When you sign up with a content delivery network (CDN), chances are you’re looking for better performance. Speed is one of the most common reasons companies use CDNs. But a recent article at Search Engine Watch, “How Google’s Mobile Best Practices Can Slow Your Site Down,” suggests that CDNs don’t vary their caching to maximize performance. In particular, it’s hard on Google, which is ultimately most concerned with delivering an appropriate end-user experience on many different platforms.
Here at EdgeCast we definitely have fun. So, as we approach the launch of our new e-commerce solution, Transact, we want to celebrate all the hard work our team has done in getting this new network ready.
The company is also about twice the size (250 people) it was the last time we took a company photo, so that gave us another excuse to get everyone together in the beautiful southern California sun.
John Cecil, Author of ‘Online Video Revolution’, shares best practices for increasing conversions with the use of online video. In this short clip, John makes specific recommendations regarding the most effective video length and format.
Las Vegas is a city of endless opportunities for entertainment and recreation. With thousands of choices for hotels, shows, restaurants, and activities, Las Vegas offers an option for every vacationer, for every budget.
When booking their Vegas-trip online, users expect to have access to all of these options, including pictures, videos, and interactive features.
Accordingly, translating Las Vegas’ ever-changing variety into a memorable online experience is a constant challenge.
Whether it’s in line or online, nobody likes to wait. Website visitors have developed an expectation that websites will load quickly, and if not they will move on. A number of studies have found that the impact of slow loading pages is significant, especially for transactional Web sites:“Lost sales are the most obvious consequence of customer frustration (with page load times), but many shoppers indicated the overall brand or image of the company would suffer as well.” (source: eCommerce Web Site Performance Today, Forrester, 2009)
In this case, time quite literally equals money. Furthermore, some of the Web’s busiest sites have done internal studies and have found real revenue impacts from sluggish load times:
- Google found that a 500ms slowdown equals 20% decrease in ad revenue.
- Microsoft Bing found that a 2-second slowdown means a 2.5% decrease in queries and overall clicks.
- Amazon finds a 100ms slowdown - one tenth of a second! - can mean a 1% decrease in revenue.
- Yahoo! found that a 400ms improvement in load time translated to a 9% increase in traffic.
- Mozilla mapped a 2.2s improvement to 60 million additional Firefox downloads.
Current & Future Expectations
During the Internet’s infancy, sluggish servers and bloated Websites were hidden behind very slow Internet connections. However, today the average visitors are connecting at megabit speeds. Load times have begun to play a factor in purchasing decisions.
A 2009 Forrester study found that 47% of visitors expect a Web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% will abandon if it takes more than 3 seconds. Furthermore consumers have begun associating load times with their perception of a brand’s credibility and quality. According to the same study, 27% of consumers say that visiting a slow site makes them more likely to visit a competitor!
The Mobile Web
The same is true for the mobile web. While the challenges of mobile delivery are unique, visitor expectations and frustrations are the same. Mobile network speeds are catching up to their broadband counterparts, and the same phenomenon is starting to occur — visitors will not tolerate slow sites. Consumer trends also point to the continued shift of e-commerce to smart phones, which further magnifies the impact of load times.
Websites need to make sure that their content is optimized for mobile phones. This is often a significant technical and design investment. Creative assets need to be resized and your servers need to be aware of what device your visitor is using. However, if you plan on targeting young and savvy consumers, mobile optimization is a must.
Like going to the dentist, optimizing your site for speed can seem like a painful and daunting task. Often times infrastructure has to be improved, code re-written, and creative assets compressed. However, most of the time this optimization pays for itself. Speed improvements have been shown to improve your bottom line, and over a dozen studies have shown a positive ROI.
Have you seen a substantial business impact from increased website performance? Please share your comment below.
If you want to learn more about improving your bottom line, download our Speed Matters white paper:
Working in Southern California has its perks. Besides the sun, surf, stars, and smelting of cultures, we also have a favorite spot for lunch that’s just as unique to and definitive of the region.
Last Thursday, EdgeCast held a festive holiday jam for the tech meetup groups Js.la and LA Dev/Ops. The event was held at Next Space -a recently opened co-working spot in Venice- and was well attended by a diverse group of engineers from Southern California.
The monthly meetups serve as a casual way for engineers to get together and share new ideas and projects. As the Los Angeles tech continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, it’s more important than ever to put efforts into building the community.The engineering group is encouraging and inclusive -more often then not, projects will be shared among the group if a technical match is made. Check out the event in the photos below and if you’re interested in joining either group, click here.
In the spirit of the holidays, the meetup was a lively occasion. EdgeCast helped to spruce things up by providing delicious food and libations.
Last night, starting just after 1800 PT, we experienced an outage with our small object platform, the platform responsible for the acceleration and delivery of many of the Internet’s busiest sites. The outage lasted about 45 minutes, and – depending on customer server configurations – the effect on end users may have been slightly shorter or longer.
The outage occurred as a result of a change we made to a configuration in our core caching platform (Sailfish). It’s important to note that this was not a security issue, or even a bug, but a simple human error that was not flagged by our standard staging and testing procedures.
EdgeCast runs on the newest and most powerful hardware; our rapid deployment of state-of-the-art technology, such as solid state drives and the fastest cache memory, allows us to push multiple gigabits per second of network throughput on each server configuration. But the sheer muscle of our POPs and SuperPOPs makes it easy to overlook the important contributions of our humble microcontrollers. Indeed, these miniature, low-power devices serve critical roles in the monitoring of our network, so we decided to host an internal hackathon that would give curious EdgeCasters more insight into how they work and what they’re capable of. The goal was to create a bundle of fun mini-projects to be distributed around our offices, just in time for the holidays. Sort of like an elves’ workshop, if you will, albeit with very technically-inclined elves.
Currently, the biggest driver of mobile web usage seems to be social media. For example, earlier this year Mashable reported that 30% of all social media traffic originates on mobile devices.
But new data gathered by Mobify shows that mobile commerce might have caught up with social media as a traffic driver. Mobify’s research shows that in the U.S., 31% of traffic to e-commerce sites originates from mobile devices.