How to Build a Killer Web Video Presence With Wordpress

by Dan Dashnaw in Main

Wordpress LogoAs video continues to gain more and more momentum within the social web, I’m seeing an influx of presentation-related questions starting to rise to the surface. Overcoming the hurdles of planning, filming and production are one thing. Getting your video content onto the web, looking good, and working for you is a whole other animal. Here’s a method of streamlining that process for you with the help of Wordpress.

Although this post is targeted towards setting up a new blog as a unique video web presence, most of it will also apply if you’re looking to incorporate video into your existing blog or website. And even though I’m using self-hosted Wordpress as the foundation here, much of this information will apply no matter what blogging platform you’re running. So let’s get down to business already.

Wordpress as a video CMS

Not only is Wordpress is an exceptional blogging platform, but it holds serious power for anyone looking to create a slick and functional video presence on the web. With a little bit of setup time and a quality template, you can easily create a customized video powerhouse that will support your video content impeccably.

I’m not going to get into installing and configuring Wordpress here, as Wordpress.org has this covered already. Head on over there to download the source files and read the infamous 5 minute installation guide. Getting things setup is quick and painless. Just do it already.

Finding a slick Wordpress video template

The first step in turning a fresh Wordpress install into a video powerhouse is a well-equipped template, and I have a few ‘out of the box’ suggestions to get you started.

First, WooThemes offers some amazing video-based templates which are extremely feature rich and reasonably priced. Here are two options that you should probably check out first:

WooTube by Woothemes - Wordpress Video Template

WooTube by WooThemes

Groovy by Woothemes - Wordpress Video Template

Groovy by WooThemes

…and here are some other appropriate finds from other designers that you may want to explore:

eVid by ElegantThemes

eVid by ElegantThemes

High Def by Graph Paper Press - Wordpress Video Theme

High Def by Graph Paper Press

As you can see, any of these templates will serve as an excellent starting point. Not only are they loaded with features and customization options, but they also offer the perfect look and feel for a user-friendly, visually appealing video platform. Once you’ve got one installed and customized with your logo, you’ll be able to start adding video content that you’ve uploaded to the web right away.

Hosting and publishing your videos to the web

There’s no shortage of options in terms of video sharing sites, but some are better candidates than others. As a first measure, definitely explore the advertising model of the platform you’re considering. Many video sites are now inserting pre-roll or overlay ads onto uploaded content, which is probably not what you’re going for. As such, it’s a good idea to look into this before populating and relying on any given service.

The next thing to consider is the functionality and style of the video players themselves. Most video sites will allow for a certain level of customization, and I personally prefer Vimeo in this regard. Vimeo’s players offer up plenty of flexibility and tend to look integrate well within the context of a cleanly designed blog. Of course, your own mileage may vary.

Also note that in addition to hosting your videos (for free) and allowing you to snatch up video players for your own website, these video sharing platforms hold some exposure potential within themselves. Users will be able to find and watch your videos wherever you upload them, serving up additional opportunities for connecting with new viewers.

For this reason, you may even want to consider uploading your video content to multiple video sharing sites. Even though this may seem like a tedious task, there are free tools that make it a snap. TubeMogul is one such option, allowing you to upload your videos once and automatically deploy them to most of the popular video sites in a single shot. Not only does this get your videos extra exposure, but it also provides viewership statistics and other perks that make it well worth adding to your video toolbox.

Designing your video posts for maximum strength

Now that you’ve got your videos uploaded and hosted somewhere, you can easily post them to your video blog. I recommend considering your blog’s category structure at this point, as it will help you keep things organized while at the same time allowing your viewers to find related content easily. Of course, you can always refine this further as you move forward.

When publishing videos, consider your post titles as you would with any blog post. Your titles should help visitors find what they’re looking for quickly while offering search engines an accurate keyword portrayal for indexing. To really maximize your results, be sure to install a Wordpress SEO plugin like the All in One SEO Pack for total control of your keywords and descriptions.

Ready to insert a video player into your post? Just grab the video player’s HTML embed code from your video hosting service of choice, and paste it into the post body in the HTML editor. Voila.

Finally, if you’re really interested in providing the most bang for your buck, I recommend including a text transcript of your video’s dialog underneath the player whenever possible. This can work for you as powerful search engine indexing material. A surprising amount of visitors end up in my analytics by searching for long-tail phrases that are contained in my video’s transcripts.

Making your video posts iPhone and podcast compatible

Compatibility is a key ingredient when serving up video, and here are a few ‘extra mile’ suggestions that will help you reach as many viewers as possible.

The iPhone is pretty darn popular these days, and if you’re an iPhone user you probably know that it doesn’t support Flash video. Fortunately, you can embed an iPhone-friendly version of your video into your posts quite easily, and The DV Show has assembled a nice tutorial mapping out exactly how to do it. I’d really consider adding this to your posts, as there’s nothing worse as an iPhone user then clicking a link to a video and not being able to view it.

For those of you looking to fully complete the ‘circle of compatibility’, adding podcast support is also not a bad idea. Wordpress plugins like PowerPress make this fairly easy to accomplish, allowing you to include podcast RSS subscription links in your posts and submit your feed to iTunes. By adding podcast support, you’ll be able to reach even more users and automatically alert subscribers whenever you release new video content. This unlocks some noteworthy potential, and is definitely worth exploring.

Have questions?

I’d honestly love to help. Feel free to ask away in the comments below, that’s what I’m here for. Otherwise, get on out there and build something great. Thanks for hanging with me this far. ;-)

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3 Responses to “How to Build a Killer Web Video Presence With Wordpress”

  1. Anthony Licari

    08. Dec, 2009

    How do you feel about self hosting vs. YouTube and embedding content onto your site from YouTube? I run into this problem all the time.

    I like not being on YouTube as I have my own TOS, can make videos any length and virtually do whatever I want to them.

    YouTube is such a powerhouse of users looking for videos that it’s hard not to use it. I’m two days new to WordPress, have done most of my work on Drupal for the past four years and at least on Drupal I know you can import/embed videos from virtually all popular video hosting sites and make them as individual posts.

  2. David Cary

    08. Dec, 2009

    Dan,

    Found you through Copyblogger. This a great post, thank you. Your concern for quality production in video and writing matters a lot.

  3. Dan Dashnaw

    08. Dec, 2009

    Anthony:

    I’m a big fan of self hosting whenever it’s possible, for the same reasons you’ve mentioned. Of course, in order to get your content in front of as many people as possible, posting it to places like YouTube often makes sense too.

    Regarding your video importing functionality in Drupal, there are similar plugins for Wordpress you may want to investigate. I don’t have any names or links offhand, but a quick search should summon up a few popular options.

    David:

    Thanks so much - I appreciate your kind words. Now I just need to actually start posting here again. It’s been a crazy year, and I’ve certainly let the sheer volume of deliverables required of me to take control of my attention. Hopefully 2010 will be more forgiving. ;-)

    All the best,

    …Dan

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