A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a video is probably good for at least a million. To make your website the best it can be, you’re going to need to look into video hosting services—but which service is the one for you? No worries, we’re here to help!
Oh, YouTube. The home of billions of videos, this is the reigning champion of video hosting. YouTube hosts content of pretty much every type, all for free, all consumed by an eager multi-generational public.
Numbers. You will get the traffic your heart desires if you post on YouTube. It’s a globally-recognized platform, and unless you’ve been comatose for the last twenty years, you’ve seen at least one YouTube video.
YouTube is very user friendly, and you can easily extract and embed videos to your website; you can even do some simple customization, if that’s your jam.
Creating a YouTube channel is an easy way to categorize and organize your work, allowing viewers to quickly find everything you’ve done.
Numbers. Yes, YouTube gets a lot of traffic, but your competition is intense! Millions of videos are uploaded daily, so what’s stopping yours from getting buried?
There’s a time limit, so you’re forced to cram your vision into a format that’s under fifteen minutes, which can be a serious cramp on your creativity. You can, however, get around this restriction by verifying your account.
As your viewer watches your video, YouTube displays a feed of “related” content on the right side of the screen; what if your viewer is distracted by another video, and completely abandons you for your competitor?
Free as the air. But remember, this free price tag comes at a cost; the ads can be kind of obnoxious, but it won't break your budget.
Vimeo is among the most popular of the video hosting platforms, with reason. While Vimeo is used primarily for personal and creative work, it’s definitely a viable option for businesses small and large. Vimeo’s consistency and reputation for quality is very appealing.
Videos can be more than fifteen minutes long, so you can feel free to be as creative or expressive as you wish. You won’t find restrictive time limits here.
You can create channels and start groups, enhancing your engagement with fellow users and viewers.
There are great advantages to using the paid tiers, such as the ability to get your video at the head of the queue for release, skipping ahead of the folks using the free service. Also, as a paid account holder, you’ll have the capability of disabling the in-video adverts, which is a major bonus for your viewers.
Vimeo cannot match the traffic of YouTube, which means you won’t see the link sharing that you might hope to get.
In order to get the best of the platform, you’re going to have to pony up some cash. Otherwise, you’re facing ads before and after your video, and, unless you’re paying for a PRO subscription, you can’t upload videos promoting services or products.
Basic Plan, with 500MB/week uploads: Free. Plus membership, with up to 5GB/week uploads and unlimited HD videos: $9.95/month or $59.95/year. Pro: No specified content restrictions, $199/year.
This is an excellent platform for businesses, and they cater exclusively to businesses. SproutVideo offers features like security, privacy options, SSL embeds, and more. It might not embrace the creativity of Vimeo or YouTube, but it’s a tremendous resource for businesses.
SproutVideo is the most integrated of all the platforms. Your video isn’t simply embedded, it’s actually within your site, which is very attractive if you’ve got a very specific aesthetic in mind.
The platform is very attractive and easily navigable, with options for customization for those who are so inclined.
The analytics are impressive, allowing you to get a clear idea of your audience and your popularity.
This is one of the pricier options available. You’ll get some bang for your buck, but get ready to loosen your purse strings. Additionally, the tier system is a little confusing. You’ll have to read carefully to understand which level is best for you.
It’s on the stodgy side. If yours is a creative business, or if your business is small, this might not be the platform for you.
Sprout, which offers 150GB bandwidth, 100GB storage, and $1/GB for overages: $25/month. Sapling, offering 300GB bandwidth, 400GB storage, and $.80/GB for overages: $50/month. Tree, which is 600GB bandwidth, 800GB storage, and $.60/GB for overages: $100/month. Grove, offering 1200GB bandwidth, 1600GB storage, and $.40/GB for overages: $200/month. Last, but not least, Forest offers 2400 GB bandwidth, 3200 GB storage, and $.20/GB for overages: $400/month.
Last, but not least, we arrive at our personal favorite—Wistia. While it doesn’t rack up the numbers of, say, YouTube, it’s an accredited site that gives you flexible, business-savvy hosting options. It features useful analytics, skips the ridiculous ads that pervade the freebie sites, and it’s very user-friendly. What’s not to love?
We mentioned it above, but it’s worth another mention: no advertisements. No silly or boring ads to make your viewers lose interest before they get to the meat of your video. Bliss.
Wistia’s analytics are basically a license to stalk your viewers, providing insight into what and how they watch your videos, and allowing you to target what, precisely, your viewers want to see.
Wistia also lets you connect your videos effortlessly to your social media, making it easier to engage your customers on a number of platforms.
Full control to embed videos only where you want them (like, your website!).
Marketing tools, like an email turnstile that asks for a viewer's email before he can watch the video.
Unfortunately, Wistia isn’t searchable, which could make it difficult for customers to find your videos.
All the great features come at a cost; it’s got a kind of complicated tiered pricing system, but you don’t have to commit to a contract.
Tier 1 offers 5 videos/month for free, but you will have Wistia branding on the player. Tier 2 is 25 videos/month with all the standard features available for $25/month—and there’s no Wistia branding on this or any subsequent tiers. Tier 3 allows 50 videos/month with standard features for $50/month. Tier 4 has 500 videos/month with standard features for $100/month. Tier 5, you can have unlimited videos and standard features for $300/month. The last tier, Wistia Platform, offers unlimited videos, increased bandwidth, and advanced analytics for $300/month.