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Why You Need to Speed Up Your Medical Website
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time” – Leo Tolstoy
Patience and time really are two powerful traits. However, those two things don’t apply in the online world. One of the things we want most in this world is a fast Internet connection, am I right? When it comes to looking for new things or answers, we want things in a jiffy. Honestly, we want things immediately, at the click of a button. And if a website can’t provide that, then we leave without thinking twice.“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time” – Leo Tolstoy Click To Tweet
Did you know that one of Google’s top ranking factors is site speed? In fact, if your website takes too long to load, it can alter your search rankings, decrease your number of page views, disrupt the user experience, and reduce your conversions.
Numbers are everything, right? Here are a few stats that reinforce the importance of having a fast-loading website:
- 47 percent of users expect a webpage to take no longer than 2 seconds to load
- 53 percent of users would leave a website that takes 3 seconds to load
Here are a few stats (not specifically related to the medical field, but still relevant) that prove how much you can benefit from speeding up your website:
- 52 percent of online shoppers have confirmed that quick page loads are important in order for them to stay loyal to a site
- Amazon has a 1 percent increase in revenue for every 100 milliseconds of improvement to their site speed
- There’s a 2 percent increase in lead conversion for every 1 second of speed improvement on Walmart
How Site Speed Can Affect Conversions
You still don’t understand the importance of your site’s speed? Okay, let me share how your site speed impacts your conversions.
In 2018, research by MachMetrics confirmed that most websites have a load time of around eight to eleven seconds. Doesn’t seem like a long time, right? Well…
Did you know that even a one-second delay in page load time would mean:
- 16 percent decrease in customer/patient satisfaction
- 11 percent fewer page views
- 7 percent loss in lead conversions
A second may not seem like a long time but it has a huge impact on your website’s ability to engage visitors and generate sales. Frankly speaking, a slow and sluggish website kills conversions. As mentioned above, even a three-second loading page can have a huge blow to the number of potential patients you could have gained. And on the off chance that your site visitors do stick around, they won’t be very likely to return. In a recent survey, 79 percent of customers said that they would not return to a site with poor performance.
How Site Speed Can Influence Visibility
The faster the speed, the better because Google is now taking into consideration the speed of a website. In layman’s term, if your site speed is slow, your Google ranking would decrease and be way below the others. You want to be on the front page on Google, right? Well, that won’t happen if you have a slow website.
Since 2017, Google has been prioritizing websites that are mobile-friendly. Here’s what that means – when your website is fast and mobile-responsive, you increase your chances of being at the top of Google’s search results.
Also, mobile searches now outnumber desktop searches. So you need to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile not just because your site will rank better, but also because the majority of people use their phones nowadays. Basically, if you want to improve your visibility and rankings, it’s imperative to make your website speed fast and mobile-responsive as well. Your website should be quick, easy, and adaptable to any screen size.
8 Actionable Tips To Speed Up Your Website
Tip #1: Diminish Server Response Time
The time taken for a web server to respond to a request from a browser is called server response time. The more visitors your website gets, the more the server uses resources that could result in your website being slow and sluggish.
Google has recommended that you should keep your server response time under 200ms. And, one fast way to help with reducing the server response time of your website is to improve the quality and scope of your web hosting.
Tip #2: Enable Browser Caching
This means that if any user visits your website for the first time, they have to wait until all the elements have downloaded before they can view the content on your page.
Enabling browser caching allows you to temporarily store some of the data and elements on a user’s computer so that they don’t need to wait for a long time for your website to load every time they visit. Obviously, this can significantly improve your site’s performance, including its speed. In return, this will contribute to a better user experience.
Tip #3: Enable Compression
The bigger the size, the slower the speed. When you enable compression for your website, it can drastically reduce the size of your website pages. By doing so, this will increase your site’s speed and performance.
Compression reduces the bandwidth of your website’s pages which reduces HTTP responses. Your website will have smaller file sizes but they will load faster for your website users.
Tip #4: Optimize Images
You can greatly enhance your website’s performance by speeding up the loading time of the images on your website. You need to focus on four things when you optimize your images:
Crop your images to the correct size. Make sure that the height of the image is proportional to the width.
JPEG is the best. As much as possible, use it.
PNG is the second best option. However, older browsers may not fully support it but it’s still the second best choice for an image format.
GIFs should be used only for small and simple graphics and for animated images.
Do not use BMPs and TIFFs.
The larger the size, the longer it will take for an image to load. So, keep your images as small as possible.
Once the scale, format, and size of the image are good to go, it’s best to make sure that the code is also right.
Pro Tip: If you don’t know anything about codes, resizing images, and whatnot, you can hire professionals who can do the job for you. There are companies out there, like Website4MD, who have a team of marketing experts who can help you with improving your site’s speed and performance.
Tip #5: Reduce HTTP Requests
According to Yahoo…
“80% of the end-user response time is spent on the front-end. Most of this time is tied up in downloading all the components in the page: images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc. Reducing the number of components, in turn, reduces the number of HTTP requests required to render the page. This is the key to faster pages.”
HTTP requests are requests that you receive whenever someone visits your website.
Tip #6: Delete Unnecessary Plugins
When you activate too many plugins, it affects your website’s performance which causes security issues. As a result, this makes your website very slow and sluggish.
My recommendation: once a month, make sure that you review the plugins on your website and delete the plugins that you’re not using frequently.
Tip #7: Reduce Redirects
Use your redirects wisely and sparingly because they increase the number of HTTP requests which increases the load time of your website. Google has strongly encouraged websites to minimize the number of redirects or eliminate them entirely.
Tip #8: Optimize CSS Delivery
There are two ways in which your website accesses information:
Inline CSS codes: These are instructions that are included in the HTML document itself.
External CSS files: Before your web page is rendered, external CSS files have to load.
Here’s how you can optimize CSS delivery:
- Compress your CSS scripts
- Combine your CSS scripts
- Avoid CSS @import
- Optimize CSS Delivery for WordPress
- Prevent using STYLE tags in the HTML body
- Prioritize CSS rules for the above-the-fold content
Just A Tip…
So, here’s the thing, I know you’re probably too busy caring for patients and handling other administrative tasks to ensure that your medical clinic has a fast-loading website. At Website4MD, we understand that you are juggling numerous responsibilities and that the load speed of your website may not be at the top of your priority list. However, we are an experienced medical marketing agency that has helped numerous practices across the country with this very issue.
We’d love to help you – let’s simply start with a quick chat.