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Setting up your website and where do you host your media files
If you are going to start a podcast, you need a place (or places) on the web where your podcast website and your media will live. I recommend using a self-hosted wordpress site as the base for your podcast.
WordPress is the most popular system for blogging. There is such a thing called WordPress.com which is a free blogging system hosted by wordpress itself. The company behind wordpress is called Automatic. Automatic does the hosting and you end up with an address like http://mypodcast.wordpress.com You don’t want this so forget about wordpress.com for podcast website hosting. The best way is to use WordPress.org. WordPress.org is the open source version of the same (well mostly the same) software that is used on wordpress.com. With your own installation on your own domain name, you have much more flexibility to have the design look the way you want it. There are many other advantages of this that I am sure we will talk about in future episodes.
Setting up your own wordpress site is easy nowadays with MOST web hosting companies. Today I will focus on 2 of the most popular web hosts. Godaddy and Bluehost. (Disclaimer, i have an affiliate relationship with bluehost and if you buy though my link, I get a commision. You don’t pay any more, but it helps the me out)
Godaddy hosting is somewhat easy to setup. They have this thing called “Hosting Central” and when you login to your hosting control panel there is a link to hosting central. With Godaddy, you also have to buy a domain name (which is extra). Once you have all that all you have to do is find wordpress in hosting central and click install. You answer the questions that come up and in a half hour or so, your wordpress site will be ready for you to configure for podcasting.
Bluehost uses a thing called Cpanel. This is a very common interface for a lot of web hosting companies so if you are using someone else, the procedure should be about the same. The nice thing about bluehost is that the domain name is included in your hosting plan. CPANEL uses a thing called “simple scrips” to install wordpress. Same as godaddy, it will install and configure your site by asking you some questions and then just putting it online. One word of caution, do not install wordpress in a folder. IF it suggests a folder (on both Godaddy and Bluehost) just blank it out. Install wordpress in the root of your domain. This is, of course, assuming that your podcast will be the main thing on your site. If you need it installed in a custom place you might want to hire someone to do that for you. (Plug one on one consulting here:) )
The next thing is Themes. There are 1000’s of free themes out there for wordpress. They will make your site look just about any way you want it to look. There are paid themes also. These are much more configurable than the free ones in most cases. I use one called Thesis on podcastingtechcoach.com. It costs about $70 and it very customizable. You don’t HAVE to pay for a theme if you can find one you like in the free themes area. To check out the themes go to your dashboard in wordpress hit appearance and then Themes and “Install Themes”. You will get a search box and a whole lot of options to find the theme you are looking for. You can install one from there. Another word of caution, some themes will cause issues with your podcast feeds and on site players. It’s not common, but can happen.
A word about Media hosting:
Yes, you CAN just upload your mp3 to a folder on your website hosting account and it will work….. UNTIL you get popular. Once that happens, your website will be competing with media downloads and will become VERY slow on these cheap shared hosting plans. The hosting plans are great for a website / wordpress blog but were never meant to host large files for download. This is where you need a dedicated media hosting account. Yes, it is another expense, but if you want your podcast to become popular this is something that can not be overlooked. There are 3 companies that will work just fine for this. Blubrry.com (disclaimer: I work for Rawvoice, the parrent company of Blubrry), Libsyn.com and Amazon. There are advantages and disadvantages of each of these.
In a nutshell, the cheapest over time is Libsyn. As far as how easy it is to deal with, It’s the 2nd easiest. With libsyn you have to upload your podcast files using FTP or from their website. Then you have to remember the URL to your podcast media and paste that into the podcast episode box in your wordpress post.
The hardest one to deal with is Amazon. I don’t know very many podcasters that use this. It’s best left to the tech savvy geeks out there.
The easiest one is Blubrry. Since, if you are following my advice, you will be using the powerpress plugin on wordpress, blubrry hosting is integrated with the powerpress plugin and gives you the ability to upload right from your wordpress post. Blubrry also has stats that you can configure from within your wordpress dashboard. This will give you the download stats right within wordpress. The disadvantage is the monthly cost is a bit more then Libsyn.
One final thing. DON’T BE SO PICKY!!! Yes, a nice looking website is great, but know when good enough is good enough. Trust me, it’s way more important what your audio or video content is then it is that the player looks EXACTLY like you want it, or that EVERY episode is shown on one page. The way the player looks or whether the download link is below, beside or on top of the web player matters very little. The VAST majority of your listeners are going to be listening via the RSS Feed by downloading the file and using it somewhere else. Your website will be 20% or less of users. It’s much more important that you website works then how it looks. I would almost say that your content should be fancy and the website should not. The best way is to make a functional website look good then a fancy website that doesn’t work so good.
This will get you started. Next week we will go in and configure wordpress and powerpress so you can upload the first episode you recorded last week.
Thanks for listening!
If you have any questions or comments, email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call the voicemail hotline at 702-757-1104 and I may include your question on the show.