Podcasting has become the latest craze for content makers and consumers, marking a new frontier for WordPress websites that are built specifically to help audiences tune in.
But every website isn’t created equal and having a subpar home for a podcast can deter potential listeners from subscribing. To help you avoid these pitfalls and start off on the right foot, we’re sharing our four key steps to setting up a podcast on WordPress.
According to Edison Research and NPR, spoken word audio listening is on the rise. In fact, the share of time spent listening to this content has increased by 20% since 2014, while time spent with music decreased by 5% in the same period.
This shift in consumption habits signals an important time to think about how a podcast’s accessibility can help capture more of these listeners.
One of the best ways to make a podcast easily discoverable and accessible is to create a website. Given the ease and customization available inside WordPress, hosts predominantly choose to feature their show using the platform.
WordPress offers podcast-specific themes, plugins designed to store large audio files, and media players perfect for enhancing a listener’s experience.
Including a podcast across your current WordPress website is a straightforward process that offers important benefits. Whether you already produce a show or are on the road to launching, understanding the basics of setting up a podcast on WordPress is a crucial lesson for all hosts.
In this post, we’ll review the basics of podcasting and why it’s important to feature each episode on your website. Then we’ll walk you through four steps on how to set up a podcast on your WordPress site.
Basics to Starting a Podcast
With the latest boom in podcast listening, content creators are taking a stab at starting their own shows. Creating a podcast from scratch is work and involves a handful of moving parts but there are plenty of resources to walk you through the full process. Here, we’ve simplified it down to the three main components all hosts need to complete before they can officially say they have a podcast.
Concept and Name
First and foremost, finalizing the podcast’s concept and name needs to be completed before anything else. It’s impossible to start recording if you haven’t thought about what to talk about. Scrolling through Apple Podcasts’ categories highlights the broad list of podcast topics already available to listeners. True crime, fictional storytelling, celebrity interviews, and masterclasses teaching new skills – there is no limit to what a podcast can be about. To choose, think about your passions and where you can add unique value to the conversation. Pick something you’re genuinely interested in as you’ll be talking about this topic a lot.
With a topic locked in, next look to the show’s name. A podcast title should be descriptive and search-friendly. Some opt for a play-on-words or include the host’s name if it’s recognizable to their target audience.
Equipment and Software
After finalizing the title and concept, next start looking at proper podcasting equipment to capture quality sounding episodes. A microphone and headphones make up the most basic setups. We recommend microphones from Audio Technica and over-ear headphones from Sony for an affordable way to get started.
Once the brand new equipment arrives and you’ve nailed down exactly what to talk about in episode one, it’s time to hit record. But first, you’ll need to set up a recording and editing software to capture the audio files. Audacity, a free product for PC and Mac users, offers both recording and editing capabilities. It has an easier learning curve compared to other more robust options making it the best choice for those just starting out.
The final step is hitting record and capturing the raw audio files that will make up the final episode. To shake some of the nerves that come with recording for the first time, try writing out a script and taking it for a few test runs, working out the kinks of speaking into a microphone. The best part about making a podcast is you can always re-record so don’t be afraid to capture a few takes.
In its most basic terms, following these three steps will help you create your first podcast episode. Sharing a unique point of view with the world is an exciting opportunity but first an audience needs to be able to actually listen to the content. With a few final episodes under your belt, it’s time to look forward to why setting up your podcast on your WordPress website is important.
Why it’s Important to Include Your Podcast on Your Website
What good is pouring resources into creating a podcast if it’s difficult for people to tune in. Hosts don’t typically start podcasting to only share their voice with a select few. Instead, they’re usually after large audiences who loyally follow along, subscribing to receive alerts about every new episode.
The easiest way to cultivate this community is to create a central space for the show. A spot that allows people to listen, subscribe, access additional resources, and interact with other listeners in one place. Setting up a podcast on a WordPress website provides a straightforward solution to fostering this home base. The dedicated space also helps simplify calls-to-action. Instead of directing listeners to find the latest content across multiple podcast platforms, highlighting one location removes confusion and helps the CTA pack more of a punch.
A podcast website offers important opportunities to attract the attention of potential listeners too. As episodes and their transcriptions are added, Google has the opportunity to surface the content in search results. As users attempt to find information related to a podcast’s topic, episodes featured on a website becomes the first stop for new listeners to learn about the show. The SEO advantages are typically the most popular way hosts benefit from setting up their podcast on WordPress.
Understanding the importance of a website is step one, what follows is the process of how to set up a podcast on WordPress. Including these key features can help further engage a current set of listeners while gaining the attention of a new audience, both supporting consistent growth.
How To Feature A Podcast On WordPress
How to get a general website off the ground is detailed here so we’re jumping right to the specifics of how to set up a podcast using WordPress. Dealing with audio content entails a unique set of plugins and themes that are perfect for podcasts.
In this section, we’ll go over how to feature a podcast on WordPress in four steps. From file hosting recommendations to plugin considerations, and what content should be included alongside new episodes, we’re covering it all.
Step 1: Set Up a Podcast Hosting Provider
As a WordPress user, you’re likely already familiar with hosting services that help your website function better. Podcasts require a similar set up to host large audio files, ensuring fast load times and hassle-free listening experience.
A podcast hosting provider stores a podcast’s audio files and generates a show’s RSS feed, the most important piece in distributing new episodes. When choosing a host, think about each option’s storage capacity and your intended publishing schedule. Picking a provider that charges extra for going over storage or download allotments is a quick way to start spending more than originally planned.
It’s also worth considering the value of any extra services a podcast hosting provider may offer. Some will repurpose your podcast into video content and include episode transcriptions. These bonus features produce content that can be used across a podcast’s website so it may be a cost-savings to find a host that offers bundled add-ons.
Another way to save time is to find a podcast hosting provider that has a custom WordPress plugin already integrated with the platform. These plugins allow podcasters to manage their show directly from the WordPress dashboard you know and love. Move to step two to find more details on why a podcast plugin is essential to set up a podcast on WordPress.
A note for the advanced coders among us. There is the option of creating your own RSS feed using XML frameworks. This may be the most cost-effective method but requires more time and knowledge to set up.
Step 2: Install a WordPress Podcast Plugin
After choosing a podcast hosting provider or setting up your own RSS feed, it’s time to make the connection between WordPress and the host. Each hosting provider has specific instructions on how to link the two but it generally involves a WordPress API key and the RSS feed URL.
To get started, first you need to choose and install a WordPress podcast plugin. As mentioned above, some podcast hosting providers are integrated with custom plugins. Options like Castos and Seriously Simple Podcasting or Blubrry and PowerPress are popular choices among veteran podcasters.
🎙️ Check out our podcast episode with Craig Hewitt from Castos to learn more about what Castos has to offer.
A podcast plugin lets the host’s upload and manages a show directly from a WordPress dashboard. It displays analytics and automatically distributes newly uploaded episodes to major listening platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Choosing a plugin that prioritizes streamlining the time it takes to manage a podcast is invaluable to consistently producing new content.
Most podcast plugins also include media players as a standard feature. After linking a hosting provider to the WordPress site, the next step is letting your visitors actually listen to the podcast!
Both Seriously Simple Podcasting and PowerPress come with media players built into the plugin. Customizing the player’s features like background colors and episode images are ways to reinforce a podcast’s branding throughout a website.
These players also offer the ability to customize how content is displayed, giving you full control over how your podcast is featured on your website. Highlighting the latest episodes on the homepage or curating a playlist of greatest hits can improve a new visitor’s listening experience. Organizing your content in the way it should be consumed can educate a new audience about the show and foster more loyal listeners.
Your podcast media player should also include subscribing functions across the major listening platforms. So when users land on the website and enjoy what they hear, they can easily click once to subscribe to the show on their preferred app. Building an engaged audience is a crucial component to keeping a podcast alive. It’s important to allow people to consume your content where they already like to listen to podcasts so you can become part of their routine.
Step 4: Create Posts for Every New Episode
As new episodes are uploaded, we recommend creating individual pages for each one. It creates a centralized place for your audience to reference an episode’s content at any future date.
Inside each post, there are a few key elements in order to reap the most SEO benefits and more importantly, make the podcast more accessible. To increase accessibility, an episode transcription allows hearing-impaired communities and non-native English speakers to enjoy your podcast. Include the transcription below the embedded media player so it’s easy for everyone to find. And although Google now has the ability to crawl audio content, including a written account of the episode gives their bots one more data point to reference.
Next, don’t forget the importance of show notes. This is a detailed and engaging episode summary that includes quote timestamps, links to mentioned articles, and any additional resources that can elevate a listener’s experience. Show notes offer more opportunities for audience members to engage with a show, marking why it’s important to set up a podcast on WordPress.
Podcasts are a medium that has taken off in recent years, becoming a popular way for creators to share their voice. Building a dedicated home for a show should be one of the first tasks hosts look to complete to capitalize on growth and accessibility opportunities. Setting up a podcast on WordPress doesn’t have to be a challenge. By choosing a podcast hosting provider that includes an integrated plugin and customizable media player, new podcasters can streamline their workflows.
With this simple four-step guide in hand, you can set up a podcast on your own WordPress site in minutes.
Featured image credit: Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels