Does your podcast website accomplish what it needs to? Here are five ways to optimize your podcast's site for goals, mobile, SEO, speed, and accessibility.
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This is the conclusion to my “podcast website” series. Make sure you listen to the other episodes for more information!
- How to Choose the Right Hosting for Your Podcast Website
- 6 Needs for a Podcast's Website Design or WordPress Theme
- 14 Features Your Podcast Website Needs
1. Optimize for goals
What do you want your podcast website to do? Judging from the majority of podcast websites out there, it seems podcasters either don't know what their goals are, or they have far too many goals!
Try this exercise. Imagine your website was allowed to accomplish only three things. What would you want those three things to be? The actual number doesn't have to be three, but that is a good starting point.
Here are some things I suggest as overall high-priority goals for podcast websites (but don't pick all of them):
- Listen to your podcast
- Subscribe to your podcast
- Share your content
- Join your email list
- Buy something from you
Here are some low-priority goals, that you will often see litering podcast websites:
- Follow on social networks
- Visit affiliate links
- Send feedback
- Write a review for the podcast
You may have different goals for different sections. For example, the goal of your feedback/contact form is for someone to send a message, so you may not want any email-list opt-ins on that page. Or, the goals for your individual episode post is for someone to listen to or watch that episode, and then to share it or take some other action.
Think carefully about what you want people to do when they visit your site. Then, try to remove any distractions from that goal.
Don't treat your website like a Christmas tree (where there are never enough lights or decorations). Instead, treat it like a road that takes your visitor to a specific destination.
2. Optimize for mobile
The growth of mobile website-browsing will only increase. Optimizing for mobile has several aspects that you should consider on your podcast website.
- Responsiveness: Your site design needs to respond to the size of the browser (called “responsive web design”). This makes engaging with your content easier on smaller screens.
- Compatibility: Make sure features on your website actually work on mobile devices, such as podcast players, sharing buttons, feedback forms, and such.
- Usability: Most mobile interactions are done with the imprecision of a finger. Thus, ensure your links, buttons, form fields, and other such interactions work well with fingers of all sizes.
Most of this is related to your website design. But some of your mobile-optimization is based on decisions you make: plugins, hyperlinks, images, amount of information, etc.
I don't ever recommend hiding or removing functionality on your website for mobile users. Quite often, a mobile user wants to do the same things as a PC user.
Optimizing for mobile not only helps the user experience, but it also helps your search-engine visibility. This is because Google and other search engines are prioritizing mobile-optimized websites for searches done on mobile devices.
3. Optimize for search (SEO)
Search-engine optimization (SEO) is such as large topic, that I have a complete SEO for Podcasters course about it.
What's most important for you to remember is that you're optimizing for humans who use search engines, not optimizing for the search engines themselves. This is especially true as search-engine algorithms are regularly tweaked to provide the kinds of results humans want.
Thus, the two most important aspects of search-engine optimization are:
- Titles—Have clear and compelling titles with the most important information first
- Written content—Have high-quality written content with the most important information first
Additionally, think about the search on your site. This is primarily powered by your titles and content, but also by your internal tags.
Especially in WordPress and related-post tools, tags are ways to add keyword themes to content and connect one piece of content to another.
4. Optimize for speed
People want things quickly—food, customer service, information, and more. Your website should, ideally, be usable within three seconds.
The usual culprits for slowing down your website are big images, social-network buttons and boxes, and too many plugins.
For more information, listen to my previous episode about speeding up your website for more information.
Speed also relates back to the goals for your website. Even if your website loads within one second, it won't help if it then takes a visitor several minutes to get what they want.
Thus, make your website as fast to use as possible. Don't make people have to think hard in order to use your podcast website.
5. Optimize for accessibility
Finally, it's important to ensure your website is accessible to the physically impaired.
Usually, if you follow best practices for the other tips, you'll have a mostly accessible website. But there are other practices to ensure anyone is able to use your site.
- Add “alt” text that describes images
- Add simple navigation
- Use headings for hierarchy, not visual style
- Use a website theme with accessibility features built in (like “skip to content” links and more)
- Be careful with icon-fonts
- Test your website in screen-readers
- Maintain high contrast between text and backgrounds
Don't stop with making your website accessible to users with bodily limitations. Also think about other restrictions, such as filters, bandwidth limitations, browsers, and ad-blockers.
You may not be able to guarantee an identical experience for everyone. But ensure that the main purposes of your website are served and accessible to everyone.
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