How To Make Video Work On Your Website

Video represents an increasingly vital element of corporate marketing. An estimated 63% of businesses already use video content marketing, while a product video can increase ecommerce conversions by 80%. Viewers also retain 95% of a video’s messages, compared to just 10% of a written document’s key points.
However, video remains misunderstood and misapplied. As with photography, many people mistakenly assume smartphones give them all the tools they need. And while slick editing and professional video hosting play a role in creating an effective short movie, it all starts with a good concept…

The concept

There’s no point in creating a video without a clear and compelling purpose, like introducing team members or providing a product tutorial. Creating even a short clip is time-consuming, so every frame needs to benefit a defined audience. Avoid lists, monologues or talking heads, all of which are better represented in textual or graphical formats.
While video clips can be up to two minutes long, the first eight seconds are vital for capturing people’s attention. Use platforms like StoryboardThat to create a storyboard (effectively a mission statement) which details every shot in chronological order – where it’ll be taken, what it’ll show, and how it fits into the narrative. Write a voiceover or captions, paying particular attention to the first and last scenes. These should respectively introduce the material and issue a call to action.

The execution

A smartphone is rarely suitable for shooting corporate videos, but you can buy full HD camcorders for a couple of hundred dollars. A professional video crew will bring powerful arc lamps and unidirectional microphones, but their fees can be punitively expensive. Animated videos are often more engaging than interviews, and don’t date as quickly as live action clips. Sound is usually less important –  an estimated 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound – but that means captions are vital. There are plenty of copyright-free soundtracks available online, which are usually suitable for reuse if the composer is credited.
Editing can be done using affordable (or even free) PC and Mac software, though it’s an incredibly time-consuming process. Rapid fade transitions link scenes together but don’t let shots drag on as audiences have short attention spans nowadays. Equally, ensure captions are displayed for a reasonable amount of time, so everyone can read them. Most video is watched on mobile devices, so avoid small captions or split-screen effects. Don’t assume you need to output video in full HD, either – high pixel rates frequently cause delays and buffering across 4G connections.

The hosting

Video hosting significantly adds to page loading times, with a detrimental effect on SEO. Instead of storing bulky MPEG files on your own server, you could use embedded content from a third-party video hosting service like YouTube – parent company Google rarely struggles to distribute content rapidly. Google also ranks websites with embedded videos more highly than those without.
Always ensure a completed video clip is represented with a concise accompanying caption and a compelling still image, rather than the movie’s first frame (which is often a black screen).
Autoplaying media files may startle audiences and cause them to hastily close the web page, so avoid this at all costs – site abandonment damages future SEO rankings. Video hosting should be promoted widely to ensure it’s easy to share the clip across social media platforms. Creating your own YouTube channel warrants self-promotion in email signatures and marketing materials, helping to build an audience and achieve wider engagement.