As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Time is money” and how valuable time can be on the Web. In 2012, Amazon calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second cost them $1.6 billion in sales over a year. While most companies aren’t going to measure sales from the Web down to a millisecond, website speed is an important factor that is too often overlooked. Not enough businesses make it a focus when developing a website or in their SEO.
The Culprits & What You Can Do About It
So what makes a website slower or faster than others? What effects how quickly a website load has to do with the amount of data being sent through the pipe and how quickly it can be transported. The more files and data being sent, the slower the website is.
Speeding up your website can get a bit technical but there are some simple things you can do to make it load quicker. Typically the main culprits contributing to a slower page load speed are large media files like images and the number of scripts running on a site.
Resizing image file sizes (check to make sure that resizing doesn’t adversely affect resolution) is an easy task that helps a website perform quicker. Condensing scripts and consolidating images in the code are also effective ways to speed up a website but require more technical know-how.
Your website server also contributes to your website’s speed. Using a more powerful, dedicated server can also improve your website’s performance.
A Content Distribution (or Delivery) Network (CDN) is a system that serves files on a website from multiple data centers simultaneously. So instead of all the data being served from one server, the data is spread out and returned in smaller chunks, allowing the data to flow more freely and making your website faster.
CDN’s provide a site superior performance. They’re reliable with high availability and if you are using a widely used Content Management System such as WordPress, easy to install. Besides images and graphics, CDNs also serve scripts, documents, live streaming media and applications.
If you’re paying for data, CDN’s can actually reducing your costs as it uses less bandwidth. And CDN’s use servers internationally, meaning your customers will get performance no matter where they are.
Real World Tests & Results
At Ascent, we have been using MaxCDN on over half a dozen sites and have been impressed with the results. Here’s a before and after screenshot of a website:
Test performed on Pingdom Website Speed Test.
While results may vary, we have consistently seen nearly a doubling in website speed in before and after CDN tests.
Setting up a CDN
If a website is already in a content management system such WordPress, the process of setting up a CDN is easy and usually takes no more than a half an hour. In addition to MaxCDN, there are numerous other CDN providers as well such as Cloudflare, keycdn, and Edgecast.
If you would like help setting up a CDN on your website, please contact us and see how much faster your website can perform.