Ensure your podcast website is designed with these six things to help grow your audience, engage better, and build your authority. These will help you whether you're hiring a designer, choosing a WordPress theme, or using a website-builder.
1. A prominent player
“Visit website; press play.” That should be the goal of your website design or WordPress theme for your podcast. With such a simple design, you don't have to tell people to find your podcast in any particular app. You simply tell them your website address, and when they visit it, the design makes it obvious to press play.
This doesn't mean your podcast player has to be the biggest thing on the page, but certainly don't let it be hard to find or missing from the front page.
You don't have to have a podcast theme in order to have a great website design for your podcast. Take any other theme (I also like those from StudioPress, Themify, and Elegant Themes), and add a prominent player to it. PowerPress, Libsyn, Simple Podcast Press, and Smart Podcast Player provide great players for your website.
Your site's design then helps make these players more prominent. Such as placing your player higher in your content, but not necessarily at the top; having a large player with big buttons, instead of a small image; or making a prominent “playlist player” on your homepage or other appropriate pages.
2. A mobile-optimized experience
Podcasts are primarily consumed on mobile devices, so it makes sense that your website should be optimized mobile devices, too. To see what kind of traffic your website gets, use Google Analytics and go to Audience > Mobile > Overview, then add “mobile” and “tablet” together. (Other stats services usually provide similar information.) My Once Upon a Time podcast, for example, gets 50% of its traffic from non-PC devices.
“Mobile-optimized” means more than not using Flash. It means that the design and flow of your website adjusts to the size of the browser. This is called “responsive web design.” High-quality modern website themes support this without the need for extra plugins. The benefit of using a responsive theme is that it maintains your visual branding (fonts, colors, logo).
Visit your own website on a small mobile device (like an iPhone 5/5s, which has a 4-inch screen) and see how easy it is to use. Is it as easy as “visit website; press play”? Does your player extend beyond the screen? Do videos scale proportionally so there aren't black bars?
Especially take note of how your widgets behave on small devices. The widgets may move to the bottom or disappear altogether. This is one of many reasons the sidebar is no longer as important, and you should avoid referring to items on your website by their horizontal locations (left or right).
3. Calls to action
Here's a general rule on calls to action: have one and repeat it.
Many podcasters are guilty of too many calls to action:
- Subscribe in iTunes
- Subscribe in Stitcher
- Subscribe in Google Play
- Rate and review
- Comment on the episode
- Share the podcast/episode
- Like on Facebook
- Follow on Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest, etc.
- Join the email list
- Buy something
- Visit a sponsor
- Email/call/record feedback
I say this with all love: STOP IT! We're often asking way too much of our audience, and sometimes before we have even given any value!
Think of your call to action as the one thing your want someone to do if they do nothing else. Now focus on making multiple calls to that one action.
And with every call to action, ensure you communicate the value you're proposing.
Include separate calls to action where most relevant. (I'll talk more about calls to action inside Podcasters' Society.)
4. A tagline description
Your website needs to communicate what your podcast is about within only a few seconds. Visual branding helps, but the clearest way is to include a short “tagline” for your podcast prominently on the homepage and a little less prominently on subsequent pages.
Think of your tagline description as how you would explain your podcast in fewer than 5 seconds.
5. Unified branding
Your website design needs to match the rest of your podcast branding. This doesn't mean you have to hire a professional web designer (though I can refer you to one). It can be as simple as using the same colors and imagery as you use in your cover art. (Matching fonts can also help, but that can be complicated.)
If we turned this into a game, could someone easily match your podcast cover art to your website design?
Stop thinking of everything you could add to your site. The more you add, the less you give. This “less is more” ideology has proven itself effective in many contexts. The fewer items you have on your website, the more focused a visitor can be on what they came to do.
Seriously consider everything already on your site to decide whether it truly needs to be there. Common things worthy of removal are social-network boxes (these can significantly slow down websites), sign-up forms (use a button and a popup), latest posts (think “most popular” instead), and categories or tag clouds.
Thank you for the podcast reviews!
- Michael Young from USA said, “Must-subscribe if you want to podcast. This podcast is always a must-listen, even if I already consider myself well-versed in a particular topic because Daniel ALWAYS looks at things from all the angles and always mentions something that I never thought about. The amount of research he puts into each episode is apparent as is the fact that he cares about his listeners and e-mail subscribers. I just started my own podcast, “Your Creative Push,” but I thank Daniel for helping to give ME the push to finally do it.”
- Join me and Troy Heinritz for a live, free webinar on February 18, 2016! We'll share “Amazing Ways to Promote and Grow Your Podcast.” Click here to register!
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