Should I embed my YouTube videos on my website or host them myself?

Line Illustration of a Computer with a YouTube video for Website Marketing

It wasn’t all that long ago that most marketers agreed that you should always host your own law firm website videos and rarely—if ever—embed videos from YouTube. 

But, oh, how times have changed!

Having great videos on your website is a time-proven way to engage more visitors and make your content more compelling. YouTube is currently the most popular social media site in the United States, and it’s also the most popular video-sharing site in the world. 

So, why not bring the best of both together while increasing usability and user engagement? It just makes sense! 

We’ve talked before about some of the benefits of hosting your website videos on YouTube, but let’s take a look at the flipside, too. 

Is hosting your own videos really that bad of an idea? 

It’s ultimately up to you to decide for yourself, but here are our 5 most compelling reasons NOT to host your own website videos.

1. Self-hosted videos are more likely to slow down your website. 

We all know how Google feels about websites with slow loading times. And any website that is filled to the brim with videos—embedded or not—will probably experience some kind of hit to its page speed. 

The thing you have to realize is that YouTube videos are meant to be streamed. A lot of the optimization for playback and speed is built right in. It’s the whole point! When you host your own videos or upload your videos to a single, shared server on a site like WordPress, you don’t get the benefit of what the biggest video streaming site on Earth already knows about optimization. 

Sure, how your law firm’s website handles video playback has an impact. And how you choose to embed and optimize your videos does, too. But, overall, you’re likely to get better speeds with less stress when you choose to embed.  

2. Self-hosted videos run into more compatibility issues.

There aren’t a lot of standards out there for video format and compatibility. That means your self-hosted videos run the risk of not displaying correctly or working as intended on certain browsers, especially mobile browsers. 

On the other hand, embedded YouTube videos are something that your visitors are used to seeing across the Web, and they’ve been optimized to play reliably in almost every browser and on almost every device out there. 

So, why reinvent the wheel with your self-hosted videos when YouTube has already done it for you?

Allowing embedding makes it easier for others to view, use, and share your videos. Your visitors and potential clients don’t have to fiddle around trying to get your video to play on their device, and they don’t have to jump through a lot of hoops to show it to their own audiences. 

YouTube makes it easy and familiar for them, and that potentially means more leads and exposure for you. 

3. Self-hosted videos can nip your success in the bud.  

Hosting your own videos on your website can work just fine for a while. The problem is that it can also bite you just when you start to succeed. File limits and other storage issues can leave viewers with nothing but a black screen when a video gets popular. Bandwidth limits on busy servers can mean your viewers constantly struggle with pauses, stops, and starts on playback. You can end up in a situation where your videos are getting great traction but suddenly become totally unavailable to your viewers until you pay for more storage.  

So, if your video suddenly does well or “goes viral,” you’re kind of up the creek. Your technical issues drive away the potential leads and clients that have come right to your video for answers. Your success gets cut short before it can benefit you, and your dreams of a viral video quickly become a nightmare instead. 

YouTube, on the other hand, offers unlimited bandwidth and no storage limits. 

If you want to add a new video, you don’t have to cut something else to make room. If a million people want to view your video, it’s no sweat. You can keep adding videos, keep up your views, and keep building your video library without worry. 

It’s honestly the most hassle-free and cost-effective solution out there! So, use it to your advantage. 

4. Self-hosted videos put more of the burden of editing and optimization on you. 

When you host your own videos, you have more control over what your viewers see. You don’t have to stick to YouTube’s format. You don’t have to worry about what “suggested videos” are appended to the end of your video. You’re totally in the driver’s seat, and you have the power to customize every detail. 

With great power comes great responsibility, though. You potentially have to host multiple versions of the same video to make sure users are getting the right format at the right time. You’ll need to use video player software. You’ll need to make your own end cards and annotations if you want them. 

Overall, hosting your own videos means more coding, more steps, and more hoops to jump through. And all those steps make it less likely that you’ll actually load and use the videos you shoot. 

So, is it really worth it to have more control if it doesn’t benefit you or improve your video strategy? Sadly, probably not. 

5. Self-hosted videos aren’t connected to the rest of your marketing. 

Self-hosted videos can be a little bit like all those single-use kitchen gadgets. They do one thing, and maybe they even do it well. But, ultimately, their benefits are limited to one task, and they don’t do a lot to work with the whole. 

It’s an “okay” solution, but it falls a little short of the potential. 

When you host your videos on YouTube and embed them on your website, those videos are constantly working for you in both places. Anytime people watch your videos, even when embedded on a website, it still counts towards your videos’ official view counts on YouTube. 

You don’t have to go to much extra effort, but you’re improving both areas of your video marketing at the same time. One video can do double duty on your YouTube Channel and your website, so it’s more useful to you overall. 

Keep in mind that it’s important to actually embed your YouTube videos rather than just linking to them. Embedded videos are more searchable than links, which is good news for your SEO strategy. Plus, having the video right there and ready to play appeals to users who prefer video over text. It really helps you get the most out of it!

Using YouTube Videos on Your Website Multiplies Your Marketing Power

So, there you go. While hosting your own videos can give you the basic functionality you need, hosting your videos on YouTube and embedding them on your website multiplies your video power. 

It’s easier for you. It’s easier for your users. And it’s rapidly becoming the standard for website video, anyway. This is one of those rare occasions in marketing when the easy route is the best route. 

So, go for it!

Want to use more video in your law firm marketing? Need a hand creating and maintaining a YouTube Channel for your law firm? Want to work with a team that has been producing and optimizing website videos for lawyers for over two decades? 
Schedule a quick marketing analysis with our friendly team, and let’s make it happen for you.

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