14 Feb 2014

YouTube Series: WordPress Plugins for Video Presentation

WordPress YouTube Plugins

Sometimes we look for a little bit more out of our YouTube presentation on our web sites and blogs. We may want a little flare, a little pizazz, or even a little more functional capabilities, including easy engagement for our viewers.

I am no exception to this, and I have spent literally hours, days, evaluating WordPress plugins to accommodate what I want. I happen to be a little pickier so that wasn’t easy for those poor developers. At different times, I found favorite WordPress plugins, and then, there would be better WordPress plugins.. which is great! It is an ever-changing playing field and always fun to see what is out there and what improvements have occurred recently in the area of WordPress plugins for YouTube.

There are three plugins that I am talking about today that have different benefits, so it depends on what you are looking for, in a plugin.

Objectives

Before we look at the plugins, let’s talk about objectives. For me, videos are, well, a huge piece of my pie, so the plugins are very important. The software is very important. I actually invest quite a lot in this process, as a result, and I don’t believe I have a single free plugin. That is not to say that free plugins are not the answer, it is just saying that in my case, I have needed more robust solutions and have opted to purchase what I need.

Ok, that is one end of the spectrum. Let’s ease back to a more “normal” level, shall we? For most people, free plugins available out there (including the plugins in this article) are perfectly fine. Oh, you may want to add some paid plugins, for say, tracking or improving your ranking, but it is not necessary. In fact, check out Ann Smarty‘s articles, on this blog, to find some cool analytics and ranking tips that you can do, for free, with those YouTube Videos.

 

Evaluating Plugins

After you have defined your objective, you want to look at different aspects of a plugin, in determining if it is the plugin for you.

  • What do you want it to do? Does it do that?
  • How technical does it need to be? Do you want it to be super easy or are you willing to do some grunt work if the plugin does more?
  • At what point would you rather pull out the pocketbook to get the pro features of a free plugin rather than dealing with any fuss? (Figure out a baseline price point BEFORE you look at the pro features.)
  • How important is the feature you are looking at implementing? Is it a “nice to have” or a whim, or essential to your business?

Now that we have our thinking work done, let’s look at some plugins. This is not even close to an exhaustive list, but is simply three free plugins and they each serve a different purpose, depending on what you need.


YouTube Plugin by Embed Plus

YouTube by Embed Plus

YouTube WordPress Plugin Information.

Note: To get the free version, I recommend searching for the plugin within the “Plugins” section of your WordPress installation. The link above goes to the pro version advertisement.

These first two plugs are actually put out by the same group, Embed Plus. The first one, “YouTube” is a basic plugin. Visually, you will not notice much of a difference over what you get with the newest WordPress code. It allows you to enter the YouTube URL (the one that has “watch?v=” in it) and it will display the video. If you test this in WordPress, without the plugin, you will get the same result. So, why talk about this plugin? There are some basic options, like alignment, etc., that you can control with the plugin. This makes it just a tiny bit more customizable than the straight YouTube option in WordPress. Think of this plugin as the next step up from no plugin at all (WordPress installation alone).

The code is the same as you would have without this plugin, in native WordPress. It is simply the web address (URL) of the video on YouTube:
YouTube Plugin by Embed Plus

What you will see, is the bare bones basic presentation of the video.
YouTube Plugin by Embed Plus

The options shown in the screenshot, below, are those options that are available in the free YouTube plugin by the people at Embed Plus.
YouTube Plugin by Embed Plus

If you do want to go “Pro” (paid), there are some additional options, as shown in this screenshot.
YouTube Plugin by Embed Plus

If you are looking for a better presentation for your videos, this is not the plugin for you. If you are looking for something where you can control basic elements like alignment, then this may be all you need for your videos on your WordPress blog.


YouTube Advanced Plugin by Embed Plus

YouTube Advanced by Embed Plus

YouTube Advanced WordPress Plugin Information

Note: To get the free version, I recommend searching for the plugin within the “Plugins” section of your WordPress installation. The link above goes to the pro version advertisement.

When you really want engagement around your videos.. an easy way to do it…

The folks at Embed Plus have taken it a step further, with their YouTube Advanced plugin. With this plugin, they are focusing on engagement, giving an overlay that allows for your visitors and readers to click on a button to engage with the video. This is great for extending your social media presence.

YouTube Advanced Plugin by Embed Plus

It has some of the same features as the basic YouTube plugin, but also adds the engagement level.

YouTube Advanced Plugin by Embed Plus

Similar to WordPress native and the YouTube plugin, this plugin also works with a straight YouTube URL. It then adds the overlay. Your visitors can click on the “reaction” button and have the opportunity to comment, share, bookmark, etc. This is worth its weight in gold and this plugin is free!. Of course, there is also the option to upgrade to Pro, for more features.
YouTube Advanced Plugin by Embed Plus

YouTube Album Plugin by Srizon

Srizon Responsive YouTube Album

YouTube Album WordPress Plugin Information

Sometimes we want to display more than one video and we want to have a whole set of videos. One option is to get the embed code from YouTube. Honestly, YouTube has greatly improved the design and presentation of their videos and playlists, so this is definitely an option.

Another option is with this “album” plugin by Srizon. It provides a nice, clean interface of thumbnails of your videos. Each video is able to be clicked on and the viewer stays in the web site (unlike other plugins that redirect you back to YouTube, taking you away from the main site).

YouTube Album Plugin by Srizon

The interface to set up the albums is very straightforward and “WordPress-like.” This was a welcome relief after reviewing a similar plugin before this one and taking 30 minutes just to get the form satisfied.
YouTube Album Plugin by Srizon

Also, the shortcode is provided in the interface, so that it is easy to transfer it to your page or post. You can click in the field and copy the shortcode so it is ready for your page or post.
YouTube Album Plugin by Srizon
After clicking, you get this:

YouTube Album Plugin by Srizon

In fact, I like it so well, I may have to add this freebie to my collection.


So, there you have it, three different plugins (the first two by the same developers) with three very different purposes. Once you define YOUR purpose, it will be easier to find that plugin that works for your needs. Still looking? Comment below, on what your YouTube pain point is and maybe I’ll help you out and address it in the next article.