- Image via CrunchBase
Blogs are hardly about text anymore, with online video players embedded within posts commonplace. Here are five ways to use online videos to maximum effect.
1. Start the video immediately
A personal pet peeve is seeing videos take 5 seconds or more with the intro credits. Even broadband users hate waiting for a significant portion of the video to load before they can watch the actual content.
A simple “brought to you by [blog url]” works, and turning that into an overlay visible throughout the entire video is even better. It’s inexecusable for so-called online video pros to keep their eager audiences waiting longer than necessary. Note how some of the most popular videos start showing the goods immediately?
2. Make the Video Take Up the Whole Column
While you can change the width and height of Youtube embeds, those options are preset and may not completely fill up your content column. If you want to present a video front-and-center, it’s time to roll up your sleeves for some minor coding.
With the embed code, simply change anything similar to width=”x” to match your column width. To keep proportions, get the new height by multiplying the player’s original height with your column width, then dividing the result by the player’s original width. Drop any decimals from the final result, and change anything similar to height=”x” to match.
Confusing? Here’s an example: say your column width is 540, and you want to embed a player that’s 425 by 340 pixels. You set the width to 540, and the height to 432 (540 x 340 = 183600. 183600 / 425 = 432). Or width=”540″ and height=”432″ within the video’s embed code.
3. Flow Text Around a Video
But what if a video isn’t really central to the content, and you want to present it as complimentary? Simply place the entire embed code in a div with some style. Again, minor required.
To push a video to the right of the column, and make text flow around it, here’s the code:
your video code goes here
Want to push the video to the left? Just replace float:right with float:left. Be sure to make the video player half the width of your content column or less, using the technique outlined above.
4. Monetize Your Videos
So who said you can’t sell ad space on your videos, especially if you come out with them regularly? Again, do it in a way that doesn’t keep your audience waiting. Don’t try to cram sponsor shoutouts into one long segment. Space them out over the video.
There are many ways to do this, and the best way in my opinion involves featuring sponsors as your video plays. Overlays work, but frame shrinks (the main video reduces to reveal sponsor logos and message in the background) balance viewability and sponsor exposure better.
5. Produce Better Quality Videos
If videos are a long term prospect for your blog, why not invest in better equipment and software? It’s not as expensive as you might think, with many mid- and high-end point-and-shoots (like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3) recording video in HD resolution. Setting up an area for regular shooting of videos is relatively easy, and not really a concern if you like shooting in different locations.
What’s really more important is editing software. Editing raw video into a much more watchable form is what gets people watching your videos. You can cut down a relatively boring 10-minute speech into highlights that are both informative and entertaining at the same time.
And video editing software that gets the job done doesn’t have to be expensive (unless of course, you’re a professional who needs Adobe Premiere or Final Cut and knows how to maximize either one). iMovie—which comes free on contemporary Macs—is surprisingly less powerful than its predecessors, but allows you to splice and dice raw footage into a cohesive form. PC users should look into CyberLink Power Director.
In short, optimizing online videos on your blog basically involves coming up with ways to integrate the medium better with your site. The above are my five ways; what are yours?