There is no better way to promote your products or services to potential customers than with engaging video content. Conversely, there is no better way to frustrate and send that potential customer elsewhere than to present them with a broken or buffering video, or simply a very slow loading website due to video content. So how do you share your informative product demonstration, convincing customer testimonial, or entertaining video tour, while avoiding those pitfalls? Leave it to the video hosting experts: YouTube and Vimeo.
There are a number of reasons why using a video hosting service like YouTube or Vimeo is always the best choice versus self hosting on a normal web server. To be clear, your video will still display and load on your website and you’ll have full control over the size, auto-play, and other parameters. It will just be ’embedded’ from the video hosting service such that they do the heavy lifting of actually hosting the content. Luckily, as with most things, WordPress makes the process easy – just paste the video url, and you’re in business. WordPress takes care of the rest, displaying the video seamlessly with the rest of your content.
Here are some other great reasons to stick with YouTube and Vimeo when hosting your videos:
Even the fastest dedicated hosting is generally not set up to handle the large amount of bandwidth that video content demands, most notably when you have many people trying to access your video at the same time. Conversely, YouTube and Vimeo are specifically set up for this, so thousands of people can watch the same honey badger video simultaneously, without any impact on performance.
High quality videos generally require very large file sizes. If you are featuring a lot of video content on your website, this can add up pretty quickly and require much more expensive hosting packages than if you simply hosted them on YouTube or Vimeo and embedded them on your site. Amazingly, hosting videos on YouTube is completely free, and likewise Vimeo offers free hosting up to a certain amount of disk space, and low cost monthly options beyond that.
Ease of Upload
Dealing with different video formats can be challenging if you are attempting to host them on your web server, and many servers and content management systems place limits on the maximum file size you can upload at one time. YouTube and Vimeo are set up to handle all major video formats, and can host long, high quality videos with ease.
Ease of Embedding
YouTube and Vimeo have very easy to use embed codes provided on their videos with a large degree of customization available in size, related video options. etc. When using WordPress, you simply paste the video url and it takes care of the rest. If you are self hosting videos, often getting the video to display correctly can be trickier, especially for older browsers.
Cross Browser Compatibility
Not all browsers support all video formats, especially older browser versions. As a result, you can run into issues where some users will be able to view your videos, whereas others are left with a blank screen. This is not a problem with YouTube or Vimeo due to the way in which they serve uploaded videos. Any video that you upload to these sites will play without issue on any modern web browser.
Familiarity of Video Interface
Since most videos on the web are hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, users are used to the controls to play, pause, and expand the video. They may be less familiar with the browser’s built in video player that would appear when self hosting.
There are a number of great plugins available for WordPress which make presenting your YouTube or Vimeo galleries on your website very easy and flexible. TubePress is a great option that we’ve used for our clients, but there are many other options out there as well.
Expand Your Audience
Perhaps you are just starting your business, and have invested in a snazzy new website and professionally produced buzz worthy videos to highlight your products and services. Even the best SEO campaign in the world will take time to build an audience and drive traffic to your website. YouTube, on the other hand, is the #2 most visited website in the world, second only to Google. By posting your video on YouTube, you are automatically accessing a massively larger audience base than you could ever hope to achieve by self hosting. When people want to view video content, they start at YouTube, or perhaps Google, which ranks YouTube’s video content at the top. Likewise, when people search for your specific product or service, they often start at YouTube, and if they instead use Google, there is a high chance your YouTube hosted content will rank high in a search due to the extremely high ranking preference given to YouTube. Every time someone views your video, whether directly on YouTube, or embedded on your site, the ranking for that video improves.
Finally, YouTube videos are very easy to share on social media channels, giving you access to an even greater audience through four other top 20 internet sites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Website users who otherwise may not have discovered your website through Google or other channels will be driven to it through YouTube directly or by way of social media. Adding a valuable back link directly to your website in the video description is always a good idea as well.
If you are looking to keep your videos private and limited only to your website audience, you can easily do so through the use of private YouTube or Vimeo channels.
Most importantly, because YouTube and Vimeo handle huge amounts of traffic and massive amounts of data, they are always going to be able to handle whatever size video and traffic you can throw at them, and display it in high quality without buffering. Of course the details of your internet connection plays a role, but YouTube and Vimeo videos are always going to load faster than self hosted videos.
YouTube or Vimeo
YouTube or Vimeo are always the way to go when you want to share videos on your website. Which service you use comes down to personal preference, and what your target audience is. One major difference is that YouTube features ads, whereas Vimeo is a paid service above a certain storage threshold, and as such does not have ads. YouTube is also a much more popular website, which has some significant advantages as noted above. If you are looking to add videos to your website, drop us a line and we can help you determine the best strategy!