The world’s full to bursting with YouTube clips, pictures, music and even slideshows. Whether it’s you behind the camera or it’s someone else’s video, this content draws people in and invites them to stay on your website. So, how do you get all of this great stuff embedded in your web pages?

My tips below apply directly to self-hosted WordPress websites. If you’re not on WordPress, check your website software’s help documents or call your web developer.

Easy embeds with WordPress 3.5+

Recent updates to WordPress make putting videos on your website super easy, without code. The method boils down to a simple action we’ve all been doing since we learned how to work a computer: copy and paste. Try the following steps with your favorite YouTube video.

Simply copy the URL of the video from your web browser’s address bar. Then, paste the URL onto its own line in your page or post. WordPress will automatically convert that URL into an embedded video when visitors load your page. It works the same way for Vimeo, another popular video sharing website. You can even share pictures from the most popular photo sites, including Instagram, with the same action.

Visual Editor

Now, this tip works with a limited list of websites. WordPress won’t convert every link into embedded content. Make sure you read the full list of  easy embeds supported by WordPress on the Codex.

One prominent site missing from the list is Vine. You’ll have to jump through a few hoops to embed Vine videos and other content not supported by the easy embed method. You’ll be working with embed codes and the text editor instead.

How to Use Embed Codes

Many websites will provide you with an HTML embed code of their own, including most of those on the WordPress embeds list. A typical embed code includes the complete HTML needed for your website to display the content. You’ll generally find this embed code among other sharing options displayed on the content page. Let’s return to YouTube to see how you can embed content manually using an embed code and the WordPress text editor.

First, locate the content online that you want to embed in your blog post or webpage. Try to find the page dedicated to the particular piece of content you want. On YouTube, that means finding the individual video page for the video you want.

You’ll find YouTube’s sharing options below the video itself. Click share and choose embed from the choices. You’ll be presented with an embed code that starts with “iframe.” This isn’t Apple’s entry into the picture framing industry; it’s just a slice of HTML that shows part of YouTube through a frame embedded in your website.

Select all of the iframe code. Make sure your selection has </iframe> at the end. Copy your selection.

YouTube Embed

Next, open your edit post or edit page screen and click the text tab above the formatting toolbar. This tab displays your content in its raw HTML form. Put your cursor where you want the embedded content to appear and paste in the code you just copied.

Text Editor

Finally, make sure to click the save draft or blue update button to make sure your changes are saved. Now you can switch back to the Visual tab. There should be a yellow box in place of the embed code like the one in the screenshot below. This tells you WordPress has recognized your embed code and saved it.

Embedded Video

Can I upload my own videos directly into WordPress?

If you prefer not to use a service like YouTube for your own videos, the next best option is to host them yourself. You can upload videos to WordPress and add them to your pages just like other media. However,  I do not recommend this approach for small business websites.

Depending on your website hosting package, you have a certain amount of disk space and a certain quantity of data you’re allowed to transfer. Video and audio files require a lot of disk space to store and will consume a lot of your data allowance. Unless you’re prepared to pay for premium hosting service, we recommend hosting multimedia on third-party service like YouTube.

Whether you want to make people laugh, tap their feet or take notes, you don’t need to code to put video on your website. You just have to be comfortable sharing.

Have questions about embedding video or WordPress? Ask me in the comments section.