[PODCAST] how-to-podcast-tutorial.com

14Apr07

Podcast Hosting

Let’s talk about podcast hosting and how to publish your podcast
to the internet. There are a number of podcast hosting solutions available.
There are also a number of important things to know about hosting your podcast
to avoid future problems or excessive money drain.

First I’ll explain what you need to do in order to publish your podcast
online. Then I’ll give you my recommendations for hosting tools and
services. This will save you a lot of time and big headaches. I can even
suggest a way to get your podcast online for free.

The Basic Steps of Publishing Your Podcast

To publish your podcast to the internet, you usually need to do the following:

  1. Register a Web Address – also called a domain name
  2. Find/Buy Web Hosting – to store your blog/site and your audio
    files on the internet
  3. Start a Blog – this is your web site for posting your show notes, links,
    etc.
  4. Create an RSS Feed – this is the feed that your listeners subscribe
    to so they can automatically download new episodes of your podcast

These four things make up a typical podcast hosting setup for publishing
your show to the internet: web address, hosting, blog & RSS feed. There
are a number of tools and services you can use for each of these four things.

I have created three recommended solutions for you to choose from depending
on your podcasting goals & needs. Each solution includes suggested tools
or services that provide you with each of the four things listed above.

Let’s go over the four podcast hosting steps in more detail. Then
I’ll give you my recommended tools and services for each.

Register a Web Address

To have a web address that points to your podcast’s site, you have
to register and pay for what is called a domain name. Google.com is an example
of a domain name. It’s the web address that takes you to Google’s
search site.

This is also sometimes called a URL. Just to be clear, when I say “domain
name” or “URL”, I’m just talking about your web
address.

Some podcasters use a free service like Blogger or Libsyn for their blog.
These services give you a web address that looks like this:

yourpodcastname.libsyn.com

or

yourpodcastname.blogspot.com

This works fine, but it’s not the most convenient web
address for telling people where to find your podcast. It’s a little
harder to remember a URL like that. For marketing and promotion, it’s
best to register your own web address that’s easy for people to remember.

Fortunately, Libsyn and Blogger also give you the option of registering
your own web address and using it with their service.

You can usually register your own web address for less than $10/yr. I’ll
show you where do this for less than $5/yr. This is really very little to
pay to have a web address that is easier to remember and use in your marketing.

If you want to save the expense of registering your own domain name, then
skip the next section and continue on reading about your blog.

How to Register Your Web Address (Domain Name)

Before you can register a web address, you have to see if it’s available.
Then you sign up with a web address registry and pay a small yearly fee.
Then you tell the registry where your site is located on the internet.

The most popular kind of domain name is dot-com although there are also
dot-net and dot-org and many others. Some people type or remember dot-com
even if you tell them dot-net or dot-org address just because it’s
a more common and recognized type of web address.

Here are some tips for choosing your web address:

  • Choose a web address that is easy to remember
  • Don’t make your address it too long
  • Choose a dot-com name if possible
  • It’s best to make your web address the same as the name of your
    podcast
  • Choose a name and web address for your podcast that are meaningful to
    your potential listener and that will draw them in to listen (see my podcast
    promotion e-book for more info in this)
  • If there’s a keyword or term that you would like to be ranked well
    for in the search engines, it’s helpful to use that word/phrase
    in your web address
  • For example: If you want to start a podcast on dog training, you might
    consider a web address and podcast name such as DogTrainingPodcast.com.
  • If the name of your podcast is something like THE Dog Training Podcast,
    register the web address WITHOUT “the” in it or register both
    TheDogTrainingPodcast.com AND DogTrainingPodcast.com. That way both of
    them can point to your podcast site. Many people will forget or add a
    “the” when typing in the web address.

I check web address availability using 000domains.
I have to be honest. I don’t ever register domains through them, but
I like their search tool because I can check the availability of several
domain names all at once.

You might already have a few ideas of what you’d like your web address
to be. Go to 000domains,
type your web address ideas into the box, click “start searching”
and it will tell you which are available.

Once you choose your web address, I suggest registering it with 1and1.
They are very inexpensive and have dependable service. I’ve registered
many domains with them.

Your web host should give you instructions on how to point your web address
to your web site.

Web Hosting

Web hosting gives you a place on the internet to store the files for your
blog, web site and podcast so they are available 24/7 for your listeners
and site visitors.

I’ve used many different web hosting services and had lots of web
sites over the last several years. Here’s what I’ve found that
you need in a web host.

Support: You need easy access to technical & billing
support from your web host. Often I choose a web host based on their great
support alone. There are thousands of hosts that all have similar prices.
Support is often what sets them apart.

Some web hosts don’t have phone support, but are still very quick
with email questions or have live online chat with technicians. As long
as I can get a good answer fast, then I’m happy. Other web hosts are
just slow to respond. You want to avoid these hosts. There are a lot of
cheap hosts out there, but usually you get what you pay for.

Storage: At the very least I recommend you have 1 gigabyte
(GB), which is equal to 1000 megabytes (MB), of storage. You need to be
sure you have room for your site/blog files, your images and your audio.
Many of the web hosts that I use and recommend give you a gigabyte or more
of storage. Eventually you may need more than this.

You’ll need enough storage to keep as many episodes online as you
want to make available at a time. You may want to archive several, or even
all, of your past shows for your listeners to download.

The amount of storage you need for your audio files will depend on the
following:

  • The length of each show
  • The audio quality of your MP3 files (the higher the quality the bigger
    the file)
  • How often you produce shows
  • How many past shows you want to make available at a time to your listeners

If you used the raw audio data that you record into your computer, the
files would be way too big for people to download fast. That is why you
save your final podcast audio as an MP3 file. This process is also called
encoding an MP3 or compressing your audio file.

File compression uses a special program to shrink the file to a tenth of
its size or even smaller. This makes the audio file more manageable to upload
and download on the internet. The tradeoff is that the more you compress
the file, the lower the audio quality will be.

The quality is determined by what is called the bit rate of the MP3. Don’t
worry too much about what this means. You just need to know that a higher
bit rate gives better audio quality which means the file contains more data
which produces a bigger file size.

Click here to see a chart that shows how this works.

To give you an idea of typical file sizes, an MP3 of a song that you download
is probably 3 to 5 MBs. Music MP3s are usually encoded at a bit rate of
128 kbps.

The size of a podcast MP3 file depends on the length and audio quality
(amount of MP3 compression) of the show.

Click here
to open the chart from above again to help you estimate how big your podcast
files size will be.

To determine how much storage you need:

1. In the first column, find the type of podcast you plan to produce. The
second column tells you what kind of MP3 encoding to save your podcast with.
The third column gives you an idea of what kind of audio quality to expect
from that type of encoding.

2. In the last column, take the size figure and multiply it by the typical
length of your podcast. If you’re just getting started, you’ll
have to estimate this. This will give you an idea of how big (how many MBs)
each of your podcast files will be.

3. Multiply this size of each podcast file by the number of podcasts you
want to be able to store on your site at once.

Example: I encode GothamCast at 96 kbps (talk with
some music). At this bit rate, the file size is about 0.7 MB per minute.
My average show length is 30 minutes. My average MP3 file size is 30 x 0.7
= 21 MB.

I release about 3 episodes per month. So I fill about
63 MB of storage each month. If I want to be able to have a whole year’s
worth of episodes available on my site at once, I need:

12 months x 3 episodes per month x 21 MB per episode
= 756 MB

I need 756 MB of storage for my audio files (or about
¾ of a GB). If you do a similar show but release an episode 2-3 times
a week, you can see how the storage can start adding up quickly.

Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the amount of data that your web
host allows to be transfered to and from your web site each month (some
hosts also set daily limits).

This is a big issue in podcasting because the audio files that are being
downloaded by your listeners are large. This means you’ll have a lot
of transfer from your web site. You have to be sure that your host allows
you enough bandwidth to accommodate your audience.

Using the storage chart above, you should have already calculated how many
MBs each of your podcast files will be. You’ll also need this to calculate
how much data transfer you’ll have from your web site.

To calculate your monthly bandwidth usage:

1. Take the average size of each of your podcasts files
2. Multiply that by the number people that download each episode
3. Multiply that by the number of shows you release each month

If you’re just getting started, you’ll have to estimate how
big of an audience you want to be able to handle from your site.

Example: If you have 300 people download a podcast that
is 20 MB you will have about 20 x 300 = 6000 MB or 6 GB of data transfer
for each show. If you release four shows each month this adds up to 24 GB
of transfer per month.

You have to make sure that your web host allows you enough
bandwidth (data transfer) each month. There are a couple of hosting solutions
that allow you unlimited bandwidth. This comes with a couple tradeoffs,
though. We’ll talk more about this.

Start a Blog

Using a blog is the easiest way to publish your podcast. I don’t
want to get into a definition of a blog (short for weblog), but if you aren’t
familiar with blogs, here’s a quick overview.

A blog:

  • Is an online journal or publication that’s frequently updated
    by its author(s).
  • Is a quick way to publish a series of thoughts, commentary, opinion,
    writings, etc. (called entries or posts) listed in chronological order
  • Requires very little tech knowledge to use
  • Uses a news feed that can be subscribed to by the readers
  • Is an easy way to publish your podcast and maintain your podcast site

NOTE: If you would like to read more about what a blog is, click
here
.

Your podcast is basically just a blog with audio. Podcasting uses the same
feed technology as many blogs. Your audience receives the audio file through
the feed in addition to the text.

Usually each blog entry/post is one episode of your podcast. The post consists
of your show notes (an outline of the episode’s contents), links to
any related information or sources and probably a link to the MP3 file for
the episode. The feed from your blog tells the subscriber’s podcatcher
where to download the audio file.

There are dozens of ways to create and maintain a blog. Some are free and
some cost some money. I’ll give you some suggestions for blogging
tools. If you already have a blog, then you can just adapt it to use with
your podcast.

Create an RSS Feed

One of the great things about listening to podcasts is that you can subscribe
to what’s called an RSS feed. Once you’re subscribed, your podcatcher
will check the feed regularly for new episodes. When a new episode is posted,
the podcatcher will automatically download the audio file for you to listen
to.

As a podcaster, you create and update your RSS feed for your listeners
to subscribe to. Don’t worry. This is easier than it sounds. I’ll
show you what you need to do, but first let’s talk about what an RSS
feed is.

An RSS feed is nothing more than a specially formatted text file. RSS stands
for Really Simple Syndication. This is just a set of rules that outlines
how the information in the feed fill needs to be formatted.

Before you start sweating, you don’t need to worry about understanding
RSS or writing out the feed file by hand. There are ways to create it automatically.
You won’t be writing code or trying to remember the RSS format. This
will be done for you.

In a blog feed, the RSS feed text file includes a list of the recent posts
and information about each one such as title, date, author, etc. An RSS
feed for a podcast is the same, except it also includes information about
your MP3 file such as its web address and file size. The podcatcher uses
this information to find and download the audio file.

Each time you post a new podcast episode, you need to update your RSS feed
with information about it so your listeners’ podcatchers will detect
and download the file.

NOTE: RSS feeds files are written in a language called XML. I just mention
this so that you know that if the term XML is mentioned in relation to podcasting,
it’s probably referring to the RSS or podcast feed.

My Recommended Podcast
Hosting Solutions

Whoah! That’s seems like a lot. How do you get it all up and running?!?

Fortunately there are a number of tools and services that take care of
it for you and make it easy! Let’s talk about my favorites.

I have three podcast hosting solutions that I recommend. I’ve divided
them into three levels ranging from just dabbling to big time personal or
business goals in podcasting.

Choose which of the following three descriptions best fits you and your
podcasting goals right now. In each section I give my recommendation for
setting up your podcast hosting.

Casual Hobbyist Level

The hobbyist level is for those who are just podcasting for fun. This is
you if you don’t want to spend much (or any) money right now. You’ll
be satisfied with a small to medium sized audience.

You don’t need to spend money on the better services since a little
downtime on your web site or podcast won’t cause any major problems.
Your podcast is not critical to what you are doing. Keeping accurate subscriber
and download stats is not important at this level.

For this level of podcaster I suggest some tools and services that will
get you up and running quickly and conveniently and won’t cost you
a dime.

For your blog, I suggest using Google’s free Blogger
service.

To create an RSS feed that is podcast-enabled, I suggest using Feedburner.
This is also a free service that adds a lot great features to your feed
including subscriber stats.

Blogger by itself uses what is called an Atom feed. This is the wrong kind
of feed format. Feedburner converts the feed to a podcast-ready RSS format.

Finally, for storing your podcast files online, you can use Ourmedia.
This is a non-profit service that allows you to store media files for free.
You just register an account and start posting.

Ourmedia provides a way to upload your files to their site through your
web browser. They also have software that you can download and use to upload
your files.

Once you upload a podcast file to Ourmedia, you will be provided with a
link to that you can use in your blog and feed. Your listeners will download
the MP3 from Ourmedia through your site and/or feed.

Ourmedia gives you unlimited downloads and bandwidth for free! Sounds too
good to be true! Well, there are downsides.

The first limitation is that your media cannot
be copyrighted.
(I’ve now discovered that your content can have a
traditional copyright on Ourmedia, although, it makes most sense to use
a Creative Commons
license.)

A big limitation on Ourmedia is that the podcast file may not be available
right away after upload. This won’t work for you if your podcast is
time sensitive.

Also, there will be very little support with Ourmedia & no uptime guarantee.
Again, it’s a non-profit site.

If you have other questions on how Ourmedia works or their mission, here
is their Frequently
Asked Questions page
.

NOTE: Ourmedia also gives you a blog and a feed for the media you post.
You could just use your Ourmedia feed with feedburner to make it a podcast
feed. I refer the look, feel and features of Blogger blogs. I will be using
a Blogger blog for this tutorial.

The rest of this tutorial will mostly focus on using
the Casual Hobbyist solution for launching a podcast. This solution will
get you started very quickly and for free.

Casual Hobbyist Recommendations:

Blog Service/Tool:

Blogger

RSS Feed Generation:

Feedburner

File Storage/Hosting:

Ourmedia

Pros:

Free, quick to get started, easy to use

Cons:

Minimal support, no stats, no guarantee for uptime of your files for
download, limited customization of your site/blog, podcast not available
right away after upload

Hobbyist or Small Business Level

At this level your goal is to have a small to medium-sized audience. You’ll
need plenty of bandwidth as you gain more subscribers.

For this I recommend a podcast hosting service called Liberation Syndication
(Libsyn). Libsyn offers
unmetered bandwidth. This means there is no limit on the amount of data
that is downloaded or transferred from your web site. This means as your
audience grows you will not be charged more for bandwidth.

You pay according to how much data you upload each month. This depends
on show length, quality and frequency. For example, with Libsyn’s Podcast
Basic account, you can upload 100 MBs each month. This is enough to upload
a 20-minute high quality music program once a week.

For the most part, the guys at Libsyn have done a great job at providing
hosting to a lot of podcasters. Their prices are hard to beat. It sounds
too good to be true, right? Well, it comes at a bit of a trade off in my
opinion. They’ve had some trouble with downtime here and there.

The support is limited as it is only four guys running the company. They’re
usually very helpful and jump on problems quickly, but it seems they’re
going through some growing pains. They are also basically still a startup.
This comes with some potential uncertainty for the future of their company.

Libsyn gives you, in one easy place, all the elements you need (blog, feed,
etc.) to publish your podcast to the internet. They also give you the ability
to customize the look and design of your site/blog a little (which you will
probably want at this level).

Finally, Libsyn gives you good stats so you have an idea of how many people
are subscribing and listening to your podcast.

If you already have a web site or blog for your podcast, you can still
use Libsyn to host your podcast files and link to them on your blog so you
can enjoy unmetered bandwidth.

Hobbyist & Small Business Recommendations:

Blog Service/Tool:

Libsyn

RSS Feed Generation:

Libsyn

File Storage/Hosting:

Libsyn

Pros:

Can’t beat the price, all-in-one solution, easy to use, unmetered
bandwidth, good stats

Cons:

Limited support, startup company, some downtime, limited customization

Serious Hobbyist or Business Level

At this level your podcast is critical to your goals as a business or hobbyist.
You plan to grow an audience that is as large as possible and want to dependably
deliver your podcast to them.

A podcaster at this level wants dependable uptime and service in his/her
hosting, the ability to customize their site to their needs and stats that
are as accurate as possible.

To accomplish this I recommend getting your own web hosting account and
installing WordPress,
a free blogging software. This is a widely popular blogging platform that
has a strong community for support and customization of your blog/site.

WordPress is easy to use. It has an interface that is user-friendly for
posting new episodes and show notes to your blog. It also creates the podcast
feed for you.

Another thing I like about WordPress is there are a lot of plugins available
for adding great features to your blog. Also, all the code is open source.
This means that you can have a programmer alter or customize it to your
needs.

For web hosting I recommend Powweb
or Globat.
I use both of these to host web sites and podcasts. They are dependable,
professional and offer good support and an uptime guarantee. In addition,
their prices are great.

The reason I recommend these hosts over Libsyn at this level is that I’ve
seen too many reports of downtime with Libsyn (although they are always
improving their service).

You’re giving up the unmetered bandwidth of Libsyn for a bigger and
more dependable company. Although, both of my recommended hosts offer lots
of bandwidth (the most I have seen from any host at that level). Also, you
can buy more bandwidth or additional accounts as needed.

Serious Hobbyist or Business Recommendations:

Blog Service/Tool:

WordPress

RSS Feed Generation:

WordPress (plus
Feedburner if
you want)

File Storage/Hosting:

Powweb
or Globat

Pros:

Reasonable pricing, great service, uptime guarantee, good stats, lots
of options for customization and adding features, easy to use

Cons:

Bandwidth limitations (although both hosts offer more bandwidth than
other hosts at the same price)

A Note on Dedicated Web Servers

If you are a big business or corporation starting a podcast (or if your
podcast has gotten extremely popular), then you may want a dedicated server
for hosting your files. This means you rent your own internet-grade computer
that is dedicated to hosting just your media.

This gives you top notch dependability, storage, speed and bandwidth for
running your site and delivering your podcast to your audience.

If your business is that big, then you may already have a dedicated server
for your site. If not, you probably have an information technology guy that
can get you hooked up.

For dedicated servers, I recommend using GoDaddy.

Podcast Hosting Solution Summary

Click here to open a chart that summarizes all three of my recommended podcast hosting
solutions.

Podcast Hosting:

The Casual Hobbyist Solution Step-by-Step

How to Use ID3 Tags for Your Podcast



12 Responses to “[PODCAST] how-to-podcast-tutorial.com”

  1. 1 richard

    Great post, I was just wondering what you think of the file hosting services that are available online? I know bandwidth is a big issue with podcasts (and video even more so) so have you any experience on which is better i.e a dedicated file hosting service or just an ordinary host with tons of BW? Thanks! Richard

  2. 2 ...

    dear richard, the set up depending of the final objectif. BR.

  3. 3 heymam

    Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you ! Thanks alot

  4. 4 ...

    dear heyman, thanks to you.

  5. 5 madno

    I like this tutorial, thanks.

  6. 6 ...

    dear madno, you’re very welcome.

  7. 7 flo

    does’nt look that simple…

  8. 9 ...

    i know #!?!…

  9. 10 caroline

    totally agree!

  10. 11 Lyle

    When it comes to Internet Marketing, simplicity is the best way to go.

  11. Hey, good info! Keep up the good job! Hope we can share some ideas on internet marketing, blog me… BR vanneyat


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