Videos are all the rage these days. And if videos are effective at driving sales and traffic, then you should be using them in website development.
Textual content is great. But visuals, like videos, give your website life and personality. It’s even better when you add still images.
It’s safe to say that businesses looking for creative ways to stand out from other competitors may very well see video as the answer.
In fact, in years as early as 2017, Wyzowl found that 63% of businesses made use of video as a marketing tool. And at the start of 2018, that number rose to 81%. And now, in 2019, that percentage has ramped up to 87%.
And according to these certified studies, 83% of marketers have confirmed that video brings them good ROI.
But these benefits come with challenges…
Videos entail great opportunities. Many companies, including your competitors, jump at the chance to use it for that reason.
According to HubSpot, 90% of marketers have revealed that they witnessed the intense level of competition and noise in just the past year.
So, aside from producing custom videos on your website to attract the target audience, how else do you sharpen the edge that your website needs?
The clear answer to this is the speed across all devices.
Optimization for Videos in a Web Page
However, adding videos to your website is a double-edged sword. Visitors to your website would love the visual content. But if your site isn’t optimized properly to handle heavy multimedia content, your conversion rates might drop.
For this reason, you need to optimize your videos appropriately – both to work seamlessly on your website, and to drive the results that you’re actually after.
But before we move to discuss the tips that would help speed up your video-heavy website, let’s take a look at why you should include videos on your website (if you haven’t already).
Why should you add videos to your website?
Multimedia content (especially videos) is a great way to keep your users engaged. It’s no wonder why more and more web developers and owners are opting to add videos to their websites.
In fact, the average size of a web page has now grown from about 1MB to over 3MB, thanks to the addition of video content. But if speed is what you’re after, it’s ideal to keep it around 500KB.
So, why should you care about considering adding videos on your website?
- They are on-demand: Ideally, videos should be capable of being accessed on any device across a multitude of digital platforms. Users want to be able to view and consume things on their own watch. This makes accessibility an incredible and necessary factor.
- Gives your site and brand an identity: Video content on a website is a great way to showcase your company’s personality and culture. It can also introduce your team. Custom-made videos featuring your products or services are also ideal for showing off your company to the web.
- Provides a full audio-visual experience: Effectively produced videos are easier to digest and remember. They provide valuable information to your users, all while doing it through means that also save valuable time.
- Ideal for social media engagement: People skim through content on their feeds in any social media platform. Combine videos featured on your website with social media shares, and you’re bound to gather some clicks.
- Videos are good for SEO: Web Pages that feature videos are 53x more likely to rank higher than pages that present purely text-based content. Search engines prioritize videos in accordance with the user’s current preferences in general. Users are more likely to stay longer on a page that presents more than just text and has options through multimedia presentations.
Ideal Video Formats for a Website
The common option is to embed a YouTube or Vimeo player. They work fine, but if you’re after better control of your website’s video player. And how your users can interact with it, you’re going to need HTML5 video tag.
Unlike YouTube’s divers accommodation of formats, this video tag only works for a few file formats (namely: MP4, WebM, and OGG).
How to Speed Up a Video-Heavy Website?
Providing your web visitors with high-quality video content consumption comes in a two-step process. First and foremost, you need to optimize the video file itself, so its effect on your site’s page speed is minimal. And then you need to optimize the web page to do proper embedding and display of video content.
1. Use HTML5 Supported Formats
In the early days, videos were added to a website by embedding video players like Windows Media Player or RealPlayer. These required browser plugins and custom codecs.
Eventually, we progressed to use Quicktime or Flash, but these made browsers slow, and even put us at risk when looked from a security perspective.
But now, we have the HTML5 – the most prevalent programming language used in creating web pages. There’s no need to rely on the Flash plugins any longer.
For many web developers, HTML5 video encoding has become essential due to the vast range of web enhancements. Not only can you encode videos through a simple process, the quality of rich media and geolocation locating capabilities of devices have also improved.
Image Credit: CodeLikePro
An HTML5 video converter or HTML5 video encoder allows developers to upload a video in the original format. Afterward, it would automatically undergo the entire HTML5 video encoding process. It produces a complete HTML5 encoded file free of the need for users to manually embed each code.
Furthermore, an HTML5 video converter also lets developers upload files in batch quantities, and will proceed to convert them into HTML5 format with the press of a button.
The majority of encoders support MP4, WebM, and OGG. Some source formats come as WMV, MKV, AVI, MPEG2, or MOV.
Some online HTML5 video encoders you can use include
- Converter Point
- HTML5 Video Converter
- Miro Video Converter
- Freemake Video Converter
2. Stream Your Videos Directly From the Server
Back then, I’m sure there are people who still remember downloading a video into your device just to view a video. But the advent of video streaming on the internet has put an end to that.
So, WHATWG developed a new standard version of the HTML that would include video and audio playback without the need for a plugin. This new standard was discussed earlier on HTML5.
HTML5 brought us the <video> tag for the web. And this new tag allowed developers to link to a video directly from the HTML. It’s a pretty straightforward process; just add a video tag in your page with very few attributes.
Image Credit: Learn Web Tutorials
This will allow the page to stream (video filename.format) directly on browsers that would support the following codecs and HTML5.
3. Compress Video Data with Tools
High-quality videos add appeal to your website and give it a professional look and quality – no matter what size your business is. The standards of video quality among business owners are understandably at HD or 4K.
For instance, if you have a video file of 1GB and you’re looking to upload it to a website with a rate of 500KB/s, you’ll end up waiting for longer than fifteen minutes.
In a situation like this, compressing your video file is the answer. The only hurdle there is that you want to do it without compromising the quality. Fortunately, there are video compression tools that you can use for free to compress video files without ruining the quality.
In compressing a video for websites without software, you can use Media.io.
It compresses both online video and audio. Another way of compressing your video is through the use of your video editing software (Windows Movie Maker, Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Adobe Media Encoder, etc).
4. Strip Off Audio from Naturally Muted Videos
The bulk of the video file originates from both the video and audio components of the file. Removing the audio component can help your video save space.
This shouldn’t pose a problem, especially if you produced something like a headline video in-house. You can easily get rid of the audio data in the video editing software. But if not, you can make use of video editing tools that let you edit out audio, like FFmpeg.
5. Using a Content Delivery Network
Image Credit: Fourth Wave Consulting
First Site Guide defines content delivery network (CDN) as “a system of interconnected servers located across the globe that uses geographical proximity as the main criteria for distributing cached Web content and web pages to end-users.”
The purpose of having a CDN is fast delivery of content; even if bandwidth is limited, or if there’s a sudden spike in website traffic. This is because a CDN finds a server that’s located closest to the requesting end user. CDN eliminates distance that the requested content has to travel. It also reduces the number of hops that a data packet has to make.
A content delivery network is essential to cater to users across the world, which a lot of online businesses and huge corporations do.
For this reason, video-heavy websites should get on board with a CDN provider. So, the site visitors need not wait for minutes on end to watch your videos and suffer through a buffer.
Using a CDN doesn’t just improve your site’s video delivery. It also affects your website’s overall performance for the better.
6. Mobile-first Optimization
People accessing the web through their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) have completely overtaken the number of people using the web on their desktop computers. This emphasis on mobile is made even more apparent with Google’s mobile-first indexing. And failing to optimize the content of your website for mobile devices will put your business at a huge disadvantage.
In displaying videos on the website, what’s important is to resize the width and keep the aspect ratio. But you need to make sure there’s a controller, so the viewer can see the video in full screen.
But what if your web page has video backgrounds? Mobile devices might not be able to handle that. Experts recommend creating an entirely different background for mobile. Mobile bandwidths are lesser than desktop ones. Your viewer could end up using all of their mobile data and the site hasn’t even loaded properly yet.
7. Postpone a Video Load Until Page Loading has Completed
When you have a video that plays automatically once a user arrives at the web page, keep it from loading fully. Wait for a web page to load completely first before enabling the video load. This is to create a smoother and better user experience.
8. Don’t Forget the Video Sizes
Does specifying your video size in HTML or CSS important?
Yes. One reason is failing to specify the video size might lead to the accidental stretching of your video. The other reason is so that the browser can allot the designated bandwidth to that particular page with little trouble.
Every website has a different target audience. So, clearly, the question of whether you should or shouldn’t add video content to your website should be answered by what your audience wants and needs.
For the most part, adding videos usually pay off a huge deal for a lot of online business owners; but if your video content isn’t doing much to add value to your users’ experience, then perhaps it isn’t worth it.
What you need to do, is to test and see. Use multimedia content strategically. Reevaluate it regularly to ensure that every element on your website serves a purpose.
So, in optimizing your media files and your web page design, you must keep track of the effect it has on your website conversions and engagement. Don’t hesitate to test things out, try something new, experiment with placing videos in different places, etc.
Adding videos to your website and optimizing it for the sake of speed is one story, but retaining your audience’s interests is yet another.