Brick-and-mortar businesses have long been concerned with the security of their locations, and the quality and speed of service that their customers experience when they visit.
These days, a business’ website can be just as important as their physical storefront, and it’s no wonder. You count on your small business website to attract new customers, drive leads, and make sales, even while you sleep.
As it turns out, the same two concerns – speed and security – carry over into the online world as well. While the best solutions have long been reserved for big-name brands and labeled unnecessary for small businesses, certain corners of the internet marketing world are starting to recognize the importance of Content Delivery Networks for solving these two website woes for small businesses customers.
Content Delivery Network (CDN) – Your Website, Everywhere
When you think of your website, you might not think that it exists in any one physical location. In fact, most websites “live” on a server that is physically located somewhere in the world. When a customer visits your website, their web browser – Google Chrome or Safari for example – forms a connection with that server that hosts your website, causing the website and all of the photos, text, and other details to appear on the screen.
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a global network of servers that each contain the component parts of your website, so it no longer exists on only one. CDN’s were previously reserved for big-name companies like major news corporations and other massive websites that are household names. Recently, it’s become more and more of a necessity for small businesses.
And it’s no wonder since a CDN can help small businesses solve two of the most troublesome website woes today.
Under Attack: Security Threats are on the Rise
With so much riding on your website being safe, secure, and always available, even while you sleep, it’s no wonder that the thought of a website crashing strikes fear into the heart of small business owners in the digital age.
There are countless reasons a website might crash, or go down, some more likely than others. An attack by a hacker is one cause of a crashed website that is a growing concern for all business owners. Headlines about massive hacks like the recent Equifax breach have been popping up more and more frequently in the news, it seems, and the security of business assets like websites and email lists is one of the top concerns of small business owners today. It’s no coincidence. Hacks are in fact growing more frequent. They’re not limited to household names like Equifax either. Even small business websites can be impacted by a deliberate attack by a hacker, and the damage can be devastating.
A large-scale attack is relatively cheap and easy for the hacker to launch, yet it can cost the business on the receiving end of the hack thousands, sometimes more, in lost revenue. It’s the online equivalent of a burglar vandalizing your brick-and-mortar business, and forcing it to shut down for days or even weeks.
How a CDN Protects Your Website from Attack
Because your website now exists in so many locations with a CDN, that also means it’s less vulnerable to attacks from hackers than it would be if everything depended on the security of a single server. If one server goes down, there’s always another close by for you to count on. With a CDN in place, it would take a massive, coordinated attack on all servers that make up the network simultaneously to bring down a website.
What does this mean for your small business website? Protection from downtime that can cost you money, and peace of mind in the face of attacks.
Slow Websites Cost You Customers and Visibility
With the average website visitor forming opinions about a website in a matter of milliseconds, having a website that loads quickly is essential to making sure those hard-earned visitors to your website actually stick around long enough to learn about what makes your small business great.
But keeping customers on your website isn’t the only area of internet marketing that a slow website can wreak havoc on. Google has stated that a website’s speed is an important factor in how your small business ranks on Google.
A slow website can cause low rankings, which means you’re less visible, and fewer customers can find you. The customers that do find your website are less likely to stick around if your small business website takes too long to load.
A CDN Can Speed Up Your Website
Did you know that how fast your website loads for your customer depends on how close they are to the server? Imagine if you’re in New York you had to drive to the original McDonald’s across the country to get a burger. Not very convenient, right? Fortunately, there are copies of the original all over the world, so all you have to do is drive a few minutes to the nearest franchise.
A CDN works similarly. It’s a network of servers spread out across the world, and each one holds all the components of your website. That means that your potential customers can always connect to your website via the closest server available, so they’re getting the fastest possible version of your website.
The Bottom Line
A CDN can help small businesses stay online, and continue to grow through their websites. A CDN can help your website get faster load times, a better user experience, better bounce rates, higher engagement on site, better rankings, protection from outages, and peace of mind in the face of security.
Whew. That’s a lot of benefits. Here are the key takeaways: