You see video everywhere. You’ve been told you should do it. Maybe you’ve even seen the stats that show how much better video converts. But it’s really overwhelming, too.
Let’s say you’ve taken that important big step and created your first video. Now you’re ready to add it to your website, but how? Sure, you could upload it to YouTube, grab the embed code, and paste it in your site editor, but is that the best option? After all, this is your video. Not only will YouTube include their logo, but they’ll link to other videos at the end. Maybe even your competitors’ videos. And, they could take it down at any time. You just never know.
I’m not saying to not upload your video to YouTube. You should do that, too. Create your own channel, upload your video, link your profile to your site. All that is great for getting exposure and coming up in Search. But here are some other solutions to display video on your own website.
First, you should consider where you will host your video. While you could host the video file directly through your website hosting, video files are big, and if you get a lot of hits, it could slow down your site. The best solution is Amazon S3 hosting. They provide massive amounts of storage for top companies around the world – yet you only pay pennies to get started. If your video goes viral, you’ll be charged for the bandwidth you use at really low rates.
Then, you’ll need to choose a video player. That’s what makes Amazon S3 tricky. They only host your video – they don’t play it. Some of popular video players I’ve worked with include Flowplayer and JW Player. Flowplayer is one of the few players that allows use on commercial sites without purchasing a license. You do still need to show the logo, but it’s relatively unobstrusive. This is a good solution if you’re just getting started and may not be creating many videos. If you’re going to be using video a lot, there are a multitude of paid solutions out there.
Here are a few video players to consider:
JW Player currently costs $89 for a lifetime license. They offer lots of customization possibilities, as well as add-ons such as Google Analytics. Traditionally, you’ve been able to do more with JW Player then most players, however, other services seem to be catching up. You do need to pay for some of the add-ons, and get your hands wet with the code to use them as well. JW Player has been a long-time leader in the industry and was one of the first to support HTML5, which allows your videos to work on the iPhone or iPad. If you set it up correctly, your site will be able to determine what device a visitor is using and serve up the video so they can view it.
FlowPlayer also has a one-time fee per license, which allows you to remove their logo from your video player. They have a ‘Pimp Your Player’ service on their site to customize the look, but you’ll still need to get into the code on your website a bit to embed the player once you create it. All features are included for the one-time fee of $95. The feature set may not be quite as extensive as what would be available if you purchased all the JW Player add-ons, but they’ve been making lots of improvements and adding new features regularly. They also utilize a content delivery network where they will convert and serve your video for you. This helps your video display in the right format for any device.
EZS3 doesn’t look quite as fancy when you visit their site, but it makes everything super simple – anybody can use it. This is a good option if you’ll be using lots of video, but it does include an on-going monthly fee around $20/month, so it can get pricey if you’re not taking advantage of it on a regular basis.
Easy Video Player 2 is designed especially for marketers who want to have an opt-in box or other call to action show up right in the video box at the end of the video. It includes software that you need to purchase at $127 to easily customize your player and options, plus the commercial license for $77.
Vidly is probably the easiest way to bring everything together. You upload your video in any format, they convert it into the necessary formats, they host it, they provide the player, and you’re done. Earlier on I believe it was fairly costly, but it seems they’ve adjusted their pricing formulas to be more in line with how Amazon charges – based on video hosting space you use combined with bandwith. You’ll be charged a monthly fee depending on how much you’re using them, but the fees are fairly reasonable and it might just be worth the simplicity for you.
Putting It All Together
While many video players have free versions, be sure to read the terms of service about using them on a commercial site. If the site is for your business, it’s commercial, and you aren’t allowed to use most of these without purchasing a license. If you’re non-profit, a public school, or displaying video on a personal website, your options are wide open.
Before you choose a video player, you may also want to take into consideration what platform your website is built in. If you’re using WordPress or another CMS such as Joomla or Drupal, take a look at what plugins are available to help you embed your video. The plugin will take care of the embedding part for you – purchase your video player license then manage everything through the plugin instead of pasting (and editing) code. If your website platform doesn’t have an easy-to-use plugin, you might want to consider one of the players that requires less work with the embed code, such as EZS3 or Vid.ly. Otherwise, you may need to have your web developer help out.
Are you using video on your website? What system do you use? If you have another solution that’s worked well, please comment below to share your favorite method to embed video on your website.