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The host goes off the rails a bitThere are a few things that I get really wound up about, one of them is free speech. As I was playing catch up on my podcasts about podcasting the shows are starting to mention Podcast Movement. Not only are they talking about Podcast Movement 2015, they are complaining about one of the new speakers added to the lineup. Many are even talking about not going to the conference because of this speaker. Who is this speaker? It is Glenn Beck, Yeah he has a tendency to irritate certain people.

Yet, Glenn Beck is one thing he talks about what he is passionate about. You can either agree or disagree but he does incite a response. But I am having why people who use free speech each week wants to stifle one persons right, and this is what I am seeing and hearing with each person’s comment about how they are not going to go to the conference at all. Why throw out the baby with the bathwater? Why not show some of that tolerance you expect of other people. Free speech is a two way street. Why not listen to what Glenn Beck has to say you might be surprised that you are agreeing with him. Of course that could be why you are scared to listen to what Glenn Beck has to say because you might start questioning why you don’t like him in the first place.

Free speech is important to all of us in the podcasting world, and Glenn Beck is a leader of the new media field. You might see that he has some interesting in sights in the industry.

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build your audience at a steady paceRecently I had a great discussion with a Internet friend of mine. He is an internet marketer and had posted an article on a site about podcasting and it developed into a natural discussion about trying to use formulas to get a show to have the most impact and fastest growth. We talked in depth about podcasting being a marathon. Now my friend thought that phrase was just a cop out as to why podcasts take so long to be popular, and I laid these following reasons out as to why podcasting is a marathon

Where is your audience?

You don’t have one at the start. Most podcasters start with a new website and build it up from scratch. Many people are able to start off with close friends and family members, net several twitter followers, and other people from social networks. So the start off is “Normally” on the slow side. Many times people talk about they started off with over 1000 downloads a month, and many of these are bloggers who have an audience who visits their site on a regular basis. How long did that take? Often building that audience to “critical mass” takes in the area of a year or more. So, when a blogger who has a good following and is getting 50,000 hits a month on their site, then when the podcast launches there are lots of eye on their site and they can quickly build an audience.

That is completely different when you are starting your site from scratch. If you don’t have a platform then you won’t have the audience to go with it. If you look at this site I was about 3 or 4 episodes in before I got a couple of downloads. Not listeners just downloads and the size has grown and my actual audience has grown with it, as the site grows and more people become more aware of the site. Now each episode gets about 100 downloads a week. Not bad for a little over 8 months of episodes. Could that of been more? Sure but I had the 6 month dry spell and that hurt the size of my audience.

Use the Slow Burn mentality.

There are reasons as to why brand new podcasters often last only 7 to 10 episodes before they fade out. Lot of it is attributed to the work that is needed to gather all the information for that weeks episode. But there are those who want to sprint. Spend all their gas on getting into New and Noteworthy and when the perceived audience rush starts to fade the show fades too. Then the person either restarts with whole new branding or gives up. Both of these are results of thinking Podcasting is a sprint.

Have a slow burn mentality. Know that it is going to take a while to get your true core followers. Embrace each new person that comes in and get to know them. The saying of stop and smell the flowers comes to mind. Stop and genuinely shake the new guys hand see how you can help. You will be able to take that time to build that relationship because you are not busy trying get to the next big milestone. You will not be distracted and will be able to give your audience your full attention and there for cementing a relationship.

You also will not be as easy to give up. If you know that that this incredible show you have created is in it for the long haul, and the money or thought leader status will happen in due time.

News


Spotify podcasts – Yes Spotify is opening the doors. At the moment there are only a couple of avenues you can take to get into the Spotify podcast directory, but this will be changing. Right now the easiest is to use Libsyn because they were able to partner with Spotify and with just a quick request Libsyn can create a destination folder for your show and your show will be included in the new directory.

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Many times people will have an idea and talk to other people and then run with that plan. This also happens in the world of podcasting also. Many times people will start a show without really knowing who their audience is. Even professionals do it. Here is proof…

The Tidal Flop

Jay Z is not happy that his audiance isn't buying his service. Why? because he didn't know his audience.The famed rapper Jay Z had an idea. He saw how much money was being given to Spotify Pandora, and even Deezer. These are all streaming services that run on a subscription base. Jay Z also heard the lower quality of this music. If you know any Audiophiles they will go on and on about how horrible the sound quality is of this service and why mp3’s are so terrible. If you want to truly hear music and all the different nuances of the craft of audio engineering you need to have a High dollar system with specs and details that will cause an engineer to stop and scratch his head. Then you can almost see each note as its gorgeous reproduction is birthed in the being from $3000 speakers. Jay Z is an obvious Audio snob, and that is OK. Most podcasters become audio snobs too.

So in a fit of euphoric excitement Jay Z had an idea. He was going to have his own streaming service. This service would serve only the highest of high quality audio, and the cherry on top would be he could then charge a premium price for his service. Great idea! Who doesn’t like to have the best? People buy iPhone because they are the best. People buy Versace because they perceive it to be of high quality and worth their money. People buy the best that they can afford.

Jay Z launch Tidal streaming and it is not doing well It hasn’t been received well and it has not taken off at all. So much so that Jay Z throws a tantrum here recently. Because they will buy iPhones and Nike shoes but they will not buy his service.

Now why do you believe his service failed? Is it because the lack of quality? Is it because he charged too much? No to both. The problem I see is that Jay Z didn’t know his audience. He is used to being around people who can spend 5000 as freely as a fat kid can spend 5 bucks at a candy store. So he is, in a way, out of touch of his audience. Jay Z is roughly worth $550 Million. Yet who is listening to his music? Who is spending $.99 for his MP3’s or even $10 for his album? It is not his friends it is the people who look up to him, i.e. inner city kids, up to middle class kids. Yeah you have some young adults and older, and often the older demographics are also in the lower income brackets. What does this equal out too?

Money! Yes Jay Z fans they may scrimp and save and store away a little money to be able to get the latest Jordan’s that come out, and buy that new iPhone or Apple watch because it is a onetime purchase. That is something that can be saved up. A service where you stream high quality music cost a lot of money something that money doesn’t come out of thin air. It has to be toiled over sweat has to be spilt in order for it to be made. So Money that was diverted for those new Air Jordan’s is then reallocated to the old place after purchase. Since that is the case many people are not able to hold on to a service that is also eating up their data plan like a hungry caterpillar. So Jay Z didn’t understand who is audience was and in doing so he has to blame someone who is not his audience.

The Power of your Audience

So what is this long sad tale of the woes of Jay Z about? Know you audience. Picture your audience in your head or if you can find a picture that best represents that person then put it up where you can see it when you are recording. Know who your audience is. What their problems are about. Their problems may not be your problems so you may be going on a tract that is not helping your audience and there for your show is not growing like you want. Listen to your audience and answer their calls. Help them out let your audience know that you are there for them, and they will be more willing to spend that money on you instead of a Starbucks coffee. Provide value that your audience members can afford. Many times if you over sell they will find a way to repay you for all the value you deliver. Know you audience understand your audience, and these people will happily move mountains for you.

Social Media Tips


This is a new section that is going to appear in each week. I will talk about tips and tricks to help you fully engage your audience and help them get to know you. Twitter is the topic chosen because most podcasters have a Twitter account but some are just learning about twitter. They have been Facebook for a long while and just now starting to wade into the often confusing torrent of posts known as Twitter.

News


More Celebrities starting podcasts Jerry Springer is starting a show called “Tales, Tunes and Tomfoolery” it is on his site. So, I will be signing up to see what dreg of society he pulls up here, or maybe he is going to be different.

Did you like the show? Please Rate us on iTunes and Stitcher.
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With wordpress you need the extra functionality that WordPress plugins give youA website is your home on the internet. It is also your online store front. People who visit our site are attracted to some of the bright and shiny things that are on our pages. Yet there are also Portions of your site that are not seen by a single person unless they look at the source and wonder, “How did they do that?” Often many WordPress plugins are not so much visible as they are being evident because of their particular task. There are several plugins that almost required installs and then there are those that are needed in a case by case basis.

Plugins

Important

Advanced Image Styles – There was a time that WordPress had a few advanced features when it came to styling of your images you placed in your blog post. A few updates ago Automatic took that feature out and thanks to Dave Jackson mentioning the same problem on School of Podcasting. I use this plugin for one reason I can add a buffer space around one side of my image or around all four sides of an image. Custom CSS attributes and link attributes can be set for each individual image.

Akismet – The Spam buster! If you have a WordPress blog then you have spam. Spammers know what file on your site, they need to hit to send out poorly worded, misspelt, links to questionable websites. A great way to keep these bot comments from seeing the light if the day is to use the Akismet plugin. There is no downloading needed. This Plug in comes installed already by Automatic. All you have to do is activate it and get an API key over at the Akismet website. You can use this for one email address for free. It is worth paying for. This plugin will drive the amount of time spent double checking a comment that sounds kind of fishy by instantly knowing if it is fishy and removing it.

Blubrry PowerPress – At first there was PodPress and the developer of this plugin gave up and just left it to fend for itself. Shortly after a WordPress update, The Plugin was mortally wounded and dying. This could have been the end of this once great plugin. Yet, it was found by Blubrry was revived and improved. To the point that it is now the most popular podcasting plugin in the WordPress Plugin repository! HAZAA! Yea the story of PowerPress is just about that epic, and is improving with each update.

In all seriousness this plug in is does all you could need to be able to submit your podcast feed to iTunes. PowerPress adds the needed iTunes tags to a podcast specific feed so your RSS feed doesn’t get too big with all of the non-podcast blog posts you my add to your site. This plugin also give you a player to place in your show notes post to help people discovering your site to be able to listen and enjoy your content.

CryptX – You want it to be easy for your fans to be able to contact you. Yet, you also don’t want your inbox full of Canadian drug spam. So how do you keep your email address visible while at the same time not opening up to the spambots? CryptX is that solution. Though the magic of their programing. You can type out your real email address and bots will only see garbled gunk. So your audience may see bryan@podcastdojo.com but you will not get extra notices that there are Hot Russian Brides looking for you. Which honestly who believe that?

Google Analytics by Yoast – Setting up Google analytics can be a little daunting if you do not know how to navigate the editor in WordPress. Where should you put your Analytics code? This plug in does all the hard work for you. Just enter your analytics id, which is the UA-XXXXXXXXXX code and then if the desire hit you and you don’t want to show up in your own analytics you can set it so that Admins do not register on your analytics.

Google Analytics Dashboard – another little plugin by Yoast and this adds the Analytics graph to your admin dashboard. Simple and sweet

JM Twitter Cards – Twitter has a great feature called twitter cards and this plugin helps you get your twitter card all setup so that they work the way they need to. You still have to setup everything that is needed to be set up on Twitters side but all the settings that you have to do one your side are handled by this plugin. You can validate that all is good or if there is a problem. It will add the required rules for Twitters bots to the Robots.txt file. It even has deep linking for your iPhone, iPad, and android apps.

Little Hippo (Makes your BIG job small) – One of the most over looked SEO elements are your images. Often there may be a title but it is not long enough or the Alt tag was forgotten. Little Hippo will help you correct these little SEO problems in one centralized area. If your description is a little short. You will get a notice. The first time you set it up you may be there for a while because you didn’t realize how many elements were forgotten. Well at least I was

Pretty Link Lite – This isn’t just for podcasters and redirecting to your podcast episode. This valuable redirection plugin helps in anytime you need to redirect a URL to a different location, whether it is on your site or to a different site. Pretty Link is invaluable

Use Google Libraries – There are lots of JS files on your WordPress site. And having to download these files each time can take a while. For your listener it may seem like an eternity. Each download also takes up valuable resources on your host. The best way to fix the problem is allow someone else host the common JS files. And why not just let the largest website in the world with the best Content Distribution Network send out those files? That is the Google Libraries and this plugin will help shave a few seconds off of your site.

WordPress SEO – Maximize your SEO and get tips and hints on how your SEO is working with a particular keyword. For each post

WP-DBManager – Back your database up and clean it up with this plugin

Great Plugins

Append Link on Copy – There are website scrapers like Buzzfeed that will just take portions of your site and repurpose it for their needs. This will help credit your work for your site.

As Heard On – If you are often interviewed this is a great way to pay back the favor and show people other shows you have been on. This plug in is created by Dustin Hartzler of your Website engineer podcast

Better Click To Tweet  – Great plug in for adding a clickable link for people to tweet a little quote from your

Better Writing – Having people being able to understand what they are reading is always a good thing. This plugin puts a widget on the sidebar of the post you are righting and lets you know if you are writing is being understood by using Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease test. It produces a little dial that grades your post as you go.

Broken Link Checker – Sites come and go and broken links are bad for your SEO. It is good to have a process tell you if a link is good or bad so you can correct the problem quickly before Google sees it and reacts. This Plugin will email you a notice of any broken links found

IX Show Latest YouTube – A great plug from Daniel J Lewis of The Audacity to Podcast it is a great plugin for live shows on Hangouts on air and if you have a YouTube channel.

Jetpack – yes a bit of a resource hog but there are a couple of good plugins in this one plugin the protect and Spelling and grammar checker are the reasons I use this plugin

Revision Control – WordPress backs up your revisions and can, after a while get a little unwieldy Revision control fixes this with the ability to lock revisions to how ever many you want.

My Shortcodes – Shortcodes are great when you figure out how easy they are. They make repeated entries like the Review the show action at the bottom of this page. Is a shortcode.

Official StatCounter Plugin – I like to have a secondary view of what my site is doing many times I will be able to get extra info or come to understand information a little better be suing a second analytics program I have chosen to use StatCounter small and as through as Google Analytics

PopupAlly – I was not one for popups for a long time but I have come to understand the power they have. As you may have noticed the pop up that shows on the site when you go to a particular page. Or when you try to leave. This is the results of this plug in. It ties into the Mailchimp and Awebber nicely

Related Posts – SEO wise you want links to your content. And this plugin links to content that is related to your posts. Now the reason that it is not in the recommended list is that it give suggested links in you post to sites outside of website.

Simple Share Buttons Adder – Social sharing is needed in today’s websites and this plug in is simple as it claims.

Smart Youtube PRO – I like this plugin because of the options it provides

Social Media Feather – Allows for links to your social media sites to be displayed at the top and bottom of your posts

Starbox – the Author Box for Humans – Microdata is needed also for SEO and Starbox adds the needed microdata to your posts for your author information.

Swiftype Search – custom search feature and allows for analytics as to what people are searching to be reviewed so you can cater to your audience’s needs

WordPress Editorial Calendar – When are you wanting that post to be published? This plugin gives you a calendar view of all posts and when they are going live. So you are able to choose what post should be released. By using an easy drag and drop feature.

Sites to use

What WP theme is that? – Often used to find out what plugin is being used on a site.

Google Webmaster Tools – helps with different problems you may be facing on your website

Google Analytics – This is a must have the information that is given is invaluable.

Clammr – The Twitter for Audio if you are a podcast producer or using Android you can go to publisher.clammr.com

Did you like the show? Please Rate us on iTunes and Stitcher.
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Use these simple tips to hep protect your wrodpress site from hackers

You home is your castle or that is how the saying goes. Your podcast has a home also it is called your website. your website is very important and as all things digital can be over run by people with too much time on their hand and misdirected motivation. These people are commonly referred to as Hackers. They may not attack your site directly but they are always looking for new sites that they can access for black hat means be it their own affiliate programs or so they can install malicious software onto your visitors computers.

The tactics these people use are sometimes amazing in execution, and results they are able to achieve border on Genius. Yet still their tactics are harmful and destructive by way of stealing viewers and/or money from your pocket. There is no way to 100% protect yourself from being the target of a hack but there are steps that can be done to keep yourself from being the easy low hanging fruit which is what hackers go after more often.

So how do you protect yourself

Update! Update! Update!

Update your WordPress

WordPress just updated to version 4.2 Powell and this update fixes a lot of “under the hood” bug fixes. This often means security fixes along with fixes to annoying problems. Updating your whole site is as easy as clicking the “Update Now” button. Though some people don’t like updating their sites because it could “Break” a plug-in or a whole site if the plugin is a part of a theme.

Update your Themes

With your site many plugin’s will either start updating their plugins before the release of a WordPress update. while others will update after the release if they are not privy to the pre-release. When you see these updates available update that theme. Many times the theme update will have the updated plugin and also repair security holes

 

Update your Plugins

WordPress plugins are nothing more that side programs that run in your WordPress environment. Much like how your browser runs on your Windows or iOS machine. Windows is the Operating system and your browser is a plugin. Your word processing software is a plugin. and you will get notices that these programs need to be updated from time to time.

Much like your programs you want and need to update your plugins. And update it as often as you can.Wordpress makes it easy to update and with the 4.2 update you are able to just go to your Plugins page and click on the plugin that needs the update and you will not even have to leave that page.

Remove all unused plugins

Many times you will find a different plugin that you want to try out and you find that it is better than the old plugin and so you start to have a Plugin graveyard of unused plugins. These plugins though are not being used still can provide a security hole for hackers to get in.

Back it up!

Back up your whole website and the Database. There are times that a hacker that is able to find his way into website. Will make a small change to a file in your WordPress site. This is his backdoor so when you fix the problem he is still able to get in. This spare piece of code can be anywhere. in your WordPress site. So, If you have a backup you can restore all of your files in one easy movement.

You also want to backup your database hackers love to remove that data when they hijack your site. So to keep you from losing all of your hard work, keep your database backed up once a week or No later than once a month.

Check for malware

There are several plugins that will help you check to see if you have malware

Securi Security – The Sucuri WordPress Security plugin is a security tool set for security integrity monitoring, malware detection and security hardening

Security Fence – does an inital scan that helps find any malware by referencing the core WordPress code.

Scaning sites

Sucuri – https://sitecheck.sucuri.net/

ThreatSign – http://quttera.com/

Google Webmaster Tools is great for finding out if you are connected to a site that is causing your site to be red sites. or You are getting a “This site May Harm Your Computer” To find out just look in the “Security Issues” menu and if you have any malware that has been detected by Google it will be listed here for you to know what needs to be corrected.

Other tips you might want to use when securing your website.

Strong password

Remove the Hello World blog entry and the default comment.

Remove the Admin username hackers look at this and see someone who is making it easy and has probably chosen an easy password. to make your site even tougher use Two factor authentication.

How to tell if your site has been hacked

The visible effects

Red sited

Your page goes to a different site.

Your site is just different

Google Webmaster tools has a security section that will let you know what is causing your site to red sited or have the warning  on the search result

invisible effects

your traffic stops

you start getting emails

Helpful plugins to use.

Wordfence – Great security plugin that also helps speed your site up.

BruteProtect – was actually acquired by Automatic and is not apart of Jetpack

Ways to protect your site

have a strong password the longer and more complex the better Use symbols numbers and letters. I heard there is one guy who uses his cars VIN number. A good suggestion could be an email address but not the email address you use for your site you might make up a Gmail or Yahoo address.

If there is more than one person with access to the backside of the WordPress site don’t make them admin unless you really trust them. If it is someone who is helping fix something in WordPress and then need admin access create their own login name and password and as soon as they are done remove their access. Some for if someone is leaves the group. Remove their access to the backside of the site asap.

Don’t install pirated premium plugins. almost every single one is going to have some malware code slipped into the plugin.

News


Podcasts.com you may of hear about this new “Free” site that is run by Emerge.com which apparently like to buy Descriptive name websites. like

Translate.com

Directions.com

Bands.com

and So I looked and I don’t know where they are getting this feed but they are pulling an old version of my cover art. But I decided to find out some simple questions

  1.  With everything being free. How do you make money to be able to afford keeping the site up and running?
  2. I am not seeing anyway to get the direct download link to my MP3 files. How do I get to my files so that I can link them to my site? If there is no direct link for download then technically the show is not a podcast.
  3. Do you have stats?
  4. If I decide I want to leave to go to a paid service do you allow for me to redirect the feed?
  5. You seem to of grabbed an old version of my cover art and so how do I get the new updated version of the cover art up in its place?

Now the one item that I am finding a little odd is I remember signing up but I don’t remember adding this podcast to their line up. Because I was looking at maybe experimenting with this service. Then again if this service is just adding sites on its own I am not going to be too happy that is happening and reminds me of a service last year or so that thought podcasters should be kissing their backsides for putting them into their directory.

Then this post came out

My Podcast is at Podcasts.com – Without My Permission not good at all that they are doing this. I found my other podcast Finding Bryan listed here too and I know I didn’t add it. At the moment I am not going to spaz to much about it. WHY NOT! because I don’t know how they are making money once I see them leveraging my show to make money for them then, I will have some cross words.

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Google Drive LogoHosting your media with google drive Changed

A few days ago, I was perusing the internet looking for new sites that talk about podcasting and I tripped over this website that was talking about how you can host your MP3 Files on Google Drive. I jumped in Guns blazing ready to take out these charlatans for spreading wrong information. After my rant about being a violation of Google’s TOS and that it doesn’t support Byte Range Requests the writer asked a good question. Where is this information. So I was ready to drop some knowledge bombs on this guy. Then I learned something.

Can you host Podcast Files with Google Drive?

Yep, you can host web files on Google Drive. I was surprised and humbled all at the same time. Google had changed something in the last year or so since last time this topic was the hot button, and I had missed it. So we can not host our blogs on Google drive? Flat out, no. unless you want to hand code your pages, because Google allows for hosting of HTML, CSS and JavaScript files. These types of files are rendered on your browser your computer does the work not Google’s servers. PHP, Ruby, ASP, Server side scripting pages will not work. At the bottom of the page it says…

Google Drive does not support web resources that make use of server-side scripting languages like PHP.

But still I was surprised that you could share your files that publicly on a site like Google Drive. but then there was the Byte Range Requests. Google’s not going to support Byte range requests. So, maybe I could save some face still. So I uploaded an MP3. Shared that folder. Then opened the shared link.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0ByneYj3oEthrfjd3T0tNRDRLR0ZlWU1URVM0NFFuMXY5MjBURkRfN2ZxVzF4NnVhcW9kaWc&usp=drive_web

Google Byte Range for podcast mp3Saw the file and started playing the promo. As the file was playing I checked to see if Google was doing byte Range Requests and sure enough they are!  Google does actually allow for you to do this server function. So yeah you can host your files and share them but if you look at actual link it is not direct link to the file. So how is the writer of this article able to use this as an actual podcast host?

The steps are fairly simple.

  1. Allow a Google Script access to your Google Drive account. It will create a shared folder labeled  “Podcast#########” the # is a string of numbers.
  2. Then you upload a file in that script.
  3. You then click a link to get the Direct link like https://googledrive.com/host/0ByneYj3oEthrTmdhNjgxX21ma0U/HayrollingPromo1.mp3 you then have to remember  “https://googledrive.com/host/0ByneYj3oEthrTmdhNjgxX21ma0U/” or you will have a whole new folder you will have to deal with each time, you go to post a new episode .

So there is a lot of work to go into trying to host on Google Drive for free, and the work is just as difficult using Dropbox or even Skydrive.

Dropbox’s TOS reads as follows

Termination

You’re free to stop using our Services at any time. We also reserve the right to suspend or end the Services at any time at our discretion and without notice. For example, we may suspend or terminate your use of the Services if you’re not complying with these Terms, or use the Services in a manner that would cause us legal liability, disrupt the Services or disrupt others’ use of the Services. Except for Paid Accounts, we reserve the right to terminate and delete your account if you haven’t accessed our Services for 12 consecutive months. We’ll of course provide you with notice via the email address associated with your account before we do so.

Another way to put it is, if you cause to much strain on their servers guess who has lost all of files. So there are risks that are being taken by trying to skirt the system.

Should you host with Google Drive?

Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea. I take you, my ideal audience, seriously, and I have struggled to build a strong following. I wouldn’t risk losing to because a company, that has no problem shutting down a service (remember Reader), tomorrow. Not do I think Google is going to shutdown Drive? No they are making some money off of it. But all it takes is for people trying to share pirated software, and music to abuse the system and it is gone. I would rather apply my money to Libsyn or Blubrry

In closing you can do a lot of things you can chop a tree down with a sledgehammer and you can Use a hammer on a screw but it is not the best choice. With there being no free lunch, so you are paying in time and frustration when Google changes something and breaks your feed. In fact is you read the comments this is a common problem for many readers who did try this. I am not faulting them for trying to find a free solution to the hosting problem but I am finding out more and more, free is really expensive.

Listeners Email –

Just curious how you measure analytics on your podcast? Also, do you by any chance use podtrac/feedburner to give iTunes stats? It’s all so confusing!

Vanessa producer for Zestology

I started writing the response and as I kept going, I kept adding more information to the point that I asked if it was OK if I publish this for you to read. and Vanessa has graciously allowed me to share my response. So I wrote Using your Stats to find Your Listeners. Give Tony Wrighton and Vanessa I big hello and let them know you heard about them from Podcast Dojo.

 

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Should you have an episode 0 in your podcast episode list?The first episode of your show, oddly enough is a tough one to start, not just because you are afraid of what your voice sounds like or how bad your show will sound. What should the first show contain? Should you just jump into the content of your show as a whole, or would a good general introduction be in order? Do you tease who you are or just tell your whole story in that one episode?

What is episode 0?

Episode 0 is the, very first episode in your show listing. It is even before EP1, so it holds a special position of being in a position of no position. but it is also a strategy that many podcasters are using to point people to the introduction of Who the host(s) is/are, Why they started the show, What the show is going to be about, the topics and scope, and many other preliminary questions the host may believe the audience members may have about subscribing to the show.

I believe the introduction is a product of your society and putting out the customary greeting of “Hello! I am me and I want to get to know you.” There is nothing at all wrong with an introduction. In fact every podcast I have started has an introduction episode as its first episode. It is a means for the ice to be broken.

 

I use the intro as a means to tear down that first wall of suspsion, and for the host to extend that first relationship building handshake with a simple Hey how ya doing. This is why I am starting this show and I think your pretty rad (Do people even still use Rad?) for listening. Intro could be the imposter syndrome talking but if it helps conquer that particular fear than that is good also.

Now the Episode 0 also allows for people who don’t know you and will get you figured out along the way, to not be bored with your back story. Some Folks are don’t have time to listen to, why you started the show. They are just glad they found someone who might be talking about their favorite topic, and so they need to get the Show on the Road. Using an Episode 0 helps fix that problem.

With Episode 0 being in front of your “first” episode you can then put out the content that is meant for your show. This is helpful in a couple of ways. First of all iTunes. iTunes will not approve your show until you have at least one episode up, and if you have episode 0 and 1 up then people can get to know you faster if they choose or they can get straight to the sweet content and knowledge you are wanting to spread around. It can help with giving your audience what they want, and the ability to choose right off the bat.

So should you have an Episode 0?

Though I could say, “Yes make sure you get the episode 0 up and out before you do anything else.”

Yet the answer is no. If you don’t see the reason for an episode 0 then don’t do it. If you believe your episode 0 should tell your whole biography, as long as it is not too boring tell it. Tell it in a way that will truly engage your listeners. Share your story so it compels your podcast audience to tell their best friends about that insane event that happened.

What should you have in your episode 0?

If you do decide you want an Episode 0 there are some elements you might have listed in the show notes area.

  • Your Promos
  • Contact information
  • Motto’s and other points that give people an idea as to who you are, and what you stand for.
  • Links to your about page

Basically use this page as whatever way you feel it would work for your show.


News

The Patent Troll Personal Audio LLC has been defeated.

Blubrry is taking the reins to help Android users listen to podcasts.


 

Thanks to…

Jeffrey Holbrook of The Daggers of the Mind Podcast and I had a great discussion on the site about Libsyn and WordPress You can join in the conversation. I enjoying the interaction and you guys are making me think which is what I love.

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My audacity workflowWith the new version of Audacity out I thought it would be a good time to cover what is  new in the new version 2.1. and refresh how I use Audacity.

Many of the improvements are you can now preview plugin settings for your audio on the fly. Now this isn’t all plugins but the Linux Audio Developer’s Simple Plugin API (LADSPA), Virtual Studio Technology (VST) and then for Mac user there is also Audio Unit but for the Windows units the first two work and it works great.

You will now no longer have Noise Removal which was a bit deceiving and improved its functions under the new name of Noise Reduction

Cross fading works a lot better now. Instead of way to many steps to get a good cross fad. You now select the two tracks at the point you want the cross fade to happen and choose Cross Fade. No longer do you choose the Cross fade out and the Cross Fade in.

You can Chain different Effects together.

There is an improvement to the Recording Meter bars. along with new spectral adjusting or editing.

You can now Truncate Detected Silence or Compress Excess Silence. Truncate Detected silence  will remove sound down to 0.5 seconds while the compress will shrink silence that is crosses a specific threshold and shrink it be a certain percent.

You can read all of the release notes on the Audacity Wiki

In my research I found out Audacity has been around for 15 years!

Learning That Audacity is 15 years old with @circlecast http://bit.ly/1CqDlfE Click To Tweet

So with the new improvements how does one use this audacity for their podcast?

For many people podcasting is done as inexpensively as they can and often the phrase you get what you pay for is also applied. Yet when it comes to Audacity it does still apply but more in the expense of time than quality. yet when it comes to the learning curve of Audacity it is step but not very high. So, you may spend a day learning the basics and then the extras are easy to figure out.

What is my Audacity workflow?

I have used Audacity two different ways Live to Drive in other words I have used my computer as the recording device, and recorded straight to Audacity and I have, and still do, import my wav files for editing and post production. For the Work flow I am going to cover what happens after the recording has stopped, and the editing is beginning.

Import extra audio and arrange

I bring in my intro outro and any other audio that I am going to use in that episode. I then name the Show tracks “Summary” and “Body” My intro track is Intro and outro is the same Each track will have  a descriptive name so I can easily find it when I need to select it for editing.

I then arrange each track it the order it will appear so the Summary track is at the top and the Hayrolling trailer is at the bottom. This is to make it as easy to align each track with the next with out having to jump to the top then to the bottom and back and forth and start getting confused.

Reduce noise

First effect I like to run is the Reduce Noise. It was Noise removal till this new update. To do this, when I am recording I give at least 20 seconds to record silence so I have any background and line hum showing up in the recording. In the Audacity editor select the the “silence” and open the Effects select Noise Reduction. In the window that opens up click the “Get Noise Profile” button at the top.  Then close the Noise Reduction window select the track in this example case it would be the Body track, by double clicking.  I would then reopen the Noise Reduction window and chose OK and the noise is then removed.

If the sound is not cleared to your likings then you can adjust your settings to your satisfaction. Most people are pretty satisfied by the default settings or adjusting the attack setting.

Truncate Silence

After silencing all of the noise in the background you will have lots of background space. Often times there maybe too much silence. There are two different ways you can take up that extra dead air by going to each spot and removing a portion of the silence, or you can use truncate silence.

Now silence is natural. There are normal starts and stops to your speech pattern and when removing all of the silence from your audio the sound hits a kind of Uncanny valley and become very unnatural. There for you want silence and even the pregnant pause is good from time to time. Dead air will get people attention. but if you …

Have way…

Too much dead…

Air then you might want to remove some of that with Truncate silence. Now most of the time the default settings are fine for removing just enough silence, but with the new two types of settings the Compress Excessive silence would be the better choice. that way the silence is still in a natural rhythm but not too excessive. The duration is the threshold that any silence that is detected, and then it is compressed by however much percent is set. SO if there is Duration of silence that is 4 seconds long then it will be compressed to 20 seconds long.  That way everything still has a natural rhythm and you don’t sound like a robot.

Run compressor

Now I use Chris’ Dynamic Compressor. This is when I use this effect after I have removed all background noise and taken out all excess silence. The reason is because at the end of the compression there are times I would get a strange amplification of sound and I was able to prevent that after removing all noise and taken care of the silence.

Change tracks from Stereo to Mono

Export to wav file.

 


News

If you want to keep your SEO ranking you might want to become mobile friendly. Google is changing their algorithm to place mobile friendly pages higher up on  the ranking. With podcasting being a mobile medium, your site should be mobile too. Whether that is a responsive design or a mobile friendly

iTunes changes their specs AGAIN.

This is almost becoming a habit. the iTunes album art for podcasts has been changed to the max size of 3000 x 3000 pixels. The minimum is still 1400×1400 So you don’t have to change your artwork just yet but if you are tapped by iTunes to be featured then they are going to want a 3000×3000 image. So at least start working on getting it updated.

relatedLillian Yang over at Brand Bear the Cover Art Specialist would like to help you with your cover art.

Podcasters tool

A problem podcaster have is with their podcast feed being valid. You can use something like feedvalidator.org but it is a bit out of date and give a few false errors. A good alternative for Podcasters is Podbase it Checks to see if there is an RSS feed and how fast it responds to a request. Checks to see if it is a valid XML file and if it is an actual RSS XML file. It also checks your Sharing and SEO for the feed. Ten it also checks the enclosure tags to see if they are iTunes compliant. If there are any problems like the size being too big . Great service to put in your tool box.

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MP3ClampFirst OOPS! If you are looking for episode 30 that I was calling episode 31 just follow the link, and again sorry for the mix up.

There is a lot of discussion in the podcasting space about MP3’s and should they be encoded at 64 bps or 128bps while some people think 96 bits is what you need to use. Why are people talking about Stitchers audio quality being so bad? Why does Stitcher have such a low quality of sound? There are reasons for this. The debate is a good one to have because there are so many different variable that go into sound quality and size. There is the saying that you can not get something for nothing. The same goes for MP3s you have quality and you have file size. Both are important to the podcaster.

Quality

But we want the best quality of sound! You are correct. As a podcaster we all want to have the best sound we can possibly produce to make it to our fans ears. We don’t want to assault them with horrible audio. We want to show our listeners that we care about our show and at the same time about their delicate senses. What messes with the audio faster than a bad pre-amp? Compression, and getting that Frying Bacon Underwater sound gets more and more prevalent as you mash your audio file smaller. The Compression is done by the changing the different bit rates. The higher the bit rate the better the sound. When you have better sound you get listeners to stick with you longer and gather more value from your show.

File size

There are many parts as to why file size is important to you the podcaster. Main one is your hosting service. Many if not all have a limit of one type or another on the size of your file. With Blubrry podcast hosting and Libsyn they both limit how much you can upload in a month. If you upload a 100MB file each week you would have to use Libsyn’s $20 plan to have enough space and hope that you didn’t go over that 100 MB in that month because you would not be able to upload that last file. Because of the limit.

If you have an account with a service like Spreaker then you are limited by the amount of  space on the servers. So, after a while you have to start removing your back catalog to make room for new podcast episodes. So your audience misses out on the great content of your back catalog. So, you as a podcaster have to worry about your file size.

Then there is another aspect of the size you need to take into account, and that is your audience. The larger the file size the longer it takes to download. Now It may not be as big of a deal as it was back in 1998. When we used dial-up modems to get online and if you had a 5 meg file you were downloading it could take almost 30 minutes to download. That is if you had a good connection. Yet, Your listener who is downloading your file has limited space on their phone or other listening device. Also many people do not use Sprint and their unlimited plan. Most people in America have a tiered data plan so they are limited to a certain number of Gigs they can download. And if that person is on a shared data plan then even though they have 15 GB of data they can download through a billing period, there is the other members of the family who are also eating through the data. So, in the short form many people who are likely your listeners are going want to download your show and if you make your files too big then they will shy away from downloading your latest episode.

This also applies to those who are doing progressive downloading of your show. So if someone is listening to your podcast through the browser on their phone then they are downloading the show as they listen. This also eats up their data. So, you want to help your audience be able to consume your content.

This is one of the reasons why Stitcher has such a low compression for the shows it adds to their directory. Stitcher is sacrificing quality for size, but they do so in thought of most people will not be listening on studio cans.

Samples

64 bit Mono

96 Bit Mono

128 bit Mono

256 bit Mono

Updates!

PowerPress got an update to 6.0.2

6.0.2

  • Fixed bug where specific global podcast settings are not applied when podcast channel settings iTunes new feed URL or feed maximizer option were configured then deleted afterward. This only effected settings if you deleted the default podcast feed.
  • Added wp-config define optionPOWERPRESS_DISABLE_ITUNES_UTF8, when set to true PowerPress will not convert iTunes values to UTF-8. This is for the very small number of folks who are not using UTF-8 in their website.
  • The subscribe shortcode embed attributes are now strictly enforced. If you enter a category or a podcast channel and it does not exist, the shortcode will be empty and will no longer fall-back to the main podcast settings.
  • The subscribe shortcode embed specifying a category not displaying category fixed (thanks elembemedia for bringing to our attention)
  • Subscribe links below player for category podcasts now works but only if you select 1 category. 2 or more categories complicates things.
  • Added logic to fix situation with JetPack and automatic excerpts. Manual excerpts or regular content pages are not affected. (Thanks grahamharper for the details!)
  • Added new “Having Issues?” option “Yes, excluding excerpts”, will apply player and links fix logic except when the_excerpt filter is called first.
  • AudioObject and VideoObject descriptions are now set using the blog post if no itunes subtitle is set.
  • Fixed Episode Titles bug, if you did not set a custom episode title the program title was not appended.
  • Fixed “Feature Episode” bug, unchecking the option will now properly save.
  • Fixed playlist player date attribute not applying when set to false (thanks trb310 for pointing out the issue!)
  • Danish translation updated, thanks Team Blogos!
  • Added new subscribe embed attribute “heading”, you can now customize the “Subscribe to” label, e.g. add “the” to the Subscribe to label [powerpress_subscribe heading="Subscribe to the"
  • Added new define POWERPRESS_DEBUG for PowerPress debugging.

Tool of the week!

Square Cash is a new tool for being able to allow your audience to donate money to your podcasting fund. The service is brought to you by the same people who brought you square. It will cost you 1.5% of the money that is transferred great way to send and receive money for services rendered or just for the coffee fund.

To sign up you have to have either an iOS device or Android powered phone.

iOS

Android

You can see my page at cash.me/$podcastdojo and yes you have to have the Dollar sign($)

Links

Ghost in the MP3

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One of the most common questions new podcasters ask is

What Microphone should I use?

cardioid pickup patternOften times podcasters will jump in to big long soliloquy of why this microphone is far superior to that microphone or you will have some old Radio personality or internet marketer who has spent the last 5 hours researching how to podcast and talks about the Blue snowball. There are several different types of microphones out on the market. There are Carbon mics, Electret Microphone, Ribbon Microphones, and Crystal Microphones the the most common microphones for podcasters are Dynamic, and Condensers.

What is the difference in microphones?

Condenser microphones are designed so that the diaphragm acts as a capacitor and changes the electrical frequencies sent to the mic. Because of how the microphone is set up it is very sensitive to a wide range of frequencies, and this is great for picking up the warm natural tones of a humans voice. Many ill informed Podcast Gurus, or Internet marketeers who have just quickly read up on podcasting, will suggest a condenser microphone due to this fact without taking into consideration the environment of MOST podcasters, and the environment of the podcast listeners. The common podcaster is recording at best in a closet and at worst in a bedroom with the kiddos playing in the next room. The podcaster will have 1 – 3 electronic devices around them and these will have hard drive noises, fan noises. Throw in the squeaky chairs and the family pet walking on hard wood floors. This environment is not conducive to quite recording using condenser microphones. Because they are sensitive. I often joke that they can pick up a mouse farting down the hall. Granted they are not as sensitive as a laser microphone, but in the realms of podcasting it is not far off. Condenser microphones, also typically have to have some sort of external power often called phantom power to be able to work. This will come in the means of having to have a mixer or from your USB plug. So it can be a challenge to have condensor microphones in a mobile setup.

Dynamic microphones are set in a little different style in that there is a type electromagnet in use. Basically when you speak into a dynamic microphone your voice or other sound creates the electrical current that is sent to the recording equipment. This type of microphone isn’t AS sensitive to outside noises like the Condenser microphone, and is a little more forgiving to the noises that a typical family house makes. Yes, there is a loss of frequency that are picked up but when you throw in where most people listen to podcasts, for instance in their car, on a walk or while mowing the lawn, then only the true hard core audiophiles will notice.

One part of microphone discussions that I don’t hear very much about is, the Pickup pattern or Polar Pattern. From what I see there are about 4 to 6 different Polar patters in microphones. These influence also what is picked up on your microphone. A Polar pattern is also known as directionality as in Omni directional or Shotgun.

The omnidirectional microphone pickup

Omnidirectional pickup

Omnidirectional

As the name suggests this is all around pickup. You can be infront of the mic and it will pick up your voice. you can be beside the mic and it will still pickup your voice. You can even be behind the microphone and it will pick up your voice. Not the best solution for a podcaster. Due to the fact aht many podcasters podcast in a room that has walls. The walls and other flat objects reflect the sound back and the microphone will pick it up. So you will get this reverb or in other words you will sound like you are recording in a well. Many omnidirectional microphones are condensers

Polar_pattern_figure_eight

Bidirectional Pickup

Bi directional

You have two areas that will pick up sound equally that is in front and in back. Ribbon Microphones will often have this Polar pattern. Great if you have two hosts and only one mic. Just make sure you have a breath mint.

Polar_pattern_cardioid

See the heart shape of the Cardioid Microphone

Cardioid

As the name sounds this polar pattern is heart shaped, and is one of the best patterns for a microphone to pick up a person talking into it without having the rest of the outside world working in to the recording. Great example of a cardioid dynamic microphone is the Audio Technica ATR-2100 and ATR-2005

With Super and Hyper sub sets

These are some subset of the polar pattern that have a little more pickup behind the microphone. So super and even hyper is not that cool in the world of podcasting.

Polar_pattern_directional

picks up most from the front with a Shotgun mic

Shotgun

Almost all of the pickup is in front of the microphone while there are little zones that are at the sides this is normaly used by television and movies to pick up a mic that is over head. So if you have a video podcast this could be a good solution.

So what type of Microphone?

The one you like the most. Yeah I might cringe a bit when I hear someone bought a Blue Snowball but if they like the sound it produces then my opinion doesn’t matter. If you are able to test out different microphones then I would suggest you do so. Each microphone brand has its own particular brand of sound. Heil PR-40 does a better job of picking up the higher frequencies than a Shure Microphone. So test and listen.

Links mentioned

SnoopDoggs GGN podcast RSS feed and his Libsyn Page

If you ever come across a podcast that has an iTunes page but you can find the RSS feed use this site. Feed Flipper

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