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This week I’m going to answer a bunch of different questions that have come up over the last week or so.
Q: My RSS feed looks funny. I want it to look good like a web page.
A: An RSS feed is supposed to look funny! :) It was never supposed to be looked at by humans. Feedburner (back in the day) tried to make it human viewable and they did a good job. But as I always say: You don’t need feedburner to podcast and don’t worry how you RSS feed looks. Worry about how it works.
RSS feeds are the lifeblood of a podcast. The format of the feed tells directories such as iTunes and others how to present the information. The important things are the tags in the feed. There are iTunes tags and other tags that give feed readers and directories the info they need to populate certain areas such as title, RSS2 image and so on.
The best way to look at your feed and to verify that it will work is first to look at it in firefox. Firefox also does a sort of feedburner type thing when it comes to displaying a feed in a more human friendly way.
The second thing is to use FeedValidator.org. Even though this site hasn’t really been maintained, it is a good way to make sure things check out correctly. If your feed checks out, you will get a Congratulations!
This is a valid RSS feed.
You will also get some recommendations. You can ignore *most* of this as this is where feedvalidator shows it’s lack of updates. If you are using powerpress (as you should) it will complain about the Ravoice Namespace… Ignore this.
Other things that can cause feedvalidator to fail your feed is the iTunes order tag. This is where you can have iTunes put your into episode at the top of the listing so people will hear this one first no matter how many other podcasts you have. Feed validator doesn’t know about this tag and will say your feed is invalid. Ignore this as long as it doesn’t have any other problems showing.
Q: I’m just setting up my WordPress / Powerpress website for podcasting and when I try to validate my feed, it comes up 404.
A: This is quite normal. A 404 error means “page not found” or more accurately, file not found. The way powerpress and wordpress work is that they generate the feed on the fly. Instead of a static feed (like I use here) the feed doesn’t get “written” until someone asks for it. If you try to go to a feed with no items in it, there will not be a file there or will there be a file generated. You have to have at least ONE podcast episode published to your site before the powerpress podcast-only feed will be there. If you have posted your first episode and the feed still comes back 404, then double check that you have the right feed address. If you do, make sure you have your podcast media file in the post correctly.
Other things that can mess up your feed are other plugins or your theme.. To troubleshoot, deactivate ALL plugins other than powerpress and change to the stock WordPress theme. IF the feed comes back, go to your normal theme.. If the feed is still there, turn on your plugins one by one until the feed goes away again. That will be the one you need to delete or find an alternative for. Also, it’s a good idea to email me (mike [at] Rawvoice.com) so we can troubleshoot and see if there is a workaround for that plugin working with powerpress. We have been lucky so far, there has only been a few that have caused problems like that.
Q: I’m moving my podcast to another site. How do I move the RSS feed that everyone is subscribed to from the old site to the new site?
A: As with most things, there is more than one answer to this one.
If you are moving from one website you own to another one you own, a 301 redirect of the old feed to the new feed. (listen to episode 14 for details on a 301 redirect). One thing is you need to move all the posts from the old site to the new site before the 301 is in place and relink the episodes to your media on each post. (I’m assuming you are using a media host such as Blubrry, Libsyn or amazon)
If you are moving from a site you don’t own to one you do, you have to beg the company that owns your feed to put in the 301 redirect. If they won’t do it, which is the case too many times, then you have to go with plan B.
Plan B is to get your audience to move with you. With this plan, you are likely to lose subscribers, but if they don’t move after what I’m going to tell you, they were not engaged listeners anyway. Fact is fact..
Get your new site up and running.
30 days before you quit uploading to to your old system, record two versions of each your podcast episodes: one normal and one that you will have an announcement at the beginning of the show that says, “If you are hearing this, you will not receive the new episodes after xxx date. I am moving the feed and the new feed is available at <your website address>.” Make sure you have your RSS feed available on your website and/or in your post for each episode. Also put the announcement at the end of the podcast episode.
Post the “normal” episode to your new website and publish.
Upload the “announcement version” to your old site and publish.
After 30 days (or four episodes), record an announcement that says, “This feed has moved. Please continue to listen to the show, at <web address here> and re-subscribe.”
Recording Skype Calls:
Q: From Michael on Facebook: Do you have experience with Call Recorder that you could talk about how to use it to record a Skype call with 1-2 guests and adjust audio levels on each guests recording?
A: No, I haven’t ever used Call Recorder, but I’m sure it works the same as the one I did use “back in the day”. I used one called Pamela for windows. Not sure they are around anymore.
On Pamela, if you only had one other guest (one person on the call) there was a way to split the caller to one channel (left) and the host on the right side.. Then in audacity you could split that into 2 mono files and adjust the volumes to match.
Another way to fix it in post, if you can’t split the channels, is to use something like Levelator http://web.archive.org/web/20130729204551id_/http://www.conversationsnetwork.org/levelator/ I don’t really like this option, but in a pinch it works great. It will not work if you have music in with the audio.
The best bet with a sound recording software solution, would be to make sure you set each of the guest’s audio before the recording. Sounds too simple, but sometimes the best solution is the non-techy one.
The best way to record skype (or any other voip or phone calls) is The Mix-Minus. I could likely do a whole episode on Mix-minus setup. It requires either a second computer, phone or tablet, (or second sound card) lots of cables and connectors, a higher end mixer and some time.
Q: From Ashley on Google +: I bought a new Yeti to replace my snowball recently, and it has highlighted how bad my room is – I think. It picks up way too much. Which is obviously good in the long run.
* issues include picking up keyboard, desk rub of my arm, room boom (echo)
A: Ashley, The problem with the Yeti and the snowball are Condenser mics. They pick up EVERYTHING. Which can be a good thing except when you don’t want them to. There are various ways to make them sound good with less noise in the background.
1. (DUH) Move to a quieter room. I know that isn’t what you are going to do so….
2. Turn down the gain on the recording and get close to the mic. Make sure you have a Pop filter. Then boost the gain in post editing. See episode ### for more on this.
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RSS Feed address from iTunes:
Q From Lester (@amishtrucker) on Twitter: @mgdellWhen a podcast is only on ITunes can you get an RSS feed w/ just the iTunes information when a search doesn’t find one?
A: YES! Easy…… IF you have the iTunes app on your computer.
First, go to the podcasts area of your iTunes library.
Second right click on the name of the podcast in question
Third select “Copy podcast URL”
Last- Paste this into a document so you can read it or email it to your mobile device to add to another podcatcher.
AND!! last but NOT LEAST, Podcasters. Put the RSS feed address on your home page!
Catch me next week!