Do you REALLY need a website and WordPress for podcasting? – TAP170

Is-WordPress-necessary-for-podcasting

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.

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?

There are many reasons to use WordPress for your own podcasting website.

  1. WordPress is free
  2. WordPress is easy to use
  3. WordPress gives you freedom and control over your platform
  4. WordPress can be extended with plugins for nearly any functionality you could want
  5. WordPress is easy to make beautiful with great free and premium themes (I recommend StudioPress)
  6. WordPress offers great search-engine optimization (SEO)
  7. WordPress is very popular and thus is easy to get support from the massive user and developer community
  8. 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.”

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Disclosure

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.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

3 comments on “Do you REALLY need passion? Is consistency THAT important? – TAP173

  1. Great episode DJL, because as many of you in the podcast space explain, podfading when you don’t stick to a consistent schedule is almost imminent. One thing with the podcasts I’ve hosted in the past were being consistent. In a news-based niche, trying to capitalize on the news can be great, until other things get in the way. With my current podcast, I’m setting consistent release times and I’m starting to see consistent numbers and some steady (slow, but steady) growth. I find I was initially doing the podcast (at first) the same day as a release and there was no rhyme or reason to it. Now that I’ve found a good MWF (two of the shows I produce and host myself) format, listeners are starting to become aware they are released on certain days and they’re already downloading the episodes before I even hit the social media blast on Twitter, Facebook and G+. This series has been fantastic. For some reason, I feel like I’m coming off as a fanboy with listening live and incessant commenting, but this series REALLY is helpful, even to those like me who think they’ve got some of the timing stuff figured out.

    1. With a MWF schedule like that, what do you do when you travel?

      1. I always travel with a computer in case news breaks. I’m generally internet connected when I need to be. But I’m starting to make sure I have content in the hopper ready to go. An example is this coming week. I’m going to North Carolina for a wedding for about 5 days. During that time, I’ll have two shows to release. They’re already done. Just plug them into wordpress and auto post when the time comes and hit social media the days they auto post. It’s something I actually did when I traveled on my old show long before I’d ever heard of the John Lee Dumas, who I’ve actually only listened to once.

        So I have Friday (of this week), and Monday (of next) already loaded and ready. Wednesday is the only show that’s recorded and released the same day, but that’s actually another show within my podcast. We record that show from a radio station in Iowa as part of our podcast, so that’s the Wednesday show. The only problem that can come up there is little tech knowledge at the station, so I use Audio Hijack to get the audio off the live stream (which can be risky at times, no the studio doesn’t seem to want to record the show for us unless they absolutely have to).

        I’m trying to build up non-timely shows (since my offseason is interview based) to have ready to drop in within a two week period and then have the ability to move shows based on relevance. On Monday, I’d already released a podcast and was waiting for Friday to release a big name interview. Then there was a hire at a Division I wrestling program (new head coach). So I’ve got that person as Friday and bumping the previous guest show to Monday. I don’t actually publish the show on blubrry until I know my order, so I’m not saying “Episode 61” when it’s actually 62 or 60.

        I also have the Roland ready to roll if I need to do things on the road. I always travel with my computer, even though I might not turn it on.

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