Why Why Embed.ly?
Embedding material from other websites can often be a challenge, despite the number of excellent workarounds to help you show what your visitors want to see. Now there is a new utility, Embed.ly, that (to quote their promotional materials):
[P]rovides a powerful API to convert standard URLs into embedded videos, images, and rich article previews from 218 leading providers.
Embed.ly is a service that turns a simple URL into an article preview, embedded video, image, RSS entry…the list goes on. And all of these in attractive formats/presentations that match the format of the origin sites.
In addition to the basic service, they also offer a host of complementary services that help you to manage risks associated with linking and to analyze how your users are interacting with your embedded content.
Putting Embed.ly on your site is remarkably easy, as they have a pretty straightforward WordPress plugin for you to install. The only other thing you have to do to activate their service is to get your Embed.ly key. To get the key, you have to register for their service and, depending on what you want to do with it, pay. There is a free tier of service (it takes a minute to find it!), but it excludes the customizing of the embed and prevents you from using most of their niftiest addons, while preserving the core functionality. Beyond the free tier, they charge a monthly fee to list a certain number of URLs and provide some of their array of services.
Is Thing Thing On?
So I installed the free version and decided to give it a little trial to see how it worked. When you go to your post or page editor (after installation and activation), you will see this:
Click on the Embed.ly button. Here you can see it clearly indicated by the drawing I had my trained elephant do. When you click on the button, the following pops up:
Add the url, choose the dimensions you would like, and then press the Preview button. In the box below you will be able to preview the embed. If you are happy with it, press the Embed this URL button. To get a better idea of what the embeds actually look like, I decided to try it out on three different tasks.
The first task was to embed a simple link to embed.ly itself. The final product:
Featured Plugin - WordPress Facebook Plugin
The second task was to embed a simple video from Vimeo.com. The final product:
The third task was to embed a link to a company description from CrunchBase. The final product:
And that is what Embed.ly can do for you and your WordPress-based site: to easily turn a basic link/embed into an attractive, informative, and trustworthy display. There is a lot more that you can embed or link to than was discussed in this post. Check out their list of 218 providers to see what other ways there are to embed and display interesting and visually-arresting content on your WordPress site.