How to Save Previously Viewed Items in Your WordPress Website

If you’ve ever browsed through a YouTube video and decided you wanted to watch it later but never got around to it, you’ll know what I mean when I say that previously viewed items are a nuisance. It’s bad enough that you have to manually sort through the items in your queue to find the ones you want to watch, but it’s even more frustrating when you can’t find them again once you’ve watched them. While YouTube has started rolling out a watch history feature that syncs to the iPhone and Android, for now the best you can do is create a filter that automatically removes your recently watched items from your feed.

WordPress is a perfect platform for implementing your own watch history. It has a built-in option to keep track of your video views and integrates with many other platforms, making it both flexible and easy to use.

In this article, you’ll learn how to implement a feature on your site that automatically removes videos that you’ve already watched from your feed. You can use this feature to keep track of your video views and avoid missing out on any great videos because you were too lazy to watch them the first time around! 

Step One: Create an Automated Notification When A User Watches A Video On Your Site

The first step is to create an automated notification when a user watches a video on your site. You can do this using a tool like Simple Notify or Rocket Ismail. With Simple Notify, for example, you can set up a quick and easy to use rule-based notification system that sends you an email or a text message when a video on your site is viewed or shared by a user.

The beauty of this approach is that it doesn’t require you to use any external plugins or add more code to your site. It just takes a few seconds to set up and configure. Once you have, you can sit back and let the notifications flow in.

Step Two: Display A Reminder Notification Before You Play A Video

The next step is to display a reminder notification before you play a video. To do this, all you need is a small bit of code that runs on page load. You can use a plugin like Wistia for WordPress or the YouTube HTML5 Player API to create a popup window that warns the user that the video will begin playing after they click play.

If a user clicks the X to close the window or taps the screen, the video will automatically start playing. Otherwise, they’ll have to wait until the end of the video before continuing where they left off.

Step Three: Use a Bit of Javascript To Keep Track Of Viewed Videos

The third step is to use a bit of javascript to keep track of viewed videos. Nowadays, many video platforms, such as YouTube and Dailymotion, provide an option for users to save videos to a watch list. This option makes it easy for users to revisit videos that they’ve previously seen and makes it simpler for them to find videos that interest them once their watch list is full.

By offering this feature, YouTube and Dailymotion make it easier for users to find content that they’ll enjoy and want to watch again. However, using javascript to track video views can get a little tricky. You don’t want to use too much javascript or run afoul of Google’s browser compression guidelines, which suggest you avoid using more than 4kB of javascript on a page. This is why the previous step uses just enough javascript to allow users to add videos to their watch list while maintaining compliance with Google’s guidelines.

Step Four: Use Two Filters To Pull Videos Into Your Queue For Later Viewing

The fourth step is to use two filters to pull videos into your queue for later viewing. First, you’ll want to filter out videos that you’ve already watched from your feed using the previously mentioned YouTube API. Second, you’ll need a plugin like Simple Queue to keep track of your videos and display them in a queue. This step is important because you don’t want to overload your user’s with too much content all at once. You want to make sure they have a good experience while browsing your videos (hopefully your content is good, but even if it’s not, they should still have a pleasant experience).

When a user clicks the Subscribe button on your site, they’ll be taken to your queue, where they can click to add new videos to their feed. Each time a user adds a new video to their queue, you’ll receive an email notification. From there, you can click the link to open the video in a new tab or window on your browser.

You can use this approach to create a simple and clean interface for your users to navigate your content. By simplifying the way you display videos and creating a pleasant experience for your users, you’ll grow your community and establish yourself as an authoritative source for your industry. 

Now that you’re equipped to save videos that you’ve previously viewed, it’s time to revisit your YouTube channel and see how much more you can accomplish using this feature.