Do You Need Video at Your Website?

Video is more and more often a component of websites. I’ve written before about SEO for video , and you certainly should consider that aspect of video. Today, though, I’m thinking about the logistics. Do you want video on your website, and if so, how will you get it?

First, the benefits of video for your site:

  • People like video. Visitors will stay on your site for the express purpose of watching your video.
  • Video can be an efficient information delivery system. I once wrote a site for a company that specializes in biohazardous waste disposal. Their product is highly technical and hard to imagine. Their video had drawings that moved around, plus lots of happy, puffy clouds. It made the whole thing much friendlier to the average visitor.
  • A video can be an economical way to present a lot of images and information. A video can show a lot of images, which could take a lot of room as individual photos. This is also true when you need to demonstrate a product or give instructions. While space isn’t always a big issue on the web, it can be.
  • A video allows you to include sound. I’ve said it before about music, and I’ll say it again about videos with soundtracks: give your visitors control over the sound. Don’t make your rockabilly video soundtrack start playing automatically when your visitor reaches your website — they may be listening to Palestrina already, or be at a workplace where a blare of music isn’t welcome, or they may be returning to check some information and really not be in the mood to hear the whole thing over again. That said, you can provide a lot of information and ambience with music, sound effects, and speech.

So, if you’ve decided to add a video, how do you do it?

  • Find a space on the site. Video doesn’t need to take up much room, but it needs a settled place. Plan for it with your designer, or ask to have your current design updated to accommodate it. You can, technically speaking, tuck video in the way you would tuck in an extra sentence, but it won’t look good.
  • Write a script, or have one written. Your voiceover saying “uhhhmmm” or your video of someone stumbling over words as they try to improvise will not make the impression you want. Use a script, and practice. It’s also easier to fit the video to the sound than to do it the other way around, so the script is the proper starting place.
  • Create the video. Nowadays, you can do this yourself. With your phone, probably, and the “make a movie” button at some free picture organizing software. Will your video be as good as the $4,000 professional one? No, it won’t. However, just as people a decade ago were fine with tinny little midi files on computers, people right now are largely okay with amateur video on computers. You might as well take advantage of the moment.

You can also have a video professionally made, and have your webmaster place it for you. This will of course give you more polished results. If your company website is an elegant, polished site, and that’s important to your company’s identity, then this is what you should do.

  • Make sure to get the text on the page. You can, and should, use alt attributes for your videos, and you should also have text on the page which clarifies what the video is about for human visitors, and also for search engines.

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