Do Videos Impact Your Website’s Load Time?
February 28, 2018
Do Videos Impact Your Website’s Load Time?
[Spoiler Alert: Videos do not hinder your website’s loading time, as long as you optimize them properly]
Many of us are all too familiar with the frustrating sensation we experience when a website malfunctions. When you visit a company’s website, you expect it to be optimized – it should load quickly, format properly, and provide you with the information you need. When this happens, you feel that the business is professional and reliable. When it doesn’t, well – we feel the opposite.
Many people hesitate to incorporate video into their legal marketing strategy because they fear it will impact the load time of their website. Worrying about your page loading time is a justifiable concern; 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
If you’re not meeting that standard, you may lose that site traffic because 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. These statistics are especially true for mobile users.
So, with that being said, do videos impact your website’s load time?
The short answer is no, but there’s a caveat.
The long answer to that relies on a number of factors. It relies on what you’re using to embed your videos, how many other elements you have on your page, the optimization of your site as a whole, as well as a number of other factors. If these are optimized properly, video should not influence your page loading speed.
However, there are a few best practices you can use to ensure that embedding videos doesn’t ever slow down your page.
Before you even begin testing the videos on your site, you should run your domain through Google PageSpeed Insights to find out how your website’s load time compares to others. It will also identify areas where you can improve your site content.
When you embed a video on your website, it adds an additional piece of code to your page. For every additional piece of code you add, search engines and internet service providers (ISPs) have to scrape and load that snippet. Therefore, it would logically follow that too many code snippets would potentially slow down your load time.
How to Embed Videos on Your Website Without Impacting Page Loading Time
There are a few do’s and don’ts to consider when embedding video on your website.
Your first option to host videos on your site is to self-host (without an external video player). The advantage to this option is that you have full control over the content, you have the ability to control appearance, and you don’t have to worry about ads. However, it weighs down your website and has been shown to take longer to load than external videos.
Additionally, it can be difficult to troubleshoot issues on your own without the ability to contact a specialist like you could with an external media player (unless you happen to be both an advanced coder and a legal professional).
So if your video doesn’t play well on certain browsers, you can’t always guarantee a positive experience for website visitors.
Because of this, one of the best practices to follow is to use an external video player (such as Wistia or YouTube) to embed videos on your website.
This is known as an asynchronous loading sequence, and it will ensure the overall page loading time is not hampered by your video content.
For instance, because YouTube focuses so much on monetization, you could run the risk of weighing down your website with the additional (and unnecessary) scripts caused by ad-saturated video content. But, if you’re looking for a low-cost option, YouTube may be your best bet because it’s free to use.
Meanwhile, a media player such as Wistia offers a lightweight media embedding option that varies in cost based on the amount of video content you plan on using. While it isn’t free, it allows for rich integration with most CRM platforms, tons of analytics, and fast loading speeds.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Wistia to Embed Videos
Wistia may be the preferred choice for law firm owners with a larger video content library, because Wistia has the bandwidth and integrations necessary to support and track the content.
If you choose to use Wistia to host your video content, you should make sure to take advantage of all the features it has to offer your law firm. Most importantly, make sure you utilize their video analytics to track video performance, average watch time, and other data points that will provide insight into which video content performs best.
You can also customize the video player to match your firm’s branding, add in custom thumbnails, and more. But again, you have to make sure not to weigh down your site with unnecessary code. So choose the embed style that best fits your needs to avoid unnecessary lags in page loading time.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Using YouTube to Embed Videos
If you’d prefer to use YouTube to embed videos on your website, we’d recommend limiting the number of HTTP requests the browser has to make to load your website. To do this, you can embed the video thumbnail rather than the full video. That way, the video only loads once you click the image. This still allows the video to play, but prevents the browser from having to load the additional code snippets until it’s necessary. You can reference this article as an example.
Another best practice to follow is creating custom YouTube thumbnails for all of your videos. This makes your video content appear more engaging, which increases the likelihood that a website visitor will play your video content. If you’re producing an educational video, include the topic of the video in the thumbnail. Aim for bright colors, unified color palettes, and engaging content to really grab attention.
The Takeaways: How to Embed Videos on Your Website Without Impacting Page Loading Time
It’s important to consider your law firm’s unique needs, as well as the amount of video content you want to include on your website before deciding on a video player. You should always strive to avoid embedding unnecessary code on your website, which could impact page loading speed.
There are some strategies you can follow on most external media players that allow you to embed only the necessary codes to play the video content, which will allow you to utilize the power of video without slowing down your site.
Video marketing is an incredibly powerful strategy to incorporate into your law firm’s business plan. If you’re hesitating based on the slight chance that it may impact your website’s loading speed, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to walk you through additional ways to leverage video without ever hampering your website’s load time.