Are you looking to start a podcast? Do you want to have a perfect podcasting setup? In this article, we will show you how to start and setup a podcast using WordPress. We will also cover how podcasts work, tools you need, and some other helpful resources.
How Podcasts Work?
A podcast consist of an episodic series of audio files that users can subscribe to and download to listen.
Just like WordPress allow users to subscribe to your blog posts via RSS feeds, it makes it easier for users to subscribe to your podcast using RSS subscription apps on their devices.
There are specialized tools to listen and subscribe to podcasts, and the most popular one of them is iTunes.
By submitting your podcasts to iTunes podcast directory, you can make it available to millions of users around the world. Your users can easily subscribe to your podcast on their iPhones, iPods, iPad, and other apple devices. We will show you how to make your podcast available on iTunes later in this article.
Your podcast will also be available to users on most other devices including Android, Windows, and other platforms. They can subscribe to it using a podcast app on their devices and computers.
Setting up Your Podcasting Site
Before you get started, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
First thing you will need to create your podcasting site is a good web hosting provider. If you’re just starting out, then we recommend BlueHost. They are an official WordPress hosting provider. You can also check out our other recommended WordPress hosting providers.
The next thing you will need is a good media hosting provider. Your podcasts are large static media files, and serving large files from your web host will consume a lot of server resources. For best user experience and least hassle, we recommend that you use a podcast specific media hosting platform like Blubrry.
Most smart podcasters user a separate podcast hosting service to serve their podcast files. It is the smartest and most efficient way to run a podcast.
Below are few reasons why we recommend Blubrry:
- Blubrry is optimized for podcasting using WordPress. They offer a powerful plugin called Blubrry PowerPress which makes it super easy for you to publish and manage your podcast from your WordPress site. We will show you how to setup and use it later in this article.
- It comes with the a large user community consisting many successful podcasters behind it. If you need help, then join the forums to learn from others who are podcasting for a long time.
- Blubrry comes with amazing tools like ID3 tagging, iTunes optimization, automatic media artwork management, etc.
- They have a top-tier content delivery network which makes your content delivery faster and more reliable.
As your podcast grow, you will learn about new tools that you can use to produce higher quality podcasts. However as a beginner, the most important tool that you need is a good microphone.
Please do not use your computer’s built-in microphone to record your podcast. Your users will instantly notice the terrible sound quality.
There are 3 popular mic choices among podcasters.
Samson C01U (USB) – Entry level Microphone
Rode Podcaster (USB) – Best USB mic that we found. We use it for our videos and List25 videos.
Heil PR-40 (XLR connection, not USB) – This is what the Pro’s use. You will need to buy an audio mixer as well.
Other equipment that you probably want to purchase: mic arm, shock mount, and a pop filter. We purchased the Rode Podcaster kit that came with a Mic Arm and shock mount. You would also need a decent headphone. We’re using Sony MDR7506.
Recording Your Podcast
To record your podcast, you will need an audio recording software. The best podcast recording software which is used by most podcasters is Audacity. It is a free, cross-platform, and open source software capable of recording studio-quality professional podcasts.
After installing Audacity, you need to open it up and create a new project from the File menu.
To record your voice, simply click on the record button. Now feel free to record your podcast. Don’t worry about awkward pauses, breaks, coughing, or any glitches you might make while narrating. You can edit the recording as many times as you want.
You can also import music files from File » Import and set them as background music.
Audacity is a very powerful tool and it is not possible for us to even cover its basic features in this article. However, TeamAudacity has an extensive Wiki with detailed tutorials specifically written for new podcasters. We will recommend you to go through these tutorials. It will take you sometime to familiarize with the software, but its totally worth the time and effort.
Once you have recorded your podcast, you need to export it. Most podcasters export their audio files in MP3 format because it creates smaller file sizes with good quality.
You also need to be smart about naming your podcasts. Some suggestions would be WPB001.mp3 or WPBep001.mp3
Publishing Your Podcast
First thing you need to do is install and activate the Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting plugin. It is developed and maintained by the same folks who run Blubrry podcasting community and comes with many powerful features.
Once activated, you will see a PowerPress menu item in WordPress admin menu. Clicking on it will take you to plugin’s settings page.
If you are using Blubrry to host your podcasting files, then you need to click on the button to configure Blubrry statistics and hosting services.
Clicking on the button will bring up a popup where you need to enter your Blubrry hosting account email and password.
After that you need to fill out rest of the information on the settings page. Provide a title for your podcast and fill out iTunes fields. These iTunes fields for description, category, subtitle, artwork, etc will be used in your podcast’s RSS feed, and iTunes will use them to place your podcast in their directory.
Save settings when you are done.
Upload Media Files to Blubrry
In the next step, you need to upload your podcast file to your Blubrry. Log into your Blubrry hosting account and then click on Content » Media Files. On the next screen, you need to click on ‘Upload New Media’ button. This will bring up a popup where you can upload your podcast media file.
Once you have uploaded the media file, you can close the uploader.
Adding Your First Podcast
To publish your first podcast, you need to go to Posts » Add New. Give your first podcast post a title and add some description in the edit area.
It is highly recommended that you create a separate category for your podcast episodes. This will allow you to keep your podcast episodes separate from rest of your content. You will also be able to easily publicize your podcast feed later on.
After that you need scroll down to the bottom of the page and there you will see Podcast Episode metabox.
Blubrry hosting users need to click on the folder icon and select the file they uploaded to Blubrry media.
Other users need to paste their media file URL in here. Click the verify button to make sure that your have pasted the correct URL.
That’s all. You are all set to go, feel free to hit the publish button to make your first podcast episode available to the world.
Previewing Your Podcast in iTunes
Now that you have set up your podcast website with WordPress, it is time to submit it to iTunes. Before submitting it to iTunes, you might want to check how your podcast will look in iTunes. To do this, launch iTunes and go to File » Subscribe to Podcast and enter your feed URL.
Your feed url will look like:
Don’t forget to replace example.com with your own domain name. Please note that if you have not enabled Permalinks on your WordPress site then the URL above will take you to the homepage instead of showing your RSS feed. In that case you either need to enable pretty permalink.
Once you enter the URL in iTunes, it will fetch the feed and display it. As you can see in the screenshot below, it fetched the artwork, description, subtitle, etc.
If everything looks good, this means you are ready to submit your podcast to iTunes.
Submitting your Podcast to iTunes
To submit your podcast to iTunes, you need to download and install the latest version of iTunes on your computer. Launch the iTunes and click on the iTunes Store button on the top right corner of the screen.
iTunes will now access iTunes Store. Click on the Podcasts menu, and then scroll a little to find the Podcasts Quick Links section. There you will see a link to Submit a podcast.
This will open Podcast submit process. You will need a valid Apple ID to submit your podcast to iTunes directory. If you are not already signed in, iTunes will prompt you to login.
The first thing you will need is your podcast feed URL. This URL may differ depending on how you are publishing your podcast.
Your feed will already include tags required by iTunes Store for podcasts. Upon submission, your podcast feed will be submitted to iTunes review queue.
After approval by iTunes review staff, it will be added to iTunes directory and you will be notified via email.
We hope this article helped you setup your first podcast in WordPress. If you want to make your Podcast successful, then we recommend you join:
John is a good friend of ours, and he is an inspiration for most new podcasters. In less than 2 years, he has taken his podcast from $0 to 7 figure annual income. If you’re thinking of starting a podcast, then you want to learn from him.