There are a number of video hosting and sharing sites on the Internet. Which one, though, is the best for hosting your tour and activity videos? That depends on how you want to share your videos and how much control you want over where your potential customers see your video. Here are my top five recommended video hosting sites:
Youtube is by far the 10,000 lb. gorilla of video hosting sites. Videos that posted on Youtube are almost immediately indexed by Google and generally rank highly in Google universal search for keywords if the videos are well described and have relevant keywords. The video embedding is also very easy and flexible. Recently, Youtube has enabled in-line urls (so you can link back to your site within the description), annotation so you can add notes and comments to the video, and HD support. Although Youtube is still limited to 10 minute videos, this should be more than enough for the limited attention span of most online video viewers.
Vimeo describes itself “as a a respectful community of creative people who are passionate about sharing the videos they make. We provide the best tools and highest quality video in the universe.” The key here is that Vimeo provides HD quality video with no time limits. Vimeo is particularly good for videos that are more than 10 minutes in length. The embedded player and in-line commenting are also really nice features. Vimeo also offers a very simple password protection feature that allows you to share private videos with customers. In terms of style and interface, Vimeo is the best by far.
Viddler is a little bit of Youtube and Vimeo mixed together. The main site is very Youtube like, certainly more so than Vimeo’s more stylized design and layout. Viddler promotes their sharing capabilities and their syndication by RSS, however, both Vimeo and Youtube also provide these services. Viddler does have a podcast and iTunes integration that sounds interesting as well as in-line commenting and time-line tagging. Although Viddler was ahead of the pack in this regard, Youtube and Vimeo both support these features now.
You probably didn’t realize that Flickr supports video. Well they do but this service is only available to Flickr Pro members. The Flickr videos are also limited to 90 seconds or 150 MB in length so you need to be on task with your production and editing. There is also very few sharing options and embedding is not available. I presume these are all attempts to keep users on the Flickr site or viewing your photo-stream. This may be a good option for you if you want to consolidate your photos and videos in one place but you need to be aware of the obvious limitations of the video hosting side of Flickr.
As with photos, Facebook is becoming one of the largest video hosting sites. This is great if you want to share your videos with friends and family but not so great if you want to use your videos as a referral tool for your own site. You can upload videos to Facebook fan pages but the tagging and descriptions on Facebook are not quite as good as Youtube, Vimeo or Viddler. For sharing videos with your fans, friends, and family in a dedicated social network, Facebook is probably the best way to go. For standard video hosting with RSS syndication and embedding, you’re better off using one of the other video hosting services.
In summary, if you are looking to use your videos as an SEO tool, embed your videos across multiple sites but are not concerned about quality, then Youtube is probably your best bet. For longer high quality videos, Vimeo is the clear choice, and for social networking Facebook is a solid option. Given all the options, if you don’t have time to manage multiple video hosting accounts, then I would recommend sticking with Youtube for now.