Websites today are simply amazing. They are capable of so many different things:
- social media integration
- split testing
- and so much more.
However, just because your website CAN do something, doesn’t mean that it SHOULD. This is especially true when it comes to video. Yes, your website is completely capable of hosting video files and playing them for your users. But please don’t do this.
Definitely Use Videos On Your Site
Now understand, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have videos on your site. Oh contraire mon frere, you should be using the heck out of video. For blogs, for help articles, to tell visitors about yourself, to demonstrate ways to do things, you should use video for everything.
What I am saying is that you should not upload these videos to your site. Rather, you should upload them to a video hosting service and then embed them on your site. Two of the most popular video hosting services are YouTube and Vimeo, but there are lots of options out there.
But Why Is A Video Hosting Service Better?
Trust me, it just is. Oh, you want reasons? Fine. Here are the many reasons (okay, 6 reasons) why a video hosting service, like YouTube or Vimeo, is vastly superior to uploading videos directly to your website.
- Price. These services are free. Yes, free. True, there is a paid pricing plan for Vimeo and some other services are paid-only. But, if you are trying to get visitors to your site, there is no reason you wouldn’t want to be using YouTube. You probably already have a Google account, so just go sign in and upload your video.
Speed. Your website should load as fast as possible for both your visitors and for SEO. Videos are big files and can really weigh down your page and tank your page load speed. Plus, nobody wants to try to watch a stuttering video. Although you probably have plenty of disk space to store your video on your hosting account, I can assure you that the rest of the hardware powering your shared hosting is not up to the task of speedy video delivery.
Video hosting services are specifically designed to do just one thing – deliver video as fast as possible. They’ve invested a lot of moolah and manpower into creating a system for the singular purpose of delivering videos. Seriously, you aren’t going to do better.
- Mobile. A recent report finds that 60% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. Visitors to your site are going to be watching your videos on their smartphones and tablets. Serving up videos for those devices is a whole different ballgame than showing videos for “regular” computers (no Flash, smaller screens, limited connectivity). Even if you have a super snazzy video player on your site, it may be preventing up to 60% of your visitors from seeing your video on their iPhones.
By embedding your video from YouTube or Vimeo, the visitor will get a video player and video version optimized for the device they are using. What you might not realize is that when you upload a video to a video hosting service it does a lot more than move a file from your computer to its servers. Among other things, the service creates multiple versions and does special stuff with the encoding. The embed code isn’t just a video player, but rather a “smart” piece of code that allows the service to detect the viewing device and select the right player and video version to ensure the best viewing experience.
- More Eyeballs. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. No points for guessing the world’s largest search engine. So, if you’d like your video to be seen, and possibly shared, by as many people as possible, then upload it to YouTube. To increase the chance of your video being found, be sure to put in a descriptive and keyword-rich headline and description. Be sure to include links to your social profiles and your website in the description.
Features. Both YouTube and Vimeo offer features that are useful when dealing with video. Features such as thumbnail selection, video editing and setting a start point help you deliver a better viewing experience. Vimeo has a free plan, but their paid tiers also offer features like a custom branded video player and choosing what information you want viewers to see (you can hide number of views). Both video services are easy to use and have great user guides, so it’s easy to take advantage of these features.
Convenience. If you have a WordPress site, embedding a video from either YouTube or Vimeo is as easy as just pasting in a URL. Really. That’s it. Don’t believe me? Then check out my video below! (you knew that was coming, right?) If you aren’t using WordPress, it is still simple to embed the video. You just have to copy & paste the embed code. Using a video service also gives you the opportunity to use your videos in other places, like directly on social media or in your email newsletter. And yes, the video below is an embedded YouTube video.
Did I Convince You?
You’re going to use a video hosting service from now on, right? If you have other questions on this topic, or other thoughts, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.