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Tools to Set Up a Website for Podcasting: Plugins, Tools & Tactics

Setting up a Website for Podcasting

On to Part 3, and the tools you need to set up your site for podcasting. 

The main element of this is your podcasting plugin. That's the tool that allows you to run a podcast from your website, including creating podcast episodes, adding audio to them, and pubishing your shownotes.

We'll be using a long-standing, tried and tested plugin for this, called Seriously Simple Podcasting.

It makes running a podcast from your own website really easy, and is a great option for anyone that wants to manage their whole show in one place.

PART 1: HOW TO RUN A PODCAST ON YOUR WEBSITE

Now, let's set up your website to work with your podcast. There are a few elements to this, including uploading the show, publishing it and then delivering it to your listeners. Let's start with the first part, and the most common thing we're asked.

Where Do I Upload My Podcast?

Here's how it works.

Each episode of your show is made up of one audio file. That audio file is uploaded to your Media Host. You don't upload it anywhere else, such as Apple Podcasts (formerly known as iTunes) or other directories. I'll show you why in a little while.

A media host is very similar to a web host, but designed to deliver big bulky files like audio and video. You need a separate media host for a range of reasons, but let's keep it simple here and just say you need one.

You can find our favourite media hosts here. And, if you want to know, here's why you shouldn't upload podcast files to your own website

So, when you finish a podcast episode, you upload it to your media host. When that's done, it's added to the full list of episodes that make up your podcast. It's this list (technically called an RSS feed) that you submit to Apple Podcasts and other directories. And you only have to do this once, when you first launch your show.

This is great because it means you're not uploading episodes to the directories every week. You just show them the list once, right at the start, and then they keep checking in to keep it updated in their directory.

Whenever you upload a new episode to your media host, it's added to the list, Apple Podcasts picks that up and then points your subscribers towards the file on your media host.

How Do I Create an RSS Feed?

Don't worry, no need to know what an RSS feed is or how to make one!

We'll rely on a great little WordPress Plugin called Seriously Simple Podcasting to do it for us.

Remember, we've looked at how to install plugins in Part 1.

Seriously Simple Podcasting is an easy-to-use WordPress plugin that offers the ability to attach audio or video to blog posts. This turns a normal blog post into a Podcast episode.

Next, it automatically generates our 'list of podcast episodes' - our RSS feed - from all of the blog posts that have had audio attached.

This means that your weekly podcasting process is the following:

  • Create your audio recording (maybe use Alitu to make this easier..?)
  • Create a new Podcast post inside Seriously Simple Podcasting and upload the audio file within your WordPress dashboard
  • Include your episode’s show notes and transcriptions within the Podcast blog post
  • Seriously Simple Podcasting automatically sends the episode file to your media host (like Castos) to update your RSS feed

And that's it!

Seriously Simple Podcasting automatically updates your RSS feed within your media host. Then Apple Podcasts automatically picks up the update, and prompts your subscribers to download the episode.

Seriously Simple Podcasting offers a few more unique features to further support your podcast. They include:

  • Run multiple podcasts from the same site – each with their own, unique RSS feeds
  • Gather thorough stats on your listeners using their free Seriously Simple Stats add-on
  • Supports both audio and video files in case you also film your podcast recordings

How Do I Attach My Audio Files to A Blog Post?

This is where Seriously Simple Podcasting really shines because the process is really, well, simple. To attach your files to a new blog post follow these 5 steps (see the whole set up process below!) on the wordpress website you've already set up for yourself:

  1. Under the Podcast tab, click ‘Add New’
  2. Under Podcast Episode Details box, upload your audio or video file from your computer
  3. Add your episode’s Title, description, show notes, and transcription inside the standard WordPress post blocks
  4. Click ‘Publish’ and you’re done! Seriously Simple Podcasting automatically sends the audio file to your media host to automatically update the RSS feed with the latest episode.

What Media Host Should I Choose?

There are a whole bunch of media hosts around, from the old guard to many new ones entering the market. You can see all our favourite podcast hosts here.

Right now, if you want to work from your own website (and since you’re doing this course, I assume you do!), I think Castos is the best option.

This is because the Seriously Simple Podcasting WordPress plugin is designed by the Castos team, and so it's made to work perfectly with Castos hosting. It does make managing your podcast extremely straight-forward. You can do everything from the WordPress dashboard you know and love. It allows you to upload episodes, view analytics, customize the player, and manage your RSS feed all from one place.

If you use Buzzsprout, Transistor, or other services, then you need to log into that website, upload the file, copy the embed code or the file URL, come back to your own website and then paste that into your blog post. Not a completely arduous task, I know, but it's still a few extra steps.

For the rest of this section, I'm going to show you how it works with Castos and Seriously Simple Podcasting, because that's the host and WordPress plugin we recommend for self-hosted sites, right now.

PART 2: SETTING UP SERIOUSLY SIMPLE PODCASTING

How to Install Seriously Simple Podcasting

First things first, we need to install the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin. Even if you aren't using Castos as a media host, you need this plugin to generate your RSS feed. That's essential for allowing people to subscribe to your show.

Start the installation process using these 5 steps. Or watch the video in the next section for a full walk through

  1. In your WordPress dashboard, navigate to the Plugins -> Add New section
  2. Search for “Podcast” and Seriously Simple Podcasting will show up as the 1st or 2nd choice.
  3. Click the “Install” button to the right of the SSP logo
  4. When that’s finished click “Activate”
  5. This has installed and activated the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin on your WordPress site.

Setting Up Seriously Simple Podcasting

Next, let's have a look through the Seriously Simple Podcasting settings. The videos below are kindly provided by Castos founder, Craig Hewitt. This first one covers:

  1. Installing Seriously Simple Podcasting on your WordPress site[Starts at 0:09]
  2. Configuring where in WordPress you will publish your podcast content [Starts at 0:50]
  3. Configuring the embeddable media player to display to your site visitors [Starts at 1:25]

Creating Additional Podcasts and Importing Existing Shows Into WordPress

If you want to run a podcast network from your WordPress site you’re in luck. Seriously Simple Podcasting allows you to run as many podcasts as you’d like from a single WordPress site. So whether you just have a couple of shows you want to run at the same time or you’re building a Podcast Network you’re covered.

In this video we walk through the creation of a new Series in Seriously Simple Podcasting, and then how to import an existing show from an external RSS feed into your WordPress site.

  1. Creating a new Series so that your new show has its own RSS feed [Starts at 0:13]
  2. Setting the Feed Details for that new show’s RSS feed [Starts at 0:24]
  3. Importing content from an external source into the new Series you’ve just configured [Starts at 1:30]

Creating a Podcast Episode

Now that you have Seriously Simple Podcasting installed and set up, how do we create a podcast episode? This video shows how to connect Seriously Simple Podcasting with Castos, create a Podcast post, and upload your audio or video file to it.

Follow the video tutorial using these steps:

  1. Create your hosting account on https://castos.com - this is free to try and use as much as you want for 14-days, which should be plenty of time for us to set up our podcast [Starts at 0:00]
  2. Copy the API key that you get from the Castos dashboard, and head over to your WordPress Dashboard [Starts at 0:54]
  3. Head to the Podcast tab -> Settings -> Hosting area of your WordPress dashboard [Starts at 1:10]
  4. Enter the email address you used to create your Castos account, and the API key from your Castos dashboard [Starts at 1:43]
  5. Click “Validate Credentials” and when that is complete click “Save Settings” [Starts at 1:58]
  6. Now it’s time to publish our first episode, in the Podcast menu area select “Add New”. [Starts at 2:28]
  7. Give your podcast episode a Title, and write out the Show Notes for the episode. The show notes are a written description about what your episode is all about. [Starts at 2:40]
  8. Upload the media file from the “Podcast Episode Details” area just below the main post editor. [Starts at 2:53]
  9. Once the file is uploaded you can Schedule or Publish your episode [Starts at 3:30]

Remember, Seriously Simple Podcasting will automatically send the episode file to your media host and update the RSS feed. This means you only have to upload your files to WordPress and easily create a new post featuring your latest episode. No more copy and pasting links between your podcast hosting platform and WordPress dashboard.

For every new episode, include its show notes and transcriptions to attract new listeners and your podcast more accessible. We have a ‘shownotes cookbook’ within our Podcast Host Academy that outlines all of the ways we know to make brilliant shownotes. Join us in there to take a look!

Your Tasks

In this unit we have three tasks, all aimed at getting our Podcast set up using the top WordPress podcasting plugin and its integrated media host.

  • Install Seriously Simple Podcasting
  • Create the one-time connection between Seriously Simple Podcasting and your media host 
  • Create one podcast episode, following the instructions earlier in this unit

PART 3: FINDING YOUR RSS FEED FOR ITUNES/APPLE PODCASTS

As soon as you’ve published just one episode, that means your podcast is live. Anyone can subscribe.

The way they subscribe is by entering your RSS feed web address (URL) into their podcast listening app. So, even before you’re in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or any other directory, anyone can subscribe to your show with nothing more than the feed address.

You can find your show’s RSS feed in the top of the Podcast -> Settings -> Feed Details tab in WordPress:

Customize Your Podcast’s Subscribe Links with Seriously Simple Podcasting
Seriously Simple Podcasting allows you to feature Subscribe links to every major podcast listening platform. So when your listeners land on an episode post, they’ll be able to subscribe to your show on their preferred app!

To do this navigate to the Podcast -> Settings -> Feed Details area and scroll down towards the bottom to find the fields for “Apple Podcasts” and other directories:

NEXT STEPS

Thanks for following along - this in the final part of our 'build your own website' guide.

We've set up our website, we've designed and branded it, and we've added tools to let us easily run our podcast.

You now have your very own website, which can power your podcast, your blog, and any number of other online activities!

The next step is launching your show, growing your skills, nurturing an audience and starting to monetise it as a business.

If you need help with any of them, we'd love to talk to you inside The Podcast Host Academy. We have a range of courses in there - including our growth course, audio editing, podcast equipment, launch series, and much more. We also do live coaching, every week, and help everyone create a great show inside our community. Join us!

Or, if you need more personal, one-to-one help, either to launch a show or to improve an existing one, take a look at how we work directly with individuals and businesses here: our client services.

Thanks again for following this guide, and good luck with your show!