Who doesn’t love watching Youtube videos from time to time?
Be it a silly cat video or an interesting documentary, there is an infinite number of things to watch on Youtube, and millions of people to watch them. Why not take advantage of that and create a WordPress site that brings together the best Youtube videos of your liking?
There are a number of reasons you might want to share Youtube videos on your site. They can be your own videos or those of others. Either way, video is fast becoming one of the most popular ways of sharing your views and interests.
Sharing your own Youtube videos on your WordPress site is a great way to get more traffic while increasing the view-count on your awesome videos. On the other hand, sharing those of others on your site is a great way of attracting more visitors and to keep them coming back for more.
You might even want to use Youtube videos to enhance your current site. Let’s say you’re running a popular news site that curates articles from various top sources. You can take it one step further by creating a video section that brings in the latest Youtube videos from your sources’ channels.
Let’s have a look at what it takes to set up a Youtube video-based WordPress site.
Step 1: Choose your subject
It’s important to know what topic you’ll be focusing on in your new site. If it’s an existing site that you’re enhancing with video content, then you’re already set. If you’re sharing your own videos from your own channel or those of others, you’re also ready to go.
Get a clear picture of what you’d like to achieve, and this will help you speed up the rest of the process. Planning is key to making sure you build your new website efficiently, and without compromising quality.
Step 2: Find the right theme
There are so many WordPress themes available today that it’s easy to make the wrong choice. Make sure you have a look around and find the best theme that suits your subject and has the look that you’re going for.
For this tutorial I’ve gone ahead and installed a free theme called AcmePhoto. While you can also opt for a free solution, there are plenty of premium WordPress themes created specifically for sharing video content. If you’re serious about this website, I’d suggest opting for a premium theme that also comes with an extensive documentation and highly rated support. At one point or another, you would need the developers’ help.
Step 3: Find the Youtube channels or users
Before getting started you need to make sure you’ve found the Youtube channels or users whose videos you want to import. In this example I’ll be focusing on the subject of field hockey. You can choose any other topic of your liking.
We will be importing the videos via RSS feeds, so the next step after finding each channel or user is to find their RSS feed. It’s much simpler than you think.
Step 4: Find the RSS Feeds
RSS has been around a while and it’s still a great way of importing content. Most websites make their RSS feeds available directly on the site via an RSS icon or link, but in Youtube’s case, they don’t show it. Not to worry though, here’s the easiest way to get the RSS feeds you need.
As of late April 2015, YouTube changed the way it provides RSS feeds. All you need to do today is to use the below two URLs, depending on whether you’re getting the videos from a User or a Channel, and change the username or channel ID:
For example, I want to bring in the videos from the Love Hockey Youtube channel. The URL of the channel itself is:
So the RSS feed URL would be:
It’s as simple as that.
Step 5: Import the Videos
This is the most important step; actually importing the videos. For this we will be using the WP RSS Aggregator plugin along with its premium Feed to Post add-on. This is the best RSS import plugin to use for this job.
Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, you can choose the general settings of your choice, and then start setting up the feed sources. A feed source is an RSS feed that you will be importing from, which also has its own set of options to choose from.
Setting Up the Feed Sources
Once the general settings are ready, you can create your first feed source.
After clicking on the Add New button you will be taken to the Edit Feed Source page. Here you can give the feed source a name, enter the RSS feed URL you found earlier, and set it to import the videos as Posts.
Setting featured images and assigning categories
You can also choose to set a featured image for each imported post. This will use the image in the RSS feed’s <media:thumbnail> tag which it will display on the site’s homepage, in our case.
We will also be assigning categories to each of the imported posts. In fact, we’ll be setting one up for every source. Why are we doing this? Well, later on we’ll be seeing a site menu that shows each Youtube channel and user, so any visitor can view the videos one channel or user at a time. Assigning categories will accommodate this in the easiest way.
Feed to Post includes a Taxonomies settings section in the feed source settings as shown above. From here you can assign a category for the imported posts to be assigned to. So we simply need to create the category from Posts > Categories, then choose it from the settings dropdown.
Importing the videos
Now that the settings are ready, all that’s left to do is to Publish the feed source. Once you’ve done so, the videos will start importing into your posts, as shown below. All that’s left now is to display them and make them look great.
Step 6: Make them look great
Once the videos are imported as posts, it’s time to work on the site’s look. Our theme already does a great job of displaying the posts in a grid layout. For this reason, it took very little work to set up a menu with the categories, make slight changes to the look of the site, and get it looking great.
With your website you can always take your time to fine tune the look and functionality of the site based on your needs and wants.
Each video thumbnail seen above will link to the individual video on a separate page, where the visitor can watch it directly on your site.
Take it a step further
Sharing videos is great, but you might also want to share other content besides Youtube videos on your site. This is where WP RSS Aggregator comes into play again. Being an RSS import plugin it allows you to import various types of content.
With the Feed to Post add-on you can import articles from any source that provides an RSS feed and display it within your site’s blog. This would allow you to support the videos with relevant content from the best sources around.
For example, in the case above, I would import posts from the Euro Hockey League website to also provide news updates on that. You can then divide the site up as you wish, separating video content from written posts, and this is where a more feature-filled premium theme would show its value.
What are the costs?
Let’s break them up:
- You need a theme, which can be free or premium. If you opt for a premium theme you can do very well for yourself for under $100.
- You will need the WP RSS Aggregator core plugin, which is free to download from the WordPress plugin repository.
- You’ll also need the WP RSS Aggregator Feed to Post add-on, which costs $79 for a single-site license.
Apart than the above you’ll also need to spend some money on your hosting, domain, and other basic plugins that you might need. These can include SEO plugins, backup services, security plugins, etc. There are some very good free alternatives for these too if the budget is tight.
What other topics can I do this for?
Any, absolutely any topic.
Music videos, sports videos, cat videos; you name it, there are Youtube channels for it.
All you have to do is find the channels whose videos you want to share, get the RSS feed URL and just follow the above method. You’ll have a great video-based WordPress site in no time. Just take a look at the SkateFlix website. It’s a perfect example of an awesome website built solely around video content.
What are you wating for? Video is fast becoming the best and coolest way of sharing content and ideas, and with the above tools you can create an awesome website centred around video content.
So just give it a go and you won’t be disappointed. If you’re unsure, WP RSS Aggregator offers a free demo site where you can set up your very own demo to test it out for yourself before buying.
The support team is also available throughout the week to answer any pre-sales questions and help you out in setting up the plugins. You can get in touch here.
What do you think of video-based websites? Has this tutorial given you any good ideas for a new WordPress site? We’d love to read your thoughts below.