By Valerie Paik, TAG Online, Inc.
It’s no secret that using video on your website is a good idea, but what is the best way to get videos onto your site?
The answer is that it depends. On things like:
• How many videos you have?
• What is the purpose of your videos?
• How long are they?
• Do you want them all publicly accessible or private?
• Is your website host is capable of hosting videos?
• How much traffic you expect?
• What is your budget?
These questions point us to two factors:
First, videos need to be hosted somewhere. All videos are files (usually large ones) and those files can either be hosted on your website or with a specific video host, like YouTube or Vimeo, the two most common ones. There are many, many more video hosts out there, just like website hosts, but it’s important to find one that serves your needs.
Some qualities to look for in video hosts are::
• Reliable connectivity – so your videos are always available
• Ample bandwidth – so that you can handle the traffic of many people watching your video
• Sufficient storage space – especially if you have longer and/or many videos
• A good security system in place – to prevent hacking and other malicious activities
• Customer support and documentation
• The ability to easily upload new video files
One of the big benefits of hosting with a video sharing site is that they provide a broader audience for your videos beyond just your website. They allow your videos to be easily shared or embedded on any other website, if you wish. They also provide another platform for visibility on search engines.
As a testament to the growing use of video on the web, there are fewer differences between hosting video on your site versus a third party site these days than there were before. To determine which option is best for you, you should answer the questions above, then do some research based on your answers in order to find the best fit for you.
If you want to use a third party video hosting service, there are many good options and Mad Bear Productions can point you in the direction of the one(s) they recommend. If you want to host the videos on your own site, the discussion needs to happen with your website host. Not all website hosts support video and some who do may not support what you need.
Video Usage & Display
Regardless of where your videos are hosted, the way your videos appear and play on your site is important. You can select your own video player or use one available through your third party video host. Either way, you can customize the following features:
• Look & feel of the video player – does it match the colors/design of your site?
• Features of the player itself – can the video be embedded, shared, enlarged, downloaded, have logos, titles, etc.?
• Who can view the video – everyone, those with a special link, those with a password?
• Under what circumstances can people view it – do they need to give you their name & email address, login to a private area, like your Facebook page or app?
It’s also important that your videos can be easily viewed on all of the most popular devices and browsers and are accessible to as many people as possible (if you wish). This is where having a good video player and testing your videos on different devices (Macs, PCs, iPads, iPhones, tablets, Droids, etc.) and on different browsers (IE8, IE9, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera) comes in.
As important as it is to have great videos on your site, it is equally important to have the right tools and partners to implement them. Having the knowledge of how it works and the available choices (congratulations – you now have that!) is a great place to start.
About the Author: Valerie Paik is a Project Manager/Business Developer at TAG Online, Inc, a web design, development and hosting company founded in 1992. Valerie’s professional background includes public relations and event planning in the food/wine/travel industry. Valerie is very active in the local business community, including the North Essex Chamber of Commerce, where she currently serves as the co-chair of the Emerging Leaders Committee and is the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Chamber Member Award. Valerie also holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and plays clarinet & performs belly dance professionally.