Friday, May 17, 2013

Podcasting 101: Creating A Podcast Website

In this installment, I'll help you to understand how to create a single episode of your new podcast by taking you through the steps I follow. We will assume that you've already recorded, mixed and exported the audio.

First things first, though, you'll need to create a blog for your podcast. Then we will setup a Feedburner redirector for the podcast so that, should you ever need to move the podcast to a different hosting site, you won't have to force your listeners to manually change their feed location.

Creating The Podcast Blog Site (With Blogger.com)

I choose blogger.com for no other reason than I use it myself for both of my shows. Though I'm sure the steps I describe will apply to other sites later.

If you have a Google account already, you're halfway to creating your blog. If not, register for one by signing up for Gmail.

Go to blogger.com. There you will see a button in the upper-left corner that says "New Blog".

Click it.

Hopefully you've chosen a decent name for your podcast, something catching, creative and fresh. For now we won't worry about creating a podcast domain name, so in the field marked "Address" enter a unique, simplified version of your podcast's name.

Click "Create Blog!"

Now we have a way to share the episodes.

Adding Your Custom Domain

On the blog list screen, click on the blog's name, and you will see a page with options such as "Post", "Pages", "Earnings", etc. Towards the bottom of this list is "Settings".

Click it.

Under the "Publishing" heading you'll want to click "Add a custom domain". This will open an input field that will let you put in the hostname you've setup (instructions are in a future installment) for your podcast's blog site.

For example, at A Little Dead Podcast our blog's hostname is http://blog.alittledead.com. So, in this field, I have "blog.alittledead.com". What this does is tell Blogger that it should make all pages and blog posts use a URL relative to the address entered.

If you don't understand what that means, it's okay. You can trust me on this.

Now you have an address you can share with listeners to tell them where to go to find your show.

Setting Up A Feed Redirector

Feedburner is a great, useful tool for podcasters. It lets you see how many times your episodes have been downloaded, from what countries the downloads have occurred, and more.

Here, though, we're going to setup the redirector itself. But there's a lot more than Feedburner can do for you, which we will explore in another installment.

In a separate tab on your browser, go to the website: feedburner.google.com

You'll see the text "Burn a feed right now" along with an input field and a checkbox that says "I am a podcaster".

Mark the checkbox.

In the input field, enter the URL for your podcast. If you don't have a custom domain and used Blogger then this is the name of your podcast followed by .blogger.com.

So, for example, if you gave your blog the name "testcast2" in the earlier step, then here you would enter testcast2.blogger.com.

Click "Next". If you entered the right information then you should be presented with two options under the title "Identify Feed Source":
  • an atom feed, and
  • an RSS feed
You want to select the RSS feed here, and click Next. On the next screen enter the title for your podcast redirector, and also pick and address for it. For this latter entry, pick something simple, like the name of your podcast's abbreviated name on your host site. So, again, in this example, since I named the podcast "testcast2" on blogger.com, I would enter "testcast2" as the feed address.

Click Next.

On the congratulations page you'll see a feed URL at the top that looks something like this:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/testcast2
Copy this address and go back to you blog's setup page. Under the Settings->Other->Site Feed section, click Add for the "Pod Feed Redirect URL" and paste the URL into the input field shown.

Click the "Save Settings" button in the upper-right corner.

Back on the Feedburner page, click through all of the the Next buttons until you're back to the main page.

There! Now you have a podcast blog as well as an active feed. To verify the feed as working, copy the feedburner URL into your browser. If everything is setup correctly then you should see page that shows you an empty feed.


Future Installments

In a future installment, I'll show you how to configure Feedburner to do things like alter your RSS feed for iTunes, inserting elements that Apple specifically wants to have present, how to register the podcast with iTunes, how to change your feed to track statistics for episodes entries separately from non-episode entries on your blog (we post news that I want to view separately when looking at the audience breakdown).

Also how to use Project Wonderful for making the podcast's website help pay for itself while growing your audience.

Till then, have fun with your new website!