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1. DO NOT Host your mp3 files on your own webserver
Hosting your files on a webserver is the single quickest way to get kicked off of your web hosting server. Plus, if you get popular at all, your mp3 downloads will compete with your website and your RSS feed. It’s simply not a good idea.
2. DO NOT Use Feedburner (or feedblitz or any other 3rd party RSS feed service)
We have beaten this dead horse but I get calls every week from someone who is on feedburner and something goes wrong. Eliminate that problem by eliminating feedburner from your system. You give Feedburner a feed to “burn”, use that feed directly.
3. DO NOT Use your hosting company’s RSS feed
Using a feed that doesn’t have your domain name in it simply means you do not own that feed. Your hosting company does. It’s like email. If you have aol.com or hotmail.com in your email address on your business card, it makes you look stupid. Or at very least, unsophisticated or too lazy to do the work needed to have your own domain in your email. Same goes for feeds. If you run your feed from your own domain, it looks better than yourpodcastname.hostingcompany.com/rss. Plus, if your hosting company goes out of business (which DOES happen and has happened in the past) you will have trouble getting your subscribers back.
4. DO NOT Listen to anyone that tells you that WordPress Feeds are unreliable
There is a very well known podcaster / podcasting company rep that is spreading the BS that WordPress Feeds are unreliable. The simple fact that it’s WordPress does NOT make it unreliable and the fact that it’s from said hosting company, does NOT make it reliable. They have their feed problems too. Just like any system, there can be problems. (If there were no problems ever, why would they need a support department??) This person (and others) are using it as a marketing tool to make you think that if you host your own RSS feed, you are somehow more likely to have problems. That is simply not true. I know of several networks that are running WordPress feeds (many of them!) from one WordPress site and have no problems. It’s more about the server than it is about the system. This Hosting company (and the one I work for by the way) have very reliable and robust servers that cost a lot of money to maintain. A $3 a month shared hosting plan on a Web Server is not very likely to be able to handle a ton of traffic. That’s because it only costs $3. You get what you pay for, as the old saying goes. If you get really popular, you may need to step up to a higher level server. I run Podcast Help Desk and all my other sites save one, on Godaddy’s mid-level Linux servers. Yes, it costs more than $3 a month. But not that much more and my sites have never gone down. I don’t get Serial or NPR level’s of traffic. If I did, I could get a much bigger server, still run WordPress and be just fine. You can’t expect a 20 year old Toyota mini truck to haul the same load as an 18 wheeler, so you must get the vehicle that is needed for the job at hand. Same with webservers. But as I said # 3, it is worth the trouble because you want own your own brand, your own platform totally without any 3rd parties in your way.
5. DO NOT Use anything but MP3 for an audio podcast
I’m sure I will get some “feedback” from my friend Charles on this one, but Do NOT use another file format other than MP3 for your audio podcast. At least not at this time. AAC (or Apple’s M4A) format is great for music. Great for iPods, iPhones and the such, but it’s not great for older mp3 players that people still use. It also does not work as well for web players. Does it work? Yes, 90% but mp3 works 100%. Stick with that until something better comes along.
6. DO NOT Encode your MP3’s any bigger than 128kbps Stereo
In fact, most of the time, 64kbps Mono is good enough. (Constant bit rate too). Anything bigger is just wasting your hosting space and your listeners data pla…