How to display videos in your hosted WordPress blog sidebar using Vodpod (a short tutorial)

Hello Chickadees! A number of you curious birds have asked me how I display videos in a sidebar of this hosted WordPress blog. If you self-host your WordPress blog, playing sidebar vids on your blog is a fairly simple matter: you just copy the video embed code into a sidebar text widget. BUT –  if wordpress.com hosts your blog, then as soon as you paste that code into the text widget and press “Save” – presto! – the code disappears, and there is no way to get that video to play in the sidebar. It is easy to embed videos into a post, but not into the sidebar of a blog hosted by WordPress. (Unless someone cleverer than me has figured it out? If so, please comment here. I’d love to hear it.)

But meanwhile, I have discovered Vodpod, and that is how my videos are displayed in the sidebar. It is a third party service enabling you to build your own video channel by importing videos from almost anywhere on the web, and then share them almost anywhere – blog, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. The vodpod process was fairly tricky for me to work my way through it, so I thought I’d post a quick tutorial to guide you on the way.

1. SIGN UP FOR AN ACCOUNT AT VODPOD
Navigate to Vodpod on the Web. You’ll see the screen below, and getting an account really is as easy as filling it out.

2. DESIGNATE VIDEO SOURCE

Vodpod will ask you where you want to import your videos from. I left this form blank, as mine will probably come from multiple places. I think this window is designed for people who want to import *all* their videos into Vodpod from -for example – their youtube channel.

3. CHOOSE YOUR WIDGET SKIN AND GET YOUR WIDGET CODE

Vodpod will then display a button for you to select to “Get a Widget for your WordPress Blog.” They also offer a short instructional tour, which is worth your while. It’s composed of only 4 slides, and they give you a good headstart. Then you click the “get a widget” button and see the screen below.

OK, still awake chickadees? I hope so, because this is the important part,  where you get to choose your widget’s skin which will determine how the video is framed when it plays on your blog, and how many videos play (see screenshot above).  This skin (sometimes called a “style” by WordPress) comes in a variety of skins, all accessed on this the “Get widget for your WordPress Blog” screen. These choices are three varieties of Large, plus Elegant, Floating, and Button. The Large and Elegant skins will place up to five videos in the sidebar, which may be too many if your sidebar space is at a premium. Floating will allow you to choose the number of videos, and Button (my favorite) allows the user to click through your videos one by one, showing just one video at a time in the sidebar. (As you make your choice of skin on the vodpod site, you will see a live sample alongside the menu to show you how how it will look on your blog.)

In this screen you will also choose whether you want Vodpod to order your videos in your sidebar according to the most recent, or the most viewed. You will also fill in the title of your widget, which is how your widget will be titled in your sidebar. I titled mine “Bay’s Latest Video”.

4. PASTE YOUR WIDGET CODE INTO YOUR WORDPRESS VODPOD WIDGET.

After you have made your choice of widget skin, copy the widget code that appears in the screen (it will appear in the “Short Code” text bos (see shot below). Make sure you wait til after you have entered your choices to copy the code, as it will vary depending on which skin you choose. Then navigate back to your WordPress blog. Choose Dashboards, Appearance, Widgets, and then drag the Vodpod Vodeos widget into your sidebar. Click its dropdown arrow, and paste your code into the widget’s “Short Code” textbox.

5. IMPORT YOUR VIDEOS INTO VODPOD

Next, you must import a video (or more) into your vodpod account. As soon as you do this, the video will play on your blog when users click on it. You can import videos direct to your vodpod account from anywhere on the web (youtube, vimeo, Facebook) by using the “bookmarklet” button by clicking here once you have a vodpod account. Just drag the button into your browser bookmark toolbar, and you can import a video just by navigating to the video on the web and clicking the button. (You can also add videos by clicking the “Add Video” button on your account home page and pasting in the embed code.)

Once you have the video in your vodpod account, it will be play on your blog when you readers click on it (presentation will depend on which skin you chose). That’s all there is to it.

Also, you can post videos directly to a post in your blog from vodpod with the vodpod “Importer” tool by clicking here once you have your vodpod account.

So . . . there’s your basic intro, chickadees. There’s lots more to explore, like setting up video collections inside vodpod and following or searching other vodpod collections. But I’ll let you figure all that out. No use ruining all the fun of discovery! But this will be enough to get your started.

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