You’ve worked hard to build your therapy practice and create your private practice website. 

But did you know that one-third of your potential clients might dismiss your practice within three seconds?

According to Google, if your website takes longer than three seconds to load, you’ll lose 32% of page visitors. That’s not the only problem with slow websites. Slow page speeds tank your page ratings, making you hard to find on Google.

If you’re trying to optimize your private practice website for better Google ratings, focusing on your website speed is one way to help with your SEO. After all, Google likes to make sure its users have the best experience.

Are you ready to give your private practice website the tune-up it needs? Let’s dive in and learn the top six web optimization factors that are killing your page speed — and what you can do about them. 

1. Slow Hosting

Web hosting is the service of housing your website on the internet. A web host uploads the files that make up your website to a server, which connects to other computers around the world. Your website needs a place to live, and hosting is like paying rent.

Web Hosting and Page Speed

Web hosts offer a variety of options. Some are simpler and cheaper, designed for simple websites that don’t need a lot of updates. If you have a complex website, you’ll need a more expensive option.

There are hundreds of web hosts to choose from, and hundreds of thousands of web hosting plans. Choosing the right plan is crucial for a good page loading speed. If you go with a low-quality hosting service or a plan that’s too limited or one that isn’t built specifically for WordPress, your page will take much longer to load. 

Is Cheap Web Hosting Worth It?

When it comes to web hosting, you will get what you pay for.

Cheap, discounted, or free plans give you slow hosting. Worse, these plans often used “shared-hosting”, which means your website’s server resources are shared with other websites.

If another website has issues, gets hacked, or is infected with malware, this could slow down your own website or even make it crash. Unfortunately, we see this more often than we want to with clients that choose to host with Go Daddy.

At Private Practice Elevation, we’ve partnered with Flywheel (affiliate link) to provide our clients with “managed WordPress hosting”. This means that their hosting is built for WordPress. It runs fast and basically NEVER crashes on our clients.

In fact, we now include hosting as part of our Website Care Plans to give our clients peace of mind.

If your site is taking a long time to load, take a look at your hosting service. You may need to upgrade to a plan that can support your website. 

2. Unoptimized Images

Having high-quality images on your site means that 60% of web users are more likely to click on your site when they see it as a Google result. 

However, unoptimized images — ones that use big, clunky image files — slow your site down drastically. They’re the most common cause of slow page speed.

Optimizing your site’s images is an easy fix:

  • Use JPEG files instead of PNG or GIF 

  • Avoid images that are 1 MG or larger

  • Compress your images (reducing image size while maintaining quality)

Bulky images can hamper your Google rankings, so make sure to page speed test to check whether your images are hurting your search engine status. 

3. Too Many Plugins

Plugins add functionality to your site, but they also add hefty files. Too many plugins slow down your site’s loading time. 

Outdated plugins are a security risk, leaving your sensitive patient data vulnerable to hacking. Not only that, but old plugins (or too many) might have compatibility issues. This means that the different parts of your website can interfere with each other and cause the site to break down.

Make sure you set a maintenance schedule for your website so you can ensure your plugins stay updated and your website stays safe and accessible.

The best way to avoid plugin issues is to only use the ones you need and make sure they’re as up-to-date as possible. 

4. No File Compression

We’ve already looked at reducing image file size. But did you know that you can (and should) compress all the files on your site?

Compress any downloadable files on your site, such as:

  • Brochures

  • Intake forms

  • Reading lists

  • Other large documents

Compressing these files reduces their size, so they download faster. However, you can also compress HTML and other website code, which slashes your page loading time. Gzip and Deflate are the most common types of file compression.

I know, that sounds like another language. Best to reach out to a WordPress expert with help getting the more technical website optimization tasks taken care of.

5. Render-Blocking Resources

Websites, including WordPress themes, come with Javascript and CSS files. 

These files tell a browser how your website is supposed to look, so most browsers prevent sites from loading (or “rendering”) until the site’s CSS files load. This is called “render-blocking.”

The problem with render-blocking resources is that they slow your website down. They prevent your page from loading until all the Javascript and CSS files have loaded, adding milliseconds of time to your page speed. 

How Do You Fix Render-Blocking Resources?

To fix render-blocking resources, you minimize the amount of CSS that loads before your page renders.

Best practices for render-blocking resources include:

  • Altering the CSS code to identify conditional CSS elements (using the “media” attribute, for instance)

  • Use code purging tools to remove unnecessary CSS from your site

  • Bundle Javascript and CSS files together so there are fewer critical rendering files

  • Once bundled, minify the rendering files to make them as lightweight as possible

You don’t want the page to load without the visible CSS elements or your site will look dreadful, so the trick is to minimize the amount of unnecessary CSS that loads without compromising the visible CSS. 

We know this stuff is pretty heavy on the technical side of things. But there are a few WordPress plugins, such as WP Rocket, that can help do this stuff without having to go to school to become a developer.

6. Poorly Coded Themes

Your WordPress theme is the foundation of your website. 

It’s the code, including HTML structure and style sheets, that generates your site’s overall appearance. Your theme includes superficial aspects like colors and fonts but also controls the architecture of your whole site. 

That’s why a poorly coded theme will slow your website down. Outdated or badly written themes make every part of your website hard to deal with and slow to load.

Pick a theme that’s:

  • Lightweight (has as little file bulk as possible)

  • Responsive (works with a variety of device sizes)

  • Quick-loading

  • Well-tested 

  • Well-documented

Above all, avoid themes with features that you don’t need. Extra features drag your site speed down, so choose the most basic theme to meet your needs. 

We recommend Divi and Elementor. (Affiliate links)

Optimize Your Therapy Website for the Best Page Speed

Let’s recap what we’ve learned. 

In this article, we covered these key website optimization tips:

  1. Eliminate slow hosting

  2. Optimize images

  3. Reduce plugins

  4. Compress bulky files

  5. Fix render-blocking resources

  6. Avoid poorly coded themes

Page speed is critical for:

  1. Ranking in SEO

  2. Getting page views

  3. Reducing bounce rate and increasing time spent on your private practice website

  4. Giving site visitors the best user experience

Whether you’re just launching your private therapy practice or want to add to your clientele through organic web traffic, you should be wondering how to speed up your website. 

That’s why we include page speed optimization with our SEO Basecamp and Trekker Website Care Plan. Get started today to create an online presence your clients can discover.

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