Spending a little time checking out YouTube this morning, I came across an interesting link in their footer, YouTube on Your TV. I saw one of the methods supported was through a Wii game console. I have the Wii, so I cranked it up, and checked out my family videos. Neat, and YouTube’s site was ready to roll operating with the Opera Browser for Wii. My site however, is not.
You have probably heard that marketing virally is a good idea, and that using video is a great way to do it. After seeing some YouTube stats today I think you can almost prove this with the numbers alone.
In March of 2008 there was about 70,000,000 videos on YouTube. Using an older stat I found, but I am sure it is higher now, 100,000,000 videos are watched a day. Your video is going to get seen, and it won’t be difficult to get it seen often. I even have a few silly family videos on YouTube, and they get hits with me just telling my Mom about them.
Think of it this way. According to Google, over 25% of all its queries are from YouTube. In fact, YouTube actually beet Yahoo in search queries. As a webmaster we fight to getÂ our sites to rank best for our favorite keyword, and we do this competing against one trillion plus sites. Don’t you think it would be a little easier to compete against 70,000,000? 70,000,000 is still a huge number, but it’s less than one tenth of a percent of the pages indexed by Google. The odds are certainly more in your favor. Another number to recognize is 200,000. The 200,000 is the number of YouTube publishers. That means those 200,000 people are the ones capturing those 100,000,000 daily views. Now that is a stat that just astonished me. Ready to start making videos?
For those of you that like to watch YouTube videos on your iPod, or are just looking for a way to save those YouTube videos to your hard drive, you might want to try TubeFavs.com. TubeFavs converts YouTube videos into a variety of formats that you can download.
All you have to do is find the URL of the video you like on YouTube, and then simply copy and paste it into the form on TubeFavs.com. I tried it on a few files in a variety of sizes, and found it rips and converts pretty quickly. While converting it said that it could take as long as five minutes, but never did, even with a ten minute video I found. One issue I did have with the site, is that the download link was not obvious after finishing. It’s there, you just have to look for it.
It can convert the video into avi, mov, mp4, and the audio mp3 format so you should be pretty convered using a pc or mac. Free to use, but be sure to read their Terms of Service. You don’t want to break any copyright laws!
Last week I took on a quest to look at 1,000 blogs and websites. I was looking for that special something that draws me into a site, and actually read some of their content. Well I found something, and to no surprise to some, it was images.
The Biggest Draw
What I found after looking at all those sites is the power of the image. I’m sure that most of you have heard “An image is worth a 1,000 words”, and that fact is important here. On the web most people scan for content. We read headers only, we skim text at best, and we look for lists. One of the best methods to quickly gain information is to scan images. They provide massive amounts of information in seconds.
While on my quest of 1,000 blogs I also came across many websites, and the fact stayed the same. Images get you to look. The screen shot you see here is from a skin cream manufacturer. They used a basic shopping cart software to host their site. I could have easily skipped over this site without paying much attention, but the image draws attention. They also had images of their products on the home page, something I would also strongly suggest if you run an online store.
What Kind of Images?
Well their were all sorts of images that got me to look a little deeper, and on all sorts of different kind of site layouts. A few keys I found were:
- Make your image fairly large – 300 pixels or so wide
- Center it in your layout – So it is obviously the first thing you should look at
- Keep it above the fold – Obviously you don’t want to hide it if you are using it to draw visitors in
This doesn’t work for everyone’s layout though, like mine for instance. I do plan on adding something though to get that walker by to look though. The image draws you in.
Here are two other things I noticed. Images with animals almost always got me to look. This might be just a personality thing though, so don’t go designing a site with animals all over it just because I like to see pictures of them. I don’t consider myself a big animal fanatic, so I do wonder what the connection is, and if others have noticed this.
The other thing I saw, and it really started to bug me was YouTube videos. I saw a ton of blogs with YouTube videos. Videos are great, but they come at a price. The video screen shot takes longer to load than the rest of the site. When I looked at all those sites the video at first seemed like a good idea. Then I turned, and started thinking, “another stupid video”, then it turned into “done looking at that site” the second I saw it had a video. I do not have a problem with YouTube videos, but I am thinking you might want to be careful where you place it.
Site performance is often directly related to the quality of your forms. There are lots of things that will stop a visitor from filling them out completely, and one of the big killers is when the visitor does not understand what to do.
A Simple Example
I was reviewing the site Ripzor today. They rip videos from online so that you can save them to your hard drive. Ever try saving a YouTube video to your hard drive? You will need a service like this to do it. Taking a look at their form, download videos from YouTube, you will see that it is about as simple as you can get. One text box to enter url, and the “Get Video button. How hard is that?
Well without that example text below, I bet the form would be very hard to fill out. In fact I know for a fact, because I have a site of my own that allows visitors to create polls using YouTube videos. Visitors didn’t really start taking advantage of the service until I showed the example of how to find the ID number of the video. Most people are not tech savvy, and this changed my confusing form to an easy form.
More Form Tips
A few more for tips to help improve your sites performance are easy ones as well. The first is the best, and makes it easier for the webmaster as well. Only get information that you absolutely need, and keep your form as simple as possible. Let users add additional information later if they feel so compelled. The second tip is to group like form elements. An example is to put all the drop down boxes in one spot, and all the text boxes in another. Don’t make the visitors go back and forth between the keyboard and mouse. My third tip to improve the forms performance is to make it clear to the user why they are filling it out. It sound basic, but asking for an email to subscribe is not enough. It might work,Â but give your visitors a little more beef. When asking them to subscribe for example, make sure they see the benefits of subscribing. Oh, and if you need to, use an example:)