Using online video is a great way to connect with your audience – and the trend of using video on your website to market products or services is one that is growing exponentially. I have been using video for some time now, and plan to really ramp up this element of my business. However, there has been one sticking point that has been really aggravating me – finding a reliable, cost effective method of video hosting for business.
You see, there are many options available for streaming videos on your site, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, screencast.com, or Amazon S3 – some of which are paid services, whilst others are free. I have used each of those options and I can say that all of them work well to an extent, but they all have their downsides… hence my frustration!
The Downsides Of Video Hosting For Business
Free video hosting solutions such as YouTube have some great advantages. For example, YouTube hosting helps in getting video views and if you put your website link on YouTube it is possible to get traffic this way. However, the danger with using free hosting such as YouTube, Viddler and Vimeo on your website is that you could potentially be sending the traffic AWAY from your site – which is madness when you consider you’ve worked so hard to get the visitor to your site in the first place!!!
The other issue with many of the free video hosting options is that you don’t get the opportunity to choose the video thumbnail – which means you often end up with very ugly results such as this (not very professional for your business, wouldn’t you agree?!?!)
I have also tried Vimeo HD some time back, but quickly learned that Vimeo has an aversion to any business-oriented content on their site. Even though I was actively paying for their service, one day they sent me an email and gave me 24 hours to move my videos before they deleted them! Vimeo do have a ‘Pro’ version which is also a paid service and seems to work fairly well, but they have a limit of 50GB of storage (no good for my business where I have literally hundreds of videos to store!).
From there I moved over to using Amazon S3 – which on its own is a nightmare to work out how to use, so I then had to get an additional account with EZS3. This made things a little simpler, however my main bone of contention when using Amazon S3 for hosting is that often the videos do not stream very well. I had a huge number of complaints from my website visitors that they became frustrated at not being able to watch the video without it stopping and freezing all the time. All in all, I found this option very convoluted and not effective.
Wistia Comes To The Rescue!
Luckily, I have now come across a new service called Wistia, which I believe has the best of everything – PLUS features that I have never had access to before…
Here are some of the things I LOVE about Wistia:
- Wistia’s user interface / user experience is really fantastic. It is so simple to use and the training videos explain everything… You can tell that a lot of love has gone into the product.
- Video is great, but the problem is, if you can’t see the way your audience responds to your videos, it’s hard to know what is truly connecting with them and what’s putting them to sleep! Wistia solves this problem through their “heatmap” feature, which is very slick and it’s an extremely useful way to quickly evaluate how individual viewers are interacting with the videos on your site. If you love analytics like I do, you’ll fall in love with the kind of data you can see about how visitors are viewing your videos in Wistia.
- They have a pretty powerful multi-level permission system that allows me to easily control who can see and manage entire groups of videos. This way I can let my team members manage their own project-specific videos (web meetings, tutorials, etc.)
- Wistia creates video site maps – very important for your SEO! Wistia allows you to add entries in a manner that is similar to how you would create a title, tags, and description on YouTube, and most importantly, points the videos back to the specific webpage where you are hosting the video.
- Most importantly: with Wistia, you don’t have to worry about viewer playback problems. They’ve nailed the playback experience. You’ll be able to play your videos to people around the world, even those with slower internet connections seem to have very few (if any) problems.
- Finally, whilst the Wistia platform itself is fantastic, they also have an incredible support team that you can e-mail or call on the phone. I have been super impressed with their response time and eagerness to help with any questions.
I’d love to hear your feedback and experiences with video hosting for business? What have you found worked well and what have you found frustrating? Let me know how you go if you give Wistia a trial!