You don’t need a developer or a big budget to create your own podcast website. Following this six step guide and using the right tools will help you create a functional site in just a few hours, no technical skills required!
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. We can’t stress enough the benefits of a dedicated podcast website as it’s a platform you can control for your brand. Apple or Google could remove your podcast for any reason at any time, but no one can remove your podcast from your own website.
Ahead, we break out six easy steps to building an appealing podcast website without any coding knowledge.
(There are no affiliate links in this article. We are not paid for our recommendations.)
Step 1: Choose A Website Hosting Provider
Your first step is to open an account with a web hosting service. This is the company that will store your website files and make them available to everyone. You’ve probably heard of companies like 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 as they’re 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 open-source, which means it’s absolutely free, plus you can expand its functionality 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.
Learn more about how to install WordPress at their full installation guide.
Step 3. Install A WordPress Theme
A theme is a collection of template files that give your website an atheistically pleasing look. WordPress comes with a few default options but they aren’t very attractive, 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 picking one that’s made specifically for podcasting. Check out our guide for details on what to look for in a podcast specific WordPress themes along with a few recommendations. You can also browse around for your own theme–there are plenty of free options that will work fine, but spending $50-$100 on a premium package 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 on installing a WordPress theme, checkout WPBeginner’s full guide.
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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 and 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. It’s a free plugin lets you upload your audio files directly on your WordPress dashboard saving you time and the hassle of togging between multiple platforms. 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 other 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.
- 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.
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.
Step 5: Customize Your Podcast Website
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, here 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 so you can notify followers whenever a new episode is published.
To grow your list, use a lead capture tool like OptinMonster and place opt-in forms throughout your podcast website allowing visitors to submit their email addresses. Places like the sidebar, footer, or the bottom of each podcast post is are great places to start. And don’t forget to integrate your lead generation tool with your email service provider so you can store the collected addresses in one place.
Step 6: Create A Post For Your First Episode
Create a new post each time you publish an episode to generate a unique landing page. This is where you’ll embed your audio player top of your new post, add your show notes, and paste in your episode transcript.
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.
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.
Podcast Website Best Practices
As you work through this six step guide to set up a podcast website, be sure to follow these best practices so your site really shines.
- 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.
- Use legible fonts and colors: Make sure the text is easy to read and avoid putting text on images as search engines can’t read them lowering their SEO value.
- Make your subscribe links accessible: Put your links in the footer so they appear on every page and don’t forget to include every directory your show can be found.
- Make your pages easy to share: Try configuring your social sharing plugin to appear on each new post automatically so people can share episodes across their channels with a single click
- Put your elevator pitch front-and-center: Use clear language and be sure to include the pitch on above the fold on your homepage.
- Help new listeners jump in: Show off your most popular episodes by prominently placing on your site. This will introduce new visitors to listen to your best stuff first. The Memory Palace has a category called “Where Do I Start?
Why A Podcast Website Is Important
If you’re just starting out in podcasting you may be wondering why having a podcast website is important. Here we’ll give you four big reasons why you should spend time creating a dedicated site for your show. After all, podcasting is an audio-first medium and you would initially think that there might not be a need for a website for your podcast. But au contraire.
It’s the home base of your show
Repeat after me: Apple Podcasts or Spotify is not the home of my podcast.
Whenever you have a call to action, or CTA, in your podcast episodes, it should always direct people back to your podcast website.
Let’s face it, times change. Platforms that are popular now will go out of vogue in a few years (MySpace, anyone?!), and building your podcasting empire in someone else’s sandbox is a risky move. Your podcast’s website, however, can never be taken away, no one can change the rules, or restrict what you can do.
Given this stability, it’s much better to spend extra time and effort to building a platform where you can fully customize the contents, settings, and site behavior. This is where a Content Management System like WordPress really shines as it allows you to build a website easily, and retain full control of everything.
With Castos’ Seriously Simple Podcasting WordPress plugin publishing podcast episodes right from your WordPress dashboard is a breeze. We removed the need to toggle between multiple platforms to keep your podcast website up to date, saving you time to focus on the content!
If you decide to use another CMS instead of WordPress to house your website, Castos also allows for custom domain routing to easily transfer your latest episodes your site.
There’s SEO value
In the vast majority of instances, you should not separate your podcast website out into a separate domains as it severely impacts the rankings of that content alongside your main website. Instead, create a central page where users can view every episode then click through to the one they want to listen to.
Keeping all of your content in one place sends signals to Google, and other search engines, that your site is the place to learn about a particular topic. Getting as much information, links, and social proof around your site’s content is the key to ranking well.
In addition to adding every episode to your podcast’s website, don’t forget about transcriptions and show notes. These text-based elements make it easier for search engines to learn what the episode is about. When a user searchers for a keyword related to your topic, that episode can then be served as a result to answer their question.
Complement your other businesses
If you already have a website for your brand, business, or group then embedding your podcast onto that existing website is a no brainer.
Not only will this streamline your publishing workflows because you won’t have to leave your content management platform, but it will also likely increase the time that visitors spend on your website if they’re able to check out not only your written content but your podcast as well.
The best podcasters we see that have shows that complement their existing business or organization do a beautiful job of weaving these two pieces together. There should be links from your podcast content to other aspects of your brand, and conversely, your main website should reference your podcast as often as possible.
It’s customized to your brand
Even in an audio-first medium like podcasting it never hurts to have a nice looking website for your listeners to visit.
Something that is well designed, has a listener’s goals in mind, and makes sense for first-time visitors to navigate will instantly send trust signals to your audience. They will feel that your site is a place of authority, that this is a place that they can rely on for high-quality content, and this will result in them subscribing to your podcast.
After all, that’s the main goal, right? More subscribers, more listeners, better-engaged audience.
Ensure your content is always available
If you talk to any content creator that’s been around for a while they will tell you stories of getting penalties from Google, or building a big following on the next big social network, only for those platforms to change the rules without notice.
Then, all the sudden, you’re left wondering where your audience went, and what the future of your show will hold.
Podcasting is a really interesting medium because your audience doesn’t actually listen to your podcast through directories like Apple Podcasts, they subscribe directly to your podcast RSS feed. By allowing users to directly subscribe to your podcast on your website, they’ll have access to the content no matter what. If Apple decided tomorrow to shut down its podcasting platform, you would still have all of the listeners who directly have subscribed to your show.
This is platform-proofing your show to the highest degree and gives you ultimate control of your content and its ability to be distributed to your audience.
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. With a professional site promoting the show, you’ll start to reap the benefits and grow your listenership.
Get started with Castos today
And see just how easy podcasting can be.
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