What’s a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

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Fair warning: content delivery networks are a little more on the technical, obscure side.

Unless you’re a SEO pro, you probably haven’t heard of one.

Their basic benefit is that they speed up the browsing experience for your users. That’s good for you because the faster your website loads, the more sales you make.

And since Google factors page speed into your rankings, they make good sense to use.

How Do content Delivery Networks Work?

They’re simple to understand: they deliver web pages and other web content to your users based on their geographic location, the origin of the web page, and the content delivery server. The closer the CDN server is to the user, the faster the delivery, the better their experience, and the more likely you are to make a sale.

So if you host your website in New York, but have a user visit from Los Angeles or Sydney, Australia, a CDN would be located geographically closer and speed up the loading of your web page for them.

When Should You Use a CDN?

Honestly, they’re not the first speed improvement to make for your website. A CDN can be costly and relatively difficult to implement.

So you want to go with other things first, like:

  1. Optimizing the overall user experience (ease of navigation, design, useful content)
  2. Improving page speeds with coding and appropriate WordPress plugins
  3. Designing your site to be mobile friendly

Who Should Use a CDN?

Technically, every website which has more than 1 user at a time can benefit from a CDN.

However, CDNs are especially useful for these situations:

  1. E-commerce sites with high amounts of traffic (think Black Friday and other holidays)
  2. Government websites
  3. Websites heavy with rich media like video and images
  4. Websites that serve customers nationally or globally
  5. Any site that requires user to login to use a service

Some Helpful Information to Know about CDNs

  1. CDN providers, good ones anyway, guarantee nearly 100% availability, even during catastrophic events like massive power outages. So you won’t have to worry about your users not having access to parts of your website.
  2. If you have mostly mobile users, the returns you get are generally marginal in relation to their cost. Desktop users tend to get more speed than mobile users.
  3. CDN’s are getting more affordable because of increased competition. Years ago, you could expect to pay thousands of dollars per month at minimum. Now, the market’s tighter, and CDNs cooperate well with newer technologies.
  4. Different CDNs work better for various business types. An experienced internet marketing professional can help you make the right choice for yours.

If you want your user experience to be the best it can possibly be, a CDN’s a must-have. It might be just the edge you need to beat your competition.

 

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