If you’re thinking about adding video to your website, you’re on the right track. Web users love videos, so search engines love to give high ranks to websites with videos. Google owns YouTube, and YouTube has the second-most-used search engine in the world. You can potentially double your exposure by hosting your videos at YouTube and then embedding them into your website. However, YouTube certainly isn’t the only video hosting platform on the web, and you should consider others if you know your target market is using them. Two others you might consider are Vimeo and Viddler.
A few things to keep in mind when adding video:
- Be sure your videos don’t slow down the loading of your web pages. Hosting at YouTube or another off-site platform helps. If you must host your videos on your website server, be sure to run speed performance tests to avoid penalties by search engines for slow loading pages.
- For best usability, videos should always leave controls visible and usable by all users. This includes allowing the user to start/stop/pause the video, adjust or turn off volume, and switch between full screen and smaller window sizes.
- Most users prefer to start videos themselves, rather than have them “auto-start” as soon as the page loads. There are, however, exceptions to this rule for sites that are music oriented, or where immediate sound is to be expected as part of the viewing experience. (If the visitor has clicked on a link to view the video, an auto-start will probably be expected and offer the most convenience.)
- Be sure to include a means for users to share your videos via social media. (YouTube and other video platforms already have this functionality built in, even for embedded videos.)
- Both amateur and professionally-produced videos have a place on the web, and potentially on your website, as well. Think about your audience, and think outside the box!
- For best accessibility, videos should include captions (or have an alternative version of the video available via link with captions for deaf users).
- Video blogs are growing in popularity – use them when you can! Videos within a blog post add an element of interactivity that most blog visitors will appreciate.
- How-to videos are typically well received and frequently shared.
- Humorous videos are more apt to be shared, and therefore have the highest potential to “go viral.”