Did you know that 40% of your site’s visitors will leave if your site does not load within 3 seconds. After 4 seconds, user dropoff is dramatic.
This is why we say that technical optimizations are low-hanging fruit.
Simply making your site load faster will improve many aspects of your sites, including lead generation, contact requests, engagement times and more.
What’s more, Google prefers fast-loading sites and has site speed as a factor for determining search rankings.
Now you may be asking, why would Google prefer a faster-loading site?
The answer: user experience. Google wants its users to have the best experience possible. Not only does it want to show relevant websites in search results, but it also wants to ensure those sites provide a great experience to visitors. What good is a site with great, relevant content that won’t load quickly?
As a medical practice that wants to acquire patients online, site speed should be one of your primary concerns. A slow-loading site will frustrate potential patients, who will go on to search for alternatives on Google.
Just think about it – you spend so much time and money on marketing to get users on your website, only to see them ‘bounce’ away due to a sluggish user experience.. Keeping this in mind, as it’s now time to optimize your site to be fast and responsive.
Let’s see how it’s done.
How to Check If Your Site Is Slow
Even if you had your website developed by expert coders, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be fast. Luckily, there are a couple of tools that are useful for determining your site’s load speed and potential problems.
⚠️ The tools mentioned below are free and quite thorough in their analysis. But keep in mind that they work on a per-page basis, meaning they won’t scan your whole website but rather the exact URL you submit for analysis.
Checking Site Speed with GTmetrix
A great tool that we personally use to check site speed is GTmetrix. It’s free to use and gives you a detailed insight on your site’s load performance.
To check your site speed with GTMetrix, follow the steps listed below:
➡ Open GTmetrix
➡ Enter the address of your website in the text field and click ‘Test your site’.
For the purpose of this example, we’re going to be analyzing www.logicinbound.com.
➡ Wait while GTMetrix analyzes your site. Since this is a free tool, it gets bombarded with requests like yours, so bear with it.
➡ After a minute or two, you’ll have your site’s page speed report.
The top section of the report will give you an overview of your page speed scores, and a measure of how long it takes to load your site.
⚡ Logicinbound.com loads pretty quickly (2.9 seconds) and has a great PageSpeed Score (91%). For details on how the score has been calculated, you can scroll down and see details, including GTmetrix’s recommendations on what could be better.
➡ These certainly are a lot of things to look at.
Generally speaking, the real thing to watch is your site’s loading time. If it’s under 3 seconds, you’re good to go.
However, if it’s above 3 seconds, that’s when you need to look at GTmetrix’s recommendations.
Checking Site Speed with Google PageSpeed Insights
Google offers a tool to check your site’s page speed, along with some other metrics. This is a great tool since it will give you insights on what matters in terms of page speed for Google.
- Enter the URL of the page you’d like to analyze, and click ‘ANALYZE’. As an example, we’re going to run the tool for www.logicinbound.com
- PageSpeed insights will display an aggregated number indicating the level of optimization of the page in terms of load speed. Generally, it should be above 90.
- Scroll down to see the warnings and recommendations to improve your page load speed.
- As you can see, there are a couple of opportunities for optimizations. Simply following these recommendations could help www.logicinbound.com load up to 0.6 seconds faster. That may not sound like a big number, but remember, all it takes is a moment above 3 seconds to see a 40% user drop off.
Of course, we do not expect a busy doctor to carry out all these technical optimizations. This is to just give you a means of analyzing your website’s load speed. The more knowledge you have, the more mileage you’ll be able to get out of your development team.
Check your website monthly using Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix to keep an eye on site performance. If the site isn’t doing too well, have a meeting with your developers and raise the issue.
Basic Fixes for a Slow-Loading Website
While making changes at the code-level is definitely going to yield positive results when it comes to site load speed, that’s not necessarily the only way to optimize a website.
Here are some basic fixes you can do to improve the load times of your website.
Every good website has visual content to keep the user engaged. While it’s easy to simply download a 20MB stock image and upload it straight to your website, what you’re doing here is assuming all visitors will have a great internet connection.
In reality, all kinds of users will be visiting your website, with varying degrees of connection speed. Thus, it is absolutely important that all the images on your site be kept to the minimum size possible (without sacrificing quality).
How to Compress an Image
Get Rid of Resource-Hogging Scripts
A badly optimized script can increase your site’s load time by several seconds.
How to Check Your Site for Heavy Scripts
Tools such as GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights have made it really easy to weed out problem scripts on your website.
Simply go to the recommendation sections once the analysis is done and the tools will list the scripts which are causing the page to load slowly.
Budget and inexperienced developers might deliver a website that looks great and works as intended, but the user experience will be imprisoned to inefficient code that will make the site respond horribly.
This is it! You’ve now learned the basics. If we missed anything or you’d like to give us feedback feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and please leave us some love online!