Videos are excellent marketing tools when used on a website -- they help demonstrate a product or service, engage site visitors and encourage them to stay on your site longer, and depending on the subject matter and popularity, help increase SEO.
Implementation of multiple videos on a single page, on the other hand, is not as easy as listing out benefits in text: considerations for video formatting, hosting/serving and actual coding all need to be made. Most FCK/CK-style editors that are packaged with CMS solutions like Joomla, Drupal or Wordpress do not make it easy for pin-point placement of video, or ideal formatting/styling of how videos are presented. Adding videos into a coherent, compact player (instead of stacking videos one on top of another) usually means custom development.
In this article we'll provide steps how YouTube can quickly provide both hosting and front-end solutions to presenting videos on your site. Best of all, YouTube is free and you have the choice to make your videos ad-free.
Video size and shape matter
A video's size and quality will determine its filesize -- depending on your hosting package, videos on your site may be a pricey proposition. Most lower-end hosting solutions allow terrabyte-level or unlimited file transfer -- meaning you do not need to worry about the amount of data coming from your hosted site to a visitor's browser -- but still maintain low storage limits that might only allow for five to six high quality videos. Moving from a lower-level hosting solution to mid-or-high level can often increase your hosting costs 50 or 100%.
One way to increase your storage space for video is to go with a dedicated video hosting provider like Rackspace or Brightcove. One large drawback with this method is the technical nature of getting videos to their host and technical know-how needed for actual video delivery to the user. There is also a cost associated with these services. One large benefit to all the above-mentioned solutions is that you have total control over the size, quality and length of your videos.
Let YouTube do all the heavy lifting
YouTube (as of this writing) has no limits to the number of hosted videos you can have. On a fast Internet connection, videos will load fairly quickly. YouTube streams videos, which means that as soon as enough video has loaded into your browser, it will begin to play, even though downloading has not yet completed. YouTube also accepts several video formats and will process your files to fit in a variety of player sizes and shapes.
Embed Playlists - Not Just Single Videos
The trend in page design/IA is to layer information - why present a page that is 2 screens tall when you can make use of hidden content areas such as in-page scrolling or tabbed-content? This approach de-clutters a page's layout while reducing the visitor's need to scroll for information. The same approach is often taken with videos -- you will not often find a video player that does not include a playlist or some way for a user to watch multiple videos from a single screen, rather than going from page-to-page. Any logged in YouTube user can create a playlist, either from videos they are browsing or videos they've uploaded. One nice feature of embedded YouTube playlists is that updates to the playlist you make on YouTube are automatically reflected in any embedded player. There is no need to do any manual updating of code you are embedding.
Reducing the impact of YouTube's UI
A typical user experience on a YouTube video page is an auto-playing video, active commenting section, related videos section, and even more related videos displayed once the video is finished player. Embedding a video directly on your site pages eliminates all the extra information surrounding the media and allows users to focus on just what's happening within the video's frame. YouTube even provides embedding options to allow/disallow the autoplay feature as well as the releated videos at the end of the clip, replacing them with a simple, large "Replay" button. YouTube will often display ads over playing videos -- this is the owner of the video's choice, so if you are the owner of any uploaded clips, you can turn this on or off.
If your goal is to provide video content with a minimal amount of programming or technical effort, YouTube is an ideal solution. Services such as Vimeo provide similar solutions, for a fee, with additional user-controled options available.