Developing Video for Your Website

by Michael Stearns from HEROweb on January 12, 2009

Video on the web is looking to have a breakthrough year in ’09. Improvement in connection speeds and web video streaming technologies, as well as a growing demand from users to get richer web data all combine to make this a big year for web video deployments.

So, as an ecommerce site owner how you can proceed with a video strategy? Here are a few ideas to get you going:

1. Start simple. Set your sights on producing a short, simple 20-30 second video prototype. With a minimal investment, you can get your feet wet and decide if you can make your own videos or need to leave it to the experts.

2. Come up with a concept. Are you going to give information on specific products? Educate your potential users? Do something entertaining? You need to do some creative thinking and come up with an idea for your video that will be interesting (and reasonably easy to produce.)

3. Assess your equipment, budget, and resources. You can buy a video camera for less than $100. The quality will be marginal, but it could be enough for you to get your feet wet and develop a feel for what you want to do.

4. Create a simple “studio environment” for your videos.  It could be a corner of your shop, or a room in your home. I don’t think it needs to be fancy, but you do need reasonable decent sound and lighting. Perhaps you will just do voice-overs and the visual images will be generated on the computer or taken “on-location” in a setting related to your business. If you are going to do some on-site footage, think through the logistics and the setup required to do your shoot.

Here is an awesome set of video tutorials from the folks at videomaker.com that will cover all the basics you need to know. If you can wade through the barrage of advertisements, there is a wealth of information to be had.

5. Are you ready to be a star? Likely your video will need a narrator, presenter, or voice. Are you up to the task? If not, can you cajole your spouse, employee, cousin, or someone else to do a dynamic presentation.

6. Write a script, or at least a storyboard, for your video. Keep it short and sweet. Several sentences and a visual demo of a product would be great and shouldn’t be too hard to put together. Humor can score big points – particularly on YouTube. You don’t want your products to be perceived as a joke. But you do want to have fun with what you are doing.

7. Be ready to edit. Both Windows and Mac have free or low-cost video editing software packages. You will need to do some editing of your video. Consider creating a simple lead-in and ending slide or animation that reinforces your brand message and directs users to your website.

8. Create a YouTube account. It is easy and it is free.

9. Post your video. Once you have your YouTube account, posting your videos just takes a few minutes. You likely want to set your video as private before unveiling your work to the world. First get some helpful input from friends and trusted advisors. Adding a YouTube video to your website is quite simple. YouTube provides some code that you can paste into any of your web pages.

10. Now that you have been successful with your initial video, it is time to map out your future. Can you produce more videos on your own or do you want to enlist the help of a local video guru? We recommend coming up with a set of short video ideas. Perhaps you can produce them all at once and release them over an interval of several months.

We will be developing our support and deployment of video throughout ’09. Let us know your ideas and experiences with integrating web video with your website.

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