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#11: Hosting and Blogging Software

By | January 20, 2007

You could put a lot of podcasts on these babies!This week’s topics are very closely intertwined, so I figured I’d talk about them together. Once you’re able to start making good quality podcasts, you’re gonna need a place to put them so that other people can hear them.

The good news is, you can probably have yourself setup very quickly and publish your first, real podcast in less than an hour. You just need a couple of things. A place to put your files, and some software to manage your posts.

Finding a company to host your podcast is easy. If you want, you can just go to Google and search for ‘podcast hosting’. You’ll see tons of sites. Some pretty good ones are switchpod.com and hostmonster.com, but there’s a lot of sites that are good, so instead of just recommending one to you, since nobody’s paying me to recommend them, I’ll just tell you what to look for.

You want a pretty good amount of storage AND bandwidth because you’re gonna be storing a lot of audio and the more listeners you have, the more bandwidth you’ll use. For example, let’s say your podcast has an average size of 6MB. If you do one show a week, then each month you’ll need 24MB. No big deal so far right, but you’ll probably want to keep your older shows so that they’re available to your listeners. After a year of podcasting, you’ll have used up almost 300MB. This is for a pretty short show, like maybe 15 minutes. If you have a 30 minute show, it doubles.

So look for the amount of storage that you get with the hosting company, and then you need to think about the amount of bandwidth. Don’t think that you have to use a company that specifically says it streams audio and video, because ANY hosting company can host your podcasts. Some of them might not be too happy if your show becomes real popular, but you shouldn’t have problems with most of them. Usually a hosting company will tell you that you get a certain amount of bandwidth per month, and they never actually expect you to use that much, ok, it just sounds good. If you do start using it though, they might give you some trouble, so when you get a thousand listeners, expect some kind of communication from them.

On the other hand, other companies don’t really care and they’ll let you have what you paid for. Here’s how you figure what you’re capable of. Let’s say a hosting company offers you 200GB of transfer. Again, your show is about 6MB. If you have one show a week, that means each of your 4 shows can be streamed more than 8000 times! Chances are you’re not gonna get 8000 subscribers your first month, but here’s the thing. You’ll have new people listening to your podcast all the time. If they like what they hear, they’ll probably listen to archived episodes, so don’t just count on the number of subscribers.

The good news is, for most podcasters, 200GB of transfer per month is probably more than you’ll ever use, of course you do have to take into account the average size of your show.

For 200GB of transfer and a gigabyte of storage, you can easily find something for 6 or 7 dollars a month, most hosting companies will even be more generous on your storage. You’ll be able to pick a domain and setup an account usually very quickly.

So spend some time, check references, I don’t think I’ve seen any hosting companies with support forums, but you should be able to Google the company and see if people have had issues with them.

Once you’ve got a host and you’ve gotten all the account information you need, like log in and FTP info, you’re gonna have to put some software on your server that’ll run your site. If you wanted, you could design your own website from scratch, but that would take you way longer than what I’m gonna tell you.

One of the biggest things on the Internet right now is blogging and the reason is, it’s easy. Anybody can do it and the software is free. All you have to do is download it, do a little configuring and upload it to your server. There’s lots of choices out there, like MovableType, Drupal, and WordPress. They’re all very customizable and you can get a nice looking site very quickly. WordPress has what they call their famous ‘Five minute install’ and the last time I did it, it was just that, 5 minutes, done.

My next post is gonna feature how to go about setting up WordPress since again, that’s what I use and it’s very easy to do. I’ve also done a lot with Drupal so feel free to post any comments on that and I’ll see if I can help you out.

The reason that blogging platforms are such a good idea for podcasts, is because they’ve got some real desirable functionality, out-of-the-box. You’ll post your blog and anybody coming to your site is gonna see your latest episode right up at the top. They can leave comments on it, they’ll be able to listen to past episodes and you can categorize each episode so that podcasts that are on a certain topic will show up together. All you’ll need is usually a few plug-ins and you’re ready to go.

And one of the neatest things with blogging packages is their support for RSS which is something that we’ll be dealing with in a future episode, but RSS makes it possible for people to subscribe to your podcast, and then whenever you post a new podcast, they’re notified right away and that’s kind of a reminder to listen to your podcast.

So next week, we’ll talk about WordPress and I’ll let you know some of the modules that you’ll need right away.

 
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Topics: How to Podcast, Podcast Promotion, Podcasting Software, Tutorial | No Comments »

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