Four Tips for Making and Using Online Videos

Adding videos to your website is a great way to both market your site and extend your services. However, it isn’t as simple as “shoot, upload, embed.” There are many other factors to consider if you want to get the most out of your online videos.

Online videos often fall short of their intended goals for four reasons: they are poorly made, they fail to inform or entertain, they lack accompanying text with keywords, or they aren’t properly promoted online.

Shoot For Quality

One of the biggest complaints about online video is poor quality. When you upload your video to a host such as YouTube, it is compressed to minimize file size and facilitate faster download to the user. Think of it as a lower-quality copy of your original.

If you upload a poor-quality original such as a video from a camera phone, you’ll get a compressed copy of a bad original and it will look horrible. Instead, use the highest-quality video camera you can get your hands on. The results will look much better.

Make Useful Videos

No one wants to watch an online video unless it either entertains or informs. Avoid using irrelevant footage just because you want people to see it. Save the random home footage for the family and tailor your videos to the needs of your website’s users.

For example, the webmaster of a hobby or craft site might want to include how-to or other informative videos. If you have a travel website, you might need to entertain and inform your viewers at the same time when highlighting your destinations.

Don’t Forget to Write

It doesn’t make much sense to embed your video in your website without an accompanying article. If your video is posted on YouTube already, why would anyone go to your website? Having an article to go along with the video provides an added incentive for the user to visit your website.

You should write an article that enhances your video and vice-versa. Pose questions in the article and then answer them in the video. Demonstrate steps in the video and then break them down in the article. Make your article and video work together.

An accompanying article is also good for the search engines. Google can read the subtitles in your video, but it can’t scan your dialogue (yet). The text and keywords in your article will tell Google and the other search engines what you’re video is about to help users find it.

Take Advantage of Social Video Networks

YouTube isn’t just a place to post your videos. It is also a large social video network with millions of users. Make sure you add content to your YouTube page that tells viewers who you are and where they can find you. Don’t forget to add links back to your website.

You can also use embed your YouTube videos into your MySpace, Facebook and other social network pages to further promote your website. Many social networks also have video networks of their own and some of them are fairly popular. Upload your videos to these networks as well.

Always allow others to embed your videos in their blogs, websites and social media pages. It may seem like you’re letting people rip off your content, but it is actually a great way to create awareness of your website.

Good online video can really make you stand above your peers. By shooting a high-quality useful video accompanied by a well-written article and posting it to the best social video networks, you can enhance your website and boost traffic all at once.

Michael W Gibson is a webmaster with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management from Texas A&M University – Kingsville and a Master of Business Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University.

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