Recently, a member of the Las Vegas Podcasters Meetup group asked if I could help her move her podcast from her self-hosted website to podcast hosting service Libsyn.
She was wanting to update her blog with a new theme and better organization. Like most who start a podcast, she was hosting the podcast files on her website. It’s a cheap way to start but has a few serious drawbacks. For one, it is against the Terms of Service for the more popular web hosting services. As her podcast grew, she also wanted a more stable service and to be able to get better analytics from the downloads. To see what is working and what is not.
Challenge Accepted! One of the things I love to do with clients is to watch them grow. To see where they started, usually, in the “I don’t know if I can do this” phase, to the “Can you believe it, someone just asked ME for advice on …?? ” point of knowing you are making an impact. Doing this, I got to see it all once. From the beginning and listen how each show got better and better.
Her podcast and website is Prison: The Hidden Sentence. A niche site with information and education for families with incarcerated loved ones. It includes interviews with people over the phone as well as at conferences she attends. So being new, she used whatever she had available to do the interviews. If you ever have run a podcast and did interviews, you can relate to her ability to be creative in order to get the interview whenever you can, however you can! And sometimes, it’s not always in the best places to hear or get good clean sound bites!
At first, she had warned me about the quality, she was new and it worked for the time. I can relate! We all have to start somewhere and move forward. That’s the biggest problem people have: Getting started out of fear of it not being perfect from the beginning. Just DO It!
After downloading all the podcasts from her website, I found out that some of them were mismatched audio, single channel and such. Not a problem, I always run my podcast audio thru a website service called Auphonic. There I can mix the audio channels, add your iTunes artwork (what a time saver!), create different formats and of course, balance the audio so both speakers are at the same level without a lot of the background noise that can happen on landlines or in auditoriums.
I renamed all episodes. Like other podcasters, we like to make things easy for us in editing. So we name the files to what the topic or the guest is. I learned the hard way when I started not to do this. Now I give them a standard series of names and numbers. PTHS002, PTHS004, etc… Show name, episode number.
I am a big fan of giving your show titles a number as well. So that later on when you are talking about something and want to tell the audience to go back to listen to another show, it’s easier for them to remember and to search. Here is an example: “If you go back into the website and look for show #32, Bill Goes to the Circus” is easier than “If you check my website and search for Bill Goes to the Circus it’s on there somewhere” – Numbering is easier for them as it is for you.
Although she was not yet on iTunes, the shows were all published and available on the website. So I kept in the proper order and I backdated the release dates so that they would show up in proper order and already posted. So when I was done, she could go back into the website and replace her files on each player with the new URL’s of the shows on Libsyn and nobody would know (or care).
Reasons to Move Them
When starting out, you want to pinch pennies when you can. I’ve been there. However, there comes a time when you want to get serious about growing your podcast and you just need to bite the bullet and put some skin in the game and go pro. She hit that spot.
If you are hosting your podcast files at the same place as you are your website, several things can happen:
If you get a show that suddenly goes viral, you will crash your website and maybe that of a few other people. And if this against the Terms of Service for your web hosting plan, you may wake up one day and not know why your website is no longer there (not good). Or they just automatically bump you up to the plan that allows for the sudden surge of traffic as well as the hosting of media files (not a cheap thing). Neither one is good.
Having a dedicated service like Libsyn or blubrry adds that layer of protection. Plus the good podcast hosting services have multiple servers spread across the world so that they can handle the load if it goes viral in Europe, but not in Kansas. No matter how popular it goes, it will always be ready for the next listener to push the “play” button.
Having your podcast files hosted somewhere else also gives you that piece of mind. What if your website crashes or goes dark for whatever reason? Nobody can get the newest podcast. You lose customers, authority, time and money. Keep it separate. Plus the podcast hosting service has its own directory, listing your podcast in it. Both Libsyn and blubrry give you your own webpage for the podcast. So you also get a little extra push in the SEO department.
I am not an affiliate of either service, so I am not being paid to say this. This is from personal experience. I would stay away from most podcasting services except Libsyn and blubrry because of the fact that the others can easily vanish without a trace one day. I have worked a lot with both of them and know they are on firm footing, have a great staff and great support in the community. These companies will be here for a long time to come and have the resources to keep your podcast on the air. Most other ones are teetering on being broke or selling out to another company.
The final reason to move them to a service was the SEO factor. These services are always getting new podcasts uploaded. That means the search engine spiders are always crawling around their files and servers. If the podcast files are on your website, the search engine spiders are not visiting your web site as often. Maybe never!! Here, they are always being spidered, fed to the search engines. Any changes you make in titles, descriptions, etc, gets fed immediately out. You also get that free directory placement on their website where they are talking about you and giving you link juice back to your actual website. That means extra linkbacks, extra love for your podcast.
If you need help with starting or managing a podcast, Let me know. I can help.