Jordan Harbinger was podcasting before podcasting with a thing. He and his friend AJ (who also uses the last name Harbinger) debuted The Jordan Harbinger Show podcast in 2006 to talk about social skills, meeting people, and building relationships. The Jordan Harbinger Show now has more than 530 episodes and gets two million downloads per month by listeners eager to hear “the Charlie Rose of podcasting” talk with high-profile leaders in fields ranging from law and business to medicine and journalism about the social skills and mindset they use to succeed in their relationships at work and off the clock.
HostGator is a proud sponsor of The Jordan Harbinger Show, and Jordan recently took the time to answer questions from our team about starting the podcast, why podcast producers must have a good website, and the steps new podcasters and site owners must take to succeed. The discussion has been edited and condensed.
HostGator: Did The Jordan Harbinger Show start as a podcast, a website, or something else?
Jordan: It did start as a podcast. We started this as a hobby because AJ and I were having conversations about eye contact, vocal tonality, body language, persuasion, influence, and non-verbal communication. People were saying, ‘You should write a book.’
I was studying for the bar exam, and AJ was a cancer biologist. We weren’t about to write anything because we didn’t have time, but we thought we could record our conversations and let those fly somewhere on the Internet. There wasn’t such a thing as podcasting when we initially envisioned this, or at least we didn’t know about it yet. AJ figured out that we could record things and put them in iTunes.
HostGator: What made you decide to get a website?
Jordan: Originally, you had to have a website for your podcast. You had to host it on a web server, because iTunes doesn’t host. We also needed a website so we could point people to it, especially since most people didn’t know how to use iTunes back then, and most people probably still don’t now.
HostGator: What happened once you got the website? Did it help you expand your business?
Jordan: Once we got the website, we found that a lot of people were emailing us. It was easier to contact us. People started to hire us for coaching services. People started finding our show because they were Googling the things we were talking about. It was really interesting to see how things kind of exploded once we got that online presence.
HostGator: How do you encourage people to visit The Jordan Harbinger Show website and build your site traffic?
Jordan: We encourage people to visit the website through word of mouth. We also talk about the website on the show so that people will go back to the web site and use that to email us or to find other episodes of the show. You can’t tell people, ‘First, go download iTunes, then do this, then do this, then do this.’ You just tell people about websites because everybody knows how to use them.
HostGator: Which of your website features has had the most impact on your business?
Jordan: In the beginning, it was the ability to host files. We had a blog where we were able to discuss what we were talking about briefly, and then we’d create the MP3 and host it there. People could click and download it or click and play it on our site if they weren’t playing the show through iTunes.
That was huge. The website wasn’t just a web presence, it gave us the ability to host files for download and the ability to point people to those files directly.
HostGator: What advice do you have for future podcasters and new website owners?
Jordan: Make sure your files are not only playable but also downloadable so listeners can export them onto their smartphone or other device.
Also, there should be an easy way to contact you. Visitors shouldn’t have to dig for it. Your number should be on the front page, or your contact form or email. Make sure your contact forms are working. Your email should be there for people who don’t want to use the form. I think that’s obvious, but I see most sites still don’t have that.
A lot of times, companies make it tough to contact them because they don’t want to deal with that, but if I’m trying to hire you, if I have to figure out how to contact you, I don’t want to do that. It means you’re purposely difficult to reach or you’re ignorant of how people should be reaching you. That’s not somebody I want to give money to. I want to be able to reach them quickly and easily.
For podcasters, you need to make sure you’ve got a description of your content as well as a way to download that content. Stream it online, too, so if people want to listen at their computer or on their smartphone they can make it work.
Last but not least, it has to work on mobile. Most visitors come from mobile, especially if they’re listening to podcasts, so you can’t have a janky website that doesn’t work well on mobile or it’s just a huge fail. You’re going to lose more than half your business.