Updated: April 25, 2017
Live streaming is a cool topic that got me interested recently. Basically, we all know how to host a standard (not live) video on a blog. You just … well … use the embed code from YouTube, and you’re done.
And, to be honest, the technical side of things is not that different when it comes to live video. However, the tricky part is to provide good user experience for the people watching it, and to make the whole event worthwhile, so to speak, for the website itself.
Here’s what I mean. I’d advise looking at the whole live video streaming thing like a three-part process:
- Pre-event actions.
- During the event.
- Post-event actions.
Here’s a possible scenario to handle this:
1. Pre-event actions
First of all, live streaming is a great thing in itself. Let me use an example to explain why (two questions): How many people do you think watch the Super Bowl live? vs. How many people watch a recording the next day?
It’s probably something about the human nature that makes watching things as they happen much more attractive. Anyway, I digress.
The in-the-nutshell advice for this is that if you happen to have the possibility to publish a live streaming of an event taking place (or to create your event), then you should give it a shot just to see how it goes. This might be your night of big traffic and recognition (if you have the means to get the word out about it).
So, how to do it on WordPress…
The first step is the countdown page.
I encourage you to create a new page on your site and place a countdown timer on it.
This page is the one that’s going to feature the stream later on when it happens, but for now, we’re using it as a placeholder that is meant to get people in and convince them to bookmark the page, potentially also share it with their followers on social media.
When it comes to social media, I’m sure you have some Twitter and Facebook buttons on the blog already, so just make sure that this time they are more visible than ever, and also include a couple of words of encouragement to get people to spread the word out.
Creating this sort of a “placeholder” page can create some initial buzz and interest. You can even go the extra step and include an email subscription form if you really want to go all-out on this.
2. During the event
Note. The preparation process still needs to take place before the event, but since this is the part where you’re creating the main page hosting the event, I’m describing it in this section of the article.
The trick is that when the time comes and the event starts, you will have to be ready to host it and already have everything set in place. On top of that, you also have to perform some quick “page swapping.”
What we’re actually going to do here is create a new page, set it up, and then when the time comes, take down the countdown page and put the new one in its place (with the same slug).
Here are the things you can include on the new page:
The video stream itself.
(Actually the only mandatory element.)
Firstly, you have to decide how you’re going to stream the event. There are a couple of solutions available. The main idea that comes to mind is YouTube Live Streaming. It allows you to transmit your events (webinars, presentations and question-and-answer sessions) to the world via YouTube.
Once your channel is enabled, you have 3 options to start your live stream:
- Stream Now is a fast and easy way to go live. Start delivering content and the Youtube Team will automatically launch and stop the stream for you at the right time.
- Events gives you better control of the live stream. You can preview just before you go live, you have backup redundancy streams, and you can start and stop the stream any time you want.
- Mobile enables you stream from the main YouTube app. After a mobile live stream finishes, an archive of the stream is saved on your channel, and you get the option to edit the privacy settings (involving setting it to private) or erasing the archive.
Note. To be qualified to use YouTube live on mobile, your channel must have more than 1,000 subscribers.
Moreover, Youtube provides a Live Chat as well. Here you can see how it works:
Whenever you would like to embed your live stream on your website, you have to make sure you have a validated AdSense account associated with your YouTube account.
For live streaming on Youtube, you just have to click on “Share” and “Embed” to get the embed code. Then, simply put it on your website, and people will be able to see your livestreamed service on your site.
Otherwise, if you don’t want to do it manually, there is a cool plugin to embed your Live Events Youtube video on website quickly: Youtube Live Stream Auto Embed. This WordPress plugin provides a shortcode to automatically embed any live stream from an indicated YouTube channel ID.
Some other sensible ways of creating live streams come from technologies like Livestream (through their Livestream Live Video Tools), or Red5. There’s also a possibility to install Red5 on any other server, but there can be some compatibility and resource intensity issues (especially when run on shared hosting).
Livestream looks interesting with their various gizmos, like the broadcaster, for example, which can be connected via HDMI to a camera and then send the stream directly to the service. However, this costs money, and in my opinion, the people who can benefit the most are experienced media publishers.
Plus, if you want to get the premium feature labeled as “Livestream on Any Website – unlimited embedding” that’s $42 a month.
Ustream is one more specialized service. Using it, you can get:
- HD broadcasting (as much as 720p)
- Ad-free broadcasting
- Network password security
- Network personalization
- Phone assistance
- Video clip installed control
- Twitter and Facebook streaming
Ustream features 2 innovative option:
- Pro Broadcasting – Online Video Streaming for Broadcasting. You could test Pro Broadcasting attributes for Thirty Days also, getting as much as 5,000 customer hours (it is the complete broadcasting time multiplied with the predicted size of your targeted market).
- Ustream Align– Secure Video clip Sharing for Enterprises and also Teams.
If you could not choose which system (Youtube, UStream or Livestream) to stream to, you could stream it to all of them making use of Restream.
The benefit of using Restream is that if one system does not work, your solution is still livestreamed to numerous other systems. So there are different sources where your targeted market can view your Video. Likewise, undoubtedly, the more systems you stream to, the more brand-new customers you could get watching your video.
Standard Red5 hosting like the one mentioned above is a more affordable solution, and you get many customization features. There’s also a software package delivered to set everything up and provide you with the final embed code you can place on your WordPress site.
Red5 is open source so if you’re in the mood; you can look into the community and participate in what’s going on there. It can be used in Video Conferences, Multi-User Gaming, and Enterprise Application Software.
What does the paid version of Red5Pro include?
- Reduced Latency Live Streaming – Live Recordings – Video on Demand – Multi-Protocol Support (WebRTC, RTMP, RTSP, HLS).
- iOS SDK.
- 10 Connections.
- HTML5 SDK.
- Android SDK.
- No Clustering.
- No Autoscale.
You can try Red5Pro for a 30-Days Free Trial Period.
Livestream Plugins to use
Here is a bunch of Plugins you can use to livestream videos on WordPress. The problem is that several of them require special hosting and for a better functionality you’ll have to subscribe to a paid plan.
The VideoWhisper Live Streaming software can effortlessly be used to add live webcam video transmitting to WordPress, live video streams on blog pages and setup subscription for accessing or broadcasting live videos.
The point of issue this plugin is that it has specific hosting requirements, that implies that an RTMP host is needed for consistent connections to handle live intercommunications and streaming. Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) is a protocol for streaming audio and video online, between a Flash player and a server. So that particular software is required for recognizing and serving the RTMP connections.
WimTV provides storage space and data transfer used for the video. You can publish live streaming, video schedules, video on demand, and playlists right on your website.
Once you have the embed code included on the page, you can take care of other things.
There are two alternative ways of handling a live event on a website: (1) you can either minimize all distractions by featuring only the video stream, or (2) you can use the real estate on your page to include some elements to encourage community participation. I prefer the latter.
However, there are still some distractions that you don’t want on your stream page no matter what, these are:
- external links to other sites (ads for your individual consideration),
- internal links to unrelated pages on your site,
- unrelated Twitter streams (and other social media activity),
- standard comment form (there’s a better solution…).
Introducing a live chat can work a lot better than going with a standard comment form.
The biggest problem with standard comments is that there’s a lot going on during a live stream, and you really don’t want to have to moderate comments during the event.
Also, when someone submits a comment, the page will reload (depending on the commenting platform you use), which will force the viewer to reconnect to the stream. In the end, this will discourage any commenting activity.
Live chat seems to be a great alternative here because it doesn’t require any moderation and the comments that get published won’t stay on your site permanently.
In the article: Top live chat plugins for WordPress we discussed a lot about which Live Chat Plugin is the best to use for your website.
One more thing that can work well to keep the buzz going is to publish a real-time Twitter stream. The intuitive thing to do is to create a #hashtag and stream all updates featuring it in real time.
This can be done with Real Time Twitter.
This does interfere with the live chat a bit, but it allows you to test both approaches at once, and then the next time around maybe using just the one that performed better.
- You can go for Simple Social Press, a brand-new WordPress plugin that can Re-purpose your Facebook Live video recording as a blog post on your WordPress site;
- You have the ability to incorporate an email opt-in box under each video to promptly expand your audience and build your email list a lot faster than anything else .
- The blog post comes pre-loaded with all the conversations that took place during the Live broadcast on Facebook (The effect on SEO itself is astonishing!)
All these can be done by default without you, perhaps, even bothering to log into your WordPress site.
This is a promising plugin that’s completely worth it. You only have to buy the license, and afterward, you can make use of it.
30-Day Money Back Guarantee
You can try out Simple Social Press for 30 days. If you’re not absolutely delighted, just simply cancel and keep the plugin for totally free.
Also, publishing some standard social media share buttons on the page is always a good idea. It allows you to get new audience during the show through re-tweets and @mentions.
3. Post-event actions
Once the event is done, you can edit the main page (the one you used for streaming) and share some thoughts about the event, thank everyone for watching it, and maybe announce a completely new event.
Later on, you can also publish a replay and try to make it a genuine part of your website (some SEO exposure is always valuable).
One more thing you can publish are the best chat talks if you have the log, but this will require some digging around.
Anyway, that’s it – my plan for streaming live video. Feel free to let me know what you think. Is there anything else worth mentioning?