In the last month we have had a lot of clients ask us about using videos on their website.
We love video content. It is engaging, can evoke an emotional response like 'yes, I want to work with these people', can help with SEO, adds to the quality of your site and if embedded on website, increase session duration.
The key point in that last sentence is 'embedding'. What is embedding I hear you ask? Well, put simply it means that you use a third party video hosting service like YouTube, Vimeo or Wistia to upload your video. Once this is uploaded you can copy a tiny bit of code and paste this into your website and BOOM, you have video content.
We always advise our clients to use a platform like YouTube. YouTube is a social media channel and the most popular of all video hosting platforms. YouTube has over 1 billion users, each day it generates 4 billion video views with 6 billion hours of videos watched per month. This means that you could potentially gain traffic from visitors watching your video AND they also have the option to share your video with others, therefore helping to increase your brand awareness.
If those stats aren't enough to sway you, then here are several other reasons why you should always embed videos into your website instead of self-hosting.
Your server bandwidth is the rate at which data is transferred. You are allocated bandwidth to your website and generally speaking it is calculated based on the size of your site in kilobytes and multiplied by the number of visitors and then multiplied again by the number of page views.
If your video, which could weigh in at more than 100MB, is being played by hundreds of people, hundreds of time, you are going to eat into your bandwidth pretty quickly. The potential for this is only made worse by shared server environments where you are only allocated a specific amount of space. And what happens when you run out of bandwidth? Your website will be suspended and you'll have to talk to your hosting company about getting more bandwidth (so more ££).
Slow loading videos or annoying pauses during playback can mean that people lose interest and leave your website. This could be down to their computer as they download or stream your file or because they have a slow internet connection.
We all have our limits and your hosting, especially if shared, will do to. Therefore you might not even be able to upload your massive video in the first place. Plus the more data you have, the more disk space and the longer it will take to back up.
Add to that the possibility that someone could easily download and redistribute your video content as their own and I am guessing that you are now seeing things a little more from our point of view.
Whilst Chrome will play all formats, Safari and IE will only play MP4 videos and Firefox will only play Ogg or WebM videos. That means you will have to ensure that your videos is converted into multiple formats - .mp4, .ogv, and .webm. And THEN you need to upload each of those to your site.
We don't all watch videos on our desktop or laptop via a high-speed connection. Some people want to watch your video in the pub and show their friends it on their mobile or tablet. This mean that you will have to host your video in several different resolutions...and work out how to serve the right video by device and web browser.
You have all of the different formats and resolutions ready, so now you need a video player to detect the device and browser. There are lots out there and thankfully WordPress will do this automatically.
Then you will have some code that looks like this: [ video width="600" height="350" mp4="movie.mp4" ogv="movie.ogv" webm="movie.webm" ]
The issue will then be that during conversion you are likely to lose some quality as the files are compressed. That means whilst in some browsers you video might look awesome, in others it might looks grainy and of poor quality.
Convinced? Now you just have to set up your beautifully branded YouTube Channel......