How to add video to your site

by Desmond Menz posted in Website and Blog Essentials

Adding video to sites is very common on the 'net, and will only increase in the future. People are very much visually oriented and video serves a number of purposes. Internet marketers use video for sales pages, landing pages, and on their general website pages. It's also great for delivering courses in a members' area of your site. Video is used in so many ways for very many purposes. YouTube of course is one way that you can stream your videos, but there are a few disadvantages like ...

  • you lose rights to your video
  • you can lose traffic because your site visitors can simply click away
  • there is some pretty hefty compression applied to the video 
  • the advertising that goes with the channel

But YouTube does have enormous amounts of traffic, and that would be a great benefit to you. 

Hosting videos on your own site using an alternative platform means that there will be no distractions (e.g. advertising) and you'll always have control. YouTube has its place and can be a valuable marketing tool.

Amazon S3 (Amazon Simple Storage Service) is another storage service, is very secure, and has a pay-as-you-go pricing model. There's also a free usage tier for new signups. I'll cover Amazon Web services in another post.

An easy way to add video to your site

In this website (NewTimesHomeBiz), I've used the Mac app Sandvox. I like it a lot, and it's grown on me in such a way that I'm resisting moving to any other platform. 

But Sandvox has its quirks, and adding video is one of them. When I tried adding a simple video consisting of a slide presentation and audio (produced in Keynote and converted in Quicktime) I ran into problems when uploading. The file size was 157MB and it seemed to take forever during the first upload. Remember, upload speeds are very much less than download speeds. So, in the interests of site loading efficiency, I immediately terminated the upload. 

The SOLUTION with adding video in Sandvox, and for any blog or other website for that matter, is to host the video on an external site, or in the cloud. 

Here's a very good way to add video your site. 

You'll need a Google account for this one; sign up if you haven't got one. Once you have the account, login and go to the Google Drive link on the top bar. 

Google Drive bar

Google Drive is a great service for hosting video and any other large documents. It's all in the cloud, so you don't have to worry about storing anything nor be concerned about your bandwidth. Google Drive allows the first 5GB data per month free - yes, 5 Gigabytes. Then it's very cheap after that, $2.49 per month for up to 25GB, $4.99 per month for 100GB. It's a very simple plan.

Google Drive is much cheaper than alternatives such as Dropbox (which incidentally is a great service for file sharing to your special groups).

The Google Drive installation procedure

Now that you're logged in, follow these steps to configure some settings.

  1. Go to Settings menu, then the Settings link and set your time details and other preferences. Upgrade your storage as required by clicking the text link. It might be better to start with the free 5GB storage allowance and see how you go before upgrading.
  2. Before uploading new files, go back to Settings > Upload settings, and choose "Convert uploaded files to Google Docs format".
  3. Go back to your main Drive page and then CREATE a folder where your first video file will be stored. Name your folder, then upload your video file (click the button next to CREATE) into My Drive.

  1. Now click in the box next to your video file and you'll see another bar emerge at the top; click on the Share button to bring up the next box. Choose your option. Incidentally, there are several ways you can get to this box, one of which is to click on your movie file, then File, then Share, and then finally choose who you wish to see the video. As you can see below I've enabled everyone to view my video, but you could keep it private or just share to selected people who you send the link to, for example in a members' area of your site.
Sharing settings1
Shared settings2

How to embed a video from Google Drive into your website

Once you upload your video to Google Drive, you need to get the HTML code and insert it into your site. Here are the steps.

  1. Click on the video file link, which will open in a new window.
  2. Then go to File > Embed this video, copy the HTML code that appears in the box.
  3. Go back to your website and paste the code into your chosen location. If you have a Wordpress site, then create a new post or page, follow the instructions for pasting code, save the draft and then preview your site.
  4. Change the size of your video by going back to the code and find the dimensions of the video. Continue as before.

Embed video into a Sandvox site

This is a bit tricky. You can't just insert the code through the normal way and expect it to work. Here's what I had to do.

  1. Grab your code (follow the steps in the post above).
  2. Go to "Insert Raw HTML" which will bring up a single line on your page where you want to insert your video. 
  3. Then go to "Edit Raw HTML", and then insert your code.

Presto - your video is installed. But remember, it will be shown as a grey box on your Mac, with a little message "Plug-in not visible". After you Publish your site then the video will be present wherever you inserted the code.

Hint - change the size of your video when you're in "Edit Raw HTML".

What do you think? Share your comments or ask questions below.

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