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In this day and age, we want everything to be instant. From ordering food to new clothes, we want to be able to order and access things in the blink of an eye. Overall, our patience is getting shorter and shorter. And whether you are aware or not, our attention span has gotten a lot shorter as more and more new technology continues to saturate the market.
So, how does all of this apply to you and your medical practice? Glad you asked. Here’s one example – when people go to your website and it takes several seconds to load, they will leave your site and go to one of your competitors. Just put it this way, for every second you make your visitors wait, due to slow load times, you’re missing out on potential new patients and revenue.
Still not convinced on the power of your site speed? Well, we’ve compiled five of the top reasons why you should not ignore the speed of your medical website. But before we get to that, I want to ensure that you have a solid understanding of what I mean when I say “site speed”.
Site Speed and Page Speed
Site speed is often confused with page speed. The page speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your page loads. On the other hand, site speed is the average of several sample pages on a website. It is not a secret that decreasing your site’s load time is now every bit as important as your content. The site speed is the duration of how quickly users are able to see and interact with the website’s content. So, how do you know if your site speed is fast? Although it is difficult to give an exact answer, findings show that nearly 50 percent of all users expect that a medical website should finish loading in two seconds or less. What that means is that you basically have less than two seconds to engage your visitors on your site.
Throughout this blog post, we’ll both focus on the importance of both site speed and page speed. Now that you know what both site speed and page speed is, let’s jump to the reasons healthcare providers shouldn’t neglect these two things.
Medical Website speed is the first impression a medical practice makes on an online visitor.
Your medical website is where you make a first impression on potential patients. You also need it to connect with your existing patients. That is why it is important for your site to be able to capture and keep the attention of visitors the moment they land on your website. In fact, did you know that websites that load in five seconds, compared to those that load in 19 seconds, see 70 percent longer average sessions? And the longer people spend on your site, the more time they have to consume your content and potentially consider becoming a new patient.
Slow websites kill conversion.
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all encountered websites that take too long to load. That’s bad news for the visitors, but it’s good news for those practices who actually have a fast-loading site speed. A 100-millisecond delay in load time can cause conversion rates to drop by 7 percent. In another research study conducted by Akamai, one full second of load time can decrease conversion rates by 70 percent. That is huge! The more time it takes for your site to load, the more visitors you’ll lose. In a report by SEMrush, it stated that websites that load in 1.7 seconds are faster than approximately 75 percent of sites on the web. So, if you can get your site to achieve that, then you will lead the competition!
Slow websites drive potential patients away to competitors.
You have to understand that you and your competition basically offer the same services. So, it can be difficult for your practice to stand out. However, one way that you work on standing out is by improving your site speed. I’m going to paint a picture, then I want you to think about what you would do. Suppose you are looking for a local restaurant to celebrate your upcoming birthday. You asked your family and friends if they have a place that they can recommend. However, unfortunately, they didn’t have any good recommendations. The next thing you would do is go online and begin searching for a good local restaurant. Say that you were able to find a lot of good restaurants in your area. So, the next logical step would be to start viewing the website of each of the restaurants and looking at their ambiance and menus. Now, if you had to choose between a website that loads within a second or one that loads after 10, which would you choose? I bet it’s the former. No one would stay on a site that takes too long to load. If your practice’s website speed is more similar to the latter in the example above, then it’s time to make a change! You are basically driving your potential patients away to your competitors.
Site speed affects your Google rankings.
In 2010, Google announced that site speed would impact a website’s ranking. It is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. And Google has said time and time again that fast sites help websites rank better. This is because your site speed impacts the user experience of your visitors. And Google takes the user experience seriously. In one study, 88 percent of online users said they would not return to a site after a bad experience. In addition, 79 percent of online shoppers admitted that they’d be less likely to buy from a site again if they experienced a dissatisfying visit.
Site speed affects your online reputation.
It is said that 84 percent of American adults use the Internet on a daily basis. This means that it is critical to be aware of your practice’s online reputation. People are actively looking for information on products and services that they want to purchase or acquire. More than that, they are looking for an organization that can provide that. You might ask, how does this relate to your site speed? Well obviously, if you have a slow loading time, this affects how the user sees your medical practice. This affects the user experience and will definitely affect what they say online. And you don’t your medical practice to be presented in a bad light.
Here’s what it all boils down to – you need to make your speed a top priority if you don’t want your potential patients to gravitate to your local competitors. And if you don’t have an in-house marketing team that can help you with your site’s load time, then you should consider partnering with an experienced marketing agency. Our organization, Website4MD is an experienced medical marketing company that can help you increase the speed of your website and attract more patients. Let’s start with a 1:1 conversation – Give us a call and we’ll set you up with a time to talk with one of our website experts!