primitive.
AMP for WP on the other hand is very easy to install and configure. It comes with some default settings to prevent “guessing work” on options. Still, this plugin is not without errors. The support team is very slow to respond to your queries. The VIP and dedicated support comes with a price.
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerated_Mobile_Pages
Why AMP is Necessary in 2019
Mobile-first indexing is the first priority than desktop version of the same page, according to Google. According to a Statista study it was found that 62% of internet searches are done using mobile.
By 2020, the number of smartphone users is estimated to be around 2870 million devices. In addition to that number of users using voice searches through smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home is also increasing.
In this article, we are going to see the basic and minimal settings for the best amp plugin of WordPress for good visual appearance, speed, performance and less problems. I also listed my recommendations for this plugin. The plugin was tested on one of my own sites using Thesis Framework and Effectus skin.
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The AMP for WP free WordPress plugin options are divided into the following categories.
- Page Builder
- Structured Data
- Notice Bar & GDPR
- Push Notifications
- Contact Form
- Instant Articles
- Hide AMP Bulk Tools
- Advance Settings
- Translation Panel
- Home Page
- Social Sharing
You can upload your site logo to be displayed at the top of the header. Then enable the “ReSize” option. The Resize method can be chosen as “Flexible Width”. The amount of percentage of resize is 100% by default. For optimal width on your mobile phones having screen resolution width of 300px, you can set it around 45% to 60%.
By default, the AMP support is enabled for Posts, Pages, Home Page, Archives (Categories & Tags). If you have conflicting post types like same category and page, then you can disable Archives in AMP. For example, I had a contact page and tag. So when I included the Contact link in the Menu bar, it was redirecting to the tag page. So I disabled the AMP support for Archives type.
This option can be used to place Ads inside AMP pages. You can select different ad networks like Google Adsense, Media.net, Taboola, Outbrain, Mediavine etc in the settings of the Ad. For this, you need to install the free plugin – https://wordpress.org/plugins/ads-for-wp/.
There are 6 different ad positions here. My recommendation is to use, the following ad positions in AMP pages. In my sites, I am getting CTR and CPC from these ad positions.
- Above the Post Content
- Below the Post Content (Single Post)
To make it work for your AMP pages, you can follow this tutorial. http://adsforwp.com/docs/article/how-to-add-adsense-ads-in-wordpress-amp/.
This is useful if you are using different plugins for including ads inside posts in non-amp and amp pages differently.
You can also check the option that says – Optimize for Viewability. This will improve the loading speed of the Ads.
You can enable the “Meta Description” option. This will allow the AMP for WP plugin to populate the corresponding data from your theme or seo plugin meta data.
In this setting, it allows support for different SEO plugins like – Yoast, All in One SEO, Rank Math SEO, Genesis, SEOPress, The SEO Framework, Bridge Qode SEO, Squirrly SEO.
For each SEO plugin there are different settings like – for example,
- Meta tags from Yoast
- Your description in ld+json
- Canonical from Yoast
- Schema from Yoast
You can enable all the options. The schema options are useful if you want to implement Structured Data for AMP.
In the “Advanced Indexing” options, you can disable the option – URL Inspection Tool Compatibility.
Then make all the Archive types like categories, tags, Data archives, author archives, archive subpages as no-index. This will generally prevent duplicate issues of your content.
If you want to go with the default theme of your site in AMP also, then you can disable the option that says – AMPforWP Page Builder. This option is only useful if you want to build custom pages.
If you are not using Divi, Elementor etc, then you can disable those options also.
For example, I’m using Thesis Framework. So I don’t need these framework compatibility options.
This is to improve the page speed load of your AMP pages. Since AMP for WP supports CSS styling and JS, they can add lot of resources to these pages. In order to reduce the burden you can enable the following options.
- Minify – The improve performance and page loading speed. – Enabled (by Default)
- Leverage Browser Caching – You can enable this option if you want more of caching on the client side. When you enable this option, AMP caching code is inserted in your .htaccess file.
The Google Tag Manager option is enabled by default. If you want to just view traffic analytical data and get reports about your AMP pages, then you can just enter your Analytics ID. This can be got from your Google Analytics Admin settings.
The AMP for WP plugin inherently supports structured data for AMP pages. Since non-AMP pages may have different structured data and it may not be populated in AMP. For this purpose, this option allows you to set the default Schema – Blog Posting, Article, Web Page.
You can use this plugin in combination with these options – https://wordpress.org/plugins/schema-and-structured-data-for-wp/ for better Schema markup. This free plugin supports different schema like Product, Review, Recipe, VideoGame, VideoObject, Apartment, House etc.
Notice Bar & GDPR
The GDPR compliance notification can improve the traffic in Europe countries. If you have already implemented the GDPR policy in non-AMP pages, it is fine. But if they don’t reflect in your AMP pages, then it can be a violation.
For this purpose, you can use a different plugin. Though this setting provides in-built GDPR adhering policy details, it is little difficult to setup. So my recommendation is to use another plugin or fill the complete details in the option that says –
This is the most useful feature of AMP for WP. The following options should be enabled.
- Mobile Redirection
Change Internal links to AMP – This setting will make any internal page links included in an article to AMP pages. This will provide a uniform structure for your AMP pages. So the AMP theme and settings are displayed for internal posts linked in the current article.
Auto ADD AMP in Menu URL – If you don’t enable this option, the menu url will redirect to the non-AMP urls. So enabling this option will also make the menu items direct to AMP version of the corresponding post types.
Delete Data on Uninstall.
This option can be enabled with some warning. When you enable this option and delete the AMP for WP plugin, then all the settings and values will be deleted from your database. This is useful if you want to reset all your options in the AMP for WP plugin.
Don’t forget to click on “Save Changes” after making any changes.
The free version of AMP for WP provides three business themes which are attractive to the eye. But I found that these themes may not be suitable in font size or edited. So if you want to make changes to these default AMP themes, you either have to make changes to the code or buy the Pro version.
But if you have no other option and don’t want to pay for the Pro feature, then you can use the “Design Two” theme. This is well optimized for your SEO and search results. Other themes are visual appearing, but not well optimized for SEO.
So you can decide, whether visual appearance or SEO is the priority. The four themes in the free plugin are – Design One, Design Two, Design Three and Swift.
If you want to use the default theme like Thesis Framework’s Effectus Skin (which I am using), then you can click the “x” mark in the Theme Selector. This will remove the default AMP theme of Swift and make the non-AMP theme as default.
You can just enable the “Excerpt” option. This will show recent posts (as per the setting in your WordPress Dashboard) with little summary of the article.
The settings in this page are for individual post. My recommendation is to disable all the default options. The mobile page schema and SEO is better with all the options disabled.
There are lot of default options for including sharing buttons like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
By disabling these buttons, your post or page will not have the facility to share, like, tweet your posts from the article page itself. This is at a disadvantage if you are having lot of social traffic. In that case, you can enable these buttons. Sometimes, these social media icons can cause layout issues. Then you can contact the plugin support team.
But if you feel that social share buttons are necessary and your blog depends on lot of social media traffic, then you can keep the default options or make changes as required.
My recommendation for this setting is to click the “x” mark for all the options available in this setting page. This will disable date to show in search engines. But if you get better value in SEO, but enabling dates of your posts or pages, then you can keep the default options.
This option can be enabled if you want to disable any WordPress plugins for AMP pages only. It is necessary if you are getting any AMP validation errors. So some plugins might work well with non-AMP pages, but not with AMP pages. Then you can enable this option. This is a free extension provided by default with the AMP for WP plugin. It is available in the latest version of 0.9.98.12.
AMP for WP Pro Version
If you want additional features with AMP for WP plugin then you need to buy the Pro version. (aff) It costs around $149 for single site usage. You can take advantage of promo and discount for the Pro version in festival, Christmas and New Year season.
With the Pro bundle membership you get lot of extensions. Some of them are –
- Advanced AMP ADS
- AMP Cache
- Contact Form 7
- AMP WooCommerce
- Email Opt-in Forms
- Gravity Forms
- Content Teaser
- Advanced Custom Fields
- Star Ratings
- Native Comments
- Structured Data for WordPress
- Polylang for AMP
- Easy Digital Downloads
- Ninja Forms
- Custom Post Type
- DFP for AMP
- PWA for AMP
- Popup for AMP
- AMP Stories
- WP Forms Support for AMP
- bbPress forums for AMP
- Facebook Chat for AMP
- Caldera Forms Support for AMP
- Call To Action
- AMP Layouts & Themes
- Classipress for AMP
- Elementor & Divi Support
Each of the above extension performs a functionality to support different features in AMP. This can be useful if your AMP pages are slower due to server or theme configuration. Then you can use AMP cache extension which will boost your site speed. If you want additional theme support for AMP, then you can install the AMP Layouts & Themes extension.
This will give lot of options for different themes like News, Creative Business Theme with different layouts and appearance, Journal, Studio, Elegance, Weekly Magazine, Agency etc. You can also include Ads inside the content after some paragraphs and percentage of content using Advanced AMP Ads extension.
Speed Performance Tests
I have conducted few speed tests using tools like GTMetrix and PageSpeed Insights, to see if the above options do not impact the page loading speed. After all, the main prerogative of using AMP is to make mobile pages faster.
As you can see from the above screenshots, the pages load quickly. In the GTMetrix test results, I got page loading time of 2 to 3secs. In the Page Speed Insights tool test also, I could get good scores of 64 in mobile and 87 in desktop. I am using a cache plugin called PageSpeed Ninja and DreamHost’s shared hosting unlimited plan.
AMP for WP - Free and Pro Version Features
Product Name: AMP for WP - Free and Pro
Product Description: This product improves the speed of your site and loads your pages quickly for mobile visitors. AMP for WP has different features like automatically redirecting mobile traffic to AMP, integration of Google Analytics, inserting ads between posts, application of AMP on posts, pages, homepage, archives etc. Pro version has different extensions to extend the current functionality of the free version.
Price: 0 to 149
This is without enabling ads in non-amp and amp pages. If you enable Adsense Ads, you are likely to see a spike in page loading times. But if you use a cache plugin, then this can be negated.