If you’re using WordPress, or a similar content management system, then you have the ability to upload a video directly to your website. However, just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should. In this case, we highly recommend against it.
Don’t worry – that doesn’t mean you can’t have videos on your site. There’s just a better way to add them!
To begin with, let’s explain the two methods you can use to add videos to your website, uploading and embedding.
In WordPress, uploading a video to your site is done in the same way that you would add photographs or PDF files. The file is stored directly on the server in your WordPress media folder. Other content management systems work in a similar way.
Alternatively, embedding a video means that you use a third party site like Youtube or Vimeo to host your video. The file exists on their server, and you simply embed the video into your site. This can be done using the code provided by the video sharing service. Or, even easier, WordPress lets you simply paste the video URL into the text editor.
So why should you never upload videos directly to your site? There are quite a few reasons really, but we’ll just focus on the biggest concerns…
Think of your site’s bandwidth as a highway. Now add a car for every bit of bandwidth you use. As more and more cars fill the highway, traffic begins to slow down.
Each person visiting your site actually uses some bandwidth, but text and low-res images generally use negligible amounts. Videos, on the other hand, are much larger and use more bandwidth. The higher the video quality, the more bandwidth you’ll use, clogging the highway and slowing traffic down more and more. The last thing you want to do is annoy viewers with a video that’s continually buffering.
Instead of using your site’s bandwidth, you can use someone else’s… for FREE! When you embed a video from sharing sites like Youtube or Vimeo, you’re actually using their bandwidth, not yours. Not only that, but these services are optimized specifically for video streaming.
When you use a video sharing service like Youtube or Vimeo, they don’t simply share the same video you created. After uploading your file to their site, the video is processed in order to provide the end user with a customized and optimized viewing experience.
For instance, viewers with slower connections can choose a low-resolution version of your video to avoid playback issues. Videos served directly from your website are more of a “one size fits all” experience.
Additionally, different browsers have varying requirements on video formatting. While a video uploaded directly to your site may play just fine for you, another viewer may have difficulty depending on their configuration. You may even need to create multiple versions of the video to satisfy all audiences. Using a video sharing website eliminates compatibility concerns.
Adding your video to a sharing service can bring many more viewers than simply uploading it directly to your website. Youtube’s integration with Google, the perennial search engine leader, makes it an excellent choice for search visibility.
It’s also far simpler for viewers to share your video from Youtube or Vimeo than directly from your website. Both sites, as well as many other services, offer social networking features that can help generate interest and potentially trigger viral popularity.
We could certainly continue listing reasons why embedding your video is a far better option than uploading it to your website, but hopefully we’ve already convinced you. If you need help embedding videos into your website, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If you don’t have any videos for your business, we can help with that too! In fact, here’s a commercial we produced for YMCA Camp Ockanickon.