We’ve talked before about the gear that you need for your ultimate podcast setup, but today we’re going to explore the best way to get your podcast website setup using WordPress.
Did you know that WordPress currently powers over 28% of all the sites on the internet? This massive open source project runs some of the largest sites online, like NY Times, and many others that are household names. If you’re just getting started with your own website then WordPress is a great place to start.
WordPress is a Free, Open Source tool, but to run it live on the internet you will need a couple of things as well:
- A domain for your website
- A website hosting provider
- A podcast media hosting provider
And that’s it. Really not that complicated once you get into it.
Pick the domain you like and purchase it. This purchase is typically good for one year, after which you can (and should) set it to automatically renew.
Once you’ve purchased the domain name for your site and corresponding podcast you’ll need to get set up with a hosting provider. This gives you a massive amount of control over your website and how it performs.
Inside your hosting provider you will have an option to install WordPress, typically with just the click of a button.
The auto-installer will ask you for a few details around the name of your site, whether you want it to run at the “www.mysite.com” or just the “mysite.com” URL, and whether you will have SSL on your site. SSL means that all of the contents of your site will be secured and encrypted, and is something that’s highly encouraged especially by Google of late.
This will get a blank install of WordPress installed and from there you’ll be able to get your site live and start configuring it.
The last step in configuring your website, hosting provider, and domain is to point your domain to your new website. This is done through something called DNS. Depending on how your hosting provider is set up you will change the Nameservers or A Record for your domain to point to the server in which your new WordPress site lives.
Here’s what your nameservers will be set to by default inside Hover (my domain registrar):
Update the nameserver URLs based on what your hosting provider tells you. These will be specific for you and should not be the same was what I have here. Contact your hosting provider for the specific nameserver URLs that you should use.
These changes to DNS can take a few minutes (up to 24 hours they say, but I’ve never seen it take that long), and then your site will be live.
Open up your browser and type in that wonderful domain name you just purchased, and a new WordPress installation should appear with a Hello World post.
Now it’s time to start getting the podcast portion of your website set up and ready to submit to iTunes.
Your Podcast Website Setup
To get started with your new podcast on your WordPress site let’s make sure a few things are in place. We want to make sure you’ve got an up to date version of WordPress installed and that the site is either live or ready to get pushed live.
Your theme will dictate much of the look and feel of your site, but you don’t necessarily want your theme files to determine how your site will function. Who knows, down the line you may look to change the styling of your site and don’t want to have to recreate all of the functionality of your site in a new theme.
That’s why we’re big fans of using Plugins to create the functionality of your WordPress site and extend its functionality to suit your needs.
Specifically for your podcast we have a few goals in mind:
- Create a unique podcast RSS feed that directories such as iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play can read and update with each new podcast episode you release.
- Give your listeners the ability to listen to your podcast episodes on the website.
- Let listeners read the show notes you’ll create for each podcast episode.
- Make all of this fit in with the overall look, feel, and functionality of your site.
Not a simple thing necessarily, but luckily we’ve got this all worked out already and the solution is our plugin: Seriously Simple Podcasting.
With Seriously Simple Podcasting you can do each of the 5 main objectives we outlined above, without writing any code or manipulating your WordPress theme files at all.
Installing Seriously Simple Podcasting
So let’s get started with Installing the plugin. To install Seriously Simple podcasting head over to the Plugins menu item on the left side of your WordPress admin dashboard. Select Add New.
In the Search bar towards the right of the screen enter Seriously Simple Podcasting, and it will be the first result that comes up. Install and then Activate the plugin and we’re ready to get started setting up your podcast.
Configuring Seriously Simple Podcasting
Here’s a complete video walkthrough of how to set your podcast up on WordPress using our very own Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin. The plugin is free of charge and is a great way to get started podcasting.
Rather read through the details? No problem.
We’ve got a great couple of articles on our Documentations page already about how to set up Seriously Simple Podcasting, but I’ll run through it here as well.
- The first thing you’ll want to do is navigate to the Podcast Settings area in WordPress. Do this by clicking Podcast -> Settings in your WordPress admin area.
- Here you’ll select 2 things: which types of posts are included in your podcast RSS feed and where the media player is displayed on your pages.
- For the first selection, think about where you want your podcast to live on your site. Do you want to create a Custom Post Type post for each episode, or do you want your podcast episodes to live within your blog? This is a personal decision and there’s no Right or Wrong way to do this. But it’s best to decide at the beginning before you start publishing episodes.
- Choose the post type you want to include in your podcast feed at the top of the General settings tab. For me I like having my podcast episodes separate from my blog, so I choose Podcast posts (which is the default for Seriously Simple Podcasting). If you’d like it all to be together then just click Posts and you’re all set.
- Next it’s time to set up how and where the media player is displayed on your website. Do you want the media players to show only on full posts or on excerpts as well? Choose the selection that best suits your needs, and then click Save at the bottom of this page.
Your Podcast RSS Feed
Now it’s time to set up the actual podcast RSS feed for your show. Seriously Simple Podcasting has a lot of really powerful features here, but for now we’ll just assume that you’re creating a single show (you can create multiple shows within one site…check out this tutorial to learn how).
When configuring your podcast feed there are a few items that we’ll need to set for iTunes:
- Podcast Title
- Podcast Subtitle
- Host Name
- iTunes Categories and Subcategories (x3)
- Podcast Description
- Podcast Cover Image (1400×1400 to 3000x3000px)
- Owner Name
- Owner Email Address
- Explicit Rating
Also worth noting that your podcast feed has to have one published episode live on your site.
Each of these items are REQUIRED for your feed to be considered valid and iTunes to accept your show submission.
Connecting Seriously Simple Hosting
Now that your podcast details are set up it’s time to connect your WordPress site to the media host for your podcast. To get started with this head over to Seriously Simple Hosting and sign up for an account.
We’ve made this seriously simple (in keeping with our theme here) and there’s never any overages on bandwidths, restrictions on # of episodes, or storage limits. Who wants to be held back from their podcasting greatness anyhow?
Here is a complete walkthrough of how to connect your Seriously Simple Hosting account to your WordPress site, giving you seamless podcast hosting right from within WordPress:
And the details, for your reference:
- Once you’ve signed up for your Seriously Simple Hosting account you can enter your Podcast show name and slug you’d like to use. You can access this from the Account page in Seriously Simple Podcasting.
- Create the API Key for your show. This will be the connection between Seriously Simple Hosting and your WordPress site. Copy this key to your clipboard (Command+C on Mac and Control+C on Windows)
- In WordPress, navigate to Podcast -> Settings -> Hosting and enter the email address you used to sign up for Seriously Simple Hosting account and the API key you just copied.
- Click Validate Credentials to make sure everything is entered correctly.
- Once that’s successful the Save button will be enabled. Click Save and you’re all set.
Submitting Your Podcast to iTunes
One of the requirements of a valid RSS feed is to have at least one live post published.
That means that you’ll want to go in and create/publish your first podcast episode. You can do this via a regular WordPress Post or a Podcast post (whichever you decided when you were setting up Seriously Simple Podcasting above).
It’s important to keep all of those SEO items in mind here too. Things like Title, show notes for the episode, and permalink naming all make a difference in how discoverable your podcast is.
Once you’ve got that first podcast episode published it’s time to grab your podcast feed and submit it to iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play.
Submitting Your Podcast to Popular Podcasting Directories
Your site’s podcast specific feed can be found right at the top of the Podcast -> Settings -> Feed Details area in WordPress. Right click on the View Feed link and copy that URL. It should be in the format: http://www.mysite.com/feed/podcast (with ‘mysite.com’ being the name of your website) This is the feed address that you’ll be submitting to the podcasting directories like iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.
There are a few places you can check your podcast feed before submitting it to iTunes. Each of them are slightly different than the iTunes RSS feed requirements, but will give you a good sense of whether you have the necessary pieces in place. Cast Feed Validator and FeedValidator.org are both great tools, and are worth checking out before you head into iTunes Connect.
A word of warning though, don’t get too hung up on the warnings that either of these tools give you. FeedValidator.org is not built specifically for podcasting and hasn’t been updated in some time. But, getting the proverbial Green Light from both of these should give you confidence that your show will be accepted by iTunes.
Once you’ve checked your feed at FeedValidator and/or Cast Feed Validator it’s time to submit your show to iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.
Once your show has been submitted to iTunes you will receive an email notification on the email address associated with your iTunes account. This is a preliminary email letting you know that the podcast submission was successful and your new show is under review.
The turnaround time for podcast reviews from iTunes is taking about a full calendar day now, so be on the lookout for another email the next day with that approval notice. This email will have a special URL in it that will take visitors directly to your show’s page in iTunes. This is where they can subscribe, check out new episodes, and leave a Rating and Review.
Copy this iTunes URL and go back into Seriously Simple Podcasting and paste it in the very last field of the Feed Details tab in the Settings screen.
This will prompt visitors to your site to Leave a Review for your show in a link just below the media player. What better place for a Call To Action, right?
The Stitcher process is very similar, as you will just need to create an account on Stitcher for your show (this is Free), and from there enter in your Podcast Feed URL and some details about the show itself. Stitcher should approve your show within 24 hours, and you’ll receive that email confirmation as well.
To submit your podcast to Google Play you will need a Gmail associated email address. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your email address has to be @gmail.com, but it does mean that it’s associated with Google somehow.
Launching Your Show
Now you’ve done all the hard work, and have not only built your podcast, but also built the website to go along with it. This is The Place that you will ask your podcast listeners to go to learn more about you, your brand, and your message.
There is tons more to learn about websites and digital marketing, and I’ll save that for another time. For now ensure that you’ve got your podcast website setup in a way similar to what we’ve talked about above. Using this type of setup where you’re able to manage all of your content (your podcast, your blog, and any other types of content that come in the future) will streamline your production process, give you a ton of control over your content, and ensure that your podcast listeners are getting exactly what they need every episode.
Get Started Today
If you’re just getting a new podcast started the easiest way to go is using WordPress as the hub of your content management. There’s a reason it powers 28+% of all the internet. For a Content Management System there’s no better.
We’ve been working VERY hard in the last few months to give podcasters the easiest to use, and most powerful tool out there for getting your podcast website setup, and believe that now we’ve done that through the integration of a dedicated media hosting platform, Seriously Simple Hosting, in conjunction with the free Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin.
So, give it a try and let us know how it goes…I really think you’re going to love it!