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How to develop and utilize videos on your website

Ever heard of Casey Neistat? He’s all over YouTube with videos major companies have paid him to make, all with dreams of going viral. In an interview a few months back, he spoke of his first video, which was made with a smartphone. If your content is interesting and relatable, you can become an internet video star with your phone.

For retailers, there is abundant evidence that having compelling videos on your website is irresistible bait for search engines and prospects. Charles Elliott with Jonesen Software and Web Development in Missouri has worked with an extensive client base, and he’s helped them insert videos into websites to attract attention and business. Elliott says videos tell search engines your website has media-rich content. “When a user spends more time on a site, this tells Google their content is relevant and good — rather than the opposite, which is high a bounce rate,” Elliott says. “When there’s more time spent on a site, Google will increase the ranking for that site.” Elliott says people stay on a site longer when the viewer experience is friendlier, too: “People typically prefer to watch a video rather than read copy or text. This increases exposure, trust and interaction.”

Shawn Maynard, owner of Bullfrog Spas of Northern Utah, has firsthand experience, thanks to a growing inventory of online videos for his stores (BullFrogSpasNorth.com/YouTube). The trick, he says, is to just begin. “Start today — not tomorrow or next week,” Maynard says. “Find content available from a supplier or manufacturer that talks about your product. Then post it on your Facebook page. There you go — you’ve started the process. Continue doing that once or twice a month.” Maynard says the more interesting and compelling the video content is, the better.

Don’t get hung up on production quality, he says: “These days, the video we pull off our smartphone is phenomenal. Shoot the video yourself or find a teenager; pay them $50 to follow you around with their iPhone to capture the action. I also provide my delivery crews with iPhone tripods so they can video an interesting delivery. They receive a little spiff for producing photos and video content we use to update our website and social media pages.”

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Maynard posts his video links on Facebook, Google+ page and his website from his YouTube account. That’s key, says Jonesen’s Elliott. “It’s beneficial to host your videos on a third-party site like YouTube or Vimeo,” he says. “YouTube, for example, is the second highest-searched website and it’s owned by Google. When you host on a third-party site, you’ll help your website’s load time perform better, you’ll build links, and having accessibility to the videos on a third-party site increases the chances for the video’s exposure.”

So what makes for an interesting web video? Plenty, according to Maynard. “Post instructional videos about how to operate the spa, water maintenance or your guest appearances on local TV news,” Maynard says. “Most spa manufacturers have videos they’ve already produced that are available to retailers. You might find a retailer in another state with content they’d let you use. Offer to reciprocate with one you’ve produced.” Maynard says it’s OK to post your TV ads; just make sure they aren’t time sensitive.

Crane videos also work well, he says: People enjoy watching a 12,000-pound swim spa sail over a house. “I also have a video showing us with a four-wheel drive Jeep delivering a spa on a toboggan across the snow,” he says. “Videos can overcome client objections, allowing you to close the sale.”