Having videos on your website has become a staple on the modern-day internet with good reason. For the longest time, the most convenient way to do it was creating a channel on YouTube and uploading there.
Getting an embed link for placing on your site would then be a trivial affair. The internet has grown quite a lot since those days and YouTube is no longer the go-to choice for having videos on a fully-fledged site.
When you filter out all the big words and get down to the core of things, there are only two ways to have videos on your site: self-hosting – you host all the videos yourself on your own server and third-party hosting – all the videos are hosted on someone else’s servers.
Someone that’s never worked with videos on their site before will inevitably be tempted to host their own videos because it means more fine-grained control over your content. Sadly, it’s not that simple.
Hosting your own videos is a full-time job. Unless you have both the time and resources to deal with bandwidth costs, access controls, analytics collection, constant debugging, monitoring performance metrics and cross-browser support, self-hosting isn’t for you.
Using the default player that comes with WordPress has three main downsides:
At the end of the day, that leaves one last responsibility to deal with: third-party hosting.
The first item on your itinerary will be to pick the right host for the job. With which regard, there are only two categories: private and public hosts. Public hosts are sites like YouTube that share your videos to the general public by default.
These do come with the added option of manually de-listing them, of course. YouTube may be the second most popular website on the internet right now, but it’s not exactly a magic bullet for every occasion.
Private video hosting sites is an increasingly common phenomenon on the internet. The prices may be a bit prohibitive for newer entrants in the market, but they do offer added benefits over the likes of YouTube. These include more detailed analytics data, piracy protection, and in-house lead generation.
Schema markup is a long topic that would frankly benefit from a full post of its own, but it’s a way to help search engine bots understand what your video entails better. If you’ve ever posted to YouTube before, then you’re likely familiar with the snippets used to help rank your videos better,
The beauty of WordPress is that by default, embedding a video on your site requires almost no work on your part: all you need to do is either paste the link to the video into the editor or an embed link from the host provider. However, linking either multiple videos at once, which you’d like to play one after the other is a problem.
Another impressive thing about WordPress is the abundance of plugins that make taking care of issues such as this relatively trivial. You will likely have to shell out some money for these plugins, which give you the ability to add your own custom ads to earn some cash, improve the schema markup on your videos to improve SEO and so on.
Finally, no blog post is complete without an image or two to compliment the main focus of the content. For most people, navigating the video hosting market is like learning how to file your taxes for the first time. Luckily enough, the image hosting space is a lot less convoluted and crowded and a whole lot more convenient.
Again, having an image on your site is as simple as pasting a direct link to the image itself or uploading it to the editor and letting WordPress take care of the rest. However, images have more or less the same pitfalls as videos: hosting your own images, especially if they are large, could cost you a lot of bandwidth.
Unlike videos, images can (and should) simply be cached on the web browser, eliminating the need to redownload them to the server, and saving you a lot of effort (and bandwidth!) in the process. If you haven’t guessed it already, some amount of work is required to enable caching on a WordPress site.
Hosting images is, for the most part, incredibly cheap. So much so that a lot of the options for it are free. The most popular choices for an image gallery are sites like Imgur, which is free and especially useful for people in love with automating the upload process.
PostImge is just like Imgur but doesn’t have a community around it. Images are also private by default. Traditional image hosting sites like Photobucket, Flickr, 500px and TinyPics were once incredibly popular, but newer services such as Google Photos and ImgBB has pretty much taken over their target audiences since then.