I usually recommend self-hosted WordPress for podcasting from your own website, and so do many other professionals. But is this really the best option for running your podcast and creating your podcast RSS feed?
Challenging the Podcasting Assumptions
This is a special miniseries to challenge the ideas podcasters have accepted as truth for years. Some will stand up against the challenge while others crumble, and some will reveal new options you may have never considered.
- Are you really a “podcaster” and should you really be podcasting?
- Does your podcast NEED interaction or an email list?
- Is iTunes really THE place for podcasts? Do you NEED a mobile app?
- Does SEO really matter in podcasting?
- Do you REALLY need to edit your podcasts? What about authenticity?
- Do you REALLY need audio/visual branding or promos for your podcast?
- Should you launch your podcast with Episode 0? Does iTunes New and Noteworthy REALLY matter?
- Are Episode Numbers REALLY Necessary?
- Does audio/video quality ACTUALLY matter? Is a dynamic mic REALLY the best?
- Do you REALLY need passion? Is consistency THAT important?
Do you need a website?
You don't actually have to have a website to run a podcast! All you need, by technical definition, is an RSS feed with links to media files hosted somewhere. You can make this without a website. It's entirely possible to hand-code or use software to create an RSS feed, upload it somewhere and update it each time you have a new episode.
But a website makes this process so much easier. Most importantly, having a website makes an online home for your podcast. This home can link to your podcast in iTunes and other podcast directories, have your social-network accounts, include more information about you and your podcast than directories can display, and provide a platform for so much more.
Why is WordPress so popular?
- WordPress is free
- WordPress is easy to use
- WordPress gives you freedom and control over your platform
- WordPress can be extended with plugins for nearly any functionality you could want
- WordPress is easy to make beautiful with great free and premium themes (I recommend StudioPress)
- WordPress offers great search-engine optimization (SEO)
- WordPress is very popular and thus is easy to get support from the massive user and developer community
- WordPress provides a powerful foundation for any kind of website
What else is there besides WordPress?
You could use almost any self-hosted content-management system (CMS) to generate your podcast's RSS feed. Besides WordPress, popular choices are Drupal, ExpressionEngine, and Joomla.
If you don't want to host your CMS with your own web-hosting account (such as BlueHost, WPEngine, or WiredTree), you could use a third-party hosted solution. Some of the most popular are SquareSpace, Blogger, WordPress.com, Tumblr, LibSyn, SoundCloud, PodOMatic, PodBean, and Blubrry.
What if your CMS doesn't support podcasting?
You may have a large site already locked into a particular CMS and it would be too expensive to switch now. That's okay!
If you use SquareSpace, Drupal, another self-hosted CMS, or any third-party platform, you can turn your regular RSS feed into a podcast feed with FeedBurner. This is the one scenario where I continue to recommend FeedBurner.
If your site doesn't even generate RSS feeds (like a static site or Weebly), then you can add another service hosted elsewhere (like LibSyn or Blubrry) to create your podcast RSS feed for submitting to iTunes and linking from your static website.
What is the “best” CMS for podcasting?
“Best” is such a relative term that there is no absolute answer to this.
- If you want to podcast easily, reliably, and don't care about customizing your site, LibSyn may be best for you. (Use promo code “noodle” for a free month.)
- If you already have a large site and can't switch content management systems, create a new blog category and run the feed through FeedBurner with the SmartCast feature.
- If you use a third-party platform like Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress.com, then run your RSS feed through FeedBurner with the SmartCast feature. This will allow you to easily change the source if you switch platforms in the future.
- If you want fairly easy, full control over your site and you're not afraid of putting your hands into your site, then self-hosted WordPress is probably your best solution.
Conclusions: NO, but …
You don't have to have a website, just like you don't have to have a home. But both things make life a lot easier! While this isn't a requirement, I will call it a need that you should have.
WordPress is generally the most flexible choice for powering your podcast feed and website, but you don't have to use it for your podcast. In fact, there are many highly successful podcasters using LibSyn or something completely different.
What podcasting assumptions would you like to challenge?
This miniseries may go for as long as I have topics to address, and I already have decent list. What assumptions would you like to see challenged? What advice have you heard that you think should now be questioned? (My own advice is open to challenge!)
I appreciate Richard Farrar recently with “A Quasi-technical Analysis of the Top Podcasts about Podcasting.”
- WordPress 3.9 is now available and includes nice features for playlists, easier image insertions and editing, and more.
- My secret “RPM” service will launch in May, but you'll get to hear its announcement in my April 23 appearance in Entrepreneur on Fire!
- Podertainment Magzine's second issue is now available!
Need personalized podcasting help?
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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.