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Lesson 4: Podcast and Website Hosting
Podcast and Website Hosting
One thing that needs to be distinguished is the difference between website hosting and media hosting. Some people think that it’s fine to host your media on the same server as your web host, but that is generally a bad idea.
While most web hosts claim to offer unlimited storage and bandwidth, this is not entirely accurate. Most people will get shared hosting to save on cost, but it still is sufficient to host their website. Those servers, however, are not equipped to handle the type of downloading that media files require. Yes, it can handle it in small doses, but if the podcast gets popular, it can cause a strain on the website host. If the web host feels a strain, they start to put limits – and that can hurt your podcast growth (and listeners won’t be able to access your episodes).
This issue is the reason why there are certain hosts designed specifically for hosting media. Media hosts such as Libsyn (I am an affiliate with them – use ‘JOSH’ at checkout) and Bluburry have been around for a while and are reliable hosts for media. With these, there’s a limit on how much you upload to the server, but the episodes can be downloaded an unlimited number of times. As long as you keep your account active, the files will continue to remain available.
While web hosts aren’t good for hosting media, they are good for websites. As long as you have a media host and a podcast feed, you don’t need a website for your podcast. But a website can be good to have as a home base.
Your Podcast Website
There are different ways to create a website, but a popular way is to build the website on WordPress. WordPress is easy to install on most web hosts and generally is easy to learn to use. I’m not going to go into the details on setting up a website, but there are a couple things you will want to consider having.
- Home page – By default, most WordPress themes show just a listing of posts in reverse chronological order. This can work, but it may be more beneficial for your visitors and listeners to have a custom page to visit. The homepage could include things like a short introduction to your podcast, a podcast player of some sort, a short list of episodes or categories, and an email opt-in form.
- About page – I have heard that About pages are one of the most visited pages on websites. When visitors come to a website, they go here to find out more information about the site, the person behind the site, and why the site should be important to them. Your about page should give them this information. You also want to write this page in light of how it benefits your visitor.
- Contact page – Your visitors will want some why to contact you, so this page will give them the information about the best way to contact you. Be sure to list the ways that you will actually respond – not responding will ruin the trust they have in you. If you don’t want to provide your actual email address, you can have a form on the page that will still get your your email, but the sender won’t see it.
- Podcast player – If your website is for your podcast, you’ll want to have some sort of podcast player that is easily accessible – generally front-and-center. My friend, Daniel J. Lewis, says it should be as simple as “visit website, click play.” There are several options for a player: your media host will usually provide a player, the Blubrry PowerPress plugin has a player, and there are other specific players that you can you (some of the popular ones are the Smart Podcast Player and Simple Podcast Press).