Tag Archives: libsyn

Stats and the Top 10 Ways to Grow Your Audience – PHD016

phd300_2014This is show # 16 for April 25th, 2014 – Podcast Statistics and the top 10 ways to grow your audience

Today I’m going to answer a couple of questions to do with stats and growing your audience.

Q.  What is the best way to track how many people have downloaded my podcasts?

A. Get free stats at Blubrry.com 🙂   or, if you are hosting at libsyn, upgrade to their stats package if your plan doesn’t inculde stats.  Even if you are at libsyn, you can add free blubrry.com stats (or premium stats if you want).  I believe podtrac also does free and paid stats.  Not sure on that one..

Q. My google analytics (or other webstats) say that my mp3 was accessed 30,000 times, but my media stats only say I had 302 downloads?  What Gives??

A. Web stats are not designed to measure media files.  The way media files are served (called byte range requests) cause the file to be requested multiple times per play or download which register as a “download” or a “hit” to webstats.  Media Stats such as blubrry and libsyn take that into account and know that even though a file gets 30 requests from the same IP address while downloading or streaming the file, it only counts that as one.  It is a much more accurate measure of the number of downloads.  If you are going to have advertisers, it’s much better to tell them the truth about how many downloads you have rather than inflating the numbers.  If you tell and advertiser that you get 12,000 downloads when you only really get 1000, they will think that even with 12,000 downloads, we are only getting the results for like 1000. It make everyone in this space look bad.

Q.  Feedburner says I have 200 subscribers,  What does that mean?

A.  You should, by now, know my feelings about using feedburner or any other 3rd party feed services.  BUT, I will try to explain this one anyway.  The “subscriber total” that feedburner reports is of little or no value.

What Feedburner reports to measure is “subscribers”.  What I would think that to mean is how many people, using feedreaders or iTunes, are subscribed to your podcast RSS feed. What it really measures is how many different ip addresses “hit” your rss feed in a 24 hour period.  It can vary wildly from day to day.  It might give you a very rough idea, but it’s just that a rough idea.  Also, if you are using feedburner, you have a base feed that is feeding feedburner.  Some, if not a significant number, of people could be getting your podcast directly from your base feed. (likely the feed from your website)  It’s even worse if you use a captive host such as Blog Talk Radio, podOmatic or TalkShoe because these sites also submit your “podcast” feed (from their site) to itunes and other directories.  SO, your feedburner stats will be less accurate and not catch everyone.

To switch gears a bit.   I get this question a lot….

Q.  How do I grow my audience?

A.  This is a BIGGIE…  There are a 1000 ways to promote your podcast and even more ways to NOT grow an audience.

Let me start with The top 10 that will help you gain listeners.

  1.  Be yourself.  don’t try to be the big-shot radio guy (or gal) and make it seem as though you are Broadcasting to the little people out there.  That is unless you are a broadcaster 🙂  The great thing about a lot of podcasts are their authenticity.  If you seem fake, people will pick up on that and will not be long-term listeners.  Be patient, it takes time.
  2. Communicate with your listeners.  Try to learn the names and a little bit about as many listeners as you can.  Always answer your email, twitter, facebook and other forms of communication.
  3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Just in last weeks show, I had an editing error that caused my voiceover lady to talk over me while I was talking. I didn’t catch it until after the episode was published.  I decided I wasn’t going to fix it.  For two reasons..  The first one was I didn’t want to have a bunch of you download the episode again for a little mistake.  If the whole episode sounded like crap, i might have, but for that  20 seconds or so, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal.   Second reason was I figured it might generate a few emails (which it did) and a few twitter messages (Mark_Sheldon) .. I got to interact with a few more of my listeners over that.   NO I DIDN’T DO IT ON PURPOSE  🙂
  4. Be consistent.   I’m guilty of not doing this one, but I’m getting better 🙂  People carve out time to listen to your show and if they know when it’s coming and it does keep coming at that time, you will gain loyal listeners.
  5. Engage your target audience in other formats.  Such as message boards, Facebook groups, Google Plus communities and even local clubs or groups (if your niche has such a thing).  BUT DON’T be annoying.
  6. Be Patient.  It takes time to build up a following. (I know I said that before) but it bears repeating.
  7. Make sure your audio quality is good.   If your show is annoying to listen to because of poor quality, people won’t stick around.
  8. Also, keep the self-promotion and advertising to a “normal” level.  Nobody wants to hear an add every 3 minutes or for the first 10 minutes of your show.  I try to keep the promo stuff to the end of my shows.  (most of the time)
  9. Keep your website easy to use.  Keep it simple and to the point.  When you do promote, promote your website. It should be the focal point of your brand (I know, over-used term these days).  Point people there instead of iTunes, Stitcher, I heart radio and so on…  Promote your brand and your website.  Have links to all that at your website, but only promo your site.
  10.  And finally, at least for now,  Get your podcast listed in as many directories as you can.  If people can find you easy wherever they are, the better it will be.  Again, be patient!    See: PodcastHelpDesk.com/10 (episode 10 of this podcast before the rebranding)

Along that same line, I get this variation of the same question a lot…

Q.  I only have 50 Listeners… How do I get more?

A.  I only have 50 listeners?   Really?   Imagine 50 people in a room all looking at you to entertain, inform, inspire or whatever else your goal is..  Doesn’t 50 seem small still?


This show brought to you by Blubrry.com Media Hosting….

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Blubrry Media Hosting

That will do it for this session. The Podcast Helpdesk is now closed until next week.

If you would like me to answer your question, please email your question to podcasthelpdesk@gmail.com or use the speakpipe “Leave a voice comment” tab on the website. You can also tweet your question using the hashtag #podcasthelpdesk.

I’m Mike Dell. Catch me next time!

Your spot on the web – PTC002

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 mike@mikedell.com or call the voicemail hotline at 702-757-1104 and I may include your question on the show.