Adding Podcasts to your website

Written by Pranath Fernando on 8th October 2019

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What is a podcast?

A podcast is like a radio show with ongoing episodes that you can download to your computer. It is a digital media file that is downloaded from the internet, most commonly an audio file but can also be video. They are distributed across the internet using ‘feeds’ which allow you to subscribe to a particular feed, and be notified automatically if new podcasts from a particular feed are available and have them downloaded for you by a podcast ‘reader’. Podcasts are used widely for a variety of purposes, from media organisations providing online versions of their audio and video content - to individuals creating podcasts reflecting their own interests.

In this article we will look at why you might want a podcast, and what you need to do to make any podcasts you have available on your website.

Why would you want a podcast?

If you’ve been considering getting into podcasting but are still not sure, here are some key reasons why you should jump in and start podcasting!

Audio content is popular & convenient for people

Audio content has been popular for decades, be it live radio shows or the more recent offline/downloadable on demand podcast format. There are many reasons for this, but a key one is that the audio format is much easier to digest than written content: you can be doing other things like driving, walking, doing things around the house while listening to audio content. 

Being easier to digest while doing other things also makes it less of a chore to digest more long form audio content, as opposed to requiring more dedicated time to consume long form text content (i.e. a long article). Add to this the convenience of the podcast format i.e. quick to download anywhere including mobile devices, and the ability to listen on demand - helps explain why podcasts are so popular.

Build an audience beyond your website

Podcasting allows you to build your brand or organisation far beyond the reach of your website. Multiple podcast distribution platforms exist such as Itunes or Spotify that make it very easy for people to discover your podcast from anywhere in the world. By growing your content into this podcast audio format and these platforms, you allow your brand to reach audiences and demographics far beyond the reach of your website and google search results. 

In fact, podcasts can be very complimentary aspect to a website, being an independent medium in its own right as well as something you can add to your website.

It’s low cost

Podcasting is very cheap to do and keep producing, once you have the basics which are easy to obtain e.g. a good microphone, and audio editing software of which there are many free examples.

Hearing your voice makes it more personal

One of the reasons that radio has been so popular for decades is that people like the feeling that the presenter is speaking directly to them. Also, nuances of the person’s way of speaking, for example their excitement & enthusiasm for a topic can come across in a podcast in a more engaging way. People can become attached to listening to a podcast on a regular basis and can come to welcome it like a ‘familiar friend’. 

In these ways, podcasts can provide a way to connect with audiences in a more human and intimate way that is not possible in tweets or blog articles on a website, as well as providing a repeat touch point for your audiences.

Podcasting platforms

There are many different ways you can create and manage your podcasts, in this article we will look at 4 ways you can do this:

On your website 

Hosting podcast files

If you already have a website, then you already have a potential location you could put your media files. For a few small audio files this is a possibility - but while hosting them here can seem like a great cost saving idea there are several potential problems that come with this method. Firstly, even if you only intend to do just a bit of podcasting - it is in the nature of podcasting for the number of media files to grow, which could eventually create conflicts with having enough space for your website itself including its images and files. 

While many website hosting companies seem to offer ‘unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth’ you may also be in violation of their terms and conditions of use for using your website in this way. Also, hosting your podcasts on your website leaves your podcasts vulnerable to the state of your website, putting all your eggs in one basket - if your website goes down, your podcasts will go down too. So while this might seem like an obvious option, hosting podcasts on your website is probably not a good idea in most cases. 

Allowing people to subscribe

If you are hosting your podcast files on your website, you will need to liaise with the technical support of your website so that they can create a podcast feed that will enable users to subscribe to your podcast - this will be in the form of a link which you can post on your website. If you have a Wordpress site, you can use this in combination with feedburner to create a podcast feed. 

Embedding podcasts on your site

If you are using a website based on Wordpress or blogger, there are a range of plugins that will enable you to insert a podcast player onto a page using your Podcast/Rss feed. Otherwise, you will need to liaise with your website technical support and they will need to do a bit of custom work in order to facilitate this.

In our TYPO3 websites for example, there are many ways our clients can integrate externally hosted podcasts into their websites.

Libsyn

Hosting podcast files

Libsyn is a popular paid for service optimised for hosting both audio and video podcasts (from $5 a month for 50 mb upwards). All their plans allow for unlimited downloads, as well as providing statistics. A particularly attractive feature is that your monthly storage grows over time, without extra charge. For example, if you start off with 250mb storage, each subsequent month you get an additional 250mb. This of course reflects the natural growth of podcast files. 

Allowing people to subscribe

As part of their service, Libsyn with automatically provide you with a podcast feed link for podcasts you upload to their service.

Embedding podcasts on your site

If you have chosen this option for hosting, Libsyn also provide you with the code for a podcast player that you can easily insert onto any page on your site.

Amazon S3

Hosting podcast files

S3 is a hosting service provided by Amazon, and offers a budget pricing model for its cloud services based on ‘pay for what you use’ tho with an initial free offering of 5 GB  storage /  20,000 requests per month. Beyond that, the pricing starts at $0.15 per GB storage and $0.10 per GB transfer. 

Allowing people to subscribe

Amazon S3 does not automatically provide you with a podcast feed - so as with the hosting on your website server, you will need to either develop with your technical support a podcast feed for your files on S3, or if your website is a Wordpress site you will be able to generate a podcast feed yourself using Wordpress and Feedburner. 

Embedding podcasts on your site

If you have chosen this hosting package, you will need to create your own player to display podcasts on your site, so you will need to look into the same options as if you were hosting on your website server.

Blubrry

Hosting podcast files

Similar to Libsyn, Blubrry is a dedicated service provider for hosting and supporting podcasts. All packages include unlimited bandwidth, statistics and prices start from $12 a month for 100 mb storage. They are aimed primarily at people who own websites running on Wordpress and have many features designed to integrate with Wordpress. 

Allowing people to subscribe

Blubrry also uses the same approach as Libsyn to create a podcast feed for you automatically as part of their service.

Embedding podcasts on your site

If you have selected Blubrry as a hosting provider and you use Wordpress for your website, Blubrry provide a very popular and easy to use Wordpress plugin to integrate your podcasts into your site called Powerpress. If you do not have a Wordpress site, as in with the self hosting option you will need to liaise with your technical support of your website in order for them to create a podcast player.

Conclusion

There are a range of options for hosting & managing podcasts, providing feeds for them and if need be playing them on your website. While Amazon S3 provides an initially low cost solution - for a complete and easy to use solution I would recommend Libsyn as it provides and all round, easy to use and scalable solution, independent of but easily integrated with your website. 

Either way, I hope this article has helped you become more aware of the huge benefits of podcasting - and hopefully it’s something you will now want to try. Do you already podcast? If so, what is your preferred platform? and how is podcasting working for you? Let lets us know in the comments below or on Twitter - we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Further reading

This article was posted in Client Guides, Tools by Pranath Fernando

  • Pranath Fernando

    Pranath Fernando

    Pranath is our back-end developer who knows the deepest, darkest secrets of our CMS of choice - Typo3. In his free time he likes to balance the mind and body doing plenty of hot yoga, freediving, SUP, or balancing on his new slackline in front of the old west pier.

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