Is Your Website Driving Mobile Visitors Away?

We often talk about the need for practices to have mobile-friendly websites. Mobile-friendly websites are very important in terms of user-friendliness and keeping your patients happy, as more and more patients browse the internet via their mobile devices.

In fact, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could be driving your visitors away. With the wide availability of mobile devices, people have come to expect instant access to the information they need. A website that isn’t optimized for mobile usage could be frustrating to your website visitors, and you may have some give up on your website altogether. A poor mobile experience could also affect your website’s ranking in Google in a number of ways.

How important is the mobile performance of your practice’s website? Here are some important stats on why mobile performance matters.

Mobile Performance: The Stats You Need to Know

If patients are on your practice’s website, they are more than likely looking for specific information about your practice or trying to get the information they need to book an appointment. You might think that if patients are accessing your website via a mobile device, they really need that information and will be willing to wait for the page to load. However, current statistics tell us otherwise.

According to a white paper by Gomez, the Web Performance division of software company Compuware, users expect a webpage to load within 2 seconds. If the page doesn’t load within 3 seconds, up to 40% of users will abandon your site altogether. You could potentially lose a significant amount of traffic if your website performance isn’t up to your patients’ expectations.

Users are coming to expect a certain level of performance from your website on mobile devices. In fact, Gomez found that 58% of mobile users expect websites to load just as quickly as they would on a desktop computer, even though the connection is generally slower than it would be on a desktop computer. When a website is slower for mobile users, it often leads to lower patient satisfaction and lower conversion rates. In fact, a study by the Aberdeen Group found that a 1 second delay in page load times led to 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and a 7% loss in conversions. If your website loads even slower than that for mobile users, those numbers may even be higher.

If you aren’t providing a favorable mobile experience for your website visitors, you could very well be missing out on connecting with patients who really need your practice’s help.

How Mobile Performance Influences Your Website Visitors

When you consider your website’s mobile performance, you also need to consider the possibility that your patients may be experiencing discomfort with their health issues and are ready to speak to a doctor as soon as possible to find a resolution and treatment plan.

In her book Designing for Performance: Weighing Aesthetics and Speed, Lara Callender Hogan states, “The less time you have, the higher your expectations are for a site to load quickly.” As the Performance Engineer for e-commerce site Etsy, Hogan stresses in her book that site performance is just as important as the site’s design and features. It’s all about balancing those elements to create a positive user experience for your patients, particularly those on mobile devices who may be looking for information in a hurry.

Sometimes, adding elements like images could make your website more visually appealing, but it could hurt your site speed if you add too many design elements. Etsy experimented with adding additional images to their site, but found that adding 160kb in images (about the size of a banner or carousel image, or a few smaller photos) led to a 12% increase in their bounce rate. While more images may make your site look nicer, you shouldn’t sacrifice your site speed to add them. Users behavior seems to indicate that it would be more beneficial to have a faster site than to have more images.

According to the results of an experiment by Google, users tend to remember slow websites and avoid them in the future. If a patient visits your website and has a bad experience with page load times, it may leave a poor impression on the patient, which ultimately affects your practice’s brand. There is also a chance that the patient may not return to your website.

Google also places a lot of emphasis on site speed when determining site ranking in search results. Google wants to send its users to faster, more efficient sites whenever possible. For that reason, faster sites tend to rank higher in search results, as long as the content is relevant to the search query. Mobile sites that consider both site speed and user experience also tend to rank higher in Google search results. If other websites provide highly relevant information and a great user experience, including site speed, they may very well outrank your site. This means that patients searching for information on Google may not see your website as one of the top options in search results, unless they are searching directly for your practice’s name.

All of this to say, practices need to make mobile performance a priority for their websites if they want to continue to reach out to the right patients.

Testing Your Mobile Site Performance

We’ve given you a lot of statistics to work with here, but how do you know if you really need to worry about your website’s mobile performance? Luckily, there are a couple of easy-to-use tools out there that will give you an idea of where your website stands.

Pingdom

Pingdom is a free online tool that provides a lot of technical information, but also provides 3 easy-to-understand scores if you don’t have a lot of knowledge about technical stats. First it provides a Performance Grade, which is a letter grade. Just like when you were in school, A is the best possible grade, and F is the worst possible grade.

Pingdom will also give you a load time. As we stated earlier on, you should aim for 2 seconds or less with your load time. Finally, it will provide an average page size. Currently, the average page size for most websites is 2 MB, so anything less than that is good; below 1 MB is even better.

Google’s Mobile Website Speed Tester

The Mobile Website Speed Tester is the consumer version of Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool for developers. This tool will give you 3 scores: Mobile Friendliness, Mobile Speed, and Desktop Speed. The tool will also let you know whether your score is good or bad. For mobile friendliness, you’ll want to aim for 95/100 or better. For site speed, you should aim for a score of 80/100 or better for both desktop and mobile.

Give these tools a try, and see how your website performs. If your scores are less than satisfactory, it is probably time to make mobile performance a higher priority in your online marketing strategy. Much like SEO, the emphasis on site performance continues to evolve. The further you let your website fall behind, the more you’ll have to catch up in the long run.

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