January 30, 2021

Why Your Site Speed is Important and What to Do About It

Website speed should be a top priority for your business. This blog covers why site speed is so essential and what you can do to improve yours.

Samantha Hansen

Can the speed of your website really affect how many new patients or clients you get? Even if it’s just a couple seconds of a difference?

The answer is 1000% yes. Google cares, patients care, and so should you. But first let’s talk about today vs 20 years ago. Oh how many things have changed. How can we forget, Collect Phone Calls 😢 , 411 Directory 😢 , Dial Up Modems 😢 .

Now it feels like these artifacts belong in an ancient tech museum. The adoption of technology has moved at a rapid pace, actually scratch that more like an exponential pace. Customers now use the internet to find anything and everything they need.

And don’t forget the shift that has happened this past year, one that is sure to change consumer behavior. Experts agree that Covid has progressed internet adoption by a leap of 5-10 years.

People are even more technologically engaged and crave more instant gratification. For you, this means it should be your top priority to optimize your business’s online presence, and website speed is one of the biggest undervalued aspects of this.

You might be thinking that your website speed is fine, and that this doesn’t apply to you. But shockingly, only 15% of websites have an optimal website speed (don’t believe us, our team at Whippy is happy to test your site speed vs. your competitors and email you the results!).

Here are a few reasons why your site speed matters so much and a few tips on how to improve it:

Potential Customers Don’t Wait for Slow Sites

People have mega computers at their fingertips that can do things in seconds that it took us minutes or hours to do years ago. The point is your potential patients’ attention spans and patience have been whittled down to next to nothing.

If your website takes seconds to load, well then prepare to say adios, goodbye, to many potential customers. They could have scrolled through 20 pictures, 8 videos and ordered delivery by the time your site got to them. It sounds crazy but it's true. If we look at some of the biggest ecommerce sites in the world they consider site speed to be their holy metric.

Neil Patel, a top SEO & Web expert, nails it in his writeup “Why Decreasing Page Load Time Can Drastically Increase Conversion”.  A major stat stands out to us:

53% of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

What does this mean for you? Slower website speed means a higher bounce rate, which is a big no-no for your business. A website that takes 5 seconds to load can actually cause 37% of visitors to bounce. Check out tip #2 in our previous blog to check out more information on the importance of your bounce rate.

If your website isn’t fast enough, you could be losing half of your potential customers. You may think this isn’t that bad and that many customers will find your business without the help of Google.

Yet, a whopping 77 percent of the population uses Google to find a healthcare service, and you best bet this statistic holds similar truth for other services as well. You can do the math here, but the bottom line is simple. Slower site speed = less potential customers staying on your website.

Website Speed

2. Slow Sites Have Lower Conversion Rates

Think about if you try to go to a restaurant, but the wait time is 20 minutes. Why would you stay waiting at that restaurant when there are 20 other restaurants down the street? The internet is similar, but the restaurant is your website and the street is Google!

Even if potential customers make it past the initial slow load time for your website and stay on the page (which we know less than half will stay), the speed still affects the decisions they will make. Studies show that a slower site speed also lowers your website’s conversion rate. Your conversion rate is the the number of visitors to your page over the number that translate into leads. Let's say you have 100 visitors and 3 turn into leads, your site has a 3% conversion rate.

According to Small SEO Tools, just a one second delay in site speed can cause a 7% decrease in conversions. What’s more, a shocking 70% of consumers report that a slower site speed affects their decision to purchase a product or service.

Check out this fantastic infographic made by Kissmetrics that reiterates how much every second counts. Literally for every second faster your website’s loads, you could be gaining 3, 10, or even 50 new clients a year, depending on your current website traffic. It even highlights that a speed difference of just a one second delay (or 3 seconds of waiting) decreases customer satisfaction by about 16%.

We hope all these numbers laid it out for you, but if you still aren’t sure, let's reiterate- slow site speed means way less business for you!  It sounds so basic, so fundamental, but we at Whippy run page speed tests for dentists, doctors, and other professionals all the time and what we show them really jolts them.

If you want a free website speed test & health audit from our team of Whippy software engineers, we got your back 😎  We can review your site and even provide a short video explaining what we find and suggestions on how to fix them. Not too shabby huh! Enter your website domain below and the email to send the video too and consider it done...

3. Google Hates Slow Sites

If losing over half of your website visitors within seconds and a great portion of the other half later along the way hasn’t woken you up yet, there’s more. A slower site speed also means that less potential customers will even find your website!

As we mentioned earlier, over ¾ of the population is now finding their service providers through Google searches. And as we know, no one really looks past the first couple of results for a search.

Google is continuously adding new standards and updates to their algorithms that involve page speed. This means the slower your site speed, the lower you’ll rank on Google. For more on improving your Google presence, be sure to read our previous blog on Google My Business.

Google actually recommends a site speed of less than 3 seconds, and given that a large 85% of websites aren’t making this cut, you likely aren’t either. We aren’t in the era of buffering searches and waiting for pages to load anymore, and you have to keep up! If you don’t, that massive ¾ of the population won’t even find your page easily!

website speed

Now that we’ve established how crucial your site speed is to your success, let’s talk about what you can do about it. There are tons of optimizations you can make to your website or that you can have your web developer make for you, which will improve your site speed. Although we won't go through them all here it's important to understand some of the technical reasons your website loads slowly so you can research how to fix them or so you can have an intelligent conversation with the person who updates your site.

4. Optimize images on your site

Image size is one of the biggest factors in improving your website speed. We at Whippy recommend using professional photography to boost your online presence. Make sure to check out our blog on why this is so important.

But these professional photos or any photos you are using can be huge file sizes. In order to increase your website speed, run your images through a platform such as tinyPNG to compress them to a website-friendly size.

We at Whippy upload file sizes less than 500kb for the websites we help build for business professionals. This is the optimal size to allow the site speed not to be affected but also to show high resolution on photos that are clicked on and enlarged.

website tips

5. Minimize CSS

To make your site faster, you should make sure your CSS and JavaScript files (the code that makes the website look pretty and feel interactive) are minified. We know this can sound confusing, so what does it mean?

Essentially, minifying CSS and JS files is similar to optimizing your images. When someone opens your website it's similar to downloading an image or video to your computer. Minifying your CSS and JS files is like compressing an image or video to make it download faster.

small business tips

6. Don’t use too many fonts

It is helpful to not use too many different fonts and to set the System UI as you fall back. If you set the System UI font as a back up font your site will load quicker because the website will not need to load your custom font before showing text, similar to if you compress an image it will download quicker and you site will load faster. Aside from the backup, we recommend sticking with one consistent font across your pages.

Have you ever been to a website and the page opens but there is no text for a fraction of a second or sometimes longer? This happens because the website has to load too many different fonts. You fix this by setting the System UI as a fallback font.

Now that we’ve shown you how essential website speed is and provided a few tips, we hope you apply this knowledge to improving your site!

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