Increasing click-throughs from YouTube

Five months ago I posted a video to see what results a YouTube video would produce compared to a static HTML page on the same subject. The results were dramatic. While my WordPress page on dividing Agapanthus has floundered with a handful of hits, the video has been viewed over 1,600 times! (You can read about how I set up this experiment here (internal link).) Briefly, I paid close attention to the captions Google produced, cleaning them up to make them more sensical to Google’s search engine. And while I am pleased with the number of plays, this success hasn’t resulted in any more hits for the website you are at now. What follows are ideas that might increase traffic; I’d be interested if they work for you.


Originally, I so concentrated on producing my video that I didn’t look around at all the options YouTube has to offer. As you can tell by this screen shot, there are at least 12 different choices to explore. The first one, marked by the pencil, calls up the “Info and Settings” menu, which leads you down the main rabbit hole of YouTube. But first things first. Notice how I ran the two words together? When I first posted the file I wasn’t sure if a space would prevent its uploading. In The Old Days you had to have a character between file words names, even a dash or an underline, lest a server reject it. Now, however, after seeing countless files with spaces on YouTube, I went back today and separated the two. I am sure this will help Google index, now that the two are properly separated. Having located the navigation points surrounding my video, and having done some light housekeeping, I was ready to tackle a goal that made perfect sense: find a way to produce a clickable link from my video to my website.


As you can see from the above screenshot, I was able to make that clickable link happen, although it took many hours. The captions at the bottom of the frame are what I first worked on when I posted the video, the link above is the one I just made. I will probably go back and edit it. Make it say something like “Visit my website” instead of just giving out a URL. Before I outline some of the steps I took, I would advise you not to go through with this process if you have just a few videos. It’s far easier to upload a video to YouTube and then embed it into your website (internal link), than going through what is a long process to produce a clickable link. But if you have an entire channel of YouTube videos, well, I think you are committed to going the whole route.

You’ll need personal accounts at Google and YouTube to get things going. You’ll also need to identify your website to Google and eventually YouTube will have to verify your ownership. All of this means keeping track of codes and ID numbers. You’ll probably deal with both Google’s Webmaster Tools (external link) as well as Google Analytics (external link). Get to know them. I think YouTube wants to make sure that videos linked to sites only go from video posters and site owners who are the same. This process is harder at sites hosted by People who can access and manage settings at their servers directly will have a much easier time. Just to give you an overview, let’s say you’ve uploaded a video to YouTube. I assume you’ve already corrected the captions to get your best chance at proper indexing. Now then, you:

1) Select Video Manager.

2) Click on Info and Settings.

3) Select the frames in your video where you want your link to appear.

4) Pick Add Annotation.

5) Select Spotlight. There are other choices but that’s a good one.

6) Choose the style you want your text to appear in. This is what people will see when deciding to click on the link. Don’t forget to put a blue border around your caption.

7) Click on the Link box.

8) At this point you will have many choices. You will usually want Associated Website. This means a click will take a person from the video to the website associated with your video. Don’t see this option? You won’t if you haven’t properly identified your website and yourself to Google and YouTube.

9) Your caption text won’t appear unless a person hovers over the caption area with a mouse. Use the link capability around something you want people to click on, like your website address. In other words, at some point in your video, have a frame that clearly and boldly spells out your site. After you upload your video you can use the linking capability to tie that title page to your site.

Unfortunately, according to Google, the annotations will not show up on tablets or mobile devices. More on annotations here (external link). I am aware that some people say that, in fact, annotations do show. Not on my iPad.

In closing, I think this process is worth the time if you have many videos and a single site for them to link to. Otherwise, try imbedding. Also, be sure to create a link in the caption or comments box that accompanies a description. Simply type out your URL like this: No brackets or HTML needed. YouTube will recognize the link when you type it out.  Lastly, I am thinking of taking the text of my captions and including them in the video’s description box. I’m not aware of any limitations on length. It may further help Google to index. Good luck.




Figuring out WordPress

The differences between a WordPress site hosted at and a WordPress site hosted somewhere else are significant. At, as in the case of this blog, you have limited options with which to format your text, but a less confusing interface in which to edit. At certain features are built in to your editor, whereas at a self-hosted site you need to add them through installing what are called Plugins. Let’s take an example.

The editor menu bar for my template or theme at is below. No ability to change text style or text size within a page. If I want a sans-serif font like Arial for my headings, and a serif-font like Times for my main text, well, I can’t do it. At least not with a text editor. If you know how to write code in the programming language called CSS, you can make individual changes within a page. But to my thinking, having to write code defeats the purpose and simplicity of WordPress.


The editor menu bar for my WordPress site at (external link) is pictured below. In this case I have supplemented the built in editor, which looks very similar to the above, with a free piece of software called TinyMCE Advanced (external link). This allows options like Font Sizes and Font Family to be activated. Installing a Plugin is very simple. A built in search engine on your WordPress site allows you to pick which plugin you want. There are thousands, all to do different jobs. An “Install” button appears when you’ve made a selection and within a minute of clicking your site has a new feature. Not all plugins are compatible with all themes.


As with everything on the web, things can break down in a hurry. Yesterday I battled with a problem at (site discontinued) that appears to be related to a  plugin. The solution was a combination of things, some of them old techniques.

Try as I might, I could not change photograph captions from italics to straight text. While trying to correct this I managed to wipe out the navigation bar at the top of every page. Eventually I had JustHost restore my site with a backup they had made a few days ago. Then I deleted the offending plug-in, cleared the cache on my browser, then reinstalled the plug in. Everything works now. What’s next? More learning. I’ve yet to figure out how to integrate background images to my pages. I’ll report back here if I accomplish that.

Update! I figured out the background image problem. Nothing in my Creativo 4.0 template (external link) had any language saying that selecting a background image would be a problem. Quite the contrary. Doesn’t this selection bar seem easy and hopeful?


But no matter how I tried, no matter what images I selected, nothing would work. I even tried going away from the individual page and working on the problem from an overall theme perspective, whereby the background image would be displayed across all the pages at my site. No luck. It was only until I went to the developer’s website that I discovered this wording:

“Custom Background Image – this option allows you to upload / select an image for the background of the post page – this will only work for Boxed Layout”

Boxed layout?! Turns out that you have to select that option, buried elsewhere, before a background image will work. Nothing in the above selection bar gave a hint that making this choice was needed. Sigh. This is why I say that creating a website is not just about writing. At least half of your time will be spent in formatting, adding photographs, making illustrations, producing videos, and chasing across the web for solutions for adding same. Even with a simple blog, a website is not a novel, it is a complicated multi-media presentation.