If you want people to share your content, you need to make it as easy as possible for them. The starting point for this is your podcast's website. Here, I'd like to offer some tips on how you can optimise it.
It's possible at this stage that you don't have a website. You don't actually need your own website to run a podcast, but not having one is going to limit your growth.
If this is something you've been putting off because you're not really sure how to go about it, then fear not. We have a free build your own podcast website course that walks you through the entire process.
You might also be using a third-party platform as your website. Let's start there.
Many new podcasters will share out links to their new episodes in places like iTunes or Soundcloud. But these aren't platforms you own or control. If you're directing traffic to someone else's site, you're missing out on a lot of opportunities for growth.
Your hosting provider – the place you upload your episodes to – will usually set you up with a basic website when you create an account with them. These often lack the customisation options we're looking for. Though, to be fair, there have been a lot of improvements on this front in recent years. Captivate, for example, provide really nice website options for their podcasters.
That said, the quicker you get your podcast its own website, the better things will be for you in the long run. Once you're at that stage, put the following things in place to make it easier for people to find, listen to, and share your podcast.
Website Menu Pages
Personally, I think that ‘less is more' on a website and you don't want to clutter it with an overwhelming array of details, links, and text. Here are the 4 key pages to include in your menu.
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This is traditionally the most viewed page on any website, so take advantage of that. Although an ‘About' page sounds like it should be about you and your podcast, think of it more as being about your listener. List the benefits they'll get from listening. Help give them direction on getting started by linking to a few of the best episodes you've done so far.
For a deeper dive, check out how to write a great podcast description.
People listen in different ways and in different places. Link to the key directories that your podcast can be found, subscribed to, and downloaded. Make it clear that your show can be found “anywhere podcasts are consumed”. Here's our guides on how to link to a podcast, and how to subscribe to a podcast.
Having a full list of episodes is a great way for people who've just found you to look through your back catalogue. Depending on which media host you use, it may be possible to set this up via your podcast player.
Put all your contact details here and make it easy for listeners to get in touch. You can put a contact form, e-mail address, as well as any social media links (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc) here. When asking listeners to get in touch, send them to this page, rather than reading out all these different options in your calls to action.
Podcast Episode Posts
Each podcast episode should have its own ‘blog' post on your site. When you publish a new episode, it's a link to this post you'll use to share with the world.
Here are some pointers on what to include –
Your podcast episode titles will also be the blog post titles on your website. Be clear and descriptive of what's in the episode. What's the big takeaway that someone's going to get from listening? Here's our guide on creating compelling episode titles.
A visitor to your site should be able to play an episode from inside that episode's post, so be sure you embed your podcast player. Whilst it's true that most people don't listen to podcasts this way, you still want to cater to everyone. They might just listen to a few minutes, like what they hear, and decide to subscribe in their listening app. Be sure to include a ‘direct download' option with your podcast player too.
We recently talked about the types of episodes that'll make people want to share your show. It's a good idea to include all lists, links, and anything else discussed on the podcast in that episode's shownotes. You'll have more chance of being discovered by potential listeners on Google if you have descriptive shownotes of 500 words or more. Here's our full guide to writing great podcast shownotes.
Call to Action
Whether you've asked your listener to subscribe, review, or buy something at the end of your episode, follow this up by putting a link in the shownotes. Make it easy for them!
At the bottom of the post, it's a good idea to include a little row of social media icons. This makes it easy for anyone to share it to their Twitter, Facebook, etc, with a single click. There are loads of social share plugins available in WordPress that can set this up for you.
Accessibility is important. Around 1 in 5 people have accessibility needs. You want to make sure that anyone arriving on your site can find their way around, and get the content they've come for.
For podcasters, the first step you can take towards making your content more accessible is to do transcripts for your episodes. If you create video content, look into adding in captions too.
Break up your written content by using headings, and use the ‘Alt Text' tab to add in details about any descriptive images you use in your posts.
Most folks use WordPress to run their website. You can search WordPress for “Accessibility Ready” themes. You can also install the WP Accessibility plugin. This plugin is free, and adds a number of helpful accessibility features with a minimum amount of setup or expert knowledge.
A great automated tool for giving your site a once-over is tenon.io.
For more on this important subject, check out our podcast episode with Nicolas Steenhout on making your podcast more accessible.
Here are another couple of things worth thinking about when looking to optimise your podcast website.
Your Domain Name
Get a memorable domain name that makes sense, is easy to spell, and easy to read out on your episodes.
Avoid using hyphens or anything that'll complicate matters. Consider getting a dot com as it can sound more familiar. This helps it to stick in the minds of your listeners.
You can spend all day tailoring your website so it looks absolutely immaculate on your laptop, only to find it doesn't load properly on your phone.
The majority of browsing and podcast listening nowadays is happening on mobile, so your website needs to load properly on all platforms.
Fortunately, most WordPress themes are mobile optimised. Just make sure you always check the site on your computer and your phone when you're setting it up or making any big changes.
Optimising Your Website
Having all of this in place, combined with putting out great shareable content, means that your listeners can now promote your stuff with ease. People can find and subscribe to your show with equal ease.
Dedicating time to promote your podcast is now much more worth it. You've got the infrastructure to support it, and the content to back it up.
Don't have a website set up yet? Our free course will walk you through the steps needed to create your own podcast website.
Need More Help?
Whether it's website or growth-related help. Or, tips, advice, and assistance with any other aspect of podcasting, check out The Podcast Host Academy. In there, you'll find all our courses, resources, and downloadable checklists. On top of that, we run weekly live Q&A sessions, so you'll always have us on-hand to get the answers you need in a timely manner.