Monthly Archives: March 2021

WordPress Plugin Review: Your Channel

Everything you want in a YouTube plugin?

A client of mine, a renaissance man, felt it was about time his ideas had an audience, and so requested a website to self-publish his writings, as well as setting up a YouTube channel. We wanted a way for the website to promote the channel, not just by providing a link but with a dedicated space on the site to embed his YouTube videos as they are released.

I thought a WordPress plugin the obvious solution, and so I set about researching those that met this use case. After a false start, I decided on Your Channel, a freemium plug-in by Plugin Builders. The previous plugin I tried, whose name escapes me now, was only able to show videos in a playlist trapped inside a single embedded iframe. I wanted something to show each video, ideally in a grid layout, and with Your Channel I found just what I was looking for.

Your Channel – the pros

I like a plugin that plays well with my theme, and doesn’t add any annoying styling that needs overriding, leading to code bloat. This plugin seems to fulfil that need, and I haven’t needed to add any styling at all to the video grid. It’s well presented with a cool player, and applies sensible responsive design principles. The grid layout is an option, as is the style of the player – inline or lightbox. The inline player option seems to me perfectly good. You can see the results over at my client’s video page:

https://xenspace.online/videos/
Videos at xenspace.online

Your Channel – the cons

Perfection of course is elusive. The plugin is as I mentioned freemium, by which a number of useful and ‘nice to have’ but not essential features are available in the ‘pro’ version of the plugin, such as a slider and carousel theme and the ability to specify the start times of videos (although both these examples could in theory be added by a site developer if needed).

On the WordPress Dashboard, the plugin menu is well placed as an extra item in the Settings menu. The setting interface for the plugin could be improved in my view: some of the wording could be clearer, and until you hover and click over a section heading in the instructions, it’s not obvious they are collapsible accordion sections. Adding an open/close icon to each section would help make operating the plugin a smoother experience.

More worringly, at the time of writing, the plugin was last updated one month ago, has not been tested with the very latest versions of WordPress, and currently presents a bug leading to error warnings on the plugin’s setting page. Hopefully these issues will be fixed in the near future.

Conclusion and alternatives

Other than that I would recommend this plugin for the use case. Other similar plugins are available, and the good people at WPBeginner have curated their pick of these.

Disclaimer: this post is not paid or promoted by the makers of the Your Channel plugin.