Today’s business websites can do just about anything besides cartwheels, but is it worth using complex content on your site?
In the early days of the internet, having a website was seen as a futuristic approach to marketing your business. Today, every company worth its salt has a website with an About Us page and prominently-displayed contact details. Capturing (and retaining) the attention of site visitors has become much more challenging, and some companies have attempted to achieve this by incorporating videos into their sites.
However, opinion remains divided about whether this is a positive approach or not. Below are arguments both for and against the inclusion of videos on a company’s website – see which argument you find most persuasive…
When the world relied on dial-up modems, having a website with minimal media content was crucial. In the age of 4G and FTTP, it’s likely to lose you custom. Choosing not to incorporate video into a new website is a bit like the 1970s’ TV companies who still recorded in black and white, arguing that not everyone would see the benefits of shooting in color. If the technology exists, it should be utilized for the greatest marketing advantage.
Those TV companies had another argument for not adopting color: it was cheaper to film in black and white. Similarly there’s a common misconception that video content will hugely increase the cost of producing a new website. Plenty of local production firms will record and edit short corporate videos, using high-definition equipment at relatively affordable prices. With a GorillaPod and an iPhone it’s even possible for small companies or entrepreneurs to make their own passable movies. A compact video clip can bring a product or service to life in a way photos and text never will, even if the video in question is simply a talking-heads clip.
…which brings us onto our third argument in support of video functionality on a website: everyone has something to say. From retailers uploading product videos to service providers demonstrating successful installations or interviewing satisfied customers, there’s always something that can be used to populate a two-minute MPEG clip.
There’s a curious paradox in that bigger online brands are less likely to use videos on their websites. You won’t find many video clips at Tesco or eBay, yet boutique stores feel compelled to upload a ninety-second clip of their founder posing awkwardly and struggling to be heard through the feeble unidirectional microphone in their webcam. Other than ticking the “we have a video” box, stilted media output like this simply looks amateurish. And if a company is amateurish in its own marketing, what will its customer services be like?
Other firms sidestep the home-grown clips by hiring professional companies, who charge a lot of money to produce something most website visitors won’t ever watch. The average amount of time spent on a web page nowadays is measured in seconds, not minutes, and few people will voluntarily watch an inline file that will delay their progression onto the next page or site. That’s especially true if the viewer doesn’t have high-speed broadband, or if their 4G mobile signal keeps dropping down to 3G, when even a non-HD stream will stutter and buffer. Even if your web hosting company offers plentiful bandwidth (perhaps as part of a virtual private server), video content is still constrained by the download speed of individual devices.
Another reason not to include video clips is the increased risk of your site not displaying correctly. Apple users have long been aggravated by missing Flash-based content, but even HTML5 doesn’t specify which video formats browsers should support; video can look great on one browser and grainy in another. Malfunctioning embedded content could even deter people from using checkout functionalities or secure login portals if they become worried about the site’s reliability. It’s far safer to stick with static images and text, content types which are much less likely to go wrong. Plus, you can always direct people to a YouTube channel instead of hosting videos on your own website…
Whichever way you swing on the video debate, make sure your site is powered by a robust hosting solution which will take the strain of any number of site visitors. Check out our dedicated server hosting solutions over on our website for the ultimate in reliable back-end capabilities.