Submitting your podcast to podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify is a key way to grow your following. But you also need a “home base” for your audio and written content. You need a podcast website to serve as a platform for your brand.
It’s also important to have a podcast website because it’s something you control. Apple or Google could remove your podcast for any reason at any time, but no one (except you) can remove your podcast from your own website.
Fortunately, you don’t need a developer or a lot of money to create your own podcast website. With the right tools, you can create a functional site in just a few hours. No technical skills required! Just follow the following steps.
(There are no affiliate links in this article. We are not paid for our recommendations.)
Step 1: Choose a Web Host and Open an Account
Your first step is to open an account with a web hosting service. This is the company who will store your website files and make them available to everyone. You’ve probably heard of companies like A2Hosting, Bluehost, SiteGround, or premium hosts like WPEngine, or Kinsta.
A web host is not where you store your podcast audio files. You’ll need a separate podcast host for that. Podcast hosts are optimized for audio files and download requests.
You’ll need a domain, as well. You can buy this at the same time you open your web hosting account. If you already purchased a domain from another vendor, follow your web host’s steps to transfer the domain to the hosting service.
If you want a super simple system, use a managed WordPress web hosting provider. They’re a little more expensive than purchasing service from a traditional web host, but they handle everything regarding your website. Your site will run on the best technology and you’ll have plenty of support. At Castos, we use Kinsta and can’t recommend them enough.
Step 2: Install WordPress
There are many content management systems that work just fine, but we think WordPress is leagues above all the other options.
WordPress is a flexible tool that lets you build complete websites without any technical knowledge. It began as a blogging tool, but it’s become much more. It’s also open source, which means it’s absolutely free. Plus, you can expand its functionality over time with unique themes and plugins.
Most web hosts have a one-click WordPress installation button. This is the easiest way to install WordPress. For example, 1&1 just needs a title for your site and they’ll automate the entire process.
If your web host doesn’t have a one-click installation button, you can install WordPress manually in just a few moments. All you have to do is download the WordPress package, upload it to the right place on your web host, and follow the setup steps. Read WordPress’ full installation guide.Step 3. Install a WordPress Theme
A theme is a collection of template files that give your website a pleasing look. WordPress requires a theme, which is why it comes with a few default options. They aren’t very attractive, however, so you’ll want to find one that fits your brand and needs.
It’s possible to use any theme you like, but we recommend that you pick one that’s made specifically for podcasting. This will make it easier to get your site ready.
Polished and well-designed websites aren’t just nice to look at. A professional appearance builds credibility and trust. They signal to your listeners that you’re a professional podcaster who’s worth their time.
What should you look for in a podcast theme?
- A layout and style that you like and that’s appropriate for a podcast.
- Customization options so you can brand the site as your own.
- Works well with your podcasting plugins, including the functionality to embed your podcast audio player on pages/posts.
- Options for organizing and displaying your episodes in a user-friendly way.
- Optimized for mobile devices.
Need some recommendations? No problem! Here are our three favorite WordPress themes that are great for podcast websites.
Feel free to browse around for your own theme. Those are just our recommendations. There are plenty of free podcast website themes that will work fine, but spending $50-$100 on a premium theme will give you an edge.
Once you’ve chosen a theme, you’ll need to install it. You’ll do this under Appearances > Themes in your WordPress dashboard. Click Add New, then Upload Theme, and find the theme files of your computer. For a complete walkthrough, checkout this guide.
Step 4: Install WordPress Plugins
Plugins are tools that extend the functionality of your website. You can do some incredible things on your website with the right combination of plugins. Many are totally free.
Just like your theme, plugins are easy to install. You can upload them directly through your WordPress dashboard with just a few clicks. WP Beginner has a great tutorial video.
Which plugins should you install? That depends on what you need your website to do, but we can make some recommendations.
For starters, you’ll definitely need a podcasting plugin. We recommend our own plugin, Seriously Simple Podcasting. This free plugin lets you upload your audio files to Castos directly through WordPress. It comes with an audio player, integrated statistics, a convenient workflow, SEO management, and several add ons. Here’s how it works:
Here are some more WordPress plugins every podcast website should install:
- Yoast SEO – To help you optimize your pages for search.
- CSS Hero – To help you make CSS customizations to your site without coding.
- Jetpack – Includes a huge selection of features, like sharing tools, security defenses, search engine optimizations, and monitoring.
- Akismet – To reduce spam comments. This comes with WordPress, so don’t delete it.
- Google XML Sitemaps – Every site needs a sitemap to please Google.
- W3 Total Cache – To improve site performance.
- Monster Insights – To display your Google Analytics data inside WordPress.
- OptinMonster – To collect email addresses for your list (this is called lead capture).
- BackWPup – To back up your website files in case something bad happens.
- Social Warfare – To add sharing buttons to your pages.
Additionally, you’ll need a plugin that integrates your podcast website with your email marketing tool. For instance, you might use MailChimp for WordPress, Constant Contact Forms, or Aweber Web Form. If you use a different email marketing tool, just Google for their plugin.
Step 5: Customize Your Podcast Website
We won’t get into too much detail on how WordPress works. You can find plenty of information on the web about customizing WordPress. Every theme is different, as well, so make sure you browse through your theme options to play around with colors, fonts, layouts, etc.
Nevertheless, we’d like to offer some tips to help you design the best podcast website possible.
Create the Essential Pages
Every podcast website needs a few essential pages. You’ll need an About page (or About the Show) that describes your podcast, what you talk about, and who you publish your show for.
You’ll also need a Contact page that lists all the ways people can get in touch with you. Include an email address, social media links, and a form for easy submitting.
Make sure one page is designated as a Blog. This is where WordPress will display a list of your latest Posts in chronological order starting with the most recent.
It’s smart to create a new Post right away so there’s something on your website, even if you don’t have a podcast episode to embed on the page. Write something about your upcoming show and why people should listen.
Configure Your Lead Capture Tool
Building an email list of a critical part of marketing your show. You’ll want to notify your followers whenever you publish a new episode. This is a key way to keep people engaged.
In order to grow your list, you’ll need opt-in forms placed throughout your podcast website where visitors can submit their email address. This is where a lead generation plugin like OptinMonster comes in handy.
Use your lead generation tool to create and place forms in key places, like your sidebar, footer, or the bottom of podcast posts. Don’t forget to integrate the lead generation with your email marketing tool.
Follow Some Marketing Best Practices
1. Make it easy for people to listen. Put your newest episodes on your home page and place your audio player at the top of posts.
2. Make your subscribe links accessible. Notice how Criminal puts their links in the footer so they appear on every page.
3. Use fonts and colors people can read without hurting their eyes. Avoid putting text on images because search engines and people with impairments can’t read them.
4. Help new listeners jump in. Show off your most popular episodes by placing them somewhere prominent. This will introduce new visitors to your best stuff first. Check out how The Memory Palace has a category called “Where Do I Start?”
5. Make your pages easy to share. Add sharing buttons to each post so people can share with a single click. You can probably configure your social sharing plugin to appear on each new post automatically.
6. Put your elevator pitch front-and-center on your homepage. Use clear language like… “Money Talk is a podcast about personal finance and achieving financial independence.”
Step 6: Create a Post for Your First Episode
You’ll want to create a new Post each time you publish a new episode to create a unique page on your podcast episode. This is where you’ll embed your audio player, write your show notes, and paste in your episode transcript.
(If you use Seriously Simple Podcasting, you can generate a new page simply by clicking Podcasts > Add New on the left menu. You’ll have the typical WordPress options as well as a menu to upload a new audio file.)
Make sure to embed your podcast audio player at the top of your new post. It’s important to make this widget easily accessible since it’s the primary reason people visit your page. Follow that with your show notes and other media (images, videos, etc.), then your transcript if you have one.
If you installed an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO, don’t forget to go through its steps to optimize your page for search. This can go a long way toward attracting new listeners.
A professional podcast website is an important part of your brand. It’s a place where listeners can learn more about you and your show, and where they can read your show notes and transcripts.
If you follow the simple steps we’ve outlined above, you’ll create an attractive and functional podcast website in just a few hours. Good luck!