The Blubrry PowerPress podcasting plugin gives five methods for creating your podcast RSS feed from WordPress. Here's what each one means and when you should use them.
I'm joined by Angelo Mandato, the developer behind PowerPress, to discuss the feed options for your podcast.
1. PowerPress default feed
This is the default feed available as soon as you install PowerPress,. It's usually
myawesomepodcast.com/feed/podcast/. This is and always will be a podcast-only RSS feed. It will only contain posts with podcasts added through the “Podcast Episode” widget in the post editor. The default feed will pull every “podcast episode” from every category of your regular posts.
This PowerPress default feed is the best podcast feed to use from your WordPress site. It gives you full control over your feed, including changing the show title, saving space in your feed with feed episode maximizer, adjusting the number of items in your feed, SEO features in PowerPress 6, and everything else about your feed.
Note: There's a bug in PowerPress 5.0.9 that the feed episode maximizer won't actually maximize your default feed, but it will maximize channel feeds. Blubrry is aware of this problem and working toward a solution. In the meantime, you can get the exact same features of the default feed plus a working feed episode maximizer by enabling podcast channels and using the default channel.
When to use PowerPress's default feed
Use the default feed (or the default channel feed) from PowerPress when you have only one podcast in only one format.
I use the PowerPress default feed (
/feed/podcast/) for Beyond the To-Do List, the Ramen Noodle, Welcome to Level Seven and most of the other Noodle.mx Network podcasts, from each show's respective domain.
The default feed can also be a great all-inclusive feed if you host multiple podcasts on a single website by using category podcasting.
2. PowerPress category podcasting
WordPress allows posts and custom post types to be segmented into categories. PowerPress's category podcasting feature will allow each category to create its own podcast feed. Changing an episode between feeds, or including the same episode in multiple feeds is a simple matter of placing it in the appropriate category or categories.
If you add a tracking redirect to a category feed, it will only be used on that RSS feed and when the individual category archive is viewed on your website. Thus, if you have multiple categories displaying on your front page as a single feed, they won't use their own tracking redirects.
Additionally, if you have any custom player or other information (such as PowerPress 6+ features) associated with a particular category, these might be missing or only one used if an episode is placed in multiple podcast categories.
When to use PowerPress's category podcasting feed
Category podcasting is often inappropriately prescribed for individual shows. Even if you put your episodes in some kind of “Podcast” or similarly named category, you don't need category podcasting.
Category podcasting is good and easy for running multiple shows from a single website. I use category podcasting with ONCE and WONDERLAND podcasts, which are hosted on the same domain. This made it easy to do a crossover episode for both shows and publish to both feeds by simply adding the blog post to both the “ONCE podcast” and “WONDERLAND podcast” categories on our site. I didn’t worry about separate tracking codes for each show as I used the same Blubrry tracking ID for both.
You can also use category podcasting for creating archive feeds to work around the iTunes Store display limit. This only applies if you have more than 300 episodes and you want all of your episodes searchable in iTunes. Even though an RSS feed can be any size (as long as you don't use FeedBurner) and contain any number of episodes, the iTunes Store will only display and index the most recent 300 episodes. Imagine you have 400 timeless episodes in your feed. You won't be able to search for the first 100 episodes and you won't see them in your podcast listing in the iTunes Store. But when someone subscribes, they have access to your entire feed and can get all 400 episodes.
This is why some podcasters, like John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire, have multiple archive feeds in iTunes. They'll have feeds dedicated to keeping their archive visible and searchable in iTunes.
Category podcasting can help with this by making it easy for you to create a new category for your first 100–300 episodes, then another category for the next batch, and so on. It's fast and easy to add past episodes to these categories, so managing your archive feeds is easy.
3. PowerPress podcast channels
The default podcast feed is technically already a channel feed. But activating the podcast channels allows you to make even more channels and get all the same benefits. (Plus, the default channel feed lets you use Feed Episode Maximizer while a bug exists in PowerPress 5.0.9.)
When you activate podcast channels, you'll see your default
/feed/podcast/ already there. You can further tweak its settings as you wish.
The other four podcast feeds from PowerPress add podcasting to posts with a standard “podcast episode” widget. But additional podcast channels change the way you add podcast episodes to posts. If you have multiple channels activated, then you'll see multiple “Podcast Episode” widgets in the post editor. Each widget adds the podcast to that specific channel. If you want the same episode in multiple channels, then you have to add it to each “Podcast Episode” widget.
Unlike category podcasting, unique tracking redirects are fully maintained for each custom channel, no matter where that post appears in your WordPress site.
Multiple podcast channels can share the same WordPress post (for show notes), or you can make a separate post for each format (depending on your needs).
When to use PowerPress's podcast channels
For up to PowerPress 5.0.9, if you have a lot of episodes in your feed and need to use Feed Episode Maximizer, you should activate the default podcast channel, but your URL won't change.
Podcast channels are ideal for different media formats. For example, you publish both audio and video versions of the same content. Channels are also good if you publish video in different resolutions, like 720p, 1080p, and standard definition. Each media format would be its own channel, so a single post in WordPress could have audio, SD video, 720p video, and 1080p video media formats feeding four separate feeds.
Podcast channels also work great for content formats. For example, you have a 5-minute quick-tip episode with just the highlights, and then an hour-long episode that covers the same information in more detail. You would have a quick-tip feed and a full-discussion feed. Each post gets both content formats attached and powers two RSS feeds from one post.
Multiple content formats may also work well if you release the same episode in multiple languages but with the same show notes. (PowerPress 6.0 will make these kinds of uses more powerful with custom episode titles.) You may have an English channel, a Spanish channel, and a German channel to host the different audio files and power different language feeds from the same post.
You can also use podcast channels as a slightly more complicated but also more powerful way of hosting multiple podcasts on a single website. Custom channels can use the feed episode maximizer feature, but category podcast feeds can't. Thus, you can have multiple shows and optimize their feeds by using podcast channels instead of category podcasting.
4. PowerPress taxonomy podcasting
Taxonomy podcasting starts to get complicated, so take a step back. “Taxonomy” is how your content is organized. This could be categories with or without hierarchy, it can be tags, or it can be any other special taxonomy you create (usually with themes or a plugin like Types). For example, I could make a “Knowledge Level” taxonomy for The Audacity to Podcast episodes with options for “Beginner,” “Intermediate,” and “Advanced.” These would look like either tags or categories, but they're separate from the rest of WordPress's normal tags and categories.
Taxonomy podcasting and category podcasting are very similar. After all, a category is a kind of taxonomy. But taxonomy podcasting allows you to turn any taxonomy into its own podcast feed, even regular WordPress tags!
When to use PowerPress’s taxonomy podcasting
Like category podcasting, taxonomy podcasting is best for hosting multiple shows on the same site. You can turn regular WordPress tags into podcast feeds, or create your own taxonomy with a plugin like Types.
For example, you may have a podcast network running from a single website. You could split up business and entertainment podcasts with different category hierarchies, but you could also make your own taxonomy for hierarchical categories for each of your shows.
Taxonomy can apply to standard WordPress posts or custom post types.
5. PowerPress custom-post-type podcasting
WordPress can become a more powerful content-management system (CMS) by using custom post types. You’re already familiar with the built-in post types: pages and regular posts. Ecommerce plugins, such as Woocommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, make a custom post type (CPT) called “products,” and each product is a post of that type.
Typically, custom post types would be made with a theme or a plugin. I use the Types plugin on Podcast Places to create CPTs for podcast apps/directories, blogs and podcasts about podcasting, and more unique resources coming to that site.
Some themes, like Michael Hyatt’s Get Noticed theme, offer CPTs for special kinds of posts. In Get Noticed, they’re called “mini-posts.”
Any custom post type can appear inside the stand posts feed, or it could be its own feed. It could appear merged with archive pages, or be its own separate archive page.
PowerPress can turn these custom post types into podcast feeds in the same style as podcast channels (so you also get the feed episode maximizer feature).
Custom post types pair well with custom taxonomies. Like creating miniseries, or custom-categorizing your episodes. You can also stick with the regular WordPress tags and categories for CPTs.
When to use PowerPress’s custom-post-type podcasting
The only way you’ll have custom post types on your site is if you’re using a theme or plugin to add them. Typically, you would use CPTs if you want different kinds of posts to use or display specific kinds of information. Here are some examples of when you would want to use CPT podcasting.
If you have a specific “Podcast episode” custom post type to separate your podcast from your blog, then CPT podcasting would be great for you.
If you run a church website, you may have a “sermons” CPT, which would be ideal for CPT podcasting.
You could also use CPT podcasting to make a podcast feed from the products you add to your online store.
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