Multimedia is the process of integrating various types of audio and visual elements, such as music, sound, photographs, graphics, text and video. Most business owners understand the importance of using multimedia on their websites, but if you’ve never used it before, it can be a bit overwhelming. You may wonder about things like how to choose the best multimedia elements and the most effective ways to add them to your website. Here are a few tips to help you use multimedia effectively.
Multimedia uses a large amount of bandwidth and space, so keep that in mind when you initially create your website. Check with your web hosting provider to make certain you have enough bandwidth for your multimedia plans. To avoid space and bandwidth issues, consider posting your videos on a video-sharing website such as YouTube, Vimeo or Blip and embedding them into your own webpages. Another advantage to using such sites is that your video production will be more easily accessible to a larger number of people.
Brainstorm and research to come up with a basic concept for the message you want to convey to your online audience. Take some time to think about exactly what you want the content of your multimedia to do for your business. Multimedia is a great way to show potential customers the most positive aspects of your business and to create an atmosphere of credibility and professionalism. If you need some ideas, visit websites of similar businesses to see what types of multimedia they use. You can do a search on video-sharing websites like YouTube, Vimeo and Metacafe for examples, too.
Develop your multimedia around your content, not the other way around. Give it your own voice and never copy – you want fresh, original content, not a boring sales pitch. For example, if you sell flowers, you’ll want to highlight your flower design skills or offer some basic advice, such as how to choose the best flower arrangement for specific occasions. During your production, you’ll want to let your potential customers know how and when to reach you, too.
If you have no idea what to create and how to add it to your website, look for the services of a reputable multimedia production company. The cost of a talented production company will reap valuable rewards when you find yourself with lots of new and returning clients or customers. Help the production company help you by jotting down some basic ideas for your multimedia. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy as long as it presents your vision in a clear, concise fashion.
Check your multimedia to be certain people can access it via as many operating systems and browsers as possible. Create your material for MAC, Windows and don’t forget Linux/Unix. You’ll also want to check your multimedia to see how it looks on all the widely used Internet browsers, like Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer, for example. Don’t forget to think about how your multimedia presentation looks when viewed on netbooks, smart phones and tablets, too. Avoid using something that forces people to add or install a plug in or program to access – this may just chase them away.
Create your multimedia so it will be accessible to everyone who wants to use it. Online readers and other assistive devices used by those who are hearing or vision-impaired perform better with smaller files. Avoid Flash animation or offer an alternative. Caption your multimedia, and create transcripts for all your audio and video files. Keep your multimedia presentations short in length, providing just enough information necessary. You can always produce a series of shorter presentations rather than an immense single file.
Avoid allowing your multimedia to play automatically. Called splash pages, they don’t give visitors to your website a chance to decide if they want to play your multimedia or not. Visitors to your website may have their volume turned up from the last time they played the hottest new music video or they may be sitting in a quiet place, such as a restaurant, library or office. In addition, splash pages don’t always play nice with search engines, so just don’t use them.
By keeping the needs of your potential website visitors in the front of your mind, you can include engaging, interesting multimedia content on your website that will both appeal to and be accessible to the majority of Internet users. There is no need to limit your creativity; however, by using these seven simple tips, you’ll get the most out of any multimedia you implement on your own site.
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