If you’re like most Americans, you’ve been riveted by popular podcasts like Serial, The Daily, Crime Junkies (my fav), and other unique productions within your industry.
You may even be inspired enough to pull a Payne Lindsey and start your own podcast, because if they can do it, why can’t you?
If you’re worried about whether or not there’s room for you in the sea of new podcasters, here’s some good news.
The folks over at Pacific Content predict that 2020 will be a massive year of growth in podcasting for platforms like Apple, Spotify, Google, Pandora, iHeart, and nearly every social media channel. They also predict that podcasting is on its way to becoming a billion-dollar industry.
What this means for you is there is no better time than now to buy a microphone, start your podcast, and create your podcast website.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- The benefits of having a podcast website
- How to set up your podcast website
- How to publish your first podcast on your site
What are the benefits of having a podcast website?
All you need to start a podcast is equipment and recording software, right? Technically, you can start a podcast with the bare minimum, but it won’t do you much good in terms of promoting your podcast.
The success of your podcast will be measured by how many listeners you attract. And a website is a powerful tool in helping you spread the word. Here are some reasons why a website is a must for your new podcast:
- Listeners can find you through Google. As soon as you publish your website, search engines like Google start indexing your content. When podcast listeners search for new podcasts in your niche or even your podcast by name, Google will likely return your website up as a result. Without a website, you lose out on all the listeners looking to find you via search.
- Your website can help you promote your podcast. As you build your website and grow your online followers, you’ll have a tool to help you grow your podcast subscriber base. Additionally, a website acts as a central hub for promotion across channels. For example, when you notify your social media followers that you have a new podcast up, you want to be able to send them to one, specific online location every time. Your podcast website should be that place.
- You can post past episodes. When’s the last time you listened to one podcast and then decided to binge listen to the whole season? For me, this happens at least twice a month. A website is the perfect place to post all of your archived episodes so you can give new listeners exactly what they want—more of your podcast.
How to set up your podcast website
Now that you know why you should have a website for your podcast, let’s talk about how to get your website started. Here are the steps to follow to get your podcast site up and running.
1. Choose a hosting provider and domain name
Every website needs a hosting provider. A web hosting service is a company that owns huge servers and allows you, and millions of other website owners, to rent a small, but mighty, space on that server.
In return for a small monthly fee, your web hosting company promises 99.9% uptime, quick load times, security, a domain name rental, excellent customer service, and a platform to help you easily build a website or install WordPress with a couple of clicks of a button.
To get started with a hosting provider, head over to HostGator, click on “Hosting” and pick the plan that best suits your needs.
Once you’ve selected the right plan for you, HostGator will also ask you to select a domain name.
Your domain name is your unique URL that people will type in the search bar to find your website. Since you are starting a new podcast, it’s best to use the name of your podcast for your domain name.
In the event that domain name is already taken, consider using the name of your podcast but picking a different top level domain (the letters that come after the dot) such as .co, .website, .biz, etc.
You’ll also be pleased to learn that HostGator offers a free year of your domain name rental when you sign up for hosting.
Once you’ve picked a domain name, follow the rest of the signup instructions and you’ll be ready to start designing your new podcast website.
2. Install WordPress
While there are several platforms you can use to build your podcasting website, I’d recommend WordPress. WordPress is particularly good for novice website owners and podcasters because it’s easy to install and navigate.
WordPress is also an open-source platform that comes with responsive templates and plugins to help you design your site. When you opt for WordPress, you don’t have to know how to code. You just have to know how to point and click and which plugins to install (we’ll cover this in a minute).
To install WordPress, follow these steps:
- Log in to the cPanel of your HostGator account with your new username and password.
- Scroll down to the “Software” section of the CPanel.
- Click on “QuickInstall.”
- Scroll to the middle of the page HostGator directs you to, and click on “WordPress.”
- On the next page, select your new domain name for registration and click on “Next.”
- Enter your basic website information in the boxes.
- Click “Install.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you can press “Login,” enter your username and password, and start customizing your new WordPress site.
3. Choose a WordPress theme
When you first log in to your new podcast WordPress site, it will look pretty bland. That’s because you haven’t selected a theme for your website yet.
A theme is a pre-coded template that gives your website content a responsive, fresh, and nice design.
There are several free, premium, and even third-party themes you can pick from for your website.
Here is how you select a free theme within WordPress:
- Look to the dashboard menu on the left side of your WordPress account and find “Appearance”. Then, hover your cursor over the word, and click on “Themes.”
- From here, you can scroll through all the different themes to see what you like best. You can even click on “Live Preview” to see what your site would look like dressed in that theme before you make a decision.
- Once you’ve found a theme you like, press “Activate” and WordPress will do all the magic for you.
- If you want to add a different theme, click on “Add New,” and you can browse or search for different themes.
- When you have one that you like, hover your cursor over the theme and press “Activate.”
WordPress has come a long way since it first started and the free themes are excellent. If you do want to pay for a premium or third-party theme, that’s always an option.
The only difference in activating a free theme and using a third-party theme is you’ll have to upload your theme to WordPress. There is an “Upload” button on the same page where you search for free themes. Once you upload your third-party theme, you will follow the same steps to activate it.
4. Install the right WordPress plugins
WordPress plugins are going to be your best friend as you customize your new podcast website.
A plugin is basically a developer-coded app that adds specific functionality to your website. For example, if you want your website visitors to be able to share your content with their social media followers, you don’t have to know how to code. All you have to do is find a social media sharing plugin and install and activate it.
The plugins that you install will depend on what you want your website to do. Some of the most popular plugins for podcasters include:
- Yoast SEO – Blog post optimization tool
- Akismet – Spam monitor (comes pre-installed with WordPress)
- W3 Total Cache – Improves site performance
- Jetpack – Website monitoring and enhanced security
- Monster Insights – Allows Google Analytics data to be displayed inside WordPress
When it comes to starting a podcast website, you’ll want to look into plugins that help you display your podcast episodes effectively. Here are more podcast plugins I recommend checking out:
- Smart Podcast Player
- Seriously Simple Podcasting
- PowerPress by Blubrry
- Buzzsprout Podcasting
- Libsyn Publisher Hub
You really can’t go wrong with any of the plugins listed above. What you end up selecting will depend on your preferences. If you select a different podcast plugin, here are some features you’ll want your plugin to have:
- Easy-to-use interface
- Ability to add the episode on your site with shortcodes
- Mobile device compatible
- Speed control
- Affordable pricing
Once you find the plugins you want to use, here’s a quick review of how to install and activate a plugin:
- Find “Plugins” on the left dashboard.
- Hover your cursor over the word “Plugin,” and select “Add New.”
- Search for the respective plugin or upload it if you purchased a third-party plugin.
- Once you’ve found or uploaded the plugin, click on “Install Now.”
- Click “Activate.”
- Follow the respective step-by-step setup instructions.
5. Customize your podcast website
Once you’ve installed your plugins, you’re ready to customize your podcast website. Every WordPress theme is slightly different, but where you go to customize your site is the same.
If you click on the name of your site, and then click on “Customize” at the top left side of the screen, WordPress will take you to a page where you can make changes the following site elements:
- Site identity
- Header image
- And more!
You’ll also want to add the basic pages to your site, including about, contact, blog, etc. Here is a helpful tutorial on how to add a page to WordPress.
How to publish your first podcast on your site
The exact details for how to publish your first post may vary slightly depending on which podcast plugin you end up using.
The good news is that the podcast plugins listed above are fairly intuitive. When you activate your plugin, you’ll follow step-by-step instructions to get your player up and running correctly.
Regardless of which plugin you use, every time you want to publish a new podcast episode, you’ll need to create a new post.
To create a new post, click on the plus button that says “New” on your top navigation bar, and WordPress will direct you to a new post page.
From here, you can embed your audio player (using a shortcode) at the top of your new post and add any relevant comments or show notes. It’s also smart to paste your podcast episode transcript.
Your transcript will help tell Google what your podcast is about and increase your search visibility across Google. It also provides a way for your fans to read your content quickly if they don’t have the time to listen to the whole episode.
Get your podcast website up and running with HostGator today!
Congratulations on taking the leap to start your new podcast. It’s a big step and super impressive. Remember, as you start your new podcast, it’s critical to have a website.
A website will help you get new listeners, promote your site effectively, and act as a central hub for everything related to your podcast.
To start building your podcast website, look into WordPress hosting from HostGator today.
Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer specializing in SaaS, tech, and advertising/marketing. In a previous life, she was a Russian teacher at Brigham Young University, a corporate trainer, and a grad student—all at the same time. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world with her 2 kids and husband, reading poetry or taking a deep dive into the fabulous world of comedy. Connect with her on Twitter at @ashleyrcummings.