Do Videos Impact Your Website’s Load Time?

9 minutes to read

The popularity of video content is undisputed and ever-increasing. Considering that more than 50% of overall daily media consumption time in the US is spent with video, there’s no question that it’s crucial to include when developing your marketing strategy.

One of the many perks of utilizing video content is that it’s versatile. Videos are impactful on social media, television, and more — but we’re here to talk about websites. Not only does video explain in a way that words alone sometimes cannot, but it also boosts a web page’s SEO and drives more conversions. These properties make video a necessity for any website.

Unfortunately, many of us are all too familiar with the frustrating sensation we experience when a website malfunctions. When you visit a company’s site, 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.

This is why many people hesitate to incorporate video into their legal marketing strategy — 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 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.

But obviously, the benefits of including video content on a website are so appealing, that it’s worth the time and effort to make sure it works. When it does, it’s a powerful tool.

So, 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 depends 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 implemented properly, video should not influence your page loading speed.

However, since this can be a complicated process, we’ve put together a few best practices you can use to ensure that embedding videos doesn’t ever slow down your page.

  1. Identify Your Current Load Time
  2. Pick How You Want to Embed Your Videos
  3. Using Wistia
  4. Using YouTube
  5. Consider Your Firm’s Unique Needs
  6. The Level of Quality Directly Impacts Your Results

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1. Identify Your Current Load Time

Before you even begin testing the videos on your site, you’re going to want to see what your starting point is. What is your current load time in comparison to other websites? There’s no sense in adding videos to a website that is already running slow. Check that you’re starting with a strong foundation, then build from there.

An easy and accurate way to check your website load time is by running your domain through Google PageSpeed Insights. This tool will provide you with diagnostics for your site’s speed score, and pinpoint exactly where adjustments should be made.

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.

Deciding on the amount of video content you want to include on your website is vital 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.

2. Pick How You Want to Embed your Videos

There are a few aspects to consider when embedding video on your website.

Your first option 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.

Your second option is to use an external video player, such as Wistia or YouTube, to embed videos on your website. Considering the drawbacks we mentioned with self-hosting, we recommend this as a best practice.

Since most video players stream video through javascript rather than embedding into the native structure of your site, it will allow the native elements of your website (such as text, images, and navigation menus) to fully load before loading the video content. This is known as an asynchronous loading sequence, and it will ensure the overall page loading time is not hampered by your video content.

Both YouTube and Wistia are designed for streaming video, so their media players are optimized for use on both mobile and desktop. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages to each player.

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. Wistia may be the preferred choice for law firm owners with a larger video content library, because it has the bandwidth and integrations necessary to support and track the content.

3. Using Wistia

If you do 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.

Responsive, inline javascript embeds will resize themselves automatically based on whatever device a website visitor is using, so you should always rely on responsive embed styles when including videos on your website. Ultimately, Wistia is a solid choice for many business owners.

4. Using YouTube

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.

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. Our client, Landerholm Immigration, APC, does an excellent job with their YouTube thumbnails:

5. Consider Your Firm’s Unique Needs

Your needs will be different than any other firm’s. Everyone has different motives, and it’s essential to examine yours specifically when making decisions on website adjustments, video players, and marketing strategy. Before taking any action, you’ll need to answer the following questions in order to plan accurately and avoid any unnecessary hurdles.

  • How much video content will you need to hold?
  • How much time, effort, and money are you willing to invest?
  • What is the goal of having video content on your website?
  • How will you measure the success of this investment?

There is no “one size fits all” option. This is especially true when deciding on the specifics for the videos you intend to display on your website.

6. The Level of Quality Directly Impacts Your Results

Lastly, consider that no matter how you choose to embed the video on your website, it will not make as much of an impact if the video is less than stellar. The quality of your video content will make all the difference in the results you see. Planning an effective law firm marketing video can be a process, but luckily, that’s what we specialize in.

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, we’re here to help. We’d be happy to walk you through additional ways to leverage video without ever hampering your website’s load time. One of our clients, Deandra Grant of Hamilton Grant PC speaks to the effectiveness of high-quality video below.

To continue your journey into effective video marketing, check out our best guidance on defining your unique value proposition, communicating it through engaging video, and getting the most out of your law firm’s videos all in one comprehensive resource, The Game Changing Attorney. This is a book you’ll want to keep on your shelf to pull out every step of the way.