AMP

People Behind The Code: Simon Rønbøl’s AMP journey

Developer Experience

When AMP launched in 2015, Simon was starting his career with Online-Results A/S. He’d been researching AMP in his spare time to hone his skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends. Eventually, he learned enough to build a static site generator for AMP pages from his home. 

Having developed a passion for AMP, he brought his site generator into work to show its capabilities to the SEO team. This started a journey that transformed Online-Results A/S’ business offerings, and propelled Simon from intern to company partner in half a decade. 

Could you give us a bit of background on your company, and what attracted you to AMP? 

Online-Results A/S is a remote digital arm – we analyze patterns in digital behavior and use those insights to build conversion-focused websites and marketing strategies for small & medium sized businesses. 

If you’re a company of 10-20 people that focuses on car repairs, you might not have the time or capacity to have a website developer on staff. We can build them easy websites that are intuitive, high-performing, and highly-convertible.

Loading time has always been a huge part of our offerings; we use the Page Speed Insights tool as a big motivator to sell our websites. When we saw that AMP loads instantly on Google Search we made the switch – we wanted to make our fast sites even faster. I give a lot of credit to my management team; after a couple of tests they were willing to throw a lot of time and resources behind making the switch. It’s really paid off.

Did integrating AMP present any challenges? 

No, it was really plug-and-play. Turning our static html sites into AMP sites was fast – optimizing them was the journey. 

We’d been using a bloated CMS up until that point; a massive infrastructure with constant performance bottlenecks. For the small sites we were building it was like shooting at birds with cannons! So I built a static site generator, then leveraged the AMP community to troubleshoot it. 

You mentioned optimizing AMP – do you have any examples? 

We never stop optimizing! Just last week I implemented CSS tree-shaking into the static site generator. Now we have an automatic way of going through every page, checking to see if the CSS is actually used on each individual site, and then stripping unused CSS away. 

How did AMP impact your business? 

The static site generator is at the core of how we use AMP. Every time a designer or developer comes up with a new idea, we go back to our HTML roots and get it built quickly. 

Back when we used the CMS, it’d take us hours to build something like a functional slider. Now we can just style it like we would any other HTML element. 

You don’t need to know JavaScript to be able to build – and that’s helped our designers bring their ideas to life in a quick, easy, and effective way. 

How has AMP helped you innovate? 

It’s made it very easy for us to create websites – one employee can go from a blank page to a completed site in three to four days now. That’s an optimized site with analytics, call tracking, the works.

Websites used to account for around 3% of our business, now it’s up to 20-25% of our total revenue. We made AMP really easy for our clients to understand. They see the little lightning bolt in Search results and instantly get that AMP’s speed adds credibility and trust to the sites we build.

What advice would you give to anyone considering AMP? 

If you’re a developer that wants to use AMP, I can’t recommend the Roadshows highly enough. You should hang out in the Slack chat too, that’s where you get a lot of inspiration. If it all comes crashing down on your first build, then there’s always someone there to help out! 

You should also embrace getting back to your roots. It’s easy to fall into the habit of throwing new plugins at each new issue, but we see the 50 kilobytes of CSS limit as an opportunity to express your creativity in new ways.  

In my opinion, you can’t build a bad AMP page. It won’t be valid AMP if it’s not high-functioning – so get in there and play with it. 

Has AMP helped you achieve any personal or professional goals? 

Well, I’m a partner now! It’s helped me massively, and throughout the journey I’ve been so supported. I’m just one guy, I can’t keep building and updating sliders for my entire life. But with AMP, I feel like I’ve got a global team of open source developers working together to create the best components possible.  

It’s been such a timesaver, which has helped me to focus on personal development. 

What excites you most about the future of AMP? 

I can’t wait to see it expand into AMP for Email and AMP Stories. I really want to see how AMP shakes up email. It has the potential to change everything. 

If you ask any developer, they hate working on emails. Coding an email is way too difficult! You have to use some 1998 standard, it’s just so annoying. So having an AMP email library will be incredibly exciting.  

Are you interested in mirroring Simon’s journey? Check out the resources on amp.dev for everything you need to further your career with AMP.

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