You need to be using video content on your blog! That’s just fact.
We are already well underway to reaching Cisco’s projections about video making up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021 – a trend that began at an already impressive 73% back in 2016 – and the ever-increasing effectiveness of video marketing on viewer engagement does nothing but further the evidence of this.
The good thing is that since you are reading this, you are probably already aware of how much video content can help your WordPress blog exposure, and how effective it is for growing your reader audience.
Yet merely embedding videos might not be enough.
Every WordPress site can handle video content natively, but the default player and embedding options lack a ton of functionality that your viewers have most certainly grown accustomed to by constantly using sites like YouTube, Netflix, and Twitch. All of which have video players of the highest quality.
So, to make sure you are giving your readers an excellent user experience – and ensure they’d want to come back for more in the future – You need to make sure to choose the best video plugin alternative possible, one that works for your type of site and content. And believe me, there are enough good ones out there to make the choice interesting.
Perhaps you only use videos sort of like thumbnails, to make your posts more appealing and more likely to be shared on social networks. In which case a lightweight, free plugin might be just enough.
Maybe you are a video content creator and use your WordPress site as your portfolio. So, you’d need nothing less than a fantastic plugin packing the best functionality and navigation options.
Either way, we are going to go over a handful of these awesome WordPress video plugins, and take a look at their strengths, weaknesses, and features, to help you choose the one you need!
I’m starting the list with the Media Element plugin because of two main reasons: It’s easy to implement, and it should cover all the basics.
It’s an HTML5 Video and Audio plugin with players for both, Flash and Silver light, and supports non-HTML5 browsers. It also works great with mobile, handling competently iPhone/iPad platforms as well as Android.
The video player itself looks gorgeous, with a white-transparent minimalist design that goes perfectly well with minimalist WordPress themes. The audio player is equally sleek but with a black and white palette.
It has a great positive review ratio, although the most recent ones haven’t been favorable, probably because there might not be enough there to differentiate it from the default player now provided by WP. Still, worth checking out if you are looking for a simple and functional plugin.
WP Video Lightbox
Next, we have Video Lightbox, a very versatile plugin that lets you embed video using a lightbox overlay display. It’s an appealing plugin for anyone looking to embed content from both YouTube and Vimeo and can handle not only video but also images and flash animation.
It is a responsive plugin, so you don’t need to worry about mobile compatibility.
The primary appeal of this plugin is its simplicity, making the process of embedding quite easy. It can automatically fetch thumbnails, or you can use a custom one, and it also lets you tweak basic navigation options like disabling suggested videos at the end to avoid having readers leave your site or get distracted by just watching more content on those platforms.
The player layout (gray/dark with round buttons) can work well depending on your site’s design, but it might not be right for everybody. The majority of reviews are positive, with most of the few negatives focusing on the issues of looks and navigation choices. Still, if you are planning on using Vimeo content a lot on your WP site, this plugin might be just right.
YouTube Widget Responsive
Let’s try something a bit different now.
This video plugin isn’t centered so much on adding player functionalities as it is in bridging your WP blog video content with YouTube, which makes it the ideal alternative for those YouTubers who use a WordPress site to complement their channel.
YWR allows you to add YouTube videos to your sidebar widget or your regular post in a simple way, and it provides a wide array of options and customization as far as playback and navigation go. Things like choosing the precise moment where your video starts or ends playing (to the second,) Looping, Enabling/Disabling suggested videos at the end of the playback, and even hide YouTube’s logo!
With this widget, your videos might be hosted on YouTube but can be played exactly the way you choose to on your WordPress site. It is a highly customizable tool that anyone releasing content in both platforms (YouTube and WordPress) needs.
As far as player details, you are all well acquainted with YT’s player, and any differences would come from your customization. You can auto hide things like the playback bar and controls, which combined with the autoplay variables you can control, gives you a fantastic tool to create interactive written/audiovisual posts.
Reviews are outstandingly positive; you should definitely check it out.
Advance Responsive Video Embedder
ARVE is probably the closest you can get to a robust “one-size-fits-all” solution for your WordPress plugin needs. It supports almost every video host that works with iframe embed codes.
It is highly customizable, supports responsive video embedding, and includes WYSIGYG supports, which comes as a great boon if you want a way around shortcodes and previewing. This one might also be the way to go if your WP site is heavy on the CSS design, and need your embedded video placement to be “just so” for aesthetic reasons.
Another powerful feature is that this plugin is very SEO friendly, allowing you to specify a title, description, and even upload date, giving search engines enough data to facilitate better indexing.
It is one of the most popular video WordPress video plugins right now, with an overwhelming ratio of positive reviews on the WordPress plugin site.
There you have it, folks.
If you are looking for useful plugins to incorporate video to that fantastic WP blog you are putting together, you can’t certainly do worse than choosing any of the options proposed on this blog. Check them out and try the one you think fits best.