Choosing a podcast host is an essential decision as you prepare to launch a show. Ensuring the software can support your current and future needs from the start will allow you to grow your show without worrying about switching providers later on. In this article, we’ll give you five pieces of criteria to consider when choosing your podcast host.
What To Consider When Choosing Your Podcast Host
From the surface, it may appear that all podcast host providers are the same. Every single one offers to manage your podcast’s RSS feed and most seamlessly integrate with the popular podcast directories.
But these are the bare minimum requirements for any podcast host, ideally your provider offers more enhanced features to help grow and monetize your podcast. As you research which service is right for you, evaluate each using these five criterion so you pick the one that will help your show succeed.
Podcasters like to talk, that’s likely one of the reasons most decide to start a show. Whether you’re just starting out or are a veteran, consider your storage needs in the near and long term.
Most podcast hosts have plans with set storage limits either based on file sizes or total time, where you may be charged extra if you go over the allotted allowance. As you consider services and plans, keep an eye on the storage capabilities and what the limits mean for your show and wallet.
If you’re only allowed to host two hours of audio content per month, you’ll have to get crafty with the publishing frequency and episode duration to guarantee you’re including the content you want to share with an audience. This jigsaw puzzle may become a stress point as your show grows and you want to start producing more in-depth episodes.
Or what if now or down the road you want to produce multiple podcasts? It’s important to make sure the podcast host is capable of hosting each of your shows on a separate RSS feed and you’re able to manage them within one dashboard.
At Castos, every plan offers unlimited storage and episode uploads so you can podcast until your heart is content, for one fixed price. We want to grow alongside our customers and support hosts who want to try new things, we don’t see the benefit of limiting anyone’s creativity.
A podcast website is important– it’s the central place listeners can come to find out everything there is to know about your podcast, from subscribing to the show, tuning in to the latest episode, and finding out more about your brand.
Many podcasters choose WordPress to build their website so it’s important to consider if a podcast host has the capabilities to integrate with its popular themes. The easiest way to assess this is to see if the software has a dedicated podcasting WordPress plugin and if you’re able to manage your show directly within your WordPress dashboard. These capabilities will save you time in long run since you won’t have to do same tasks twice. Think manually uploading an episode to the podcast host and then manually embedding the link on your website. Ideally you can simply upload your audio file directly in WordPress and a new post is automatically created for you.
If your podcast’s website is hosted by a different service like SquareSpace or Wix, then verify the podcast host has domain routing capabilities where you’re able to integrate the current domain name with your RSS feed.
If you don’t have a podcast website set up yet, look to see if the podcast host offers creating a personalized site for you. This will allow you to reap the benefits of having a centralized place for your show with minimal effort.
Being podcasters ourselves, we know the importance of efficient workflows when managing a show. That’s why we designed our Seriously Simple Podcasting WordPress plugin to save hosts more time. With our tool, you can do everything for you podcast right within WordPress’s dashboard–upload episodes for one or multiple shows, view audience analytics, and easily customize the embedded media player.
In addition to being committed to the WordPress community, Castos also supports domain routing and can create custom podcast websites across every plan.
In order to grow a podcast’s engagement, it’s vital to understand the audience, where they’re listening, for how long, and across which platforms. Having a grasp on a podcast’s listenership allows hosts to create more engaging content and help pitch the right sponsors to advertise on the show. While most podcast hosts do provide some audience insights, be sure to understand which stats you’re getting and which you’re missing out on.
At Castos, we recently improved our audience analytics to give our customers clearer data and insights about their shows. We implemented improved tracking tools to more accurately track each episode’s stats and better bot detection to weed out the “bad” data. We also refined our Spotify integrations so customers can view the platform’s data inside their Castos dashboard. Providing robust audience analytics is a priority so we’ve built a roadmap to add more features soon including downloadable reports and detailed playback duration counts for web based streaming.
Content Repurposing Services
As mentioned, being able to easily feature your podcast across every directory should be a bare minimum requirement of any podcast host. But what about reaching your audience on the 2nd largest search engine? We’re talking YouTube.
While it might seem odd to publish an audio only file to a video platform, listening to podcasts on YouTube is becoming more popular. Rather than manually managing your channel in addition to everything you need to do to keep up your show, check to see if the podcast host offers automatically YouTube republishing. Saving time and doubling your reach is definitely worth picking one service over another if this feature isn’t offered.
Another way to make your podcast more accessible is including a full transcription of each episode on your website. You could do some extra research to find the right transcription service but we prefer one-stop-shop softwares. If you see the value in ensuring the hearing impaired can enjoy your show and want to reap the added SEO benefits, make sure your podcast host has the capability to seamless transcribe each episode.
Monetizing podcasts is a new frontier, where both hosts and software providers are figuring out how best to advance the industry. If making money from your show now or down the line is important, you’ll have to consider if the podcast host will help or hinder your strategies. Is the software committed to supporting premium subscription technology? Do they offer educational resources on how to pitch sponsors or cross-promote other businesses?
If it looks like a podcast host will leave you high and dry when it comes to monetization, consider going another route. You may not be ready to start earning a profit when you choose a host, but make sure it can support your future needs if you do decide to transform your podcast from a side hustle to your main source of income.
A benefit of using a podcast host that’s built by fellow podcasters is our team understands the nuanced needs of the industry. At Castos, we’re working towards bringing our premium podcast subscription features live by 2020 and seek to be an industry leader in helping hosts monetize their show.
Deciding Which Podcast Host Is Best For Your Show
As you research and compare podcast hosts, keep these 5 pieces of criteria in mind. It’s best to go with the software that supports the growth of your show and is making their own strides to improve their platform. When you’ve found the right one, take advantage of any free trial offerings so you can try before you buy.
We built Castos for podcasters like you and always have our customers needs in mind as we update our software. Sign up for our 14-day free trial, no credit card required, to test it out for yourself. Gain access to our world-class features to see how Castos is the best podcast host choice for your show.