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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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.

15 comments on “Do you REALLY need a website and WordPress for podcasting? – TAP170

  1. Podcastcoach says:

    Great show. The problem is your website is the hub. How do you create pretty links without a website? How do you send people to sign up for a newsletter. Granted your ning, jumla, site might be able to accomodate these, but if you’re going to take it seriously, you need a website in my book. I was talking with someone last week who is making zero money with his podcast (and you don’t need to, but they wanted to) and they don’t have a website. If you google their show name their show appeared on a number of free (tumblr, facebook) sites. There was no “Home” for their podcast. You had not idea which one of those options was the “official” website.

  2. Magnolia Epublishing says:

    Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but will. I had a godaddy hosting account already paid for so wordpress was a natural. I don’t even begin to approach using up my bandwith limits. I have blubrry powerpress installed, but the redirect to get the extra statistics messed up a lot of things (iTunes does not like change!) so I stopped using it. I do used it to update my itunes image, I use a fresh one every episode.

    My tips:

    1.Every link in the chain seems to want to add their own player, so I don’t. I just create a post, add media, and

    ATTACHMENT DISPLAY SETTINGS

    Embed or Link: choose link to media file, nothing else:

    2. I put brief show info in the actual text portion of the post. Title and ep number, log line, whats in the show. The reason is both iTunes and Stitcher strip all the punctuation and formatting and create an unreadable wall of text. I put the show notes in a separate post.

    Cheers,
    Mag Epub
    http://mysteriescompound.com

    1. Half of my listenership comes through my websites and presses play. If you don’t have a player on your page, then you could be missing this.

  3. Aaron Olson says:

    I agree, u don’t need a website, and it might be more of a burden than it’s worth to maintain and keep it looking good. U can still advertise on the show and even do some cool things w enhanced podcasts such as including affiliate links right in your audio file so that users can take action immediately and click on the affiliate link for the product that your advertising for, which in my opinion is much better than sending them to a website.

    1. Magnolia Epublishing says:

      Here’s a link, I think it’s apple only though: http://makezine.com/2008/02/29/how-to-make-enhanced-podc/

    2. Actually, I said that you do need a site, it’s just not required.

      “Enhanced” podcasts are dying. Apple is supporting them less and less. They only worked on a small portion of the market anyway.

      1. Aaron Olson says:

        I find they are being supported by many podcatchers such as downcast, pocketcasts and others. Since when is apple a small portion of the podcast market? Apple seems to be still supporting them in their most recent app, plus using free online tools like auphonic.com makes them really easy to create. Having easily searchable content with chapters seems like the way of the future, but I could be wrong. Even mp3 files are supporting chapters and links in apps like downcasts

        1. It was the “wave of the future” several years ago. But Apple has been diminishing support in the Podcasts app as well as in GarageBand.

          It’s far better to have a universal format and point people to your easily accessible show notes for more information. This helps you in so many other ways, too. And it takes far less time to make good show notes than making an enhanced audio file.

  4. Richard Farrar says:

    Hi Daniel, thanks for the shout out about my recent blog post; really appreciate it and I’m so glad it didn’t cause any offence.

    An excellent show by the way and I like the idea that you’re trying to challenge accepted dogma and ask the all important question that 2 year olds always ask, but as adults we always seem to forget; WHY?

    It promises to be an interesting and thought provoking series.

    1. Thanks, Richard!

      A few of my next topics will be, “Do you need a big audience?” “Should you really monetize?” and “Is media hosting really that important?” Plus several others.

      1. Richard Farrar says:

        I can see a few of those stimulating lively debate 🙂

  5. Sacha Horowitz says:

    WordPress is easy? Then I must be terribly dumb, in spite of my IT studies. I find it very clunky, changing aspects of the website is at times buried under many layers of menu after menu. Any other suggestions?? Is Weebly still incompatible with iTunes? Seems to be much easier than WordPress.

    1. Matthew says:

      Have you looked at Wix? I use Wix for my podcast website (https://www.diahpodcast.com/) and I love it. Drop me a message through the contact form on that site if you have any questions about using Wix : )

      1. Sacha Horowitz says:

        I heard about Wix, seems to be another easy-to-use alternative. Are you sure its treatment of the iTunes feed? Seems to be a tricky issue if Weebly didn’t get it right for every device, at some point…

        1. Matthew says:

          I don’t totally follow your question “Are you sure its treatment of the iTunes feed?”. On my Wix site I give my visitors 3 ways to listen to my show: on the website itself (I grab the HTML code from Libsyn and drop it into the episode page, they can access the player on that page), through iTunes and Stitcher.

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