How to Use Video on Websites

ByGeraldine R. Pleasant

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May 27, 2022·12 min read

Video makes websites more engaging and helps them rank better. Discover how to embed it on your site, what types to use, and how to do it well.

The year is 2005. You click on your friend’s MySpace profile and—BAM!—there it is: A full-on auditory assault in the form of an auto-playing video.

Video on websites has come a long way since those dark days. For one, most of us have moved past auto-play.

These days, creating a website with videos means working to enhance the visitor experience. Not make them close their eyes, cover their ears, and click madly away.

Businesses especially have gotten the hang of thinking about how to better educate, inform, and entertain their website visitors.

This has led to the rise of the homepage video (often a nice explainer or promo). Plus, the addition of videos to a variety of pages including product and service pages, about and career sections, landing pages, resource hubs, support centers, blogs, and more.

Video allows brands to increase dwell time, improve rankings, boost conversions, and bump up engagement. It’s a win for visitors and page owners alike.

In this post, we’ll cover why you might want to consider adding video to your website. Learn how to do it, where to use them, best practices for doing it well, and some examples of brand sites that have used it effectively.

  1. Contents
  2. 1. Why Should You Use Video on Websites?
  3. 1.1 Video on Websites has the power to:
  4. 2. How Do I Add Video to My Website?
  5. 2.1 How Do I Embed a Self-Hosted Video on Websites?
  6. 2.2 How Do I Embed Third-Party-Hosted Video on Websites?
  7. 2.2.1 How Do I Embed a Vidyard Video on My Website?
  8. 2.3 What’s the Difference Between Inline and Lightbox Embeds?
  9. 3. Where Can I Use Video on My Website?
  10. 3.1 Homepage Videos
  11. 3.1.1 Recommended Video Type: Explainer
  12. 3.2 Product and/or Service Page Videos
  13. 3.2.1 Recommended Video Type: Demo
  14. 3.3 Landing Page Videos
  15. 3.3.1 Recommended Video Type: Promos
  16. 3.4 About Page Videos
  17. 3.4.1 Recommended Video Type: Culture
  18. 3.5 Blog Videos on Websites
  19. 3.5.1 Recommended Video Type(s): Thought Leadership and How-To
  20. 3.6 Customer Story Videos
  21. 3.6.1 Recommended Video Type: Case Study
  22. 3.7 Support Portal Videos
  23. 3.7.1 Recommended Video Type: How-To
  24. 3.8 Careers Page Videos
  25. 3.8.1 Recommended Video Type: Culture
  26. 4. What Are Some Best Practices for Using Video on Websites?
  27. 4.1 Focus on Quality
  28. 4.2 Pay Attention to Placement
  29. 4.3 Build for Accessibility
  30. 4.4 Go Short
  31. 4.5 Choose an Eye-Catching Thumbnail
  32. 4.6 Be Responsive
  33. 4.7 Keep Load Times Fast
  34. 4.8 Test Everything

Why Should You Use Video on Websites?

Your website has exactly 0.05 seconds to make a good impression on your visitor. That’s really not a lot of time.

Because the vast majority of first impressions are design-related, video might just do the trick.

It’s eye-catching and alluring—the perfect thing to entice your visitors to stay juuuust a little longer and see what you’re all about.

Video on Websites has the power to:

  • Increase website traffic—video users get 41% more web traffic from search than non-users (Aberdeen Group)
  • Engage visitors—72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service (HubSpot)
  • Keep people on your site—the average internet user spends 88% more time on a site that contains video (Mist Media)
  • Improve search rankings—websites that make effective use of video increase their likelihood of being ranked on the first page of Google search results by as much as 53x (Forrester)
  • Bump up conversions—Video users have 34% higher web conversion rates (Aberdeen Group)

What are you waiting for? Power up your website with video.

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How Do I Add Video to My Website?

There are several different ways you can go about adding video to your website. Here’s what you need to know about each option.

How Do I Embed a Self-Hosted Video on Websites?

While the exact process for this differs somewhat depending on the service you’ve used to design and host your website, the basics remain the same.

To add a self-hosted video to your website, you upload it to your website server the same as you would an image file.

The biggest benefit here is that you have full control over your content and do not have to worry about a third-party organization’s terms of service. It also ensures your video is ad-free.

However, there are quite a few things that make this option a bit more complicated than it might seem. For one, video files tend to be large, which can be a massive strain on your server and storage limits. These limitations can cause your video to load slowly or even freeze.

Additionally, there are some drawbacks around file type, which is not standardized across browsers (not all browsers will play all video file types). This means that, depending on what file type you use, some of your website’s visitors may not be able to view it at all.

How Do I Embed Third-Party-Hosted Video on Websites?

The more common solution for embedding video on your website is to use a third-party service or CDN (content delivery network).

There are a ton of video hosting options, ranging from free to enterprise-grade solutions.

Popular free options include sites like YouTube and Vimeo. In part, because they’re free to use, they do tend to come with some drawbacks. Namely, ads appear in your videos and the sites will suggest other content to viewers, even when they view a video at an embedded location. This means you don’t have control over your viewer’s experience.

Then there are video hosting solutions designed for businesses, like Vidyard, which offers a variety of free and paid plans to meet different business needs.

With a hosting platform like Vidyard, you can quickly and easily embed videos of any length, add calls to action to your video content, customize the video player, track viewers, and integrate with other tools to do even more.

How Do I Embed a Vidyard Video on My Website?

The process will look slightly different if you have a free Vidyard account. Get instructions for that in our Knowledge Center.

  1. Find the video you’d like to embed in your Vidyard library
  2. Click the Share button next to the video to pull up the sharing options window
  3. In the window, select the </> button to get the embed code
  4. Toggle the Would you like to embed this video? Option to On
  5. Choose an embed option (inline or lightbox for websites)
  6. Click Copy Code
  7. Paste the embed code into the source HTML of your website
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What’s the Difference Between Inline and Lightbox Embeds?

Not quite sure what sets an inline and lightbox embed apart?

Inline embeds display your video directly on the webpage, in line with the rest of your content.

The video below is an example of an inline embed, which also tells you more about this type of embed.

Lightbox embeds present your video as the focal point of the page by loading your video in the center of the screen and dimming all other page elements.

The video below is an example of a lightbox embed, which also tells you more about this type of embed.

Where Can I Use Video on My Website?

Video can go pretty much anywhere and everywhere on your website, from your homepage to your blog. These are just a few of the most popular options, along with the types of videos that tend to work best for each.

Homepage Videos

You’ve probably heard that your homepage is like your website’s front door: It sets the tone for the rest of your site. It can also be make-or-break. If your homepage isn’t inviting, visitors may leave without checking out the rest of your site.

Because the homepage is the first place that many people will land on your website, it’s important that it serve as an introduction to your company and your product(s) or service(s).

Explainer videos, which provide a high-level overview, are a great fit for homepages for exactly this reason. They’re not your only choice though.

For instance, if your brand is already a household name (think Coca-Cola or Toyota), you might want to use your valuable homepage real estate to highlight a new product or promotion.

Learn From the Pros

IMPACT agency puts video front and center on their website with not one, but two homepage videos. When visitors land on the page, they’re greeted with an engaging background video that draws their attention to the agency’s copy. A prominent play button beneath the main copy invites them to watch a video to learn more about the agency’s mantra.

Product and/or Service Page Videos

Product and service pages tell visitors more about what your brand offers, including what features you offer, how they can use it, and even pricing.

Because these pages are more nitty-gritty with detail, video is a great way to provide even more information without making the page an overwhelming wall of text.

Demo videos, which show how your product actually works and answer some key questions about it, are great because they dive a little deeper into specifics.

Learn From the Pros

Zendesk used a background video on the product page for their Support Suite to make the page feel lively. They also have a “Watch the Video” button featured in the top section of the page that launches a lightbox video.

Landing Page Videos

Landing pages are all about conversions. Whether you’re trying to get people to buy your product, book a call with sales, or even download a piece of content, driving action is key.

Adding video to your landing pages can increase conversions.

Promo videos, which serve as mini-trailers for whatever you’re pushing, are a great way to build hype and get people to take that next step.

About Page Videos

Your About page tells visitors what your company is, who runs it, and what your values are.

This page is an opportunity to share your organization’s personality with visitors and video makes it easier than ever to convey that human element.

Culture videos that highlight the people on your leadership team or show off the company behind the scenes can be a great way to make a connection here.

Learn From the Pros

U.S. Waterproofing, a basement waterproofing and foundation repair company, gives website visitors a chance to meet the family behind the family-owned business in their About page video.

U.S. Waterproofing's About page video

Blog Videos on Websites

Blog’s are all about educating people. Video is an excellent teaching tool. (Yes, really: Viewers actually retain more of a message when they watch it in a video compared to text.)

It’s a match made in heaven.

To keep people entertained while you inform them, consider using a mix of different video types. Two of the ones that work best are thought leadership and how-tos.

Thought leadership videos, which share a new concept or perspective, challenge viewers to think of something in a new way—a surefire way to hold their attention.

How-to videos, which walk the viewer through how to do something step-by-step, are a no-brainer for people who want to walk away with actionable learnings.

Learn From the Pros

The Vidyard Content team regularly creates video versions of popular blog posts, which we embed in the post and share on YouTube for increased discoverability. The blog video we created for our video email marketing postrecaps the content of the post in under four minutes.

a video in a Vidyard blog post

Customer Story Videos

Customer stories are the bread-and-butter of middle-of-funnel content—basically every brand has them.

They’re an awesome way to showcase how your product or service has helped real people at a real organization achieve real results.

Case study videos, which tell the stories of your clients, are a great way to add authenticity and trustworthiness to your customer stories. A written quote could be faked. A testimonial from a real person they can see can’t (at least, not easily).

Learn From the Pros

Social media platform Hootsuite regularly publishes case studies with customers across different industries succeeding with social. Many of them include a video component, like the one pictured below about the British Museum, which prominently features a video version of the story.

a video case study page from Hootsuite

Support Portal Videos

Support portals, also known as knowledge centers, give people a chance to get answers to product-based questions themselves.

Knowledge centers let people self-serve rather than contacting a human support agent. They’re particularly critical for organizations with a low price point where one-to-one support solutions aren’t scalable. But really, they’re table stakes for pretty much any kind of organization that offers a product.

How-to videos, which walk viewers through steps to help them achieve a certain outcome, are a perfect fit—whether visitors are trying out a new feature or aiming to solve a recurring issue.

Learn From the Pros

The Vidyard Knowledge Base answers questions about the product. Articles typically include both written instructions as well as a screen recording how-to video that shows users exactly what to do.

video on Vidyard Knowledge Base

Careers Page Videos

Careers pages are about attracting and hiring the very best candidates to work at your company.

They show off what’s great about working at a company, share values, and benefits, and even tell the stories of real employees.

Culture videos, which can focus on your existing employees, let you give potential applicants a real feel for your organization. You can showcase a day in the life of a real employee, do a highlight reel of your office, get testimonials from people about why they love working there or even feature your leadership team talking about the business. The sky’s the limit!

Learn From the Pros

eCommerce tech company Shopify puts their employees—many of whom also have shops through the platform—front and center in their Careers page feature video.

Shopify's career page is a great example of effectively using video on websites

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