Show HN: Using Google AMP to build a Medium-style Jekyll site that loads in 65ms

A Jekyll html theme in the vague style of built using Google AMP

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project
(a.k.a. “Google AMP” or Google ) is an open-source project that defines rules
for creating websites that load nearly instantly even on mobile devices with
slow connections.

Check out a live example of this theme at
via Google’s CDN.



Why use Google AMP?

There are two reasons to use Google AMP:

First, it’s really fast! An often sited claim (by Amazon, Yahoo, Walmart and
others) is that every extra 100ms improvement in page load time increases
incremental revenue by up to 1%. Your personal blog might not be selling
anything, but why settle for a slow page and risk losing readers?

Second, Google might feature your AMP page in Search Results! Google gives
preferential treatment to AMP pages on Mobile Search. When it displays your
page in the AMP search results widget, it will even serve your page through
it’s own CDN to make the page load even faster. It’s similar to how
Facebook Instant Articles works on the
Facebook platform.

How fast is this theme?

To get a general idea of how this theme performs, let’s compare this page
hosted on Github vs. another static page hosted on Github. We can use as a comparison page.

Of course our page and have different
layouts. But the main point is that the React page is another typical
static site hosted on Github and is well-designed. So it should give us
a rough idea of how a typical page might perform. I’m not suggesting anything
is wrong with their page. It’s actually pretty fast!

If you are on a fast connection, both pages load about the same speed but our
page renders the main content much faster:

First page vist with no throttling

Second page visit with no throttling

You’ll see the main content render much faster because AMP
doesn’t allow anything in your page
that would block the page from rendering after the initial HTML loads. This means no external
css, no custom js, etc.

You can get even faster speeds when your
page is served via Google’s AMP CDN.

So there’s some tiny benefit on a 100mbs wired connection. But optimization is much more
important on a slow, high-latency mobile connection (i.e. most actual internet users in 2016).
Let’s try loading the page using the “Regular 2G (250kb/s, 300ms RT)” throttling setting in
Chrome Dev Tools:

First page vist with “Regular 2G” throttling

Second page visit with “Regular 2G” throttling

Even a horribly slow connection with high latency, the user will still see a page render in
half a second. That’s great! The difference between 385ms and 28s is the different between
someone reading your blog is skipping your blog.

Getting Started

To use this theme, it’s just like using any other Jekyll template:

Step 1: Install Jekyll

Step 2: Clone this repo to your computer

Step 3: Tweak _config.yml.

Just fill in everything in the # Site settings section.
You’ll want to set your site’s title, your name, your twitter username, etc.

Step 4: Run jekyll serve and then open
http://localhost:4000/ to see your site!

Step 5: Publish your site
just like any other Jekyll site.

Google AMP Limitations

Google AMP sets many
strict limits on what you can include in your web pages.
A few of these are worth talking about:

Limitation: All CSS must be inline (no external css files).

Because of this, the main css file for this site is in _includes/styles.scss
instead of in the normal css/ Jekyll folder. This css file is inlined
into the header of every page via the special scssify filter in _includes/head.html.

Limitation: Size all resources statically

Every image you include in your page must have a height and width. This also
applies to other things like embedding videos or other resources. Check below
for more details.

Writing Posts with Google AMP

Writing posts works
just like it does normally in Jekyll
except when you want to include extra resources likes pictures, videos,
embedded Twitter posts, etc.

Google AMP has it’s own set of special html tags for including content. You
should use these instead of normal Markdown or HTML tags.

The two you are are most likely to need are and :

Images in your posts

Youtube Videos in your posts

Embedding other types of content

The AMP Project provides helpers for many other types of content like audio,
ads, Google Analytics, etc.

  • Built-in AMP tags:

  • Extended AMP tags:

Validating your page with Google AMP

Google AMP adds built-in validation logic to make sure your pages follow all
the rules so they render as fast as possible.

To check your page, just add #development=1 to any url on your site and then
check the javascript console in your browser.


You will either see a success message:

Powered by AMP ⚡ HTML – Version 1457112743399
AMP validation successful.

Or you will see a list of errors to fix:

Powered by AMP ⚡ HTML – Version 1457112743399
AMP validation had errors:
The attribute 'style' may not appear in tag 'span'
The attribute 'style' may not appear in tag 'div'

Making Google serve your page

Google will cache valid AMP pages if you link to them with one of these urls:


But keep in mind these two limitations:

  1. The caches don’t refresh that often. So don’t view these urls until your page
    is done!
  2. Remove /s from both urls if your page isn’t served over https://.

Required Schema Data

To actually get your page featured in Google search results, it needs to include
a NewsArticle schema. See _includes/metadata.json for the
version generated by default. You might want to tweak it.


This theme is inspired by
Mediator by Dirk Fabisch. I used some
of the css and html from that theme as a starting point. Thanks!


MIT. See LICENSE file in repo.

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