How to Host Video with WordPress: Advantages of YouTube vs. Self-Hosted

McBuzz Video hosted on YouTubeGoogle Search Results

I was talking with a client about Social Media Marketing and ways to host video on a WordPress site. If your WordPress website is self-hosted, you have plenty of options. I won’t even begin to go into the many video plugins for WordPress. That is a different topic. But when it comes to video hosting, there a lot of reasons to use YouTube rather than anything else. Visit the McBuzz YouTube Channel here.

Because uploading and inserting images is so easy with WordPress, you might think that video should be simple in the same way. But because you need a video player – which is complicated – and video files are typically quite large (unless they are converted to Flash and compressed), there are lots of factors that make handling video different than handling images.

The screen shot at right shows Google search results for “introduction to wordpress dashboard”. Google Universal Search Results feature video, images and other kinds of content along with the standard text listings for web pages. Here video thumbnails appear near the top of the results. The McBuzz Business Blogging 101 tutorial featuring the same video is at the bottom of the results page. Two listings for the price of one! Click on the image below to see similar results for “wordpress static page”. This time, video thumbnails are at the bottom of the page, and Business Blogging 101 is at the top.

WordPress makes it super easy to embed a video when you use the URL from YouTube or a similar hosting service like Vimeo or VodPod. These other services are as easy to use as YouTube, but YouTube is the best easy solution for lots of other reasons. Unless, for some reason, you want complete control over your videos and you want to limit access to them or keep them out of the Google Index altogether, there are many good reasons to use YouTube or a similar service as a host for your video files. In terms of search engine visibility, these services – and especially YouTube – are far superior to hosting video on your own server.

WordPress Static Home Page - Google Search

Here Are 10 Reasons Why YouTube is the Best Choice for Video Hosting

Note that all these reasons really make YouTube the best choice for video hosting whether you use WordPress or some other web platform. If you’re doing online marketing, you should be using YouTube.

  1. YouTube is free.
  2. YouTube works with many file formats and converts those files into several different sizes of Flash movie, including HD. If someone has HD capability on their computer or other device, they can watch in HD, otherwise they can watch at a lower resolution. Creating these options on your own would be time-consuming and require special software and skills.
  3. You can add unique, keyword-rich titles and descriptions for every video you upload.
  4. Your YouTube account itself is great for your personal visibility and for your business.
  5. In many cases, YouTube searches exceed the number of Google searches as a source of viewer traffic for your videos. That traffic will, in turn, see your YouTube profile and you can do a lot on your profile and in the video descriptions to encourage visitors to go to your main website.
  6. Google owns YouTube; they pay very close attention to content on YouTube.
  7. As part of “Google Universal Search Results“, video thumbnails often appear on search results pages independent of other search results, this means you have a better chance of being found in Google results when you keep video on YouTube. It’s possible to get a standard search result listing along with a video thumbnail or image thumbnail listing, so you get multiple listings on the same search results page.
  8. People will pick up and embed your videos in their own website or blog. This is great for inbound links and for increasing traffic to your site because you can include a URL in the video description as well as a URL that displays at the beginning or end of your videos. (Branding your videos is very important for this reason. Sometimes I do a good job at this, sometimes not. Here’s one example I’m happy with: Installing WordPress on BlueHost)
  9. YouTube gives you fairly comprehensive stats (YouTube calls these viewer analytics “Insight”) over time regarding how many people watch your videos, how they found them (via YouTube search, a search engine, direct link, etc.), their demographics and so forth. You won’t get any of that if you host your own videos.
  10. Many web hosts will charge you an additional fee for the increased bandwidth and server space demands you put on their servers when you host your own video. Whether or not they have fees, they may limit the bandwidth and space you are allowed for large files like video.

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Free Social Media Marketing Tool: Press Release Grader

Free tools for social media marketing are popping up everywhere. For a huge list of free and paid social media monitoring tools, there is the Wiki of Social Media Monitoring Solutions. The Press Release Grader from Hubspot is a tool of a different sort, in fact, in addition to checking for basics like contact information, it’s more about search optimization than anything else.

Free Social Media Marketing Tool: Press Release Grader

Unlike monitoring tools, Press Release Grader is not about gathering information and figuring out what to do with it. It’s an instructive tool that runs your press release through a checklist, giving you feedback about things like the readability level (high school, college, graduate school), overused words and words used most often.

One of my favorite features is a link checker that inspects the number and quality of links you include in the body of the release. Since many press releases will wind up on the Web, links are especially important. You need to be sure to include good links: think about the pages you are linking to and whether you have included keywords in the links.

Press Release Grader is an instructive tool in another sense: it teaches the user how to optimize content. Many of the same principles apply to all Web-based publishing. It’s also likely that this tool will improve as Hubspot gets feedback from users. There are search engine optimization tools that do the same thing, Hubspot and Optify are two notable providers.

Press releases are not dead. They are still a valuable way to get the word out and build inbound links. So, as long as you are going to use them, you should take a few minutes to check them over with a tool like Press Release Grader.

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Social Media and Social Transformation via the Internet: The Cluetrain Manifesto

On the “Reading Social Media” Book Club Blog, Veronica Sopher and Maya Bisineer have posted my summary and review of The Cluetrain Manifesto. The Cluetrain Manifesto is a social media classic that was written before the term “social media” even existed: way, way back in 1999-2000. It says everything that’s now familiar to us social media types. But it’s not written as a book on marketing or business; it’s about the Internet and its implications for the way humans – mainly humans in corporate America, but really all humans living in industrialized countries – communicate.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Summary and review of The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual
by Mark McLaren

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Web 2.0 Seminar in Seattle: Introduction to Web 2.0

INTRODUCTION TO WEB 2.0: SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
AND YOUR BUSINESS

Introduction to Web 2.0 Seminar in SeattleOur next Social Media Marketing Event will be on May 11, 2010: “Explode the WordPress Learning Curve: An Evening with the Experts”

I’m very excited to be part of this WordPress Seminar in Seattle line-up! You’ll get lots of vital information, distilled, organized and ready to be put to use. My 20-minute segment will focus on the five most important things you can do to optimize your WordPress website or blog for search engines.

WordPress Experts SeminarRead more and get tickets for this upcoming evening of social media learning and networking: WordPress Social Media Seminar in Seattle (click for more information). Tuesday, May 11, 6 PM to 9 PM at Bellevue College, Bellevue (Seattle) Washington.

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The Meaning of Web 2.0

The video below by Mike Wesch conveys the meaning of “Web 2.0” in under five minutes. Thanks to Marc Schiller of RainPartners for the link.

What IT consultants like Marc Schiller and others have discovered is that one way to harness the power of Web 2.0 for marketing and communications is by using a state-of-the-art WordPress website. “Forget about information heirarchy”, Marc says. “Just create content. Tag it. Assign categories to it. Then let your WordPress theme structure the content in ways that make sense to your users.

Forget about information heirarchy. Just create content. Tag it. Assign categories to it. Then let your WordPress theme structure the content in ways that make sense to your users.”
– Marc Schiller

As the video points out, you don’t need to know HTML anymore to create and share content online. And “online” includes mobile devices!

Next generation websites and social network home pages will all have your preferences in mind. Their content will be structured based on your selections, choices, search and user history. Custom home pages like iGoogle are already doing this. Facebook is doing the same. WordPress websites have similar capabilities: every visitor to your site can have her own username and password; private pages will only display when users login. The bottom line is that you want your website to be as flexible and responsive to user interests and preferences as possible.

Traditional search engine optimization using “universal” keywords is going to be less and less relevant. But as long as you continue to make rich, useful content available online, things will be fine.

To learn more about how a state-of-the-art WordPress website can harness the power of Web 2.0 and connect you with friends, customers and colleagues, call McBuzz at (206) 962-9119.

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