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*NB: Don’t panic. Correlation does not equal causation. More on that later in this post.

In our latest quarterly research into the performance of the top 500 ecommerce sites, we found that while 75% of the top 100 websites use a content delivery network, CDN usage doesn’t correlate to faster load times. Sites that use a CDN take a full second longer to render primary content than their non-CDN-using counterparts.

Today, I want to discuss why these findings aren’t as surprising as they sound, what CDNs fix versus what they can’t fix, and how site owners can ensure they’re covering all their performance bases.

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Performance has only recently started to make headway into the conversion rate optimization (CRO) space. These inroads are long overdue, but still, it’s good to see movement. In the spirit of doing my part to hustle thing along, here’s a collection of infographics representing real-world examples of the huge impact of page speed on conversions.

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Earlier this week, I had the privilege of speaking at the RWD Summit, alongside awesome folks like Tim Kadlec, Brad Frost, and Jenn Lukas. I presented some of the findings of research we conducted here at Radware about how mobile users engage with ecommerce sites, and how this engagement is affected when pages are slowed down even by marginal amounts.

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Yesterday on Twitter, I posted a link to this Internet Retailer article about the results of a recent Keynote mobile index report. The report found that only two out of the 30 sites in the index use responsive design, and both those sites took 17+ seconds to load on mobile devices.

My Twitter post (sorry, I just can’t say “tweet”) generated some discussion about the challenges of making fast responsive pages, with some folks taking the stance that RWD and performance don’t play well together. This isn’t a new opinion, and it’s sparked a lot of debate in the past. (See this post from Tim Kadlec and this one from Guy Podjarny for excellent examples.)

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Last fall, Twitter founder Ev Williams gave an excellent talk at XOXO* in which he nailed down what makes some online ventures succeed, and others fail:

Convenience.

Yes, your company needs to have rock-solid technology and excellent management, but if what you’re offering doesn’t somehow make your users’ lives easier, then it will fail. So, how do we define convenience? According to Williams:

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Earlier this month, we released our quarterly State of the Union for ecommerce web performance. Today, I want to share the poster version of the infographics we created to accompany the report. Feel free to download and share. And if you have any questions about any of these findings, let me know.

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