Mark Nadler - a favourite of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival sceneA very common question I receive when talking to someone about creating a website, or transferring one from an old-fashioned system into WordPress, is: can I put videos on my site.

The answer is not only YES, but IT IS EASIER than you think.

With that said, there are actually many ways to insert video into your WordPress website. I will show you my favourite.

And following a question from a client today about inserting a particular video from YouTube, I thought it might be useful to refine my broad brush statement that videos that allow embedding on YouTube are fine for you to embed on your website. There are some exceptions.

Finally, before we start, this short blog today is based on my opinion that the best and most savvy way to include video in your website is to upload it to a site like YouTube (actually, preferably YouTube if you want it to be found by lots of eyeballs) and then embed it into your site from there.

I am against encumbering your website with its own stash of heavy, video content and inbuilt player because it adds to your website overheads and robs you of having your content hard-wired into a Google-optimised site like YouTube.

If you are using video as part of your marketing, you want to give it every chance of being found, so that is why I embed on YouTube.

Video plugins

While YouTube does let you copy and paste in embed code directly from YouTube to your WordPress page of blog post, it can be cumbersome for people who are not used to working with code.

Furthermore, it means you need to switch between the Visual editor on your page (the friendliest view for non-tech people) to the HTML view.

The WordPress ecosystem is crammed with plugins to add functionality to your site and one that I have been using lately to display YouTube videos is WP YouTube Lyte.

What I like about this plugin is that it displays a still shot of your video when your page loads instead of calling up the video itself. This helps your page load more quickly.

Then when a visitor clicks on the video image, it loads the video.

And it does it in an iPad and iPhone friendly manner!

Apart from choosing some basic settings like the size of the video player, all you need to do to insert a video from YouTube is copy the URL or web address for the video in question and paste it into your editing screen for your page or blog post, following these important points:

1. use the Paste As Plain Text button to ensure that you don’t paste code into your page, only the text that makes up the link to your video.

2. trim the web address for video to make sure it follows this format:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXXXXXXXXXX

If yours includes things like &list=XXXXXXXXX or &feature=plpp_video, etc, you simply delete them to make sure your link looks like the model one in bold.

3. insert a ‘v’ after the http. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v= XXXXXXXXXXX

Simple. Publish or Update your page and you are done.

Behind the scenes the link should look like normal text but to visitors the YouTube web address should look like a video player.

You can see one below.

What videos can I use?

Preferably your OWN videos.

Next option is videos that help convey messages important to your marketing goals and of interest to your target market. These can be information videos or purely entertaining – it all depends on your marketing goals.

Ones to avoid are those where you are suspicious about the copyright. I had a client ask me today if a montage of images set against a professional song could be used on his site. I said not to because it appeared that a YouTube user had uploaded a song they did not own. It is a matter of time before it is deleted by YouTube.

To finish with, I thought I would share some entertainment, using the WP YouTube Lyte plugin.

It is Mark Nadler, a performer currently in Adelaide for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

This song is not from his current show. I am just using his presence as an excuse to insert a fun video into this blog. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and be prepared to smile.

Of course there are other methods but this one is serving me well and I hope it works for you, too.

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