How to Improve Your Website Loading Speed with a CDN

How to Improve your Website Loading Speed with a CDN

Success in online marketing is all about creating a seamless user experience for your potential buyers. In addition to design and ease of navigation, the speed in which your pages load is also an essential building block for a successful online store.

Sure, you may not be running an e-commerce store or a digital extension of your company, but you don’t want to annoy your users with the hourglass syndrome even if you have a simple blog, news, or any non-profit site. It simply ruins the browsing experience and will definitely increase your site’s bounce rate – rendering all your content creation efforts moot.

Moreover, a sluggish website will also hurt your authority no matter where your niche is. This has a direct effect on the value perception of your audience. Of course, no one likes to be remembered as the brand with a slow website.

Google Knows Speed

Everybody is familiar with Google and how they devote to the speedy delivery of information across cyberspace. A few years ago, the information giant pretty much declared page load time as an official ranking factor. And as more users move to mobile searches, Google is now pushing this standard for mobile websites.

Nearing the end of 2015, Google has announced Accelerated Mobile Pages – also known as AMP. This is an open-source project that can improve the load speed of content viewed from a mobile device to almost instantaneous. Sure enough, big players such as The New York Times, LinkedIn, The Guardian, and Twitter have already adapted to AMP.

“The web today, particularly in a mobile environment, is not really fully satisfying users’ expectations. It’s not as fast as it should be,” said Richard Gingras from Google.

Speeding Up Your Site: The Basics

At the end of the day, there’s really no question that the loading speed of your website affects user experience and your visibility in search engines (as a ranking factor).

Fortunately, you have plenty of options when it comes to speeding up your site. This can be divided into two: on-page optimizations and server-side optimizations.

Server-Side Optimizations

There are several server-side factors that can affect your website’s performance. This includes the volume of traffic, the data your site uses, and your web host. Choosing a quality hosting solution is a step in the right direction. Compression is also an effective strategy to significantly boost your site’s loading speed. This will be discussed shortly.

On-Page Optimizations

There are several on-page factors that have an impact on your site’s speed. The obvious ones would be the use of too many unnecessary plugins in a single page or images that are too large. Of course, a lightweight site design is a good option to reduce the load of rendering your content. You can also further optimize the performance of your website by minifying your code, which can be done by deleting unnecessary characters, spaces, commas, and unused codes.

Enabling Compression

You may improve the performance of your website by enabling compression, which basically optimizes the efficiency of bandwidth usage as well as data transfer.This method can reduce the time needed to load your site by up to 70%. A popular option for this technique is by using the compression platform; Gzip.

Integrating a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Finally, one of the most effective methods to improve your website’s speed is to use a Content Delivery Network. A Content Delivery Network or CDN works by spreading the load of delivering content across multiple servers.

The premise is quite simple to understand, yet very effective. First, remember that a web browser sends out DNS requests whenever it needs to load a particular resource, like a video or image. When using a CDN with a network of servers that’s globally distributed, DNS requests are always handled by theserver(s) with the geographically nearest location to ensure the optimal and speedy transfer of data.

Consequently, having a network of servers in various locations globally is extremely helpful if you’re targeting the international audience. CDN also impacts SEO, since one of Google’s parameters is page load time.

Setting Up a CDN for Your Site

Living in the digital age, there are now a number of CDNs to meet the demand for a faster website, whether it’s for business, personal, or non-profit use. Fortunately, CDNs do not require any technical knowledge to be integrated to a site. Most services have a simple setup process that only takes a few minutes to complete.

  1. Sign Up – The first thing you need to do is to pick a CDN provider and sign up for the service. Be sure to weigh your options carefully to get the best value for your money. Platforms like Incapsulaeven offer a free plan personal blogs, so be sure to look into those as well.
  2. Supply your Domain URL – After signing up, the next usual thing to do is to submit your website’s URL to your CDN service provider. In case your website supports SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), you might need the domain owner’s approval for generating an SSL certificate.
  3. Update your DNS Records – CDN platforms should help update your DNS records to point to their servers automatically. This is the recommended course of action. Otherwise, you might need to manually update these settings from your web host’s cPanel.

You can use great resources like Incapsula’s CDN guide to learn about the ins and outs of CDN and how to set it up correctly.

The Effects of Speed for Online Businesses

Sometimes, losses are better understood if they cost money. In a competitive market, your website’s speed is more important now than ever.

Did you know that nearly half (47%) of online consumers expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds? Moreover, 82% of all internet users value a fast-loading website while 22% will look for an alternative brand if it takes more than 5 seconds to load.

These astounding numbers can be frightening for online businesses. Obviously, this will have dire effects on lead generation and cripple your conversions. But even if conversions or lead generation isn’t important to you, remember that page load speed will affect the perception of your audience when it comes to your online identity.

On the other hand, a fast website enables users to obtain the information they want or need as quick as possible, which is imperative for creating the best browsing experience for your audience. And since it will also help increase your visibility in search engines, there’ll be eventually more people to appreciate your hard work.

Cormac Reynolds is a rugby and sports loving marketer with a huge interest in the latest technologies and innovations. He has written for a number of great blogs in my time and hope you find my insight here interesting. Get in touch @Brightoncormac or via his site.