Adding videos to a blog or website is a great way to make your content more accessible to a wider audience. Youtube alone gets almost 100 million new users per year, and visitors watch an estimated 36 billion hours of footage a year.
Embedding a video in your blog also helps optimize your page for search engines, making it easier for people to find you.
How can you pick a video that’s right for your needs, when there’s so much out there? This quick and easy guide will help you search for, select, and include videos in your blog.
In this example, I´ll pretend that I’m running a blog for music fans, reviewing albums and sharing performances.
1. Know what you’re looking for and use specific keywords.
There are billions of people on the web, and with them come billions of ideas, facts, and other kinds of information. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed, and that’s why it is often easier to search for more specific results. Let’s say I’m a music critic looking to review performances from Steely Dan’s recent tour in 2011. Where do I start?
If you’ve been on Youtube, you’ve probably seen the search bar at the top of the page. As you can see, simply typing in “Steely Dan” gives us tons of results:
So, let’s narrow our options by entering something more specific:
By specifying that I’m looking for a live performance, and giving a year, I’ve substantially narrowed my results. Experimenting with keywords is an excellent preliminary step when searching for a video. You can also use the filter option to find even more specific results:
2. Use Youtube’s playlist feature.
You’ve got some search results. Clicking an item in the list will take you to a new page displaying a video, along with recommendations for related videos. If you like, you can start with one video, watch a bit, and jump to another recommendation. This approach often works well enough, but Youtube’s recommendation system is not perfect, and you could be led away from relevant choices.
You can narrow your options by selecting a video, clicking the Add to button below the viewer, and selecting Playlist. Building a playlist will help you view all of your video options in an organized way:
Another helpful option is to open different results in separate tabs within your web browser.
3. Make sure your videos have what you want.
If you’re trying to decide between more than three videos, selective viewing is a helpful technique. Some videos feature lengthy introductions, and others may only discuss your topic of interest for a few seconds before moving on to other subjects. A video might also be of poor quality, and it might be difficult for viewers to understand what’s being said. It’s important to be sure that your video selection actually focuses on what you want. Watch the first 15 seconds of one of the videos. If it still seems like a candidate, jump a third of the way forward, watch a few seconds, then another third. This technique should give you enough information to weed out irrelevant or undesirable options until you’re left with no more than three videos.
4. Watch your candidate videos and finalize your selection.
If you haven’t already, make sure you watch your remaining video options in their entirety to be sure that they really have what you want, and that they’re appropriate for your intended audience.
5. Share the video.
Now for the part you’ve been waiting for. You’re ready to share your find with the world. What to do?
Look at the menu below the video. You’ll see a button labelled Share. Clicking Share will open another menu beneath:
Click Embed if you’re editing with HTML on a site like WordPress. This opens another menu with more options:
After customizing the video, you can copy the provided embed code into WordPress’s HTML editor:
You can also use the provided URL with WordPress’s Media Manager. Select Upload/Insert at the top right corner of the page, which will open a new menu:
And that’s it. You’re set. Now go out and explore the wide world of internet video, and expand your site’s accessibility and exposure!
And here’s a video that I inserted into this post using the WordPress HTML editor:
I ran across a case study on Orabrush that I thought was interesting for a couple reasons. First off I’m always interested in how a successful viral campaign is engineered. By “Viral” I mean that it was a campaign that was made successful because users forwarded the advertiser’s message to friends. In this case it was done using witty but compelling videos on Youtube. The second thing that is interesting about this case study is that the study itself was promoted by Google (the owner of Youtube) and I believe that the video attempts to make it appear that this was a do-it-yourself campaign that was done with almost no financial backing. Although I would definitely agree that this campaign was run on a shoestring compared to something that would be run by Procter and Gamble, it was by no stretch of the imagination done for nothing. I’m quite sure hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on this campaign since it began. There is some real talent in the writing, acting, video production and online marketing and generally speaking real talent costs real money. That being said, I still think it’s a great story. Please check it out.
Recently I spotted this over on Google’s blog and I wanted to share it here. It turns out that the very first business computer was British! It was developed in the late 1930s by a food manufacturer and catering company called J.Lyons & Co. Please check out this video about LEO, the world’s first business computer.
Content management systems (CMS’s) have a lot of things going for them. A CMS is software that a developer can install that can help make website management easier. One of its primary uses is to allow non-technical staff to make regular website updates. Clearly this is an admirable goal. That being said, every CMS has a down-side. As professional web developers continue to use CMS’s more and more (I am aware of a local firm that requires a specific CMS for all projects) it’s worth while to look at some of the no-so-fun aspects of these systems.
My primary gripe is that CMSs are designed with a “one size fits all” mentality. They have to be. The developers are trying to develop a single system that can be used for many/all situations. Modern content management systems have come a long way and are much more flexible than they used to be, but that being said, there is ALWAYS a time during the implementation of one of these systems when you tear your hair out and wish you didn’t have to deal with the CMS’s restraints.
Less important, but worth noting is that all popular CMS’s are hacking targets. Unfortunately that’s just the way the world is. The key is to be vigilant about keeping the software up to date.
Here at BP we’ve worked with many different content management systems including various proprietary systems as well as all the most popular open source solutions (Drupal, Joomla & WordPress). Although these systems continue to get better with Drupal as the front-runner, we still often feel that custom systems for clients are the best approach. Bottom line is that each project needs to be looked at individually to see what the best system is for that website.
Let me start out by making it extremely clear that we here at BP have a lot of respect for the skill of all the folks over at Google. They build a lot of really great applications and tools and we use many of them in our projects. With that being said, I want to take a moment and toot our own horn over here because we’ve recently been tested by Team Google and came out glowing!
We’ve been a certified Partner with Google Adwords since the program began. Through the program we help clients get the best possible return on investment with advertising campaigns on Google Search. Over the years we’ve gained a lot of experience, worked with a lot of clients and literally managed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertising for clients.
That’s where the story gets interesting. Recently a client was approached by the Google Adwords team and a deal was made that if our client made a significant increase in their advertising budget, the team of experts over at Google would manage their campaign for free for 6 weeks. During that time Team Google told our client that they believed they could increase their results 10 fold over what our BP staff was producing.
The client asked me what I thought about the offer. I told him that I really hoped that they could do what they said they would, but I was a little skeptical. He went ahead and accepted the offer and the Google Team got started. I have to say that even though I have great confidence in my staff, I was a little nervous that the Google guys would make us look like amateurs. After all, these guys were from Google! Google is a fantastic company that pays top dollar for really great staff members.
It turned out I had nothing to worry about. The 6 weeks are now nearing completion. Instead of increasing their results 10 fold, the new campaign has yielded about a tenth of what the BP campaign did. Although this gives me reassurance about the quality of the service that we provide to all our clients, the downside of course is that the client was not always receiving the best possible results for their advertising dollar. That being said, I’m please that before we turned the reins over, I asked my staff members to make a backup copy of the campaign so I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to quickly get them back to the results that had previously received.
At the end of the day I have to say that I’m surprised at how this situation ended up. Probably the smart thing to do is simply mark it up to the Google Team having an off project. That being said I certainly am pleased that my staff was up to the challenge.
While doing research for a client today I ran across something that website owners need to watch out for. As most of you probably know, Google offers a free service that shows local search results with little markers on a map. This program is called Google Places. Because Google is giving a lot of preference to local search results it has attracted the attention of many online marketing consultants. We offer a service to help clients with this ourselves.
Here’s where the problem pops up: Google currently has the program set up so only one Google account can be associated with your business on Google places and there is no way to switch Google accounts. The problem is that there are unscrupulous consultants that are associating clients’ Google Places accounts with their own Google account. Essentially what this means is that the Google Places account can be held hostage by the consultant. I was told by a consultant today that if their clients leave their service, any progress that was made will be lost and the client will have to start over with a completely new Google Places account. It didn’t appear they even felt guilty when they told me this.
The take-away here is that as a website owner, you need to make sure that your Google Places account is associated with a Google account that you have access to. That way you are in the driver’s seat. Please contact me if you’d like to talk about how we can help your website get more exposure with Google Places.
First off, please don’t misunderstand me. I love WordPress. It’s a great little open source application. We use it frequently in our business. As a matter of fact this very blog is running on WordPress. All of that being said, WordPress has some serious limitations and because of that we only use it for blogs or small websites.
First off let’s have some definitions. A content management system (CMS) is software that is intended to run an entire website. It usually has a web based administrative area that (in theory) allows users with minimal technical expertise to update the content on their website by adding/editing/removing information within pages, or even whole pages.
WordPress is software that was developed to run blogs. It does that quite well. As a matter of fact, it does that so well that a lot of people started wishing it could do even more. Over the years more and more functionality has been added so you now can use it as CMS software to run small websites. The problem is that the CMS aspect of WordPress was an after-thought, not the original intention of the software, and this really shows when you push it’s limitations. Honestly I think there is a pretty large group of web developers that over-use WordPress simply because it’s the only system that they know how to use.
Here are the limitations that we’ve run into:
You don’t have a lot of control on content layout. It works great if your content is a bunch of text wrapped around the occasional photo (which is really what a blog is), but if you are particular about your content layout, WordPress will make you pull your hair out. Even when you enter your content in HTML (not using their WYSIWYG tool) WordPress commonly rewrites or ignores your code defining content layout.
It can be extremely slow. We have worked on projects that were developed by other firms in WordPress that take 2 or 3 times longer to load than they would using other systems.
WordPress was not originally built to be a CMS. It was built to run blogs then the CMS functionality was added later somewhat as an afterthought. As such it was not designed in such a way as to make it easy to manipulate content in a database format (such as your membership list). Yes, there are some add-on modules that claim that they can do all kinds of wonderful database manipulations however these are all add-ons that were created after the core of WordPress was built. They are not basic WordPress functions.
Because WordPress was not created to be a coding platform, it is difficult to do “real” programming on it to create custom functionality for clients. The best way to add new functions to WordPress is to either try to find a module that a specialist has built that just happens to do exactly what you want, or to hire a module specialist that can build a module for you. Your average run-of-the-mill PHP programmer will not be able to easily create custom WordPress modules.
So…where does that leave us? WordPress is a great tool for running a blog or a small website. If you really need a full blown CMS, the top dogs in the open source world are Joomla and Drupal. We’ve worked with both and they both have their positive and negative aspects. It may also be that you don’t actually need a pre-built “off the shelf” CMS at all. I’ll hold that thought for another post. In the mean time, please contact us if you are interested in looking at WordPress, Joomla or Drupal for your website.
Over the years I’ve run into a few folks that figure if their website isn’t earning the search results that they want, then the site must have been built incorrectly. Although that can be the cause, usually it is far more complicated than simply poor construction. Google takes into account approximately 300 different variables for each website when determining search engine results and many of the important ones are not effected by initial site construction.
The art and science of running a co-ordinated campaign to have a site appear higher in natural (non-paid) search engine results is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are multiple levels of resources that can be put into an SEO campaign. Basic site construction is the first, lowest, and easiest level of SEO. It your web developer is not up to the challenge at this most basic level then you can blame your developer for poor search results. If they pass the test at this level then you must go on and look at other approaches to achieve your desired results.
The most basic SEO simply involves building a website that is functional and that is not invisible to search engines. Examples of things that might cause your website to fail at this level would be:
Extensive use of image content in place of copy that is ledgible to search engines.
Extensive use of “flash” or other non-html technology that search engines either can’t read or punish your site for using.
A site that has multiple broken links or is knocked off-line often.
A site that takes a very long time to load.
For a website to be built that fails this first test really does mean that your developer is incompetent. Assuming your website passes this test (which most should) then it’s time to look at a more aggressive campaign than simply building your website and expecting the search engines to like it. If you’d like to move forward with more aggressive SEO then please give us a ring.
Please excuse me for dancing on Flash’s grave. Flash is a technology that has been used for the last 5 or 10 years to help create multi-media websites. For most of that time it was the only show in town. If you wanted a lot of animation, you didn’t have any choice but to use flash. Additionally there was a crop of poorly trained “web designers” that only knew how to build websites using flash technology, regardless if the website called for it. This lead to a whole lot of really bad websites being developed.
The problem is that Flash really isn’t a very good technology. It can be expensive to build with. It’s more work to maintain/update than tradition web development methods. Flash files can be quite large which can slow content delivery. Often Flash websites are constructed in such a way as to make websites virtually invisible to search engines. Additionally Flash is owned by Adobe who has been having a little war with Apple recently. That means that Flash elements will not display on iphones or ipads. Apple claims that Flash technology uses computer memory poorly and often causes the user’s browser to crash. With all that in mind, how can you blame me for being happy about Flash going away?
So if your web developer says that your site needs to use Flash, there is a small chance that they are right….but there is a large chance that they are wrong. Please give me a ring and I’d be happy to discuss it with you.
BP just became a Google Adwords Certified Partner! What does that mean to you? It means that we are more qualified that 99% of the online marketing firms that you might hire to help you get your target market looking at your website. OK…I’ll be honest…I made up the 99% part, but it’s a good bet that a very low percentage of online marketing firms are Certified Google Partners.
There are two main things that Google looks at when choose their partners: technical knowledge and experience. With regard to technical knowledge, Google has implemented a new set of tests to gauge technical skills. These tests are indeed tough. They are noticeably more difficult than the tests that Google administered with their previous program that is being phased out. On the experience side, we have been managing client campaigns for many years now with our master Google account showing an all-time total budget significantly over half a million dollars.
If you’d like to get qualified visitors to your website quick, a Google campaign is a great way to go. Please drop me a line if we can help you with the details.