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7 reasons you should use WordPress on your own web hosting instead of choosing another platform.
Self-hosted vs. WordPress.com
WordPress.com is a hosted service that gives you a limited version of a WordPress website for free. You can have your own domain for a small annual fee.
Self-hosted WordPress is running your own copy of WordPress on a hosting account you pay for somewhere (such as BlueHost, HostGator, or HostDime). Learn more about podcast hosting in my previous episode.
1. Easy to use
WordPress users proclaim “ease of use” as the top reason they love WordPress. Many choose WordPress over another content-management system (CMS) because of its friendly interface and simple workflow.
Yet WordPress also has a lot of power that's easy to use.
If you can attach a file to an email message, then you can publish a podcast with WordPress.
2. Freedom and control
WordPress is a standalone system that you can take wherever you want. You can run a WordPress website on your computer, on shared hosting, or on expensive VPS or dedicated servers.
It's also very easy to transfer your website between website hosting companies. So if you don't like one host, you can easily switch to another and your workflow won't have to change.
Because self-hosted WordPress runs on your own hosting account, you have full freedom to make it do whatever you want. You can add or remove plugins, change the design, change the content, add widgets, embed videos, upload pictures, and much more.
3. Plugins for nearly everything
There are more than 25,000 free plugins in the WordPress plugin directory! The chances are that whatever you want your website to do, there's a plugin for that!
Social-sharing buttons, image galleries, post templates, online stores, donations, contact forms, and so much more can be easily added with plugins.
Yes, choosing a good plugin can be difficult. Here are some general guidelines.
- It should say that it's compatible with your WordPress version. Some plugins won't say this, but they're often still compatible.
- It should have an update within the last several months. Plugins should be in a constant state of growth. They won't always need updates, but updates show the plugin is maturing and the developer is responding to the needs of its users.
- It should have a lot of downloads. “Popular” isn't always right, but in WordPress plugins, a popular plugin probably does its job really well.
- It should have good ratings and reviews. Plugins can now be given a star-rating and a written review. Check these to see how others are liking the plugin, but remember that some users may give bad ratings because they had wrong expectations.
- It should not do much more than you need it to. Avoid the “massive” plugins that try to do everything. These can bog down your website with features you aren't using.
- Premium plugins are usually worth the price. The official directory for WordPress plugins contains only free plugins. Many paid plugins perform similar tasks, but a whole lot better or easier. For example, Contact Form 7 works all right for a contact form, but it's horrible for much more. But Gravity Forms is amazing for any kind of form (even on-demand forms).
4. Great theme designs
I'm a web designer and I may betray my own craft by telling you this secret. You don't have to be or hire a web designer to have a great-looking website! WordPress makes it easy to find and install great themes to make your site beautiful on any device.
I highly recommend the WordPress themes from StudioPress.
5. Search-engine optimization (SEO)
You need to make it easy for people to find you and your website online, so that where search-engine optimization (SEO) comes in. This isn't some magical trickery, but it's about how you write and present your content.
WordPress is already good for SEO by letting Google know when you publish new content (calling a “ping”). But you can also easily get much more control over your SEO with free plugins (like Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO) or a great WordPress theme (like those from StudioPress).
Some plugins, like Scribe, will even tell you what you should be doing in order to improve your SEO.
6. Support and community
There is safety in numbers, and WordPress has a huge following. It is really easy to find answers to almost whatever issue you face. It is also easy to find someone who can quickly fix or enhance your WordPress website.
For example, I was able to easily find others who wanted to disable Disqus on certain WordPress post types. But in my case, no one else had the solution, so I discovered it for them!
7. Foundation for any kind of website
I won't assume that all you want to do is podcast. Maybe you want to blog, sell items through your website, start a forum, invite guest blogs, or run a business website that never produces content. For almost whatever website you want to create, WordPress gives you a strong foundation on which to build and upgrade.
What convinced you to use WordPress? If you aren't using WordPress, why did you decide against it?
Upcoming: podcast promos
Since before I launched The Audacity to Podcast, I wanted to teach you about podcast promos. But I never had the resources in place. That's why I am excited to have Mike Russell from Music Radio Creative join me in a future episode to discuss podcast promos! Send your questions for Mike.
Is podcasting “back”?
Check out the latest Podcasters' Roundtable with Ray Ortega, Dave Jackson, Todd Cochrane, Rob Greenlee, and me discussing the recent “resurgence” in podcasting.
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I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast.
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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.
Daniel, I really enjoyed the show. I promised that my thoughts on Episode 138 wouldn’t stop me from listening and they certainly haven’t.
A great show and really useful to all podcasters. Getting a great looking and good functioning website is key for any podcaster and with WordPress it really is achievable very easily.
I was also very excited to hear about the next episode. Again, something that is going to make a real impact on the quality of podcasts everywhere. And when someone has limited audio editing expertise, these kinds of hints and tips are always a great idea. I’m really looking forward to it.
But, Jon, this was 34 minute of solidly pushing my belief that podcasters should use WordPress! 😛
Have you heard my past episodes on Audacity, and the episode where I explained why I left Audacity for Adobe Audition?
Ha ha yes, but there is a real distinction between the two subjects. Unless you push WordPress because you find Blogger highly offensive 😉 I’m pulling your leg.
By the way, I have heard that episode and found it very interesting because I used Audition before I ever used Audacity. So for me it was interesting to hear your love and loathing of both programmes. As it happens, I’ve now not used Audition in a long time but have been contemplating a return. In fact, it was listening to that episode that really got it into my head to do that. I only ever do/did reasonably easy editing on both programmes. I’m talking about bolting together podcasts and putting together simple radio features. So nothing that really required the full range of functionality of these programmes, but what I miss is the ease of smoothing and adjusting of sound on Audition. As you mentioned in that episode, the crossfade is so easy to use. A simple feature that really makes the difference.
Looking forward to the Podcast promos but these are many great points you point to the SEO is the greatest challenge but realizing that the SEO comes into play on its own with the more content you create. And yes there is are plugins for plugins. If you are wanting something to be done be ya dollars to doughnuts there is a plug in doing what you are wanting
I have gone to recommending WordPress for most of my clients, even the ones who don’t end up doing their own content, because maintenance is easier for ME, too! I know all the backed stuff plus database creation, but why start from scratch?
Quick question for you as a designer, Daniel: are you using the Google web fonts? I’m finding that their quality is not consistent, I.e. , some fonts look “sketchy” or rough.
I use Google Web Fonts for client projects unless they’re willing to pay for fonts.com or TypeKit. For my own sites, I either use TypeKit or my own webfonts.
This is an interesting article. At the moment all I want is to put a few shortish audios out there for shorthand (stenography) enthusiasts. Not costing me any money but not making me any either. I thought of starting with something like Podomatic but I didn’t realise till recently that any content thereon belongs to them even if I write it. I wondered about audioboos- starting off short and simple but upgrading maybe if it took off. Does that sound feasible. No insult intended but Sincerely Thine has totally missed the Once Upon a Time appreciation gene but it would be a dull world if we were all the same.
Thanks, Elder! Did you get to listen to my episode?
If you want full ownership and control, you really need your own website.
[…] more: Audacity to Podcast, WordPress Beginner P.S – Volunteers and Sponsors are welcomed. P.P.S – Other states […]
Where do you recommend storing or serving the audio files from?
I recommend a podcast hosting provider for that. If you want seamless integration with PowerPress, then use Blubrry (https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/bhosting). If you want an easy and attractive simply site for your podcast, use Captivate (https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/captivate).