Your website is your podcast's home online. So what should you have on there?
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Matthew: So this was a question that came in through the website from Reese asking about his podcast website. Of course when you setup a podcast you don't actually need a website do you but it's really good to have one. There's many reasons as to why you should have a website. I don't think we have to go through them all but a good…
Colin: If your aim is only ever to have fun, to talk about something that you enjoy talking about. If the aim is actually to do podcasting for podcasting sake then fine, no website required but as soon as you go beyond that and you want to monetize really in any way, even sort of try and move people… if you're not trying to monetize but your trying to promote a charity or inspire people into doing something, anything then that's when you need somewhere to point them to isn't it. You need them to go somewhere where they can see more information or take an action or anything like that.
That's the whole point of a website. It's getting them to take action on something think.
Matthew: Yeah so when you maybe discover a podcast and you have a listen to it and you want to go and check out their website, what are some of the things that you look for Colin when you go on to a podcasts website?
Colin: The most common thing that I go to a podcast website for is the resources, the show notes. So you go on there, you're trying to get the things that they talked about on the show. So I'll go there, I'll be inspired to go there by their call to action as in “go and check out the resources, go and check out the information” but then I suppose a big point in the website is you want to try and guide them elsewhere. So you want to try and guide them through the rest of your information. So the about page for example. That's always quite important because if it's the first time somebodies listening to your show then you want them to buy into who you. You want them to buy into your personality, that's the power of podcasting is that you're putting yourself across.
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Matthew: With the about page, I've heard this quite a lot that it's traditionally the most viewed section of a website. If somebody lands on a website for the first time they'll tend to click there. An about page is an opportunity isn't it to tell your audience what your all about but I think there's maybe a difference between talking about you extensively. Obviously there's differences, is it about the podcast, is it about you personally? But what you want to talk about in your about page, a lot of it has to do with about what your listener can get from listening. So it's from their perspective rather than here's my favourite food. Well it depends on your podcast, that might be relevant but you know a huge biography about yourself personally might be completely unnecessary.
Colin: It's about the listener. First thing is what are the benefits for the listener? What are the benefits to listening to the show, as in how are you going to solve those pains but beyond that you’re starting to delve into what the shows about really, the aims of the show and then why you’re the person best positioned to solve that problem for them I think.
So here's a problem, here's a solution that the shows offering and here's why I'm qualified to actually do this and that's when you can start getting into your background and your personality I think.
Matthew: Then you can also use your about page to link to maybe some of the best stuff that you've got out there. Maybe you've got a really good interview with somebody and you might want to point them to that. If you've not heard the show before, check out this interview with such and such, maybe somebody quite well known and it went really well. Link it to some of the best stuff on your site. A couple of good articles or things like that.
Take advantage of the fact that people are landing there.
Colin: One of those actions is the contact isn't it. The contact page is obvious I suppose. You want somewhere where people can get in touch with you but get you contact details on there. Get your social media details, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook links, get a form on there so people can email you. A lot of people list speak pipe link so that people can leave you a voice mail or maybe a google voice number, or phone number of some sort so that people can leave you a voice message. We've used a Skype number in the past so people can call you on the Skype number and leave a voice message and you can bring that into the show. So I think that's probably a good second step. If you get somebody to your website, quite often a big aim for early stage shows, even late shows actually is getting some contact, getting to know their listeners and building that engagement with them.
Matthew: The thing about having whatever your podcast is.com/contact is when you are finishing your episodes and you want somebody to get in touch, you don't sit there and read them your email, your Twitter, your Facebook all that stuff, you just send them to one place and it's all there isn't it. A really important thing for podcasters to put on their website is a subscribe section because you cannot assume that everyone who's landing on your site is already subscribed to your show. In most cases they probably haven't so they want a clearly labelled subscribe section where they can go in. You don't just want to have an iTunes link, you want to have links to every single directory that you could be found in, even if you put your content up on Youtube, have your Youtube link. Let them listen at where they want to listen and use this section to let them know that's all there.
Colin: You’re not talking about putting it on like 300 different podcast directories but you pick the ones you want to target the best, the most effectively. Your moving here to the other reason for a website.
The first reason for a website is that it's somewhere where your existing listeners go to either pick up a resource, to look at more information about what you've talked about, to engage with you more by contacting you, to build more fans basically. You're bringing them back to a home for your show. But the second reason to have a website is that people will find your show not through podcasting, not through iTunes, not through tune in, they'll find it through the web if you do it right, if you have good show notes. Every single episode you put out you create a blog post for it essentially.
Show notes are nothing more than a blog post with an audio file attached and if you do it right as in you create reasonably substantial bit of text, 400/500 words at least talking about the resources, summarising what the shows about, showing some of the takeaways and giving people some good information so that those show notes actually stand by itself then that ranks in google. People van find that in google and that brings more people to your show because they'll read those show notes, they'll think this is good information, I might listen to episode two and then absolutely your subscribe buttons. That's when you want to get them subscribing to the audio of it as well.
Matthew: Yeah when your episode posts you want a good title. Show notes, you could go down the transcription route. We've been doing that for this series. Rev.com they've just been transcribing our conversations and that means if somebody was to search for a particular thing, it might come up in Google whereas at the moment Google’s not really searching for audio. It will happen in the future… and your episode posts as well. You want the media player in there. Any media host you use is probably going to give you a player, the Libsyn one, the Powerpress one with Blubrry is good, if you use Soundcloud… they've got a nice player I'll admit that. You're basically wanting to give the listener the capability or the person on your website the capability to hit play and listen to a bit of your episode. They might not consume the whole thing at that point and then a download button as well where they could download it.
So if you have that in your posts…
Colin: A lot of people forget… listening to Podcraft, it's likely that you're an avid podcast listener so it's very likely that you listen on a podcasting app. It might even be that you're not on the standard apple app, you might have gone as far as to download pocket cast or beyond pod or something and when we do that, when we're that into the medium, you forget that there's a lot of people out there that aren't so into the tech and we have a surprising amount of people listen to the show on the web. They come on the website, they play it on the website player and that's how they listen to it. They don't subscribe, they just come along and listen when they want to and of course your job is to try and make content that's so compelling that your able to talk them into downloading the app or just going on their iPhone and opening up the podcast app and subscribing but you can't take that for granted.
So some people do still download the show and put it onto an MP3 Player or something like that. Some people do just want to listen on the web every time. So you want to make that experience as good as possible.
The other one that we use is simple podcast press by Hani Mourro and it's a really good player actually. It offers some great tools and there's a new version just out that's got some good upgrades that I haven't tried out yet but yeah it's worth checking that out too.
Matthew: I just want to pick up on something that you said there and it goes back to the subscribe section. Depending on your topic, your topic and your target audience might not be technical at all and in fact we're going to do an episode on this in this series. If for example your episode, none of them know what podcast is, it's good on that section of your site maybe to have a video explaining what a podcast is and how you subscribe to it. Again that's topic dependent. If you're a really ‘techy' podcast you probably aren't going to have to do that but it all comes down to your audience.
One more thing on the episode post is that share buttons are good as well. You want people to share your episodes so make it easy for them.
Colin: Click to tweet or something to let them tweet a quote. Your absolutely right, I've seen some great examples of that about teaching people how to subscribe so if they find your post via google and it's just text then have a think, have a button on there saying ‘what is a podcast?' That takes them to a page on your site that explains what it is and the benefits of subscribing.
Matthew: Another thing that I'm a big fan of is for podcasters to have a full episode list on their website so that you can at a glance just look at the back catalogue. When you've been doing a podcast for a long time, I'm not sure the number that iTunes caps it at now, I think it displays 100 or is it more now?
Colin: I think it was 300 last time I checked.
Matthew: So it does take you a while to hit that but don't assume that your entire catalogue is available on places like iTunes because sometimes they're going to put a cap on it. You’re not wanting that to be the go to place that they go, you’re wanting it to be your own website. When people are thinking ‘this podcast has the information that I'm looking for' they want to be going there and searching through your episodes.
Colin: You want to make it as easy to navigate as possible too. So an episode list is a good idea, it's a good start, but even using things like categories and tags to really smartly categorise the topics within your show. So when we are talking about podcasting for example, we've got categories on the show about… like WordPress. So we're talking about websites just now so I'm sure I've got a tag that is WordPress. So it’s every episode that I've ever talked about word press on is tagged word press so they can click that tag and they can see all of the shows that are related to that.
We do pod craft in a seasons based format so actually our categories are the seasons but it means they're really well categorised towards those topics. The last season was about presentation skills, creating engaging episodes so they can click that category and they can list just the episodes on that category whereas even if you are not doing seasons, you’re a text show, you could have a category which is apple and then that would bring up all of the episodes that talk about apple products.
Its offering that navigation through your back catalogue that lets people see what you've done around certain topics and browse the stuff they want to.
Matthew: A couple of other wee details that we need to cover, things like domain names. When you want to get a website for your podcast, is there any sort of do's and dont's do you think for choosing a domain name?
Colin: I think as short as possible whilst still making it memorable. You can go a bit over the top and make it something quite abstract to make it very short… it's not even that important these days because you can have quite long domain and actually people are used to remembering these things. You could have audiodramaproductionpodcast.com and that is a relatively long domain but people will remember it won't they because it's the name of the show. So I don't think these days there's too many hard and fast rules. Getting a ‘.com' is really valuable because that's the first thing people go for.
There's a lot more extensions out these days, like you've got ‘.club' , ‘.bike' , ‘.members', ‘.xyz', you've got all these extensions which can be a bit more expensive but give you a lot more options as well.
So don't spend too long on it. I think a lot of people spend ages trying to find a good domain and actually…
Matthew: I don't know if this is just me but if I listen to a podcast and wanted to visit their website, the chances are I'd probably just type it into google and it would come up anyway but it's certainly something to think about is domain names. Perhaps more important nowadays is to make sure you've got website that works on a phone. It's 2016 at the time of recording and you still come across websites, some of them for big companies, that don't really work on your phone. You have to expand it with your finger tips and navigate through it because it's designed of a desktop. A lot of people now just won't put up with that, they'll just leave the site. WordPress is really good for this now and most of their, if not all of their themes ….
Colin: Are responsive yeah. If you build your site on square space or Wix or any of the new services that make building a website so easy, then they pretty much all have responsive templates too. But your right, it's worth keeping an eye on because you could choose a template in WordPress that doesn't respond to being viewed on a mobile and it's a bad experience for folk.
Matthew: And it's just about checking isn't it. You could sit and perfect your website on your computer and it looks brilliant but make sure you run through it on your phone. Even better, give your phone to someone else and ask them to navigate it. If you've got an iPhone, make sure you're having a look on a Samsung phone as well. Just making sure that it looks good across all platforms. On tablet and everything. Don't just assume that because…
Colin: Last thing we'll say on this one I think is a couple of extra resources that you can go to. One of which is an article you wrote on websites in your promotion series wasn't it?
Matthew: Yeah that's right yeah. So we'll put links to that in the show notes.
Colin: You can find the show notes at podcraft.net/707 . so we'll link to Matthews article there. You can also check out our free course. So we've got a free course called ‘Peerless podcasting website'. So it's how to setup your own website using WordPress. So if you decide you want to self-host a website, you use power-press to deliver it or alternative tools as well then you can see exactly how to do that within the course. So you see that over at podcraft.net/websites.