We live in an age when people want everything fast.
This is especially true when it comes to the internet. We are so used to digesting a ton of information quickly so when things take a while to load we simply exit out.
The statistics are pretty frightening.
Even one-second delay in the load time of your website can lead to a loss in conversions. In fact:
• You only have 5 seconds to engage someone on your site before they leave
• A fourth of people will leave a site if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load
• Nearly 50% of people won’t return to a slow-loading website
These statistics probably aren’t that surprising when you read them because you’ve more than likely done this.
This is why a Content Delivery Network or CDN is important. We’re going to look at:
• What is a content delivery network?
• What advantages it brings
• How to use one
What does CDN mean?
So, you might have guessed already. CDN stands for Content Delivery Network.
If you have a website then you will have hosting. In many cases, your website is hosted on a server in a single location. Let’s say it is located in Chicago. This is where the content of your site is hosted – think your images, the copy on your pages and video.
If you try to access this site in Chicago then it’ll load pretty fast. However, if you try to access this website in London for example, it might not load up as quickly. It depends on your hosting provider but as a general rule, the further you are away from the data center that the content is hosted on then the slower it will load.
This is where a CDN comes in.
If you use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) then this content will be delivered quicker to your website visitors. It works by delivering content through a host of different servers worldwide that work in tandem with each other. Your content is temporarily stored (or cached) on these servers which are located across the globe and this means when someone accesses your site far away from where it is hosted, this content loads up much quicker.
Instead of the content having to travel to Chicago to London, a CDN temporarily hosts it in London and the person from there can access this quickly.
Now you know how CDN works, the effective use of CDN can bring many benefits.
#1 Faster load times = better conversions
We’ve covered this several times so far. One of the main advantages of using a CDN is that your website is going to load quicker.
Even a few seconds shaved off the loading time of your website means that you can increase your conversion rate and more people will come back to your site. A CDN plays a pretty vital role these days in making your website as optimized for conversions as possible.
#2 Easier segmentation of your audience
Using a CDN means that you can deliver content to different users in an easier way.
As they store temporary files on different servers, they can respond to not only the geographical location that someone is accessing the content from but also the device that they are using. If you want to deliver device-specific content to certain people then a CDN is a great way to do that.
#3 Enhanced security
Keeping the security of your website is paramount especially if you are tracking visitor’s details or asking them to enter personal information.
While you still obviously need things like SSL, a CDN can provide another layer of security onto your site which will also help to prevent attacks and intrusions. It also works by reducing access through user authentication in addition to other security measures.
How to use CDN
Using a CDN is pretty easy and many of the main hosting providers will allow you to select this option when you are setting up and customizing your website.
Some will have this in-built while there are options for adding this to your WordPress website for example via a plugin.
The bottom line is that a CDN plays a vital role in ensuring that your website content is delivered quickly to everyone that accesses it. Even a drop-in performance of a couple of seconds can mean the difference between making a sale and someone getting fed up, exiting out of your website and going to a competitor.
If you aren’t using a CDN on your website then consider implementing one right away. It could be the difference between a conversion and a visitor leaving your website altogether.