Setting up your website and where do you host your media files
If you are going to start a podcast, you need a place (or places) on the web where your podcast website and your media will live. I recommend using a self-hosted wordpress site as the base for your podcast.
WordPress is the most popular system for blogging. There is such a thing called WordPress.com which is a free blogging system hosted by wordpress itself. The company behind wordpress is called Automatic. Automatic does the hosting and you end up with an address like http://mypodcast.wordpress.com You don’t want this so forget about wordpress.com for podcast website hosting. The best way is to use WordPress.org. WordPress.org is the open source version of the same (well mostly the same) software that is used on wordpress.com. With your own installation on your own domain name, you have much more flexibility to have the design look the way you want it. There are many other advantages of this that I am sure we will talk about in future episodes.
Setting up your own wordpress site is easy nowadays with MOST web hosting companies. Today I will focus on 2 of the most popular web hosts. Godaddy and Bluehost. (Disclaimer, i have an affiliate relationship with bluehost and if you buy though my link, I get a commision. You don’t pay any more, but it helps the me out)
Godaddy hosting is somewhat easy to setup. They have this thing called “Hosting Central” and when you login to your hosting control panel there is a link to hosting central. With Godaddy, you also have to buy a domain name (which is extra). Once you have all that all you have to do is find wordpress in hosting central and click install. You answer the questions that come up and in a half hour or so, your wordpress site will be ready for you to configure for podcasting.
Bluehost uses a thing called Cpanel. This is a very common interface for a lot of web hosting companies so if you are using someone else, the procedure should be about the same. The nice thing about bluehost is that the domain name is included in your hosting plan. CPANEL uses a thing called “simple scrips” to install wordpress. Same as godaddy, it will install and configure your site by asking you some questions and then just putting it online. One word of caution, do not install wordpress in a folder. IF it suggests a folder (on both Godaddy and Bluehost) just blank it out. Install wordpress in the root of your domain. This is, of course, assuming that your podcast will be the main thing on your site. If you need it installed in a custom place you might want to hire someone to do that for you. (Plug one on one consulting here:) )
The next thing is Themes. There are 1000’s of free themes out there for wordpress. They will make your site look just about any way you want it to look. There are paid themes also. These are much more configurable than the free ones in most cases. I use one called Thesis on podcastingtechcoach.com. It costs about $70 and it very customizable. You don’t HAVE to pay for a theme if you can find one you like in the free themes area. To check out the themes go to your dashboard in wordpress hit appearance and then Themes and “Install Themes”. You will get a search box and a whole lot of options to find the theme you are looking for. You can install one from there. Another word of caution, some themes will cause issues with your podcast feeds and on site players. It’s not common, but can happen.
A word about Media hosting:
Yes, you CAN just upload your mp3 to a folder on your website hosting account and it will work….. UNTIL you get popular. Once that happens, your website will be competing with media downloads and will become VERY slow on these cheap shared hosting plans. The hosting plans are great for a website / wordpress blog but were never meant to host large files for download. This is where you need a dedicated media hosting account. Yes, it is another expense,