Greening Your Business Website

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creating a green websiteWebsites are an often-overlooked green way of promoting your business. Instead of printing brochures and other literature, you can just send people to your website. If you don’t already have a website for your business, you should make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to create one in 2009. Luckily, building a website for your green business really isn’t as hard as you may think, even if you don’t know HTML and rarely use computers.

But before you start building and promoting your website online, consider this: websites themselves can be “greened.” Most people don’t know that there are green choices when it comes to hosting, site design, building, and content! You don’t can actually create a green website for your green business.

Start by choosing a green hosting company. Most people, especially those who don’t know much about the Internet, choose a large hosting company like Go Daddy or Yahoo. While there are definite advantages to these companies, there are also a handful of green hosting companies, and most are not well know. Check out the following green hosts when making your hosting decision:

  • Sustainable Websites – They offset 100% of the energy they use with wind energy, plus offer for free a database of green articles that you can use with your website.
  • ThinkHost – This company offset 100% of the energy they use with solar and wind energy, and they offer telecommuting options for most of their employees. ThinkHost also has discounted or free hosting plans for non-profit green organizations.
  • Go Green Hosting – Another company that offsets 100% of their energy with renewable energy, Go Green Hosting also has a green code of ethics that governs the way they do business.

You can read about more green web hosting options at Treehugger. This is just a start, but choosing a green hosting company is a great way to begin building a green website, so if you do nothing else, at least choose a green host.

Next, create a print-friendly website. If someone wants to print information from your website, can they do so without a ton of wasted space, a black background, etc.? You don’t have to compromise your design to make your website print-friendly. Create a link that users can click to see a print-friendly version of the page, which removes everything but the essential text and lays it out for a 8 1/2″ by 11″ sheet of paper.

Check out the article “What is a Printer-Friendly Web Page” for more information and tips.

Hire a green designer. If you’re going to get someone else to build your website (rather than doing it yourself), choose a green design company. In general, it is usually a good idea to hire someone if you can afford it, because you’ll waste a lot of electricity trying to design the same thing yourself. Here are some green web design companies you can consider:

  • Studio7Designs – They offset their energy, have a paperless office, and donate part of their profits to environmental organizations.
  • Creative Slice – This company powers their office with solar energy, supports a local green organization with monthly donations, uses energy-efficient computers, and more!

If you do opt to design your website yourself, keep in mind that clean design without tons of images, videos, etc. is the best option for a green website. The less time and energy it takes your website to load, the better!

Everything can be greener with a little thought. Even the green choices you make (like creating a website) can be even more environmentally-friendly. If you’re telecommuting, how can you green your home’s energy? If you start a carpool, who has the more fuel-efficient vehicle and what is the shortest route? If you buy fair-trade, organic coffee for the break room, can you cut down on waste by making smaller pots? Even if you think you’re going green, you can go greener.

Picture via tlloyd at sxc.hu.