Picture this: You have a dozen shows in your episode planner. You have podcast hosting. You’re gaining listeners. Now you’re wondering why you need a website. Isn’t that what podcast hosting sites are for?
No. Not even close. Let’s continue.
Nearly 4x more people listen to podcasts in a given week than watched the final season premiere of Game of Thrones. Most people think of podcast recording equipment, but recording a podcast requires as much software as hardware.
A website drives your podcast’s growth via search engines like Google and transforms your podcast ideas into a visual display that draws visitors and grows your audience. Don’t start producing until you follow one of the most important steps in creating a complete podcast – building a website. Let’s get into it.
Two Types of Podcast Websites
In the world of podcasting, there are really two lanes your site can be in. There’s the platform-generated list of episodes from your hosting provider, and then there’s the real (professionally built) type. While platforms like PodBean and Anchor are fine for basic podcast hosting, once you post your first podcast, you’ll notice it lacks personal touches. Podcast hosting sites have very rigid formats. They typically limit a podcast production to one page that’s very bland and not very search-friendly.
The Platform-Generated Website:
Beyond some basic colors, these sites aren’t customizable. But that’s not their biggest crime. They don’t give you the flexibility to do anything but display your podcast. This lack of functionality makes the site really easy to set up, and, while it usually doesn’t look terrible, it does very little to add value to your podcast. If all you want is to display your podcast, this might be all you need.
Make sure they allow you to map a custom domain, though. You really need to own your show on the web. Most platform-generated sites are not very search engine friendly, and you’re usually giving away link value to the platform, not keeping it for yourself. Playing nice with Google is crucial. We’ll expand on this later in the article.
The Real Site:
A real website is more than a list of your podcast episodes. It’s your hub. This site is a place for long-form content, social sharing, videos, and creating loyalty. But, most of all, it’s search engine friendly. It has YOUR domain, YOUR brand, and ideally, it looks how you want it to look. When you’re dealing with a real website, you have the advantage of ownership.
If you want to put yourself in a position to be a successful podcaster, you need to be serious about the ENTIRE show. Including your podcast website. Let’s dig a little deeper into the benefits of a real website.
Benefits of a Real Website for Your Podcast
Recording a podcast is one of the first steps in creating a podcast, but post-podcast production and marketing are equally as important. A REAL website is the best way to take your podcast to the next level.
1. Increased Branding and Professionalism
The word “BRAND” is really overused. But it makes sense here. A podcast website is an often overlooked, criminally undervalued platform to define, develop, and evolve your brand.
When you allow a hosting platform or a limited website builder to dictate this crucial piece of brand definition, you’ve lost the battle. Imagine the biggest guest ever wants to be on your podcast, and you have an off-brand website. What if you have a potential advertiser, and they see you don’t even have a custom domain? Yikes. What if your podcast is aspirational? shouldn’t the visuals on the website reinforce that? A generic website will hurt the credibility of the podcast. If you have a comedy podcast, shouldn’t the website reflect that? Your website has to, at minimum, look the part.
It’s your podcast. You work VERY hard for it. Why put it in someone else’s hands? You’re really building a business here. Can you imagine a top company not having a website? No. Because creating a hub for your content is critical to affecting perception about you and your content. Let’s not forget, you likely produce MORE than a podcast. How will your listeners see every ounce of your content if they have no central place to go? That central location, your storefront, your welcoming porch, is your website.
2. Create Loyalty You Can Own
Successful podcasts aren’t confined to just the audio. They are tight, defined communities. Subcultures. Think of your podcast more like a show – a show that doesn’t stop. Podcast, website, social media, video – everything has to, at minimum, meet the expectation of your community. If your listeners want transcripts, your website better provides that. Do they want a video? It had better all be there.
Can you do all of that from a list of your episodes, on a podcast hosting platform’s domain? Nope. Getting real about your podcast is really about taking it seriously. No one else can do that for you.
3. Rich Analytics
Get the data. Most podcast host generated sites only give you data on your podcast. They have all but ignored your website. But, what if you have an advertiser that wants to put a display ad on your site? First of all, you have to leave that money on the table if you’re using a podcast host website. Also, you can’t show them the data on your site – because your podcast host doesn’t really care.
With a real site, you have the full power of Google Analytics.
4. Search Engine Optimization Increases Your Podcast’s Visibility
Google is the king of internet discoverability, accounting for nearly 88% of all internet search traffic as of July 2020. A website gives your podcast valuable SEO juice to rank high for related Google searches. Most podcast hosting sites limit visibility in search engines, or worse, they take it for themselves because you’re using their platform.
An SEO-optimized website gives you a place to input additional keywords related to your podcast episodes. Your website can include a full script, additional behind-the-scene photos of podcast recording equipment, and more exclusive content.
Robust SEO-optimized websites drive traffic to your podcast. If your website doesn’t look interesting and/or helpful, how would you expect anyone to be motivated to check out your podcast? Your website needs to be a visual representation of the show. It needs to serve both as an agent of growth and discovery, but the website visitor then needs to be given fair value in exchange for her time. The website should be informative, compelling, and interesting.
Considering Your Fans
Something surprisingly missed when it comes to a digital presence, is your listener. A podcast isn’t really for you, it’s for them. Taking care of them, making them feel at home, and giving them value is critical to your success as a podcaster. Here are some things you should always be considering, and something a real website can help with:
- First Impression. Imagine a future listener who knows nothing about you. What would their takeaway be after landing on your home page via a google search? If your site is a list of episodes, does it tell them who you are, why you bring them value and build trust? Probably not, but you can fix that with a real website.
- Navigation. Is your list of episodes full of links to other places? What is that saying to your fans? Are they really going to be bouncing all over the internet to consume you? You have to eliminate barriers to listening. Make sure your website is simple, yet comprehensive, and easy to navigate.
- Building Community. On your podcast hosts list of episodes, how are you building a community or conversation? Can they comment on your episode? Can they contact you from that same spot? Or are you putting a bunch of links in there to engage them from that “site”? You see where this is going. With a real website, you can create a real community.
How do I get a real website?
There are a million options out there for building a site. Usually, they cost some money with hosting, time, and in some cases the builder (like Squarespace). Some podcast website companies are charging $99 for a site. WHAT? So usually, a podcaster is stuck. Do I sacrifice growth, strategy, and community building with the site my podcast host gave me, or shell out money for a whole site?
Again, a little bias here – you don’t have to choose. With Podcave, your website hosting, the SEO, the branding, it’s all included WITH your hosting. So, it’s possible to have your cake and eat it too. In addition to that, your Podcave subscription includes licensed music, the ability to text and email your fans, guest booking, and more useful features you’ll need to be the best version of yourself. All of this at a fraction of the cost of bundling the three, four, or five services you need. We built this platform so we could help you. So, the platform is robust. It might be good to mention too, Podcave is the ONLY place you can actually get everything you need to plan, publish, and promote your podcast. All in one spot. If you want to check out the features, feel free. If you want to start your free trial, we’re cool with that too.