A lot of our clients want to include video on their web sites. Some companies like to feature their promotional videos, bands like to show samples of live performances, we even have a few videographer clients who have entire video portfolio’s on their sites.
Needless to say, the most often question asked is: “How do I get my videos to you to put on the website?”. Of course the answer is slightly more complex than the question…
There are two ways to display video on a website:
Option 1 – Self Hosting
You can upload videos to your own hosting server and show them either with flash or link to the file for in-browser play.
The benefit of uploading it to your own server is that this keeps your file self-contained within your website hosting environment, and you can display your video on your website however you want.
In my opinion the benefit ends there. Videos can be large and take up a lot of server space, which can end up costing you in the long run both in capacity and bandwidth. A lot of clients who go this route end up having to buy a more expensive hosting plan to accommodate their videos. Additionally, displaying the video usually involves a flash player (if you want the video to be cross platform compatible) which is not mobile device friendly. Alternately, you can link to the video file as-is in its original format, which works but is not ideal as it usually requires a good portion of users to install additional software on their computers (QuickTime, Windows Media Player, etc.).
Option 2 – Video Hosting Services
You can also upload your videos to a video hosting service and embed the file into your website using their supplied code. These services include YouTube, Vimeo, and Viddler to name a few.
The down side of this option is that each video hosting platform has its own skin and often labeling on each video, so your viewers will know where the video is hosted. This is really more of a personal preference matter and shouldn’t be a worry unless you are dead-set on keeping your videos self-contained on your website.
On the other hand, the benefits of using a video hosting service are pretty great with YouTube being the optimal choice for several reasons.
First, YouTube is free. You can host your videos for no additional cost and share them not only on your web site, but also on Facebook and other social platforms. This saves you hosting space and bandwidth, and therefore money.
Second, YouTube videos will play in some fashion on most mobile devices such as Apple (iOS) devices, Android Devices, Blackberry, Windows Mobile etc. Web trends are going mobile more and more, so if your videos aren’t viewable on mobile devices you might as well leave it off of your website altogether.
Thirdly, YouTube has become a social network in and of itself. It can’t hurt you or your brand to have a YouTube channel featuring all of your videos. You’ll reach a larger audience and cover both your website and social networking bases all in one.
So the answer to the question?
Set up a YouTube account and upload all of your videos there! YouTube converts the video files for you and takes care of all of the hard stuff, so it makes it easier on your website developer, easier on you, and easier on your wallet!