There was a time that watching a video on the internet was, quite frankly, a pretty unpleasant experience. Audio didn’t match up, images blurred or skipped, and sometimes you had to reduce the quality or size of the video to get it to run smoothly. But the efforts of streaming services have come a long way since then, and there’s little excuse for buggy or slow videos.
Video content is an efficient way to engage with your audience. You might think that your WordPress site isn’t the place for videos, but with very little searching at all, you’ll find an eclectic range of videos to suit almost every blog.
Studies have shown that videos have the highest engagement factor with an audience beside pictures. If you’re a business, people are more likely to buy your product have seen a video. In short, videos can bring a site to life, so it’s time to take advantage of them.
Why you should avoid uploading
Why, you may ask, since you have gone to the effort of creating a video, would you upload your video via a third party?
An independent WordPress site, especially if you’ve gone for a fairly basic set up, is optimized for speed. As soon as you start adding large files to it, like MP4s, you begin to drag the speed down. Thankfully, the developers of WordPress have recognized this issue and with recent updates, it has become easier than ever to embed links to your youtube site.
There are a number of ways to embed links on WordPress. The most simple is from your copying your video’s Youtube URL and pasting directly onto your post. WordPress will do the rest and your video will show up automatically.
It’s important to note that if you choose other video or image hosting sites not all can use this feature, so it’s a good idea to check that they are whitelisted before embedding links.
Embedding a video URL is a fairly simple process, and once you find your user engagement improving with each successive video, you’ll want to start getting creative with how your videos interact with your site. This is where the many WordPress plugins can become useful. With a simple embedded URL, the user just hits play. But with plugins, you can bring a higher degree of functionality.
If you are loading up more than one video, for instance, there are plugins that can optimize the loading of each video so that they don’t drag down your sites overall speed. You can utilize plugins to create large galleries that play as your user scrolls down. Increasingly, there are concerns about security and safety amongst users and there are tools which can improve your videos security rating.
You can also optimize the visual aspect of the video, with light box viewing plugins that open the video centrally, fading out the post behind.
Optimizing for your audience
Some plugins will allow you to control and edit the settings of the video and how it will appear to your users. Before you add any video to your WordPress, you should consider how good your videos will look on any device. It’s worth remembering that video content is typically viewed on mobile devices, so using a plugin that will optimize the experience is a good idea.
You can take a look at settings like aspect ratio, ensuring that your video fills the screen without compromising the quality. You may find that colors appear fantastic on your office computer, but darken or fade on a handheld, so it’s worth getting a plugin which will help you play with colors on mobile devices. If your video content is central to your site, you should consider how you wish to present high definition videos. This where plugins that speed your load time can come in very useful indeed.
Over time you may want to avoid using third-party video hosting sites altogether. But as we’ve already discussed, uploading can cost your site a lot of usability. Thankfully there are a host of embedded players that can be used to great effect.
WordPress have launched their own, Videopress. This player is made specifically for WordPress and can host files up to 1GB in size. As it is developed for WordPress, it’s very intuitive and user-friendly and eliminates annoying ads that can be detrimental to your video content.
Some embedded players, such as Spider Video Player, will allow you to edit its appearance to fit in with your WordPress theme. Others, like Cool video Gallery, work specifically as a video library, and like a youtube channel, will automatically generate thumbnail images.
In short, there are many ways to optimize video content on WordPress, and soon you’ll find it’s as simple and easy as uploading text or image.