Google Maps, YouTube, and SlideShare
There are a lot of Internet and web services which you can use along with your blog to make your content more interesting for your viewers. With a good digital camera and video production software, you can make your own videos and presentations quickly and easily, and embed them in your posts with just a few clicks! For example, with Google Maps, you can add photos of your business to a custom map, and post it in your blog to attract customers. There are a lot of possibilities, and it all depends on your creativity!
Including Google Maps in your posts
Using Google Maps in your blog is a good way of promoting your business because you can show your visitors your exact location. Or you can blog about your favorite places and show them as if you were there, using your own photos.
Time for action – using Google Maps
There are a lot of things you can do with Google Maps, one of them is including maps of your favorite places in your blog, as we’ll see in a moment:
- Open your web browser and go to Google Maps (http://maps.google.com). Type Eiffel Tower in the search textbox, and click on the Search Maps button or press Enter. Your web browser window will split in two areas, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Click on the Eiffel Tower link at the bottom-left part of the screen to see the Eiffel Tower’s exact position in the map at the right panel:
- Now click on the Satellite button to see a satellite image of the Eiffel Tower:
- Drag the Eiffel Tower upwards using your mouse, to center it on the map area:
- Click on the Zoom here link inside the Eiffel Tower caption to see a closer image:
- If you look closely at the previous screenshot, you’ll notice three links above the map: Print, Send, and Link. Click on Link to open a small window:
- Right-click on the Paste HTML to embed in website field to select the HTML code, and then click on the Copy option from the pop-up menu:
- Open a new web browser window and log into your Roller weblog. In the New Entry page, type The Eiffel Tower inside the Title field, and Eiffel Tower Google Maps inside the Tags field. Then click on the Toggle HTML Source button in the Rich Text editor toolbar, type This is an Eiffel Tower satellite image, courtesy of Google Maps:<br> inside the Content Field, press Enter, and paste the code you copied from the Google Maps web page:
- Scroll down the New Entry page and click on the Post to Weblog button. Then click on the Permalink field’s URL, to see your Google Maps image posted in your blog.
- Click on the Zoom here link once to see a close-up of the Eiffel Tower, as shown in the following screenshot:
What just happened?
Now you can add Google Maps functionality inside your blog! Isn’t that great? You just need to copy and paste the HTML code that the Google Maps produce automatically for you. If you want a bigger or smaller map, you can click on the Customize and preview embedded map link to customize the HTML code that you’re going to paste into your blog:
Then you just copy the HTML code produced by Google Maps and paste it into your blog post:
If you have a Google Maps account, you can create customized maps and show them to your visitors, add photos and videos of places you’ve visited, and even write reviews about your favorite restaurants and hotels.
Have a go hero – explore Google Maps
Now that you’ve seen how to embed Google Maps in your weblog, it would be a great idea to create your own Google Maps account, and start exploring all the things that you can do—inserting photos and videos about places you’ve visited in your own custom maps, adding reviews of restaurants and other businesses in your locality, and so on. You can explore other users’ maps, too. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be traveling around the world and meeting new people from your own PC.
Including YouTube videos in your posts
YouTube is one of the most popular video sharing websites in the world. You can include your favorite videos in your blog, or make your own videos and show them to your visitors. However, before you start complaining that we have already seen how to insert videos on your weblog, let me tell you that the big difference between uploading a video to your own blog server and uploading a video to a YouTube server is bandwidth.
When someone plays back a video from your weblog, the blog server transfers the video data to your visitor’s web browser, so that he/she can begin to see it, even before the video downloads completely. This is known as video streaming. Now, imagine you have 1,000 visitors, and each one of them is viewing the same video from your weblog! There would be a big amount of data flowing from your weblog to each visitor’s web browser! That amount of data flowing from one PC to another is called bandwidth. You would need a very broad connection to be capable of transmitting your video to all those visitors.
That’s where YouTube comes into play. They have lots of bandwidth available for you and the other millions of users who share videos daily! So, if you plan to include a lot of videos in your weblog, it would be a great idea to get a YouTube account and start uploading them. In the following exercise, I’ll show you how to include a YouTube video in your post, without having to upload it to your weblog.