How to Record Webinars Using WebinarAlly and YouTube Live

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A lot of bloggers like to do webinars. Webinars allow for more participants who can discuss a problem or several topics. As a result, the webinar format tends to be more entertaining and/or informative than a podcast or a one-on-one interview.

WordPress is great for hosting webinars. There are many useful plugins available to users that require no coding experience at all. I consider WebinarAlly one of the very best of these plugins.

Here is my very detailed step-by-step tutorial that will show you how to record webinars using WebinarAlly and YouTube Live. Beware, it is really very detailed — not kidding!

What will you learn in this post?

I will show you:

  • how to set up the WebinarAlly WordPress plugin
  • how to start your live streaming webinars
  • what capabilities and features WebinarAlly offers
  • how to end your broadcasting correctly
  • how to work with your recorder webinars

Setting Up the WebinarAlly Plugin

Since WebinarAlly is a paid premium blugin, first you need to purchase it.

Once your payment goes through, you will receive a zip file containing all the plugin files.

Installation

You will need to have an administrator account to install and set up this (or any other) plugin in WordPress.

After that, log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New. Click on the Upload Plugin button located at the top of the page.

WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Add New

WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Add New

Next, click on the Choose File button.

In the new window, navigate to the location of the zip file you have just purchased and click Open.

Finally, click on the Install Now button.

WordPress Dashboard > Add Plugins > Install Now

WordPress Dashboard > Add Plugins > Install Now

As far as the basic installation of the WebinarAlly plugin is concerned — this is it.

Admin Settings

You can now proceed to the WebinarAlly settings page — it is located towards the bottom of the dashboard left-pane menu.

Here you can specify your time zone and your default Google account.

WebinarAlly Settings > Time Zone, Google account

WebinarAlly Settings > Time Zone, Google account

You can also change the default CSS styling code.

WebinarAlly Settings > CSS

WebinarAlly Settings > CSS

And you can register you purchased copy of WebinarAlly by entering your registration email address and the license key you have been given.

WebinarAlly Settings > License Information

WebinarAlly Settings > License Information

Streaming Your Webinars

But how do you actually make WebinarAlly record a webinar?

Here is the whole process step by step:

1. Log in to YouTube using your Google account.

Important Note

This Google account will be the one hosting, controlling, and streaming the webinar.

2. Log in to your blog’s WordPress dashboard.
3. Go to Pages > Add New to create a new page. This will be your webinar page.
4. Scroll down to the bottom of this new page and find the WebinarAlly section.
5. Enable the webinar for this page and set it up the date, time, and title according to your needs.
6. To start up the webinar, click on the yellow Start! button

Webinar Settings

Webinar Settings

7. A Google Hangouts window will open up.
8. You will be asked to install two Google Talk plugins. If you already have them installed, then you will be asked to activate them.

Activate Google Talk Video Renderer

Activate Google Talk Video Renderer

Activate Google Talk

Activate Google Talk

Tip

Sometimes nothing will show up in the Google Hangouts window. This is because your browser didn’t automatically activate two Google Talk plugins.
 
If you are using Mozilla Firefox, then type and enter about:addons into the address bar. Select Plugins in the left pane. Then select Always Activate next to the Google Talk Plugin and the Google Talk Plugin Video Renderer.

Manually activate Google Talk plugins in Mozilla Firefox

Manually activate Google Talk plugins in Mozilla Firefox

9. Now in the same window you will have a Join button at the bottom. Click on it.

Join webinar

Join webinar

10. In the next popup window click Start Hangout on Air and you are in!

Start Hangout on Air

Start Hangout On Air

After that, you are all set up and you can start your webinar.

WebinarAlly Features

WebinarAlly was originally created to work with Google Hangouts on Air. Google decided to discontinue this service as of September 12, 2016.

However, you can still use WebinarAlly just the same — instead of Google Hangouts on Air, it will connect to YouTube Live.

Inviting Webinar Participants

To invite your webinar participants (invitees), click on the first (leftmost) Invite People icon at the top of the window.

Invite People to your webinar

Invite People to your webinar

A popup window will appear in which you will be able to type then names or email addresses of people you would like to invite. As you start typing names or email addresses, people with similar names and email addresses will automatically show up. You can either select from those lists or you can type away.

Share link to the webinar and Send invites

Share link to the webinar and Send invites

All your invitees need to have Google accounts or set up new ones before they will be able to connect to your webinar.

As you can see, you can also send your participants a direct link instead of an invite.

This system is limited to 10 participants.

Inviting Viewers

While participants (invitees) are people who actually take part in the webinar, you can also let viewers know that you are going to be broadcasting a webinar. For example, you can let your subscribers know through your email newsletter.

You can either send them the link to the webinar page on your WordPress blog — that’s the one you created in the Streaming Your Webinars section of this post.

Or you can send them a link from the Google Hangouts window which will take them to your YouTube channel’s live streaming page. The link is located in the bottom right corner of the window.

YouTube Live page link

YouTube Live page link

The YouTube link is a better option for websites that are not capable of dealing with the amount of data transfer that would occur with hundreds or thousands of viewers trying to watch the stream through their server.

The number of viewers that may attend your webinar is not limited.

Start Broadcasting

Once your participants accepted their invites and are visible in the Google Hangouts window, you can start broadcasting the webinar.

Start broadcast

Start broadcast

The Start broadcast button is located centrally at the bottom of the Google Hangouts window.

Once you are broadcasting it means that your webinar can be watched on your YouTube Live stream and on your WordPress blog’s webinar page.

YouTube will be recording this stream and will automatically publish it to your YouTube channel once you stop broadcasting.

Unlisting a Webinar from YouTube Live

If you don’t want your streaming webinar to be accessible to anyone and everyone, go to your YouTube account’s Live Streaming page.

There, scroll down to the Basic Info section below the streaming video and under Privacy select the Unlisted option.

Unlist live stream at YouTube Live

Unlist live stream at YouTube Live

Participating in a Webinar

When participating in a webinar, I recommend using headphones. There tends to be some slight feedback between the computer’s speakers and microphone, which is quite annoying to all participants and viewers as well. When using headphones, the feedback goes away.

If others can’t hear you, make sure that your microphone is not muted — either by a physical button or switch on the microphone, or in your operating system’s settings.

In Windows, you can check that under Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Sound > Manage audio devices.

In the Sound window, go to the Recording tab, select your microphone and click on Properties.

In the Microphone Properties window check the Levels tab.

Microphone Properties > Levels

Microphone Properties > Levels

By default, when a participant speaks, the software will focus on them automatically. It simply jumps between speakers as they take turns.

The webinar host can override this behavior. To do so, right-click on a participant, click on the down arrow in the upper right corner of their icon, and select Present to everyone.

Present to everyone

Present to everyone

This setting is especially useful when one participant wants to show a chart, a slideshow, or some other material, and you don’t want others to “steal” focus from them.

Screenshare

The participant wishing to share something will also need to select the Screenshare app on the left of the Google Hangouts window. And then select the correct window to share.

Screenshare app

Screenshare app

A limitation of this feature is that some software (such as Apple Keynote) will not work when operating in full screen mode. Unfortunately, this is a bug within these presentation software programs and there is very little that can be done. I recommend using another software program, even if it means that you will have to convert the Keynote presentation to another format.

Bandwidth

You can adjust the quality of what you are presenting by limiting your bandwidth.

Limiting the bandwidth

Limiting the bandwidth

You should only resort to using this feature if you have very limited internet connection. Otherwise, try to avoid low quality data transmission at all cost.

Your viewers will thank you!

Chatting

Participants can chat among themselves in the Google Hangouts window.

For viewers to be able to ask questions or chat among themselves, they can do so on the YouTube Live streaming page of your webinar. It works the same as commenting under a normal YouTube video.

For your viewers to be able to chat on the webinar page of your WordPress blog, you will need to add a chat script to that page.

A simple one can be found at tlk.io. You can customize the settings and then generate a simple embed code which you copy/paste to your webinar page.

Tlk.io chat script code

Tlk.io chat script code

After you add the code to your webinar page, the tlk.io chat will show up on the front end.

tlk.io chat

tlk.io chat

You can sign in with your name or your Twitter or Facebook account.

Wrapping Up Your Webinar

Once you are done discussing, just say goodbye to everyone and click on the red Stop broadcast button located centrally at the bottom of the Google Hangouts window.

Stop broadcast

Stop broadcast

You will be notified that your current Google Hangout on Air has just finished.

This Hangout On Air is now over

This Hangout On Air is now over

Then, to close the Google Hangouts window click on the red Leave call icon — the rightmost icon located at the top of the window.

Leave call

Leave call

You can now go to your YouTube account’s Video Manager. There you can either edit or download your webinar recording.

To download the webinar, make sure that there is no Processing… text next to it. If there is, you need to wait — you can download a video from YouTube only after it has been properly processed.

Once the processing has finished, click on the Edit button located right next to the video’s thumbnail image and select Download MP4 from the drop-down menu.

You can edit the MP4 file later on your computer and then re-upload the final version of your webinar to your YouTube channel as a new publicly available video.

In case you decided to download the webinar recording, I recommend deleting the original webinar video from the Video Manager.

Delete webinar recording from YouTube Video Manager

Delete webinar recording from YouTube Video Manager

To do so, click on the Edit button located right next to the video’s thumbnail image and select Delete from the drop-down menu.

Final Thoughts

The WebinarAlly premium plugin for WordPress offers a full-fledged solution for bloggers who would like to create webinars. It has lots of features and relies on the robustness of YouTube Live.

I really can’t find any downsides to using it. Try it and let me know in the comments section below how you feel about it.

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