Use Images Instead Of Video? When It’s The Right Choice
Use images or videos on your website – which is better?
It seems like just yesterday that web videos were these blurry, jumpy postage stamp sized things on a website, and we were all amazed that we could watch video over the internet. Things have sure changed.
Video is so much easier to put on a website today thanks to social video sites like YouTube, and the quality is infinitely better. Video has become one of the most important tools to attract and keep people on a website.
People like watching videos, and Google likes what makes people happy, so rich media such as online videos and images play an increasingly important role in getting good search engine optimization and subsequent page rank.
Before we get too carried away about video, let’s not forget some of the drawbacks to video, and why sometimes using an image or photograph is the better choice.
It takes longer to make and upload a video.
Despite the fact that it is easier to put video on websites today, you still have to create the video.
Now that the novelty of seeing online videos is wearing off, viewers have started expecting more content, higher production values and better overall quality.
Making a higher quality video takes more skill than just pointing a Flip Cam at your subject and pressing the record button. If you want your videos to stand out you’ll need to make them look better than your competition’s. This takes a little more effort, skill and knowledge and often an investment in more equipment, such as a quality microphone, tripod and lights. It’s just a fact that more effort on the front end will result in a better product.
Video is great, don’t overlook photos.
There are situations when you just can’t spend the time to do that so you may be tempted to just not include any media on your site or blog. You do that at a risk, especially since Google changed its algorithms recently to encourage the use of rich media. Here is where using an image is a good choice.
Photos are easier to share, load faster, and ask less of the viewer than video.
Personally, after about 10 seconds I’ll decide whether or not I’ll watch a video. If it is a shaky handheld video, has poor audio or video, I’ll click off. This is where photography has an advantage.
Properly sized photos load faster than videos. Research says that people will only wait a maximum of 7 seconds for a site to load or they click off. Since video can take longer to load, you may lose some visitors due to this.
There are still people who connect through a dial-up modem. For them, watching videos online is out of the question.
Also, some people still have a hard time watching video on their computers due to compatibility issues. We still have the problem of Flash and WMV videos not loading on Apple products without plugins, and some PCs won’t play Quicktime videos. It isn’t a perfect world in cyberland, so take that into consideration.
It’s much more easier to post photos on social media sites like Facebook and share them with others.
Although cellphone and Flip cameras allow you to do this fairly easily, you still have to go through more steps if you want a more polished video on your site.
It takes longer to view a video.
Sometimes I don’t want to sit through a video to get the information I need. Bullet points in an article or photos with captions are often just as effective and will save time for the viewer.
Videos use more band width than photos.
If the videos you host on your site are viewed a lot you could hit your server’s bandwidth limit and then nothing will load on a viewer’s browser. Keep an eye on your bandwidth if you host and share a lot of videos on your site. Short concise videos are better than long, rambling ones.
Also bandwidth comes at a cost. The more videos you host and the longer they are, the more you will pay for that. Free media sharing sites such as YouTube are a great option to that but they aren’t always the best choice depending on your business and marketing strategy.
Use videos or use images?
We’re in the video production business and are very aware of the value of videos on a website. This article is not meant to take away from our enthusiasm for placing videos on the web; we do it all the time. What we want to say is that good old photos, although not as glamorous as video, still hold an important place in you overall website strategy.
Use stock images in your blog. Also keep a camera handy and grab photos for your websites and social media outlets whenever you can. Your viewers will love them.
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