Videos - bringing the web to life

Part 2: Posting your video

By Joe Bell

How and where to post videos on the World Wide Web.

This is the second article in our two part series on video production, discussing how to create and where to post videos online. This article will be looking at how and where to post your videos online.

Videos are a useful and colourful way of conveying information, attracting viewers with visually engaging content. Adding videos to your website can also dramatically improve your search engine rankings and generate visitor interest.

Videos can either be embedded in the code of your web page or hosted by an alternative website such as YouTube.

Embedding videos in your website

Embedding a video in HTML, or more specifically HTML 4 or XHTML, is relatively simple and requires the use of additional plug-ins such as Adobe's Flash player. For the videos to work, the video file needs to be converted into a format that Flash understands; either SWF (Small Web Format) or FLV (Flash video), this can be done easily with free conversion tools, one example of which is Any Video Converter. The most common method of adding the video to your code involves the use of <embed> or <object> tags and there are many sites that explain how you do this, such as W3Schools.

Make sure that everyone can access and enjoy your videos by including a text transcript below your video. Text transcripts help people with both hearing and visual difficulties and those who use screen readers to access the content. A good example of this can be found on the Crown Prosecution Service website, note that the text transcript appears in HTML under the video and can also be downloaded in PDF format.

HTML 5

The latest form of HTML, HTML 5, allows the use of a new <video> tag, replacing the <embed> or <object> tag of previous versions of HTML, and allowing the browser to play the video without the need for additional plug-ins.

In 2010, Apple announced they would no longer be implementing Flash in their mobile operating system iOS, which increases the utility of using the <video> tag as the video will then be accessible to Mac users.

For the tag to work, the video must be in H.264 or MPEG-4 AVC format which is the most widely understood formats for today's web browsers. To make the video accessible, it might be wise to look into WebVTT, a text file linked to the video that provides easy closed captioning. There are some downsides to hosting your video on your website; such as a high bandwidth usage and large video files requiring more hosting space which can potentially lead to higher costs. If these are issues for you, you may wish to consider hosting your videos with a third party provider such as YouTube.

YouTube

Since its creation in 2005, YouTube has been one of the most popular video sharing sites on the World Wide Web with more than 1 billion unique visitors each month, 6 billion hours of video watched each month and 100 hours of video uploaded every minute.

YouTube can be accessible; users have the choice of embedding their videos into their own websites using its HTML5 player which works on almost any device. For those people with hearing difficulties or visual difficulties, closed captions can also be added to videos. A good example of closed captions in YouTube can be seen in videos by the Royal National Institute Of Blind People.

There are many other benefits to uploading your videos to YouTube; better search engine visibility, advanced analytics and also the ability to make money from videos with adverts as part of Google's monetisation program. The commenting and rating system also makes it easy to communicate with your customers, but you have to monitor the comments on YouTube to do this. More importantly, being on YouTube makes you part of their extensive free database with a large user group and saving costs in hosting and bandwidth.

There are some issues concerning access to YouTube with many government organisations, schools and some businesses preventing entry to the site. In situations such as this it may be better to host the video on your site. There are alternative video hosting sites such as Vimeo, but after some research we felt that this was less suitable for companies, organisations and businesses, as the site focusses more towards the creative industries.

Promoting videos

To ensure the success of your video, it's important to promote it vigorously. News articles, press releases, adverts, social media, internal and external newsletters and external publications are all good vehicles for publishing videos. Time spent promoting your videos will pay off with increased numbers of people viewing the video and listening to your message.

We help clients make the most of their videos online:

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Joe Bell of Ecru Joe Bell of Ecru

This article was written by Joe Bell of Ecru. If you have any questions regarding this article or would like to discuss your next web site project please call us on 0800 0433 963 or get in touch via our contact form.

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