Video is a great medium for communicating to your website visitors. While YouTube is highly popular, there are plenty of other options that are definitely worth considering for their extra functions and unique features.
Video is a great way to communicate with website visitors. We compare some great alternatives to YouTube.
Video is a very effective, and yet often over-looked, channel of communication for businesses in New Zealand and around the world. Whether they are in traditional format using actors or your own staff, or in screen-cast format whereby the video is creating by recording your actions on your own computer screen, videos can be a very useful tool for a number of functions, including:
- Training staff
- Launching new products or services
- Demonstrating product features
- Creating ‘how to’ videos for your customers
- Introducing your business
- And more…
Not only are videos useful for your staff, existing clients and those that you wish to be clients in the future, videos also add dynamic content to your website that can help your content to perform better in search results.
Simply having dynamic content in the form of videos embedded on your page not only tells search engines like Google that your content may offer more value over similar content without video, but it also:
- Encourages your visitors to interact with your content
- Increases the average length of time that visitors will stay on the page
- Increases the chance of your visitor sharing your content with their own network
All of these things help to improve your website’s position in search results and, potentially, get your content in front of more people.
Adding Videos To Your Website
Typically there are three ways to add videos to your website. The first, most basic and least effective method is to simply link to where-ever the video is stored on the web.
The second method is to upload your video to your website’s own file storage space and either code the video into your content or use your website’s content management system to display the video where you like.
The third method is to ’embed’ the video on the page using code provided by third party video sharing services. Depending on your needs and the content of the video, this option may provide the best balance between simplicity for you and usability for your visitors.
To embed a video, you’ll first need to choose a video sharing service and upload your video to that service. There are a number of websites that provide this service. Four of these are detailed below.
YouTube is easily the most common video sharing service on the web. Its strength is its huge number of visitors plus its solid backing by its parent company, Google. YouTube boasts some impressive statistics:
- Billions of videos are viewed a day
- YouTube’s demographic is broad: 18-49 years old
- YouTube reached over 70 + million hours of watch time in 2015
- Billions of unique users visit YouTube each month
New updates and features are regularly released to YouTube users and publishers, such as the ability to choose from a list of free songs to add a music track to your video, as well as some post-upload editing tools to add interesting effects to your videos.
YouTube allows you to set a licence for your video, giving you the ability to legally state how much freedom you’ll give to others when it comes to displaying your video online.
You can also add captions to your video by uploading a text file set to a specific format. This has three major benefits:
- Your video will be more accessible to those with hearing problems.
- Your video can be viewed and understood in noisy environments or even by those in offices with no speakers or with their sound turned off.
- Your video is better optimised for search as Google will be able to ‘read’ your captions and find out more about your video.
Take a look at this video we made as an introduction to Google+. This video has been uploaded to YouTube and embedded on this page. You can view the captions by first clicking on the YouTube icon and then clicking on the red ‘closed captions’ button.
These functions and the fact that YouTube sees so much traffic make it a highly popular video hosting service with video publishers. As it’s popular, it’s often more widely accepted around the web in places that you might not expect.
Despite this, there are some other options that you should consider as well.
Everyone knows that you can upload videos to Facebook so that they can be displayed within this popular social network. However, less people may know that you can also embed Facebook videos on your website.
Facebook provides you with a pre-set embed code with zero options for formatting, instead relying on you to have the knowledge to play around with the code to display your video in your own preferred dimensions.
While Facebook doesn’t provide anywhere near as many options and extra services such as video editing and video captions, it does provide you with a video that displays in a nice simple format and provides visitors with links back to the video on Facebook Page so that they can like, share and comment. This also helps visitors to find your Facebook Page so that they can better connect with your business on Facebook.
Not only this, but it also opens up your video to the huge Facebook community and increases the chance of your content being found by this large audience.
Vimeo is a dedicated video sharing service that in some ways is similar to Google and yet in others can be quite different.
Its branding and features have made it quite popular with film makers, animators and other creatives. With a much more focused and targeted audience, viewer numbers may be much lower than those of YouTube but comments and discussion that takes place in the comments area of your video is much more likely to be on-topic and professional (with its huge mass audience, YouTube can really suffer from negative and offensive language in its comment areas).
Some smart extra features that Vimeo offers to try and stand-out from YouTube’s offering include:
- The ability to create a ‘vanity’ URL, e.g. vimeo.com/user/video-title rather than a random string of numbers
- The ability to add Flickr photos to the Vimeo page
- The ability to allow others to easily download your video if you so choose
- The ability to credit other Vimeo users as actors, producers, photographers, etc.
Vimeo also lets you customise your embedded video with a few different colours to help you match the branding of your website.
Howcast is a very funky service that provides video hosting and sharing similar to YouTube but it effectively targets the more instructional, or ‘how-to’, type of video by allowing publishers to add quick chapters, tips and facts to their videos. This makes it very easy to create a step-by-step instructional video for your audience.
Videos are categorised so that you can easily find videos related to a specific topic that interests you, providing you with a great resource of information and helpful guides to help you with any number of issues.
We don’t have a version of our Google+ video on Howcast but you can take a look at this instructional video for the foursquare.com social check-in service to find out what Howcast is capable of. Simply click the icons on the timeline to jump to different steps, tips or facts.
You can also click the icon in the top right corner to view the steps in text format. How To Unlock Your World With Foursquare on Howcast.