I began this post asking myself this question.
Why is Embedding Content on Responsive Themes so Random?
As I extended my research, a bigger issue surfaced.
18 months ago I changed the WordPress theme on my blog to make it responsive. It required a massive effort to change images sizes, editing every post. At the time I thought this was an image specific problem, as I’d not used featured images. It seems cool themes use unique image sizes and featured images.
At the same time we made Listly fully responsive and updated the Listly blog to a new responsive theme.
Today I found myself asking is there a bigger problem.
I believe there is need to keep your blog post content to be theme agnostic and shield youself from WordPress theme lock-in.
The more custom short-codes you use in individual posts, the more you become locked to a specific theme and the harder it is to change themes at a future date.
I’ll show some examples in the context of embedding slides, videos etc.
I also explore the question:
Can Plugins Protect Your WordPress Content from Theme Lock-In?
I believe plugins can insulate you from theme lock-in.
Embedding responsive content on WordPress themes feels like is should be simpler, but I think it’s got more random.
I often embed Slides, Videos and Podcast/Audio content and it’s become theme specific, which feels unwise. I post between Listly’s blog and my blog and they have different responsive themes and therefore different approaches to embedding content.
This means you will face challenges if you later decide to switch themes. Given blog are a permanent fixture, future proofing your content is a smart choice.
Too many theme specific short codes can bite when you decide to change themes. Being mindful of theme lock-in is a serious issue that relatively few people are talking about yet.
When you are strategizing about your WordPress blog, I believe it’s smart to pick plugins to keep your “post content” as theme agnostic as possible. That way, if you change your theme, you won’t be going back and making hundreds or thousands of manual edits.
Simple consistent editing is important as you create a body of blog posts and as multiple people participate. You want to offer an effortless experience for your reader and this means having a consistent experience for your authors.
Is the right approach to use plugins to manage your embedded content?
There are many mature plugins to choose from, so this feels like a safe option.
You face a simple choice:
- Be locked in to a theme for embedding options
- Be locked into a plugin for embedding slides, videos and podcasts.
I believe it makes more sense to plan to be loyal to a specific plugin over a specific theme. How about you?
I made a list of responsive plugins that I tagged based on the media they support – ie slides, video, audio etc.
Easily embed SlideShare presentations into your WordPress posts by using the SlideShare WordPress.com embed code.
This plugin makes videos responsive using the FitVids jQuery plugin on WordPress.
This plugin will automatically resize your WordPress auto-embeds, including video and other iframes, in a responsive fashion. It currently supports the following providers: Live Example Visit the test page where you can resize the browser and watch the videos automatically scale to fit the resolution.
This plugin modifies the built-in Vimeo and YouTube oEmbed auto-embeds so they are full-width, and flexible while maintaining their original aspect ratio. As of version 1.2.2 it contains English, Portuguese (BR), and Spanish translations.
This plugin, like most things useful, grew out of a need. I had a Prezi and I had a WordPress blog. I Googled for a few hours, trying to find a way to embed one within the other, and found some dirty hacks that ended up not working, as well as a plugin or two that didn't work, or only half worked.
Make sure to include an ID. The plugin understands both the unique presentation ID (found in the prezi.com URL) or the entire URL. [prezi id='hgjm18z36h75'] [prezi id='http://prezi.com/hgjm18z36h75/why-should-you-move-beyond-slides/']
Blubrry PowerPress brings the essential features for podcasting to WordPress. Developed by podcasters for podcasters, PowerPress offers full iTunes support, web audio/video media players and more. PowerPress Key Features Full iTunes Support: Adds iTunes compliant podcast feeds to your WordPress blog.
The Podcasting plugin by TSG brings complete podcasting support to WordPress. Podcasting will take a file from somewhere on the web (either your site or another site) and it will add it to an iTunes-based feed. Podcasting also includes a player allowing visitors to your site to view the file on the web.
This plugin converts all SoundCloud Shortcodes into embeddable SoundCloud players. It works for any SoundCloud track, playlist, user, or group. Once you install this plugin, it works for any of your blog posts.
Plugin to easily integrate List.ly lists on WordPress. Add/edit lists, add items to lists and embed lists as responsive content using customizable shortcodes. Listly lets you curate and crowdsource any list embedded in a blog post / page. Listly empowers your audience to contribute to the list content on your blog.
An alternative approach is to use Listly to embed all forms of responsive content. Here’s a Listly list that embeds a video, a slidedeck and a podcast (requiring just one plugin).
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Putting the examples aside for a moment, I believe its worth being conscious about how you are “locked in”. There are always choices to make and it’s better to me mindful.
WordPress is likely here to stay, and your blog is not something you want to limit your agility.
Think carefully about the short-codes you use on each post and consider if there is a suitable plugin to protect you from a future desire to change your WordPress Theme.
One alternative is to use a plugin that lets you create your own shortcodes – thereby insulating yourself from theme specific codes.
Image Credit: philliecasablanca via Flickr / Creative Commons