An Easy Way to Leverage the Power of Gmail with your Own Domain
Posted by Jon Roth - Feb 23, 2011
More and more data and computing is moving to cloud services and migrating away from local storage (on your C: drive or local disk). The trend is a combined result of two major factors:
1. the enormous growth in storage efficiency (at low cost) and computing sophistication made available by larger services such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Intuit, Amazon, and others, and
2. the rapidly increasing popularity of mobile devices changing the habits and requirements of the connected culture.
Data and devices are increasingly separate now that the global user base has so many options for devices that access the Internet, and has shown a preference to switch from device to device frequently without compromising information consistency.
Email is one of the first categories to lead this migration, as people want to get their email on their home computer, work computer, mobile phone, and on hotel computers while traveling without missing messages or losing access to their archives.
An added benefit is that when your hard drive crashes (yes it will happen to you sometime), you haven't lost any of your valuable messages or contacts.
Our favorite hosted email service is Google's Gmail. One of the neatest things about it is that, not only can you enjoy the benefits of web-based email across your connected devices, but you can easily use Gmail with your own domain name simultaneously with the gmail.com domain.
We have adopted the practice of using Gmail as our email client (equivalent to other software choices such as Outlook, Thunderbird, MacMail, Entourage, etc)
We find that it has the same features we look for in the other programs, but has the huge advantage of automatic cloud storage, access, and Google's outstanding email infrastructure.
Here are the steps to using Gmail as your email client to send and receive through your own domain:
If you don't already have one, create your Gmail account. It's free and easy.
Once you're logged into your Gmail account, choose "mail settings" ( from the gear menu in the upper right corner) and then select "Accounts and Import."
When on the "Accounts and Import" tab, tell Gmail which email address you'd like to receive messages at using the Gmail interface by first clicking the "Add POP3 email account" button in the "Check mail using POP3" section of the page.
Then enter your email address in the space provided.
Fill in the form with your information following the example below. Be sure that you have your mail server, user name, and password information correct. This will be the identical information to what you have entered in your current email software.
Double check the POP server field. Gmail will pre-populate it with the domain name that your email address belongs to, but you may have to edit that to input the mail server name provided by your hosting company. You should be using the same POP server name as you've entered into any other email software that you use to retrieve messages.
Make sure that you have the "Leave a copy of retrieved message on the server" box UN-checked, otherwise your in-box on your POP server will fill up and your mail will stop flowing. Let Google handle the storage for you.
In the next step after you click "Add Account", Google will ask you if you would also like to send messages from the address you just added. Answer "Yes" and move to the next step.
Enter your name and move to the next step.
Google will ask you if you would like to send through Gmail servers, or through your own. Choose the Gmail server (even though Google's recommendation for professional domains is to use your own). Your messages will still show your personal domain as the sending address and reply-to address, and you'll have the advantage of Gmail's sending power and mail infrastructure. I'm also convinced by circumstantial evidence that the clout of Gmail's servers will reduce the number of your messages that get errantly picked off by filters on destination servers that aren't updated or configured correctly.
The last step is to allow Gmail to verify that you are the owner of your email address.
The service will send a message to your address with instructions to complete the verification process. The message will contain a link that you can click, and a confirmation code that you can enter into the form online show below. You have your choice of which method you would like to use to verify your account.
Once your account is verified, you can send and receive from it through the Gmail web interface from anywhere. It works like a charm!
Content Editors and HTML Structure
Posted by Andy Tyra - Dec 08, 2010
We've tried our many of these editors throughout the various iterations of our CMS. We started with FCK editor, an editor that began being widely used in 2007 and developed a huge user base. The toolbar on the FCKeditor was packed with features and options including the ability for users to change the font, text size and color among other attributes. It also allowed clients to add tables, links and other elements to their content. It was a veritable wonderland of formatting fun.
But like Spidey always said: with great power comes great responsibility. We discovered that when clients used certain formatting options, the result was poorly structured HTML markup. If a client changed a paragraph's font, color, text size, and then changed it again, the result was a long series of and tags wrapped around the actual content. The more they changed and rechanged, the worse it became.
This was bad for a few reasons. The first reason was that the content would display in an unpredictable way. Different browsers would render the nest of tags in different, sometimes unusual, ways. The second reason was that clients formatting their content couldn't figure out how to undo what they had done using FCKeditor; that is, even the FCKeditor itself couldn't sort through the nest of tags it had created. We found ourselves troubleshooting pages that were appearing incorrectly due to the mess of extra tags. The last reason was that these extra tags inhibited good search engine optimization. Search engine bots (or "spiders") would have to weed through a pile of extraneous tags before they got to the indexable content--and because these bots only index at a finite number of characters on any given page, they might not make it through the pile.
So we decided to change to a different content editor with fewer options. We chose TinyMCE. This was a good content editor--but it had it's own set of drawbacks. Some clients reported bugs. Other clients with older browsers (IE5.5 and IE6) reported that TinyMCE didn't work at all.
So we changed once again to WYMeditor: an editor that was more consistently stable, had a limited set of formatting options and created clean standards-compliant HTML structure. We thought we had arrived at the best solution.
We discovered that clients/users that used WYMeditor didn't like the limitations. It required that clients/users knew how to code CSS and HTML markup for things like floated alignments, tables and other more advanced content formatting. Additionally, WYMeditor didn't allow links that open in a new page (target="blank") or the embedding of YouTube Videos, Google Maps and other code snippets in the content area. Clients/users wanted more options.
So this is our dilemma. Do we ignore good HTML structure and give clients/users a sophisticated content editor that resembles a word processing application? Or do we limit their formatting options and force them to create standards-compliant code?
The best answer is somewhere in the middle. We'd like to give our clients and the users of our CMS as much control as possible but also educate them on the importance of good HTML structure and encourage them to consider it. There is a great article by Nick DeNardis on this topic.
"Itís not just about making the page look pretty but the actual HTML behind the page has meaning. The initial thought when charged with updating or maintaining a web page is to initially write up the content in Word, get everything finalized, approved and then copy and paste it into the content management system (CMS). This is a great process but a lot may get lost in the translation from Word to HTML."
Things have come full circle. We are planning to return to a more full-featured content editor like CKeditor (the newest open source editor from the creators of FCK editor) but we will remove from the content editor's toolbar those buttons that result in poorly structured HTML pages.
We're also going to improve our dialogue with clients and content managers about good HTML structure.
Saving Time with Google Docs
Posted by Jon Roth - Jun 24, 2010
We're seeing more and more people migrate their data to the Google cloud with email, calendars, spreadsheets, word documents, and more. Controlled, shared access to your data means great flexibility and convenience in a collaborative work environment.
It can also mean greater data security, since your data exists in the cloud, spread out over many servers and a hardware failure is statistically unlikely to cause you to lose data. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't maintain your own backup policy, but you can feel confident that Google isn't going to lose your files. We've been dedicating significant data to the cloud for over a year and have not (knock on digital wood) had any blips.
We've noticed another benefit to using google docs: smoother content copying into web site CMS systems.
Most of the sites we build include a content management system designed to allow the site owner significant, 24/7 control over his/her page content. Most of these systems include an editor function that mimics word processors with formatting controls designed to be familiar to users of Microsoft Word and other popular desktop word processing software. These generally do a good job, but with regular version updates to web browsers and the word processing programs, we find that now and then some behaviors become unpredictable such as copying and pasting from a Word document to a web site. Incompatible formatting and characters like to tag along from the Word doc and gum things up during the paste action into the web page. Most of the editors we use include a "paste from Word" function designed to combat that problem, but we find they are perhaps 70% effective at best.
The best answer we've found so far is to compose or transfer the source document to the google cloud before cutting and pasting. If you compose your web content in a google doc, you'll enjoy all of the benefits that you would have using a desktop word processor plus a much smoother transfer to your web site.
Keeping Your Blog Fresh?
Posted by Jon Roth - Apr 29, 2010
Have you been updating your website as part of your content strategy?
Are your blog posts fresh? (We know how hard it can be to keep up with a blog, I mean, look at ours)
Is your content benefit-driven?
We give our clients the unique ability to change their content and some don't because they either are not sure what to write or they don't have time.
We recently received feedback from local business owner and Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce member, Heidi Berden, who is interested in helping our clients enhance their credibility and save time. And she was very gentle with us as she mentioned that we, ah hem, have not been doing a stellar job of keeping up our own blog much less inspiring our clients to keep up with theirs.
As Berden read through some of the sites in our portfolio, she was pleased to find loads of strong content obviously created by savvy business people who know their businesses well, but also saw ample opportunities to give those messages more marketing power and appeal more directly to the shortened attention span on the web. She gave us some examples of expression that work better on the web:
Make your content benefit-driven
Read every phrase and ask whether or not you have highlighted a service or a benefit to your clients. You have mere seconds to tell them what's in it for them.
Avoid switching between first- and third-person
Watch for messages from your company that suddenly are about your company. You don't need to be an expert to spot this one. It's awkward.
Tweak phrases to be to be more powerful
A classic example is "not only" do we do this, but we also do that. "Not" and "but" have negative connotations. You actually do this and that.
Use upper and lower case
USE OF ALL CAPS has proven to be 60 percent more difficult to read and slows the eye. Do everything you can to make life easier for your site visitors.
Farm It Out
Berden surfs the Web looking for sites that have room for improvement. She recently made 115 "tweaks" to a website that had been up for a year. Mistakes she fixed included sentence structure, improper grammar and punctuation. Improvements included more powerful phrasing and a key to website success: benefit-driven content.
Creating content is not easy for some people and those who find it easy don't always have time. Berden says she makes that job easy by allowing clients to either simply call her with ideas or e-mail a draft and have her tweak it. She has discovered her gift of capturing ideas during her days as an editor has blossomed on the Web.
We want to be sure our clients are taking advantage of their ability to change content and maximize their website.
If you think you don't have time to blog, Berden wants you to call her (even while you're driving, hands-free, of course) and tell her what you want in a fresh blog post. She'll deliver a draft that is in your words, only better.
She might even draw out more ideas help you come up with posts and stories that you may not have thought about and make your life a little easier in the process.
Contact Berden at 231-587-8512 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Determing a Design Direction
Posted by Andy Tyra - Dec 02, 2009
Good design, at least part of the time, includes the criteria of being direct in relation to the problem at hand, not obscure, trendy or stylish. A new language, visual or verbal, must be couched in a language that is already understood.
- Ivan Chermayeff
It is not easy to know what you like. Most people fool themselves their entire lives about this. Self-acquaintance is a rare condition.
- Robert Henri
Determining the appropriate design direction can be one of the most challenging parts of any web design project. We at BrightBridge Studios are always trying to improve our process as well as our methods of gathering the necessary information from the client.
Part of the design process takes place during the creation of the proposal; when the goals of a site are identified and the features to achieve those goals are described in specific terms. For example, it could be decided that a sequence of large photos be displayed on the home page using a jQuery Carousel. The jQuery Carousel would be detailed in the proposal and agreed upon by the client as a way to provide a good first impression and the right amount of visual impact. The bulk of the visual design process, however, takes place after a proposal has been drafted and accepted. It's then that the focus changes from how the site should function to how the site should look. It's then that we decide which photos should be used in the carousel and how large they should be displayed.
Our current protocols are the result of years of evolution and experience. Along the way, we've become more flexible and better listeners.
The core of our approach has always been to focus primarily on each client's personal preferences, assuming that they know the general sensibilities of their target audience best. We want our clients to be 100% happy with their sites and that means giving them whatever design they want, regardless of whether we agree with each design decision or request for revision. Our role as designers isn't to impose our will on the client, but to bolster and build upon a client's ideas in order to create effective products that achieve their goals.At some point, we began wondering if this was the best approach. Some clients weren't clear on the sensibilities of their target audience. Others wanted their site to have "clean lines", but weren't necessarily able to define what that meant in specific terms. This made it a challenge for us to determine the criteria for success. How could we give them the design they wanted if they themselves weren't sure what that would entail? After all, part of the reason they hired us in the first place was because they needed an expert opinion to help them navigate through a universe of possibilities.
While we continue to focus on each client's personal design sensibilities, we've become very good at adapting to their individual needs. Some clients have a very clear vision of how a site should look. Others want to defer to us. In all instances, we attempt to go the extra mile and provide our honest opinions about what we feel will be the most successful approach. We outline the pros and cons of each option while remaining flexible and humble. We may advocate one design direction over another, but we don't get pushy. We recognize there can be numerous paths to successful result and our recommendations are not the only paths to design success.
We've also been inspired and influenced by articles on sitepoint.com and freelanceswitch.com. For example, we now invite clients to be involved in the design process at the earliest stage. Rather than presenting full-color concepts as the initial sneak peak at their site, we provide clients with sketches in order to spark further dialogue. These sketches, or "mood boards" take less time than fully realized concepts and allow clients to feel more invested in the design process. It's not unusual for clients to respond to a sketch with a sketch of their own. This sort of exchange is a great way to get a concrete idea of a client's vision.
Below is the design questionnaire that we currently use as a conversation-starter. It's continually evolving, so any suggestions for improvement are certainly appreciated.
1. Contact Person and Content Administrator:
We feel that the design phase goes much more smoothly when we have one designated contact person for the project; that is, one person that provides input and feedback. Will this be you or someone on your staff?
Additionally, your site will be designed in such a way as to give you total control over the content using a password-protected content management system. It's important to consider who will be managing the content on your site. Will this be you or someone on your staff?
Who is your primary audience?
Who is your secondary audience?
Does the majority of your audience represent a certain demographic?
Can you identify specific vertical industry segments that you would like to target individually?
What sort of aesthetic do you imagine would appeal to these groups?
Do their aesthetic sensibilities differ from your own?
Does your enterprise have a logo and/or business identity?
4. Color Palette:
Do you have established colors that represent your company?
The color palette of a site should also be aimed at appealing to your target audience.
5. Inspirational Sites:
Can you give us 3 or 4 examples of sites you like and a couple of sites you don't like?
What do you like about them and what do you dislike? We'll use these to respond with other sample sites that might be useful for additional inspiration.
6. Global Navigation:
Many of our sites utilize dropdown menus in which you would mouse over a tab such as 'About Us' and get a dropdown menu containing 'Our Philosophy', 'How We Do It', 'Our Location' etc.
The typical choice is between horizontal navigation (across the top of the screen) or vertical (in the right or left sidebar). A horizontal navigation scheme is a bit less obtrusive but the vertical navigation scheme can accommodate more tabs.
NOTE: A general rule is this: 8 section tabs or less with more pages within each tab = horizontal. More than 8 section tabs with fewer pages within each tab = vertical.
Do you have photos that could be used on the site? If so, can you send us a few of your favorites via email?
Do you have a method of acquiring additional photos if necessary?
Are you comfortable using stock photography?
Any other specific preferences we should know about? When you close your eyes and imagine your perfect site, what do you see?
For example, if you hate the color olive green, or you want your site to have a rustic feel like an old book, we want to know that.
Carboning Down the Costs
Posted by Jon Roth - Mar 31, 2009
While Upping the Efficiency
Just over a year ago we decided to add to our virtual office space by adopting Skype as our phone system. At the time, our primary motivation was adopting a new technology that promised cool features and an expansion of our communication options. We're always on the prowl for new software tools and networking methods. That's part of what we do every day, and we really dig that stuff.
Skype is a software-based phone/communication system that allows us to communicate seamlessly all over the world with people on landlines, cell phones, sat phones, other software phones, basically with anyone who connects to communication systems via the Internet or any telephone-based network. It lets us hold conferences with mixed channels (up to nine participants), video and text chat, zing files back and forth during conversations, do in-call transfers, check status of remote co-workers, leave messages through a variety of channels.
And by combining Skype with a software phone attendant called Pretty May Call Center, we have a full callers menu, call routing, voicemail boxes with email forwarding, multiple line management, plus plenty of features we're not even using.
Big Savings on the Phone BillWe got into this for the features. We also ended up saving roughly 95% (I'm not kidding) on our telephone costs because we replaced all of our phone hardware with software, were able to avoid purchasing and installing an IPX system (does anyone use them anymore?) and also benefited from the lower entry and maintenance costs of the Skype/Pretty May combination.
A side benefit of making this switch is that we also use less electricity now. As discussions of climate change and scarcity of resources have wended more deeply into our industry news outlets, blogs we follow, and online discussion areas, Bright Bridge has become carbon conscious and has decided that it's worth it to us and for the sake of our environs to become carbon neutral starting this year.
Reducing our electricity use for phones was one step toward that. We've also been able to sharply curtail our travel miles by holding more conferences online and making more extensive use of the network to move project assets and information around. Some of our clients love this practice. Some require some coaching and handholding, but all seem to appreciate not only the reduction in resource use, but also the inherent convenience of using these online software tools.
We've been using an online client service center that we created specifically for our process five years ago and have been evolving ever since. As part of that system, our clients have the ability to set preferences in their accounts that determine whether they receive invoices as email, fax or both, and how many (and when) reminders or notices are sent. We encourage our clients to select the email option in order to save paper. We also provide online payment options as well as project records, pager alerts to project leaders, and an online newsletter.
We've worked to adjust some of our internal habits too in the areas of planning and note-taking and have basically eliminated the need to buy any paper.
Our work stations are running all day long anyway, and our servers are running 24-7-365, so we might as well make as much use of them as we can.
Carbon NeutralAs a final step, we've calculated the electricity that we still use (servers, workstations, lights, appliances, mp3 players, cell phones, or skype phones away from the office), not trivial, as well as energy to heat our workspaces, the driving and travel miles that we still need, and have purchased carbon offsets from Native Energy to equal what we use.
So mathematically we're carbon neutral. Interestingly, this process has reduced our overall costs, not increased them. We didn't know that would be a result. We actually thought that going green would cost us a premium. In many cases I know that is does, so maybe we just got lucky with this one.
We've even been able to inch down our hosting costs over the years and pass those savings along to our clients (in fact we've never had to raise our rates). While we're a hands-on boutique host (as opposed to an anonymous mass host) and our costs are generally a bit higher, the efficiencies we've gained have allowed us to continually increase our capacity while holding our costs down.
By the way, if you're hosted on a BrightBridge server, your web site is carbon neutral now too, so if you'd like your audience to know, tell us and we'll add one of these to your site footer.
Didn't See This Coming - But Couldn't Help MyselfOh, and one last thing. Maybe we're a little better than carbon neutral now, because after we did the calculations and purchased the offsets, that nerdy-looking (looks like a Prius) little Honda Insight Hybrid came out. Okay, I'll admin it. That kind of tech appeals to me. The first one that rolled off the truck in Traverse City just happened to be in BrightBridge blue, so we ditched our old gas gulper and nabbed the hybrid. If you're in northern Michigan, you might see us tooling around in it on the way to meetings and such. I tell you what; all that gas we're saving is just going to lower our hosting rates even more.
Populating your Website
Posted by Jon Roth - Dec 29, 2008
Planning Your Content
Planning and generating content is often the most challenging phase of a new or redesigned website project and is where we've often seen projects stall before launch. Enthusiasm normally runs high at the earlier stage when you're vision for the site is fresh and you're imaging the site features, the visuals, and all the people who will be visiting and using your site.
When you see those first design comps, your imagination gets another boost as you get closer to the site's interface and navigation. Now that your energy and enthusiasm are high, it is the time to flesh out your content outline and begin creating and/or collecting your copy, images, and other media that you want to display when the site is launched.
If you wait until the design and programming are all done, you've completed your approvals, and the features have all been tested, you may find that your energy level and focus on the project have been spent to the point where generating content just becomes too much work. To solve that, we recommend creating your content outline before you even see the design comps. Then count up the separate pages for which you'll need to write, collect, or otherwise assemble content.
Take the total number of days until your scheduled launch day and divide that number by the number of pages you have planned. That will tell you how many pages you need to come up with each day to hit your schedule. It may be that you only need to collect content for one page every three days. That's fine and good to know.
If your site has an online store component with product listings, or some similar feature with content elements like product listings, then determine the number of listings you would like to launch with, and add them into the equation. You may have a content page every three days plus two product listings a day to generate descriptive copy for plus perhaps find photos or take digital photos.
The best of all possible scenarios is to have all of your current content ready prior to launch, and then to add new content as you get it.
Short of that, have as much ready as possible and schedule some time each week after launch to add to the site.
Long term, you should be adding content on a regular basis anyway in order to best serve your audience and keep the search engines interested.
How to Leverage Online Video
Posted by Jon Roth - Nov 01, 2008
Online Video and Social Networking are Powerful Marketing ToolsYoutube.com is the current leader among a growing group of online video upload and display services and is an excellent channel through which to communicate with your audience. Plenty of people are building powerful marketing strategies around online video and social networking concepts. Social network communication and marketing continues to evolve rapidly, both the technology and interfaces available and the ways we learn to use them.
Online video has become one of the most popular social networking resources. That's no surprise, since we have certainly been a world enamored with television and its various enhancements such as VHS, DVD, and TiVo. Online video is evolving into a medium with the potential to become even more attractive and feature-rich than these earlier and still popular incarnations of television. If the rate of growth and change of the online video market over the past three years is an indication of its future, this medium will likely become the most prolific content provider for the majority of video consumers of movies, TV programs, documentaries, instructional videos, as well as the current form of user-supplied social networking videos.
Netflix, the first and most notable online provider of DVDs via the snail mail system, also provides movies and programs for instant viewing over broadband internet connections. I think this service of Netflix will grow as the movement of DVDs through the postal system gradually shrinks proportionally. When wireless services and cell tower based broadband services reach far enough into non-urban areas, we'll see more net-connected video appliances in use at the beach, in parks, and the back seats of cars vs. the personal DVD players that currently appear in those locations (my opinion that you shouldn't be watching video in those locations notwithstanding).
It will be fun to see how online video evolves, but you don't need to wait to begin using it. Online video is ready right now as a tool for you to create and execute an inexpensive yet rich marketing communication strategy.
Youtube makes it so easy to upload and display video clips of a variety of source formats, and then provide access to those video clips from other locations on the Internet, that the challenges in video communication are no longer technical but creative.
The popularity of user-produced video has also morphed our stylistic preferences and expectations to the point where high budget, high profile production projects sometimes intentionally create their videos to resemble the home baked variety typically uploaded by amateur producers.
How Website Owners Can Leverage Online VideoHow do you start using online video today?
1. Research YouTube
Visit youtube.com and search for videos in your field of interest. See what's already out there. The videos you find may be resources to you or competition. Ask yourself how you might use them to reach your goals, or improve upon them in your own videos.
2. Define Your Target Audiences
Whether you're marketing to sell a product or service, or promoting a message to influence opinion and/or behavior, your essential goal is the same: identify and locate the group of people you need to receive your message, and deliver your well-crafted message to them in a way that maximizes the likelihood that they will receive and accept it.
Start by defining your audience. A narrower definition is more effective in this medium than a broader definition. If you need to communicate with a broad group, divide your total audience into multiple audiences, and make each definition as specific as you can. Don't succumb to the temptation to develop your content to be all things to all people within your total audience. That's called dilution, and it reduces the number of people who will find your content through search. It's far better to divide your audience into subgroups and create separate content for each subgroup. That might mean that you produce two video clips and attendant text content instead of one, but these things are inexpensive to create and free to upload. It's not the same as having to run another 12,000 brochures through the four-color press.
3. Locate or Create Video for Each Defined Audience
With millions of videos already on the Internet, you may find some that are exactly what you need to deliver your message. That's a nice money and time saver, and with proper etiquette, it's fine to use these. When you refer to content someone else produced, be sure to credit the producer and mention where you found the clip. CHECK THE COPYRIGHT status of any clips you use. Don't obtain the source file and copy it to your server. Display it through a player provided by the service where you found it. That's what they want you to do, and the players work wonderfully.
The downside of using someone else's video is that you have less control over its availability. If they take it off the service, you have a hole in your web page.
If you deem it more appropriate that you produce your own video, then by all means, get your digital camcorder out of the case, draw up your storyboard and script, and hit the record button. If you don't feel up to the task, get some help from friends, co-workers, or professionals. Planning and executing a video shoot is beyond the scope of this post, but maybe I'll treat that subject in a later post. In the mean time, shoot us an email if you want to talk about that aspect.
4. Upload Your Video to YouTube (or your other selected service)
Sign up for a user account on Youtube.com. There are other services too (metacafe, yahoo, google, many others) many of which are popular and feature rich. I refer to Youtube in this post only because it's the most popular. These services make it easy to upload your video clips. Just follow the instructions, and use the descriptive and keyword fields provided to enhance search response.
Most services will give you the option of making your video available to anyone or restricting its access to your private channel (specific users to whom you grant access). That's your call. Most of the time I'd expect you to make your content available to everyone.
5. Embed the Video on Your Web Page
This is the crowning step in the process. If you leave out this step, I think you loose half of the potential benefit of communicating through online video. First of all, don't worry. Embedding a video clip onto a web page is easy, especially if you have a content management system on your site. If you don't, you email a link to your online video to your webmaster and let him/her take care of it. All that's required is that the few lines of script provided by your video service be copied and pasted into the source of your web page.
When the video is embedded in your web page, you now have all the space you need around the video player to talk about the video. While video files themselves are not indexed by the search engines, the text that you enter to talk about them and to prepare your viewers is. That's important. You can always put a video up on youtube and wait for people to find it by keyword searches from among the millions that are already up there. You can describe and tag your video to help people find it, but that's not enough. You are also subject to unexpected search results where your video comes up among a list of others that may not relate to your topic depending on the keywords. You could end up among other clips that distract viewers from yours or are somehow unsavory. You'll find everything on the online video services: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
With the video on your page, you have the ability to more finely tune the search engine traction as well as the environment in which your audience first sees your video content. You can also accomplish more on the page such as invite people to contact you for more information about what they've seen or read.
Certainly you hope that people will find you on the video site as well as through your own site, and if you have produced your own video, be sure to include your website address either onscreen or vocally.
SummaryThe net effect (little pun there) of embedding video on your web pages is that you will attract and keep visitors on your site more easily, and you will strengthen the delivery of your message. Follow the five steps outlined above to get started with online video right away. Here they are again:
1. Research Youtube.com and other online video sites. 2. Define your audience.3. Locate or create video clips for your defined audience.4. Upload the video to your selected service.5. Embed the video on your web page and surround it with relevant copy.