How Do Page Load Speeds Impact Your Healthcare Business?
We’re all on a never-ending quest to decrease our bounce rates and increase our on-page conversions.
Something we often overlook, however, is how long our website takes to load. A slow loading page is the #1 reason someone leaves a website.
How Important Is The Speed Of My Website?
Kissmetrics put together a great infographic using the data Akamai gathered in their page speed study. It shows us just how much page load times can affect our bottom line.
Almost 50% of internet users expect your site to load in just 2 seconds or less, and if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds, they’re as good as gone.
Not only are they gone, but it’s unlikely they’ll return to your site in the future. They also won’t tell anyone in their network to visit your website. This shows you just how big of an impact a few seconds of load time can make on your business.
If a client comes to us for marketing, and their website loads slow, the first thing we do is get their load times down to an acceptable level. We always shoot for 1 second or less for all pages. Just because people don’t leave the site until the 3-second mark, it’s still ideal to make it as quick as possible.
We’ve seen drastic conversion rate improvements by decreasing load speeds from 2 seconds down to 1 second. It could be the difference between receiving just a few leads a day, or receiving 10+ leads a day.
If a large portion of your traffic is coming from mobile devices (this is usually the case), it’s even more important that your pages load quickly. This is where Google AMP comes into play. AMP is highly underutilized. It makes your pages load unbelievably fast on mobile devices by serving a cached version to users.
How To Test Your Page Speed
So how do you know if your page speed is up to par? Well, there are a few tools worth using regularly to check the speed of your website.
They rank your website’s load speed and tell you exactly what needs to be fixed, how to fix it, and how important it is to fix. I use this tool whenever I’m adding or updating website content to make sure nothing wacky is going on.
I also like to use the Pingdom Website Speed Test in addition to Google’s test. It allows you to test from multiple locations which is nice, and best of all, it tells you which files specifically are causing your pages to hang or load slowly.
It’s nice to know exactly how long it takes to load each file from the server, that way, you know exactly what file or image to optimize and improve.
To track your load times over the long-term, use Google Analytics and look in the ‘Behavior > Site Speed’ section. Here you can see exactly how your pages are loading month-to-month.
Making Your Website Load Faster
The first thing you’ll need to do is compress your images (PNG, JPEG, and GIF files). Ezgif works great for all three file types and is my go-to tool for single files.
Now, if you’re using WordPress, and you have a lot of files to compress at once, I highly recommend downloading and installing the WP Smush plugin. This plugin works so well I even upgraded to the pro version.
I upgraded so that I could compress an unlimited amount of images at once, and so that it automatically compressed images as I uploaded them. You get the pro version with a WPMU DEV account which comes with plenty of useful plugins to make it well worth the cost.
You can certainly stick to Ezgif and the free version of WP Smush, it will just take more time to compress each image individually. For me time is money, so this was something well worth the investment.
Next, you’ll want to enable caching on your website. If you’re not using WordPress, here’s a great guide to enable HTTP caching on your website.
If your website runs on WordPress, you’re in luck. There’s an excellent plugin available called W3 Total Cache. I’ve tried every cache plugin available and then some, and W3 Total Cache is by far my favorite.
Geoff Kenyon conducted a study that tells us exactly how we stack up against the rest of the web with various load speeds. The results?
- If your website loads in 5 seconds, it loads quicker than about 25% of websites
- If your website loads in 2.9 seconds, it loads quicker than approximately 50% of websites
- If your website loads in 1.7 seconds, it loads quicker than approximately 75% of websites
- If your website loads in 0.8 seconds, it loads quicker than approximately 94% of websites
Let’s shoot for that 1 second mark folks, your visitors will thank you by staying on your site, visiting more pages, telling their network about your brand, and potentially converting into a customer.
I’ll leave you with this official Google Webmaster video that states “2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”
What are you doing to make sure your pages load times aren’t affecting your conversion rates and exit rates? Let me know in the comments below.