Benefits of Using a CDN.

Lee_CDN

A content distribution network, also known as a content delivery network, is a large, geographically distributed network of specialised servers that accelerate the delivery of web content and rich media to internet-connected devices. The world's largest content distribution network, owned and operated by Akamai, spans more than 175,000 servers in more than 100 countries around the world.

The primary technique that a content distribution network (CDN) uses to speed the delivery of web content to end users is edge caching, which entails storing replicas of static text, image, audio, and video content in multiple servers around the "edges" of the internet, so that user requests can be served by a nearby edge server rather than by a far-off origin server. To also accelerate the delivery of dynamically generated web content that's difficult or impossible to cache, an advanced content distribution network such as Akamai's uses a range of techniques such as: route optimisation, TCP connection optimisation, and pre-fetching.

Content Distribution Network Benefits

A content distribution network provides substantial benefits to web users, content and application owners, and network service providers:

  1. For users: Users of websites and web applications delivered through a CDN experience faster page loads and faster transactions than they would in the absence of the CDN.
  2. For content owners: For content and application owners such as ecommerce sites, media properties, and cloud computing companies, using a content distribution network to improve end users' experience can lower abandonment rates, increase ad impressions, improve conversion rates, and strengthen customer loyalty. Using a CDN can also make an important contribution to web security, for instance by helping to absorb and mitigate a denial of service attack.
  3.  For network service providers: With the explosive growth of online streaming and other rich media services, and higher user expectations about web performance across multiple device types, today's network service providers are finding it necessary to deploy their own content distribution networks. For network operators, deploying a CDN can reduce subscriber churn, facilitate the development of value-added services, reduce traffic on the core network, and enable operators to sell CDN services to enterprises and third-party content owners.

Some things to consider when implementing Edge Caching

  1. What pages or objects are going being offset to the CDN?
  2. Who will be responsible for reporting/performance monitoring?
  3. Cache purging - will it be on a schedule or will someone manually clearing the cache?
  4. Offset % target - Do you have a site % in mind?
  5. Perhaps there are parts of the site you may not want to cache, i.e on an ecommerce site this could be your booking engine
  6. Search results caching? In some cases it pays to cache top search results

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Sagittarius
sag-author100x100

Sagittarius

19 Aug 2016 - 4 minute read
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