Many blogs are moving away from being text only to include multimedia files. Audio, images and video are all common in WordPress blogs. In a three part series I would like to give detailed how toÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on adding these type of media to your posts, how to manage the files and the best available plugins to extend WordPress so it can serve up your shiny new content to your readers / viewers or even listeners.
In the second part of this series I would like to look at how to add video to your blog.
UPDATE June 2012: Video Tutorial
Feel free to read the whole blog post, but I’ve created a free video tutorial to show you how to use video with WordPress.
A picture Tells a Thousand Words …
To expand on the cliche; moving pictures give us a thousand of words a second in infinite detail, video is one of the best forms of communication we have developed, there is no loss of body language (a problem with podcasting) and complex ideas can be communicated fairly easily.
Many bloggers are mixing video and written content, who would have thought, even ten years ago, that you could create your own broadcast easily and fairly cheaply from your own DIY site.
Mixed Media Or Vlog?
A decision you may want to make about your blogging future is if you want to solely produce video content or mix it up with other mediums.
You can scan a written document to extract the bit you want but not a video, but to write an article which shows the emotion of a video is very difficult, What is the future?
There is no definitive answer to this one, personally I prefer to write, I do not feel at ease in front of the camera and as a result my presentations are pretty clunky, the other end of the spectrum is Gary Vaynerchuk, his blog is a true Vlog with a limited amount of text for links to other site. He is a self confessed poor writer, but his presentation skills more than make up for that lack, and as a result he has become an Internet video star.
There is room for both video, images, podcasting and text on one blog, why not mix it up and see what your readers/viewers/listeners respond best to.
Type of Video You Can Add to Your Blog
There are a number video types you can add to your blog, here are four potential formats for the blogger:
Other peoples video – you can add other peoples video to your site. I did this rather well on a mountain boarding site I used to own, I would take video from YouTube and post it as a feature on the top of my blog. Check out the big video hosting sites, there is probably some content which matches your niche.
To camera work – this is where you are presenting to a camera, this can be seen as a blog post to camera where you talk about your subject rather than writing your piece. Give it a go, you may be a natural or you may be (like me) a gibbering idiot in front of camera, a once loquacious person reduced to errms and ahhss and pregnant pauses.
Screencasting – My favourite type of video for technical items is a screencast, using this format you record the screen and play it back with a commentary over the top. This can be used with great effect for showing technical items or for recording and playing back a presentation.
From Your POV – POV or point of view recording means you are behind the camera recording what you can see, whilst adding a commentary, the uses of this are endless.
I am no video production expert, so if anyone out there knows the proper technical terms for these types of production, please let me know in the comments section.
As with the podcasting post I wrote, the subject of producing your media files is too big to go into here on a WordPress blog, but a few words of note, you don’t need a hugely expensive setup to produce content, I use a mid range web cam along with Camtasia to capture screencasts and edit the whole thing together,
How to Add Video to A post
Depending upon your method it is a fairly ease task to add video to a post, the three methods of adding your media file are discussed here.
WordPress Serves Video Out of The Box
Later versions of WordPress allow you to serve video out of the box, click on the icon shown below and upload your video and it will be inserted into your post in the same way images can easily be added to posts.
Embedding a Remote File
Most of the video hosting providers will supply an embedded video code which you can paste into your post from the html section, go to the hosting provider of your choice, and look for embed this video, you should get some code looking like this:
<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Al74d0x9RKU&hl=en&fs=1″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Al74d0x9RKU&hl=en&fs=1″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>
Plugin, Plugin on the Wall, Who’s the fairest One of All?
I’ve tried numerous plugins for video and I have yet to find the one I am 100% happy with. Here are the things I want from my video plugin:
- Ability to play from numerous sources i.e. Youtube, self hosted, hosted on other sites
- Counter for the number of plays of a video.
- Re-sizable – I want to pop the video out to full size.
- Re-skinable – I want to be able to change the look’n'feel of the player to match my theme
Here is a link to the WordPress plugin repository which holds hundred of video plugins http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tags/video
The plugin which matches most of my requirements is Word Tube. If you use other plugins please let me know in the comments section below.
Most plugins ask you to simply enclose the URL of the video file in a tag, so this can be a locally hosted file you upload from your media section or a remote file on YouTube and Co. Refer to your preferred plugin for full details on how to add a video to a post.
There are a number of video engines out there, but he one which seems to be used by the most plugins is from Long Tail Video and is called the JW FLV Video Player. It is an open source player which can be skinned as you like it, there is also an ad Solution to self monetise your video. See below on more ideas to make money from your video content.
Where to Host Your Files
There are two options to hosting your video, you can self host it on your server or use one of the video hosting services, here are the pros and cons.
You have complete control of your content, you can decide who sees it i.e. you could limit it to approved registered users, or in the case of membership sites, only approved paying customers.
Remember, once you pass your video to companies such as YouTube you loose control of your content, if that is an issues opt for a self hosting.
Bandwidth hungry video will quickly exceed your limits or impact on the performance of your site.
Third Party Hosted
There are two huge benefit of hosting your video with a third party such as Youtube and they are bandwidth protection, Google and Co take the hit to serve up your files, the second huge benefit are the audiences already in place on these services, if you produce something really good, there is more of a chance of (sorry for what I am about to say) “going viral” than this happening from your home site and it’s smaller reader base.
Loss of control or who views your video or what happens to your video.
Some of the third party hosting solutions I have used are:
Monetising Your Video
Monetising your video content is still in it’s infancy, there are various options including:
Pay per click – Viddler runs pay per click ads beneath your videos, and you are paid if someone clicks away from your video to the target site.
Pay Per Impression – You are paid on the number of impressions or views your video gets with some sort of ad banner attached to to it, Vimeo are offering CPM
Sell your own content – setup a members only section of your site and sell you videos yourself.
Good Blog Video Examples
Here are some examples of video used expertly on blogs
Gary Vaynerchuck check out the monetisation
ProBlogger Darren seems at ease before the camera
Yaro Starak to camera & screencast post
I hope that has given you a taste for video blogging, go on build some content and check out your ability as a presenter, you may be the next news anchor or MTV video jock in waiting.
Of course I couldn’t create a video post without a video post, here is a good video on resetting a lost password, this is shown using wordTube:
The rest of the posts in this series
How to Add Images to a WordPress Blog
UPDATE: WordPress Video Training Available
I’m running a live video training session on using video with WordPress for my WordPress training and support community the WP Owners Club.
I’ve got a 14 day free trial at the moment, why not take out trial membership and check out the training, here’s what you need to do
1) Sigup for a 14 day free trial account at wpownersclub.com/sign-up
2) Sign up for the live event from Go to http://wpownersclub.com/live-events
I hope to see you on the call.