With the growing popularity of rich media applications on the Internet, there are a number of reasons why you should select a web hosting provider that supports streaming audio and video files. Internet users are hungry for fresh information and there is little doubt that video and audio formats will continue to grow in popularity as delivery methods for that information. Therefore, if you are not currently incorporating these rich media files into your company’s web site, you may soon find you are leaving money on the table.
There are many ways you can improve your customers’ online experience by choosing a web hosting service that supports streaming audio and video applications. For example, you can add product demonstrations, sales presentations, training programs, and live-event broadcasting to make your site more dynamic and engaging for visitors. This can help make your products and services come alive to your prospects and eliminates the need for them to imagine how your offerings can make their lives better.
The result? Your site becomes more “sticky” – and your bottom line more robust.
Although traditional web hosting services can support audio and video files via a technology called “progressive download,” there are a number of limitations to this approach. Namely, the large file size associated with audio and video files can translate into unacceptably long download times. Internet surfers aren’t known for their unlimited attention span, so this variable can definitely prompt web traffic to scramble for the back button. With streaming applications, your files can start playing right away, without needing to wait for the file to download first.
In addition to faster start times, streaming has several additional advantages over web-hosted files. For starters, your web visitors will be able to access any part of the file at any time. Unlike with hosted media, a streaming file won’t have to download completely first, so the process is more streamlined and much faster. This means they can skip ahead to any part of the file whenever they choose without having to wait.
In addition, streaming servers generally produce a better user experience in terms of overall performance. This is because they are optimized to deliver audio/video formats more efficiently. This is especially beneficial when a lot of viewers attempt to access the files at once, as often occurs with live events. (Incidentally, streaming applications are required for live-event broadcasts). This value-added feature is not available with traditional non-streaming web hosting. The ability to feature live broadcasts offers a competitive advantage for businesses by allowing them to present information in real-time, rather than after the fact.
Enhanced security is yet another valuable benefit of streaming web hosting. With traditional web-hosted media, your audio and video files are downloaded by the viewer. Once this occurs, your information is out of your hands and you have no way to control how that information is used or distributed. On the other hand, streaming files are not actually downloaded, so your files remain right where you want them – with you.
Kelsey Hawke is the Marketing Coordinator at the South Florida and Cleveland web design and development company, Western Reserve Internet Services. In addition to design, WRIS also offers web hosting, email hosting and web marketing services.