The average customer spends not more than 10 seconds on a website that does not meet her expectations of quality or fails to load quickly. For e-commerce sites, this statistic poses a real threat to the bottom line. Customers who feel your website is slow will not patronize your shop.
A strong content delivery network returns content quickly, which keeps customers satisfied and protects the bottom line. Learn more about the role that content delivery networks and CDN hosts play in e-commerce sites and gain actionable tips for selecting the right content delivery network for your website needs.
What Content Delivery Networks do
If you have at least 1,000 visitors per day, you could benefit from a content delivery network; if you have more visitors, consider this a business necessity. A content delivery network boosts the speed at which your website loads by hosting content on several servers spread across the globe. Without a CDN, a user located several thousand miles from your server will experience a long wait time for your content and may give up, negatively impacting your reputation. With a CDN, this visitor experiences the same fast load time and user experience as a customer located within 10 miles of your server.
CDNs also benefit local users: When servers are slow due to equipment age or network traffic, your CDN continues to deliver content quickly.
Selecting the Right CDN
Streaming Media’s Dan Rayburn highlights several criteria for choosing a content delivery network. Rayburn recommends analyzing enterprise needs first. Brainstorm what type of content you have, what file formats it exists in, how much content you plan to add per month, how much content is viewed per month and where visitors access content from. Formatting and file support may not seem obvious — wouldn’t every CDN support streaming movies? — but failing to get specifics can lead to wasted time.
If your visitors span the globe, plan to choose a CDN that provides global access and support and to pay more for this service. If you have low global traffic and regular local traffic, you can select a less expensive option. When evaluating CDNs, find out the throughput in kbits/second and the latency rate in ms for peak and off-peak hours. These figures will help you determine if a CDN is as fast as its marketing representatives claim it is, and whether it can handle your traffic needs.
Because the CDN market is changing very quickly, comparing one provider to another can be challenging. Take the time to review metrics, specifications, costs and customer support options when selecting a CDN. New businesses may prefer to select a scalable option, so that they can scale up as their services and content needs grow. Many providers offer trial periods that allow you to test out the product before committing.
A CDN works for you on a daily basis to ensure that customers maintain a positive association with your website, products and brand. Dedicate ample time to comparison shop for your content delivery network to ensure that you end up with a product that meets your needs and responds to customer demand 24/7.