A health care website is a good way to reach and interact with patients. But after creating your website, your work isn’t done.
You’ll need to check it periodically to determine that it’s current and works correctly. For example, you might notice that individual pages or elements of your page load slowly.
Why does this happen? What consequences could it have? How could you fix it?
Fortunately, there are answers to these questions.
Why do web pages load slowly?
There are many reasons why it might take longer to upload your web pages.
Not all code is created equal.
If your developer is just learning to code, your web pages might serve as demonstrations of their inexperience.
While some white space could make your text and images stand out, codes that create too much of this space could make your pages bulky and balky. The same goes for empty new lines that appear in your code and pages.
Slow pages might occur because of competition.
That is, is the same server hosting your website along with several others?
Shared servers may be convenient and cost-effective, but if other sites on the server are receiving a lot of traffic, it could make your pages slower and harder to reach.
Speaking of too much of something, how much media is on your site? If your answer is “A lot,” maybe this media is causing your page slowdowns.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t use media. A few well-placed pieces of media can attract visitors to your site and keep them there. They could educate and provide other assistance.
Too many media files might slow things down, however. Also, the more pieces you use, the more they might blend into each other. For maximum impact, carefully select a few media files and images to highlight them.
Several HTTP requests
Other page-based factors might be slowing things down digitally.
All these page elements make HTTP requests to load. Multiple requests at the same time could cause page deceleration.
Developers often use content management systems (CMSs) such as WordPress to design their pages. WordPress and other CMSs use plugins for enhancements.
Plugins are software applications that developers use to make web pages do different things. They help developers because they add page functions but don’t require the use of code.
But their use can come with a cost. Too many could slow page loading or interfere with caching, the temporary storage of files for easier access in the future.
What happens if your pages load too slowly?
Slow pages are more than annoying. They could cause a number of consequences.
Your site’s usefulness declines
People are visiting your site because they want something.
When pages are uncooperative, they prevent visitors from receiving what they want.
Faster load times let readers see what pages have to offer. They’re more likely to stay on the sites and use them.
Patients may lose trust in your pages and your practice
What people think of you does matter, or at least what they think about your website.
Up-to-date websites that load quickly are effective digital tools. Patients could use them to answer their questions and communicate with health care professionals.
But outdated, slow websites could have the opposite effects. For one, they’re not particularly helpful. Just as importantly, if your web pages are lacking, patients might think other things you do are outdated and ineffective. They may even question their allegiance to your medical practice.
Potential patients may lose interest
Lackluster websites might turn off other visitors.
There’s a good chance that people who are thinking about visiting your practice will visit your website. Slow pages might prevent them from learning what they want to learn about you.
Even once the pages load, these visitors might be reluctant to engage further with you and your practice. They might prefer to visit other pages and providers that are less hassle.
Search engines could penalize your site
Users are not the only entities who notice slow pages.
Search engines use a measurement called core web vitals to determine the strength of websites. This metric examines how long it takes for large elements to load, a page’s visual stability, and the length of time browsers respond after users engage with a page.
According to these measurements, pages are good if they’re visually stable and have elements and browsers that load and respond quickly. They’re also good if people look at them longer before returning to their search results page.
When search engines determine that pages are good and high performing, they rank them higher in their results pages, so they’re more visible to users. Slow pages that don’t meet search engines’ criteria will appear lower in their results pages, so users might not notice them as readily.
How could you speed up load times?
Slow pages don’t need to be a permanent condition. There are steps you could take to make your web pages faster and more usable.
Choose premium servers
Performance-focused hosts might cost a little more, but their benefits could be worth the price. Unlike less expensive, shared hosts, these premium online platforms are faster and aren’t shared, so the performance of others won’t affect you.
Use a content delivery network
Instead of just one server, consider harnessing the power of several through a content delivery network (CDN). You could use these multiple servers to send copies of your website files to data centers that are closer to your site’s visitors and are thus faster to access.
Cache your browser and web pages
As stated before, caching allows browsers to store and retrieve information temporarily. Adding a plugin to a site could help it cache.
But as helpful as plugins are, too many could also slow your website’s operation. Use only the ones that are necessary, and if they’re outdated and unsafe, delete them.
Changing the size of images could make them load quicker. Reducing the size of image files (optimizing) and compressing them are especially useful.
Another way to minimize file sizes and increase speed is to minify the code on your pages. Minifying is removing unnecessary characters, spaces, comments, or other elements.
Redirecting pages extends the response process and the HTTP request. Limiting the amount of times your web pages redirect to other pages could speed load times and make your site easier to navigate.
Enable asynchronous loading
Opting for asynchronous loading means that different files will load on your website at the same time. If they open one after another, that could cause delays.
Are your pages slow or not performing how you’d like? Contact Practice Builders. We’ll work with you to develop your healthcare website and other digital solutions that will help your practice and the patients it serves.