Video is definitely a plus for your blog posts and website. It certainly adds another dimension to your website for visitors who prefer to watch more than to read, or to do both. Video allows your visitors the opportunity to get to know you in a way that does not come across in a written post. Even adding other people’s videos to your site can spice things up.
A lot of people think that videos must be difficult to use, but the good news is that it is really easy to add video to your WordPress site. One thing we don’t ever want to do is upload our .mp4 videos directly to WordPress. You can do this but there are many reasons that this is not a great idea.
- These big files can take up a lot of room on your shared hosting account and could end up causing your web host to want to charge you more money.
- You need to install plugins for video players that are resource hogs and will slow your site down.
- Your videos could draw more traffic to your website if they are uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo where people can find them and share them.
Where to host your videos
The two main video sharing websites are YouTube and Vimeo. Of course you have heard of YouTube. It is a giant acquired by Google in 2006. I like to think of Vimeo as YouTube’s more refined cousin. They both have free account options. However, on Vimeo some of the snazzy things I like are only available to Vimeo Plus users. This account is $9.95 per month.
If your main goal is to get traffic for your videos on your video channel then YouTube is the best and obvious choice to host your videos, because duh, it is owned by Google. But have you noticed that YouTube places the play button right in the middle of the screen, which usually obscures someone’s nose? Call me picky, but I prefer the clean lines of the Vimeo video display with the play button below the video.
You will probably want a specific preview image to display on your video. YouTube will choose 3 frames from your video that you can pick from to use as a preview image. But often it comes down to picking the least bad of the group rather than getting to specify the exact preview image that you want to exactly what you want to see before it runs.
With a Vimeo Plus account, you have total control in customizing how you want your videos to appear when embedded on other sites. Vimeo gives you the choice of the using the opening clip for your preview or allows you to choose one yourself by either clicking random and seeing what you get, or better yet, playing the video and finding the best clip. Then for total control you can even upload your own image to be displayed for the preview.
Embedding videos to your WordPress site
Now that your videos are uploaded and being hosted at YouTube or Vimeo, you can go to a video that you’d like to appear on your site and adjust the setting as to what you want it to look like. Both YouTube and Vimeo give you options of what to display on the video such as the like or share button and several other features. They also give you a choice of what happens after the video plays. Most likely you don’t want it to offer your readers other videos to watch, so you must go to the settings and choose what you do want to happen.
Once you have done that, find the url of the video and simply paste it on its own separate line to a post, page, or text widget on your WordPress site. Make sure that the url is not hyperlinked.
Here is an example of adding the url of a video I created on how to do an attractive webcam video. I had to put the url into a code div so you can see it and it did not just display the video.
Here is the actual video where I added the url without calling it out as code so now it shows up.
That is all there is to it. So have fun adding video to your site.