Ever heard of YouTube? Yeah, I thought so! Nearby, in January 2008 79 million users made over 3 billion video views (That's over 100 million views per day!) How would you like a slice of that kind of audience?
Video really has become popular on the web recently and it's easy to see why. It's unparallel by any other medium in terms of getting your message across. The problem with video online is that it has always been expensive to produce and host, requiring specialist equipment, expensive software, and massive bandwidth. Not any more because, since you can produce a screen capture video at zero cost (using Camstudio or similar software), and not only host it for free on YouTube, but also use it as a source of traffic!
You can not embed links in video on YouTube. What you can do however is put a link in the video description, create a profile or 'channel' with a link to your site, and brand your video with your domain.
Publishing and branding your videos
To get started, head over to YouTube.com and sign up for a free account. Your channel is automatically created for you based on your username (ie [http://www.youtube.com/username]) and once created you can customize it.
On your channel select 'Personal Profile' and there is a space to add your website URL. While you're there, fill out the rest of the profile too and upload a photo. Remember, YouTube is a social media site so you want to brand yourself, not just your business or products!
When you come to upload a video, use SEO practices. Remember that people will find your videos by searching, just like on Google, so use relevant keywords for your title, tags, and in your description. Also, your description can include a link to your site so long as you remember to include the http: // part! If you use a full URL the link will appear on the video page without the user having to click the 'more info' button!
While links in the description and on your profile are great, it's your video that people's attention will be on so get the URL in there! Start and end the video on a 'splash screen' with the video title and your domain clearly visible. You can also, depending on the nature and content of the video, use an overlay which shows your branding through the video!
While YouTube is far and away the king of online video, it's by no means the only site you can publish to. MetaCafe, HowCast and Blip.tv are just a few of the sites I use, but uploading to each of them takes time and effort. Do not worry though, help is at hand with a tool called TubeMogul.com
TubeMogul allows you to upload to all of these sites and more in one go, and even tracks all your views for you in one easy to use control panel. I recommend uploading to YouTube manually (so you get more control and can set the description etc. specifically for YouTube) and then use TubeMogul to upload to any other sites relevant to your niche. You can still use TubeMogul to track your YouTube views though!
Video on your own site
If you're creating video for a membership site, or a product then you will have to host it yourself to keep it private and secure. However, any videos that you're giving away are free to your visitors can also be hosted on YouTube. Just upload as normal, head to the video page and on the right hand side you'll see a box called EMBED with some HTML code (starts with