I have been producing podcasts since 2014 and have tried various options for hosting. My only requirement is that they allow me to make my WordPress site the home of the podcast.
When I was using Amazon S3 for hosting, I decided to give the WordPress plugin Seriously Simple Podcasting at try. This was more than three years ago. Well, I was impressed and, as one thing led to another, I moved my hosting to their service Castos a bit over a year ago. Now all three of my podcasts use this plugin and hosting.
If you are looking to start a podcast—or you’re seeking a host for your podcast— let me show you what you can expect. (Note: podcast hosting separate from your site hosting is recommended so as not to be too heavy a load for your site server)
The Seriously Simple Podcasting Plugin
It can be used whether you use Castos hosting or not, but again, I would seriously think about going with Castos.
General Podcast Settings
You are going to choose from your custom post types what will be your podcast post types. You have a choice between two media players, where they should be located and a bit on styling as well.
Another thing I like is the Media player locations. I choose to show it in both my Excerpts and Full Content. That way if someone is looking at the archive page and just wants to listen then and there, they can.
You can create a default feed. You can also create separate feeds if you have numerous podcasts on a single site. In this screenshot, it’s set up as a separate feed, or series, as I used to have another podcast here.
When you fill out this info, you will choose your categories, which will be fed into Apple Podcasts when you submit it. The same goes for the cover image, desc/summary and owner name. There is additional information that will be used as well.
At the bottom, you can put in your subscribe links and those will appear below the podcast player wherever you place it on your posts or pages.
If you want to password protect your podcast, you can do that here. It might be for paid content, or any other reason you might want your podcast to be private.
If you need to move your podcast to another location down the road, you can set up a redirect here:
You will find the feeds for your podcast here and can also add a third-party feed service if you have one:
If you choose to host your podcast at Castos, this lets you easily connect to your account:
The first option will import your files if they already exist on Castos hosting.
If you are moving to Castos hosting from an external service, just enter the feed and it will start the process. In either case, if there is some hiccup, their support is awesome and they will help you get everything in place.
As I showed you under the feed details, you can add your URLs for subscription options to be shown below the player. By default, there are fields for Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify. As you can see here, I have also added Pocket Casts and you can add any subscription field and URL that you feel your listeners use a lot.
You will see that since I added Pocket Casts, now in my feed details, I have a spot for that.
And if you need more, check out some of the extensions that come with this plugin. You get four of these free with the plugin:
- Seriously Simple Stats
- Seriously Simple Transcripts
- Genesis Support
- Seriously Simple Speakers
You can do this on your WordPress site in one of two ways. You can add them as a custom post type that is similar to a regular post. This keeps them separate from your regular posts. As custom post types this option does not give you categories that you can assign your to your episodes. But it will give you tags.
The only difference is that they are separated in your dashboard and you might find that more to your liking.
In either case, you have two options on your posts for adding the podcast. First, where you will upload the podcast. If you are on Castos hosting, simply upload it here and it will reside on their hosting, separate from your site hosting.
Otherwise, you will upload it to your media library, or if you are storing your files somewhere else, like Amazon S3, then you would put the URL in here. The other information will self-populate once it’s uploaded:
If you have more than one podcast on your site, you will want to create what is called a series. Basically they work like categories with their own feed.
This screenshot is from my site earlier when I had several podcasts on a single WordPress install.
And whenever you create an episode or post, you can select which series it belongs to. This will ensure that it gets sent to your external podcast platforms, such as Apple Podcasts, etc.
You will also get some very good statistics on the post/episode page for that specific episode.
Or you can view more detailed stats on your site while filtering them per episode and dates.
Also, on the individual posts/episodes, you can customize the size of your episode and use the embed code.
In the general settings, as you saw above, you chose where to display the media player: top or bottom of post. Or it can be done with a shortcode. There is the standard compact player or, if you use their hosting, you get the option of the HTML5 Player with Album Art that looks like this:
And here is an example of us adding it to our homepage using Beaver Builder on the WP eCommerce Show.
As I mentioned before, the free plugin Seriously Simple Podcasting will work even if you don’t use their hosting. (The media player I showed you above, as well as some other features like one-click importing, more in-depth analytics and video publishing, is only available if you use their hosting.)
When using their hosting you can have your podcasts on your WordPress site, or you can have your own personal site via Castos hosting. The latter gives you a fully mobile responsive and nicely designed website.
Besides the stats you see above, with the hosting you can also see:
- Playback-level audience analytics. This gives you good insights by showing you the average percentage of how much an specific episode is listened to.
- Listening methods. You can see stats by app, browser, OS/Devices and listener locations.
Video Publishing and YouTube
They offer hosting for video podcasting and a plan that includes automatically republishing your podcasts to YouTube. It will convert your audio files into good looking videos and automatically publish them to your YouTube channel.