Embedly is a free service designed to help make it easy to embed many different types of content into your website via the use of cards, these are a clean responsive way of embedding content which can then be shared by your readers on social media using buttons provided with each card.
At the time of writing, Embedly supports over 300 different content providers.
Using The Plugin
After you have uploaded and activated the plugin you will see a new menu item named "Embedly", if you visit this you will see 2 buttons to get started using the plugin - if you already have an Embedly account you can login, otherwise you should click the "Get Started" button to create your account.
You will then be taken to the Embedly website where you can enter your name, email and a password to create your account.
You will then be promoted to enter a name for your website, after which it will return you to your WordPress dashboard where it will display a message saying you are ready to start embedding URLs in your posts.
Before you do so, you should check out the advanced settings just below where you can configure some options for the look of your embeds. Here you can change :
- Design - Minimal option removes the left bar on the card
- Text - Light text is for sites with dark background colors and will make the text white
- Buttons - Enable or Disable the sharing buttons when the card is hovered over
- Width - Enter a set width or leave it blank to be responsive
- Alignment - Left, Right or Centered cards
The plugin is now setup and ready to use, lets take a look at what the embeds look like.
To start off try embedding a link to a blog post, go to the add new post or page area and simply paste a link into the post editor and you will see it transformed into an Embedly card, you will see that it grabs the featured image, some post text and inserts a link to the post URL.
Here is what it looks like on the live site, not the social buttons to the right - these appear when the embed is hovered hover.
Next I tried embedding a Google map, to do this just go to Google Maps and search for what you want - I looked up Manchester in the UK and zoomed in a bit to the city center, then just grabbed the URL from the browser bar and pasted that into the post editor. Here you can see the plugin has inserted a usable Google map of the exact location I found on the map with links to get directions and so on.
There are currently over 300 different providers which are supported by the plugin, you can view the full list here which is also searchable. In this section I will show you a few more embeds from various websites so you can see how the plugin handles them.
This plugin is well made and satisfying to use, I like the look of embedded cards which are created - everything worked flawlessly while I was testing out this plugin. I can see quite a few uses for this plugin - you can use it to add some interest to your blog posts if used sparingly, if there is a particular link you would like to draw readers attention to, using the plugin to insert a card will give the reader a preview and image to make it stand out more. The Google maps embedding is another nice feature, you could use this plugin just to handle that on your contact page - its lightweight and a lot easier to use than the more featured Google maps specific plugins.
WordPress itself has started handling more embedded media lately using oEmbed, you can see a list of the providers it currently supports by default here. As you can see, Embedly handles many more sources so looks to be a good plugin if you embed a lot of content in your posts.
The plugin is completely free to use forever, according to their website:
There doesnt seem to be any paid plans at the moment so I guess these will be introduced at a later date. Although I dont have any information on what the paid plans would contain, I would guess at more advanced Analytics, more page views etc, I'd be interested to see how they approach monetization of such a service.
One thing I would like to see added to the plugin is the ability to customize the output and CSS for a specific provider, it would be nice also to be able to pull the content created by the plugin into your post as HTML so you then have the ability to edit it in the post editor. This would also prevent plugin lock-in, so if you ever decide to disconnect the plugin - the content is still there saved.
Try it out if you are looking for an easy way to embed more content into your WordPress sites.