Web Site Marketing:
Audio vs. Video, Size Does Matter.

By Cyndy Bolton

There are many types of ways to format your online presence in order to make an impression. Colours, for instance, make a significant impact on your impression. Placement, or design gives your site balance, but what about the "neat" stuff? Is it cool to have audio files on your site? How does video play into the production?

There is much to consider before you commit to throwing some alternative media onto your web space. Do you need professional help, er, I mean help from a profession media producer, of course!? Editing media in accordance to the performance of your site, your server and your software's capabilities can be a task and a half for someone who is not properly trained in doing so.

If you are looking for a more spontaneous delivery of your message, then perhaps a spur of the moment raw capture of the production will do. This can be attained by using any descent digital camera with filming capabilities. Just make sure that you realize the quality may suffer due to the quick production time. The video may not be as sharp, and the audio may suffer a loss of quality.

You may need to be a bit sharper. This commitment to better quality will also cost you a bit more. If you are investing in the equipment, be sure to do your homework before you purchase. Go to audio/video forums and key in product names to see archived feedback on them. If you wish to take the hands-off approach, be sure to budget enough for a good producer with actual online samples from their resume for you to research.

You can research good contractors by either researching online or even asking around you networks. Is there a site of a colleagues that you like? Does it have multimedia running on it? Ask them who they used, and get a reference. Many sites have credits at the bottom of the home or "index" page which may even link you to the producers or developers site. Here you can look around and see if you like what they do. Window shop online and do your homework.

Good professionals will also advise you as to the pro porta ion ate sizes of files to run on your site. Are most of your clients demographically located in rural areas? If yes is the answer, then they will more than likely have slower download times due to their dial-up connections. You don't want to turn off clients with a slow loading media production that cost you a bundle to produce. The return on that investment would prove to be very low. On the other hand, if your clients are designers who are located in metropolitan areas, the a more flashy site would be in the works for you. WOW factor matters here.

Just as you have noticed as you cruise around the net looking for marketing ideas and inspiration, different site categories usually follow specific designs. Educational sites have lots of information to organize for their clients; therefore, you will notice more text and less graphics. On media sites such as cinemas and entertainment, you will see more images for recognition and less text.

You have to ask yourself "What do I need", and "What can I afford". Do your research, call a graphics specialist, and get he quotes. They will help advise you on what's best for your site. If you have an honest relationship with your image specialist, they will tell it like it is, saving you more time to do the things you do best: minding the store.