If you are an awesome early adopter of using video in your online marketing, then you will have probably encountered the challenge of gracefully inserting videos onto your website.
There’s the question of where video files should be, what type of design to use, and also on which pages to place the videos.
Videos should be hosted on video hosting, and then embedded onto your website in a way that makes the viewing experience comfortable. The type of video content you are producing will determine both the page on which it should appear and how that video content is presented.
This article will go more into depth on how to feature videos on your website.
Always Embed Videos (Don’t Self-Host)
Embedding a video is where you upload your video to a hosting service, copy a bit of code, and paste that code into a post or page of your website. This is the way that you will want to proceed with featuring any sort of video content on your website.
The alternative is self-hosting your video, similar to how you self-host your image and graphic files that you use on your website. In the case of self-hosting a video, you might upload your video file to your media uploader, or via FTP, and then write a piece of code to display a player on a page or post of your website.
Self-hosting videos is something you shouldn’t do because video files are huge, will eat up your hosting bandwidth and space, and there are a slew of security and usability issues too.
The best options right now for video hosting are as follows:
- youtube.com (free and bonus that it’s the second largest search engine)
- vimeo.com (free or paid)
- wistia.com (paid)
For right now, I’m not going to go into the differences between these hosting services but just know that embedding is always the way to go with getting video onto your website.
Website Design Considerations For Featuring Video
To ensure any video, anywhere on your website, is embedded in a way that is engaging and viewer friendly, here are some of the top considerations to keep in mind
- Place the video on the page – instead of sending your visitors elsewhere with a link, make sure to take advantage of the embedding possibilities with copying and pasting code.
- A thumbnail is better than a button – Some designs will incorporate a button to open up a video player. However, a video thumbnail with the play button over the video thumbnail will get higher engagement because website visitors recognize it as a video instantly whereas a button just looks like a button (it requires reading).
- A thumbnail that has your face is better than a thumbnail without your face – faces are engaging and your face is beautifully engaging. So incorporate it into your video thumbnail or just use a still from the video in which your face is on the screen. (Bonus tip: be close enough to the camera for a video viewer to see the whites of your eyes. It builds trust).
- A lightbox isn’t necessary – but also doesn’t hurt conversions so this is mainly a design/development choice. If the video thumbnail is there, then you may use a lightbox, a window that opens up over the website with the video player on it, to handle the playing of the video. One perk of a lightbox is it can fade the rest of the page out and help visitors focus on the video for the duration of the video.
- The embed ought to be large enough to be comfortably viewed on page – for reference, the default video player size in youtube.com, the most popular video platform, is 855px wide and videos in your Facebook Timeline or Twitter Feed 480px to 500px. So yours should be no less than 480px wide or wider to be considered comfortable.
- Too many videos can slow down your website – probably 4-5 videos embedded on one page is about the limit for most visitors. You can embed videos and then test the page speed with tools like page speed insights to ensure the page isn’t slower than a snail. Most visitors expect a website to load in around 2 seconds. And some of the speed variables are out of your control, such as the browser that your website visitor is using, their internet connection, or computer speed. Best to play it safe and not create slow pages in your website.
Now that you have some basic guides around making your videos user friendly and awesome, the next few sections goes into detail about where and how to incorporate various types of video content.
Where To Feature Intro Videos
There are really only two logical places where an intro video should be placed on a psychotherapy website: the home page or the about page.
Studies show that video converts and also that your home page and your about page are likely to be the most trafficked pages on small business websites. This means:
You will get more clients if you have a video on your home page or your about page.
In addition to both home pages and about pages being high traffic, intro videos are the type of content where a website visitor would expect to find such a video: a video introducing your services and solutions. It’s a little weird to put that on an FAQ page or a Contact page. So having an intro video on the home or about page just makes sense logically too.
On either a home page or an about page, the position and design of the video will be determined by your website strategy. Keeping in mind that we don’t want to give our website visitors too many choices, it’s wise to limit the other interactive elements and CTAs on any given page to the most important ones (and video is important).
Where To Feature Ongoing Video Content
A vlog is a blog that primarily features video, rather than written or graphic, content. Some people have vlogs on youtube where they post every week and invite people to subscribe to their youtube channel.
On a website, a vlog would present very similarly to a blog. Each video would be an entry and each entry would appear in reverse chronological order, meaning the freshest entry appears first. Vlogs could then also have features like comments and their own page to which you can link.
If you are creating videos on a regular basis, let’s say one to two videos per month, you should consider featuring your videos in a vlog format. Here are some approaches that can make that happen:
- Create a “Video” or “Vlog” category in your existing blog. When you create a category in your blog just for video content, an archive for that category will be created for you. This will allow you to direct website visitors to your video content. You can share the link by:
- Creating a link to the category archive page and insert the link in the primary navigation
- Include a sidebar widget that lists categories so that visitors may find the video posts
- Exclude video posts from the blog. If you want to take it a step further, you can also exclude the video posts from the written blog stream. What this will mean is that the archive for videos will only appear on the video archive page. This archive page, you can link to from your navigation, sidebars, or elsewhere. The blog then, will not have the video category posts and you will have separated out your blog content into two streams: one for video content and one for written content.
- Create a new blog but only for video content. You’d essentially have two “blogs” on one website. Setting this up is more advanced and, depending on your skillset, may require the help of your website developer. To do this, you would create a custom post type just for video content. This will allow for ultimate customizability in terms of design and also ordering and filtering. If you have a very large amount of video content, you create video content very frequently, or you have a very varied type of video content that might be best browsed with advanced taxonomy system, then this would be the best approach. Yet, this also will involve the biggest investment in time, money, or both.
Where To Feature A Small Collection Of Videos
If you have a small collection of videos that you’ve made or have been featured in (like that time you got called in as the mental health expert at child trauma on a local morning show, for example) you can embed the videos directly onto a page one after the other.
Make sure you do not exceed the limit of 4-5 videos on the page. You can then call the page something like, “Video” and link to this page in your website’s primary navigation. I would expect it may fit well as a primary level item or as a sub-level (drop-down) item under “About”
Also, consider where you are going with video. If you want to do more, you may be better off starting a vlog from the start and linking to the archive.
Video Is Awesome
If you caught my previous posts about the power of video marketing or how I was raving about the best intro videos I’ve seen, you will know that I’m a huge fan of incorporating video into your online marketing.
And for good reason: videos work!
It takes some time to strategize how to feature videos on your website but once you find the way, you will get a return on your investment into making video a priority.
Do you have videos that you would like to start incorporating into your website? What type of content is in the videos? Are my suggestions above clear or do you have further questions about featuring videos on your website?