As a digital marketer, entirely driven by content and SEO, I cannot reiterate enough the benefit of having your content live on your online property. I also know that setting up a website takes time, even if you use a content management system or website builder. It took me a total of four weeks from start to finish to go live with my website (working on it sporadically for a few hours here and there during that time). I will walk you through my process of launching Float or Founder’s website so you can launch a website for your podcast.
Grab your Domain Name
The first thing either Lisen or I do when we have an idea is check if the domain name is available. It’s fun to find your first choice domain right away. It feels inspiring, like the start of something. And that purchase, though minimal, holds you to some kind of promise that you’ll watch that idea come to fruition. In our case, many of the domains we’ve purchased haven’t become anything, and we release them back into the wild. But for the ones that have bloomed into a company, project, or product, we’re always happy that we owned the domain name from the start.
Sign Up for Podcast Hosting
Choosing a podcast host that works for your needs requires a bit of research. Out of all the ones I sifted through, Buzzsprout hit most of my checklist needs. It’s functionality and user experience is clean and modern. They provide you an RSS feed, step-by-step instructions on how to get onto the most obvious platforms, and a little podcast website, too. My only complaint would be that the podcast website link they provide you isn’t secure (HTTPS) and that you aren’t able to add “other” podcast app links beyond Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Pandora. Otherwise the service is great with inexpensive hosting costs and cheap transcription fees. This platform is quick, easy to use, and so streamlined compared to most others. I’ve had a great experience and highly recommend it.
Some RSS feeds/platforms all you to use a custom domain name. If you aren’t quite ready to take on the task of building your own website just yet then redirect your custom domain name to your podcast feed in the meantime.
Draw Out Your Podcast Website on Paper
I never used to do this and building a website would always take longer than it needed to. After Lisen recommended this to me, I pass the advice forward as it really helps you map out what you need and what’s in your head. Your drawing doesn’t need to be anything fancy, and if you have my drawing skills it may be downright ugly, but make sure it shows the basic structure of each page, has titles, and image/button placement.
Build Your Podcast Website
If custom building a website is not for you, there are always great website builders, such as Squarespace, that allow you to create modern website designs. Many website builders have free trials so don’t be afraid to try a couple out to see what works best for your needs.
I highly recommend that your podcast feed lives somewhere on your website. Grab your embed code for your podcast host. I have decided to individually embed my podcasts into a page with some information on the guest and have one page per guest (for SEO reasons). I also embed the full stream on our main page. If you want to embed your feed in one page or let it live on your main page, there’s no problem with that, too. Make sure your feed exists somewhere on your website or that you link out to your direct download links to listeners can access that information with ease.
Host Your Podcast Website
This website is hosted on Heroku. I’ll be honest, I didn’t do this. I watched Lisen set it up and annoyingly hovered over his shoulder the whole time.
The best way to test your website is to go live. It’s hard to properly test your own website since you have your own biases about how and why it’s used. Send it to your friends and family and don’t tell them how to use it. Let them explore and play around and get their feedback on areas they get stuck on, links that are broken, elements that aren’t functioning properly on certain browsers or devices. List out all the edits and feedback you receive in order of importance and make the necessary changes.
A Mistake I Made with my Podcast Website
One of the first steps everyone should do before starting the website process is think about their brand holistically - what is your podcast about, who is it for, what’s the main goal. I don’t think I am great at branding so I decided to skip this step until I had more time to dedicate to it. This is why my handcrafted logo (LOL) is awful and also why I didn’t bother changing the colour pallet of the template. I really recommend thinking about your podcast brand overall before creating a website design. I will be doing this step in the future (and by that I mean, paying someone to create my brand) and it means making significant changes to my website and social channels in the future, which is a bit of a pain. But, better late than never!
I hope this encourages all podcasters out there to launch their own websites! A website is a huge piece of the puzzle to securing success online and in search. Can you imagine researching a company and having no website to land on? Websites inform, link out to necessary information, and connect you with your users. The same theory applies to podcasters. Get yourself a website and put your podcast brand out there!