How often do you think about site speed for your medical practice website? If you’re like many doctors, you probably haven’t given it much thought at all. It’s an often overlooked factor that could be affecting your site’s performance.
As a plastic surgeon or another medical professional, you probably rely on before and after images on your site to bring in new patients. While images can be powerful marketing tools, they can also slow down your site load time, which can affect both the user experience and your search engine ranking.
If you’ve ever experienced slow website load times due to images, then you probably know that there can be a fine line between displaying high-quality images and compressing your images so that they load quickly. But how do you know which is the better option? Two new core web vitals can help you identify issues so that you can adjust and achieve quick page loads after every interaction.
Why is Site Speed Important?
Before we delve into the top tools that can improve your page load times, it’s important to understand what affects site speed and why it is so important. Site speed is basically how long it takes for a browser to load all aspects of a web page. The main issues that cause slow site speeds are large files, followed by network and hosting problems.
Site speed is important because it can affect the way people perceive your business and the interaction they have with your website. Slow sites can give the impression that your business is less reliable or unprofessional. If users get annoyed by slow load times, they are more likely to bounce (leave your site) without taking action, causing you to lose a potential client.
Search engines also consider site speed in their rankings. A faster site will be more useful for the user, and the search engines will give it a higher ranking than a slower site. In fact, Google has recently added two new metrics to measure site speed: Time to First Byte (TTFB) and Interaction to Next Paint (INP)
TTFB and INP are core web vitals that can help you monitor and improve site performance. This can help you attract, engage and retain site visitors and improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPS).
Time to First Byte (TTFB)
Time to First Byte is a metric that tells you how responsive a server is. It measures how long it takes between a user requesting a resource and the first byte of that resource being loaded. For example, if someone clicks on a link to your web page, TTFB would measure the time between that request and the first byte of data arriving to download the content of the webpage.
TTFB is useful because it can tell you exactly where delays may be occurring in the loading process. It can tell you whether the problem is happening with sending the request to the server, the server generating a response, or the transmission of that response. Ideally, you want your overall TTFB score to be 0.8 seconds or less.
Interaction to Next Paint (INP)
Interaction to Next Paint is a newer metric that measures how responsive your site is when it comes to user interactions. It looks at the actions people take on your pages and how long it takes for your site to respond to those actions. These actions could include mouse clicks, taps on touchscreens, or keyboard commands on specific interactive elements.
The main difference between TTFB and INP is that TTFB measures how long it takes a page to load, while INP measures responsiveness after a page loads—specifically how long it takes a page to respond to interactions made on the page. Google considers a good INP measurement to be 200 milliseconds or less. Anything above that can indicate responsiveness issues.
How to Measure TTFB and INP
There are a number of ways you can measure the TTFB and INP for your medical practice website. Lab tools measure site speed under controlled conditions, while field tools use actual user visits to measure response speed in real-time. These are a few tools you can use to measure your TTFB and INP:
- PageSpeed Insights
- Lighthouse for Google Chrome
- Chrome User Experience Report
- Web Vitals for Google Chrome
How To Improve TTFB and INP
Once you have identified site speed problems, there are a number of tactics you can use to improve your TTFB and INP. Because these metrics measure different types of responsiveness, the methods you use to improve them will vary.
TTFB measures the time it takes for your pages to load. Therefore, the issues are often related to your hosting provider and web server. Your hosting provider may not have sufficient infrastructure for high traffic or your web server may not have enough memory. The key here is to find a hosting provider that has the infrastructure to facilitate fast response times.
How Surgeon’s Advisor Can Help
At Surgeon’s Advisor, we understand that medical professionals don’t always have the time or expertise to delve into complicated aspects of site optimization. That’s where we come in.
We have over 20 years of experience working with top medical practices just like you. We provide a range of services to drive traffic and increase marketing ROI including website design, digital marketing, SEO, PPC, local optimization, and content marketing.
If you’re looking to take your medical practice to the next level, we can help. We do all the hard work for you so that you can get back to doing what you do best. Call 305-677-8235 to speak to one of our digital marketing experts today!