Everything else being equal, site speed (or how fast your site loads for users) matters to Google and other search engines.
If you have an optimized program page for "after school care" and/or "youth basketball" and your competitor(s) have a equally optimized program page, your organic ranking will suffer - which means visits will either remain flat or they will decrease - which results in flat or decreased program revenues.
If you want to hear it directly from the expert at Google, Matt Cutts, watch the video below (warning, it's a little nerdy).
- Site visitors expect a fast website (members, prospective members, program participants, prospective program participants, etc) and expectations are high, especially for visitors who have not engaged with you yet. Slow site = bye bye.
- Google wants site visitors to be happy and will adjust organic rankings accordingly based on speed - everything else being equal.
- Hosting services are very inexpensive. If your site is slow and/or you are on a shared server, find out how little it would cost to get on a faster server. The fastest YMCA website in the world pays less than $100/month for hosting. Find out what you are paying and check out your options.
- Your website is the most critical engagement channel for visitors to find out more about your organization and what programs you offer - make sure it's fast and simple to use.
- Use server-side caching if it's available for your content management system.
- Ensure your images are optimized for the web - large images (even when sized to be "small") take a long time to load and decrease the user experience.
- Audit your website. Find out what is causing your site to be slow- most of the time it is a very simple fix - but it may be difficult to find the culprit. Check out Level Seven's Website & Digital Marketing Audit for YMCAs and JCCs.