Videos can be a powerful tool to help attract more visitors and improve engagement levels on your WordPress blog. However you may not be sure how to publish videos on your blog.
The fact of the matter is that there are lots of ways that videos can be published on a WordPress blog. Most are relatively easy, and you should have no problem using them.
Embed Videos From YouTube or Other Video Hosting Platforms
One of the most popular options to publish videos on WordPress blogs is to embed them from YouTube or some other video hosting platform.
If you’re going to use this option you will first need to upload your video to YouTube or the video hosting platform that you’re using. Once you do, there are several ways that you can proceed:
Auto-embed videos in blog posts and pages: To add videos to your blog posts or pages using the auto-embed feature all you need to do is copy and paste the video’s URL into the editor on its own line. Once you do WordPress will automatically fetch the embed code and provide you with a preview of your video.
If you want you can proceed to change its settings using the block toolbar or settings column, and then publish the post when you’re done.
It should be noted that the auto-embed feature is only available for platforms that WordPress supports.
Use the video’s embed code in blog posts and pages:
Assuming the video hosting platform you’re using isn’t supported by WordPress, you will need to find the video’s embed code and copy and paste it into a Custom HTML block in the WordPress editor.
The embed code can normally be found on the video website and will use an iframe HTML tag.
Embed videos into a widget:
Both of the above options can be applied to embed videos into a sidebar or footer widget as well. Essentially you will need to add a Text Widget to the sidebar or footer and then copy and paste the URL (for supported platforms), or the embed code itself (for unsupported platforms).
Unless you want the video to play on all of the pages of your WordPress website it may help to know how to display a different sidebar on different pages and posts.
All in all it is relatively straightforward to embed videos from YouTube or other video hosting platforms, especially if you’re using one that WordPress supports. However there may be times where you don’t want to embed videos from a video hosting platform, and want to self-host them instead.
Publish Self-Hosted Videos in WordPress
Before you self-host videos you should know what you’re getting into. Compared to embedding videos from video hosting platforms, self-hosting videos is an entirely different ball game and is far more involved.
Essentially you will be hosting the videos on your own webhost, and it will take up its bandwidth and storage space – not to mention RAM and processing speed. If you’re using shared hosting that can very quickly result in a lot of issues and your website may slow to a crawl or be taken offline.
Still if you are determined to proceed, there are a few basic steps to publish self-hosted videos:
Convert videos into the right format:
When you self-host videos you need to make sure they are in the right format, otherwise some browsers may not be able to load them. It is best to use a MP4 container and H.264 video codec along with an AAC-LC audio codec for your video.
To convert video you’ll need a video converter software such as Movavi Video Converter. Preferably it should let you adjust the video settings (i.e. resolution, frame rate and bitrate) based on your requirements as well.
Upload the video to WordPress:
Opening up the page or post in the editor and click on the Add Media button. In the Upload Files tab you can then click Select Files or drag and drop the video into the area as indicated.
Fill in the details and insert into post:
Fill in the title, caption, and description that you want for your video and customize any of the other display settings. Check and make sure the Embed Media Player option is selected – then click the Insert into Post button.
Although that may seem straightforward, it is a lot easier said than done. In practice you will have to test the performance of your videos constantly, keep an eye on your bandwidth limitations, and check for compatibility issues as well.
Publish Videos Using Plugins
As an alternative to the options listed above you could install a WordPress plugin and use it to publish videos. Some plugins are designed to make it easier to publish self-hosted videos, while others cater to both self-hosted video and videos on hosting platforms, and bring additional functionality to the table.
Some of the more popular plugins that you could try are:
- WP Video Lightbox that can display YouTube, Vimeo and HTML5 videos in a lightbox, disable suggested videos from YouTube, and automatically retrieve thumbnails.
- YouTube Embed Plus that provides additional options to embed YouTube playlists, channels, galleries, or live streams. It has a host of features to fully customize how your content is displayed.
- VideoPress is a platform made specifically for WordPress and will let you host videos on its servers. It is the next best thing to self-hosting videos in terms of the control that it gives you, and you won’t have to worry about bandwidth and other issues. The only downside is that it requires a yearly subscription.
- Easy Video Player is a simple plugin that lets you embed responsive videos that are self-hosted or hosted on other platforms, and publish them on WordPress. It is very user-friendly, but is light in terms of other features.
Make no mistake there are lots of other options out there, and that you can browse through. If you need specific features it is best to try to search for plugins based on them to save time.
“Which Option to Use?”
Now that you know the different ways that you can publish videos on your WordPress blog – the question you’re probably asking yourself is, “Which should I use?”
That can be a bit tricky, and it will really depend on what you need from your videos.
If you’re looking for an easy way to publish videos then uploading them to YouTube (or the video hosting platform you prefer) and just copying and pasting the URL on WordPress is definitely the easiest option. However it does give you the least control, and some of your viewers may click on the suggested videos afterwards and navigate away from your site.
The next best option is to use a video plugin that has the features you need. It will give you far more versatility in the long run.
As a rule self-hosting videos is something that you should only ever consider if you are absolutely certain that you know what you’re doing. It will require a lot of effort, and you will probably face quite a number of issues along the way.