Should My Business Use a Content Delivery Network?
BY: BRIAN HUGHES ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2016
With more than 3.17 billion Internet users, according to Statista, your business has the opportunity to reach millions around the globe. But even if your target audience is just a few miles down to road (and not a continent away), a speedy, reliable website can still be a challenge.
Studies show that today’s consumers expect websites to load in two seconds or less, but with average load speeds still hovering between five and eight seconds, that extra lag time can be a real problem for businesses. Now consider this: 40% of consumers abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load. So even if your website loads at an “average” speed of five to eight seconds, that’s still too slow for nearly half of all consumers. Yikes!
Why Content Delivery Networks Matter for Businesses
One of my favorite explanations about the importance of speedy site load time is offered by KISSmetrics’ Sean Works. According to Works, “a one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.” How big is a 7% conversion reduction? Let’s take the case of a major eCommerce retailer that makes $100,000 per day. That one-second delay could potentially cost the retailer $2.5 million in sales each year. Maybe your business is a lot smaller than a major ecommerce retailer and you only average $1,000 in sales each day. That still represents a potential annual loss of $25,000– hardly pocket change!
For years, content delivery networks (CDNs) were the domain of major, enterprise-level businesses, but increasingly that’s changing. As CDNs offer more affordable options for mid-sized and small businesses, more and more companies are jumping on the CDN bandwagon– creating an even starker difference between load times for websites that run off a CDN and websites that don’t. Plain and simple, today’s businesses can’t afford to not use a content delivery network. Here’s why your business needs one, too:
Fight back against slow network speeds. Content delivery networks utilize minification, image compression and session optimization to deliver content at up to 50% faster speeds, according to Incapsula’s research. When a few seconds delay could mean thousands in lost revenue or customers, every second matter. In an increasingly mobile world, businesses are already up against the challenge of slow data networks. Don’t exacerbate these load speed problems with an even slower website.
Image-centric content gets a jetpack. From Instagram to infographics, we live in an increasingly image-centric world. But when pictures tell the story, it is increasingly important to engineer speed optimization. Content delivery networks will automatically compress JPEG and PNG images and add progressive image rendering, improving performance by reducing the size of images sent to the user.
Grow your existing leads by eliminating barriers to entry. Lead generation will always ebb and flow, which is why businesses know it’s critical to cultivate their existing leads until they’re ready to convert. Depending on your business, this cultivation process could take the form of an email marketing campaign, white paper download, or simply an online sign-up for a weekly e-newsletter. A slow website will discourage potential leads from downloading your content or completing a sign-up form since it will take too long for these pages to load. When it comes to speed, your home page, eCommerce checkout page, or login page matter most. Be sure these pages are fast to prevent a high bounce rate!
Bottom: Content delivery networks are absolutely essential for accelerating website performance. By utilizing advanced minification, image compression, and session optimization, CDNs can help your site be up to 50% faster and consume 40% to 70% less bandwidth. Most importantly, utilizing a content delivery network will help to even the playing field with enterprise-level businesses and ensure customers visiting your site will be able to access needed information just as quickly as they can on other sites.
Image via Shutterstock