A 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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.
You record your podcast. You post it up, share it out to ALL of the social media sites that your audience is enjoying. Are they listening to your show? Are they listening how far along are they listening? How can I tell how many are listening?
Analytic and Statistical tools
Stats are a podcasters endearing frustration. We all look at them while some obsess and others just obsess at a lesser degree. And we should obsess about our podcast performance. Now to what level can be debated and we wont do that here.
What tools to many podcasters use to find out about their audience numbers? There are many and the common ones
The first tool is something all websites need to have in their arsenal. This can be Google Analytics or StatCounter this will let you know that there are people actually going to your web site and getting information. If you’re not getting any hits after the first month of opening the doors this will let you know that there is a problem you need to look into.
Also web Stat programs are good informing you of what your audience is wanting to know more about. If you look at the what your landing pages are, and combine that with the few keywords Google lets through, you can see what information the people coming to your site are after.
Now your WEB hosts stat program not quite the best because they show everything. Every little impression whether it is a spider crawling your site or a bot stuck in a loop. You can get many false bits of information. Good if you want an ego boost, bad if you want to help your audience.
Blubrry & Libsyn stats
There are several Podcast stat companies out there and there are more cropping up, but there are a few that are trusted in the community. Media hosting companies are pretty good in general but BluBrry and Libsyn both pride themselves in making sure to filter out the nonsense that can at times be generated because of bots and shady practices. Blubrry general stats are free but if you want to dig deep they are 5 dollars a month if you do not have hosting with them
Libsyn’s stats are for those podcasts that host with them, and are equally good.
Podtrac has positioned themselves as a podcast advertising firm but they have long been known for the free stats you are able to get through them. Compared to blubrry and libsyn their stats are good.
Feedburner was a blogging tool for people to be able to sort of track the people who subscribed to their RSS feed. The statistics it gives is there. I wouldn’t trust the numbers Feedburner says but as an RSS redirect I couldn’t recommend a better service.
Stitcher is a Podcast directory and Podcast player. This gives them a unique angle of being able to let you know not only when people listen to your show but you are also able to see how long they listen and where they dropped off in relation to the whole show.
Are they listening to your show?
Sweet, now you know about some of the services how do you tell if they are listening to your show? The easiest is to look at your Media hosts stats that are provided. This will show you that your show’s episodes are being downloaded. Yet these are not listens, and there is a difference between downloads and listens.
Downloads are the event of a mp3 file being downloaded. A listen is the act of a person consuming your content. Podcasters often want to use the downloads stats for advertisers and often with the easily obtained large download numbers, advertisers will think that the show is popular. Yet though there can be a large download number through different practices like Twitter Bombing, you can have very small number of listeners. So you want to look for the harder to find listens.
Other events that will trigger a download is Flash plugins, Autoplays, and bots. Flash auto loads the file to be ready if your listener presses play. Autoplays are an annoying way of getting download but because of the annoyance the vast majority of people instantly stop the player and though it registers as a download that person didn’t listen to the show. Then there are bots that request the file and will be triggered as a download, but I have yet have a bot buy anything from me.
Finding the elusive listener can be a little bit like being a Private Eye in that you are looking through your data over time. There are a few items that you want to look for in your stats the big list you want to employ is clients. When you go to your stats page there needs to be a clients list if you are not able to find it or your host doesn’t keep that stat. Then look to Blubrry’s Statistic service* it is only $5 and will give you all you will possibly need. Bluburry you are able to get a list of clients. This list of clients is will show you all the iTunes downloads, the Podcasts app downloads, the Pocket casts downloads, Zune, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and any other players that is available.
How I find my listeners is, I take all of these clients for a month and add them together minus the browsers and other clients that are not actual podcast players. Then average those out for four weeks. This will give me a rough idea of how many people are actually listening to the show. Then keep track of that number from month to month will give you a good idea as to if your listeners are increasing.
Why do I take the browsers out? I remove them because those are often bots hitting your site. Agreed there are actual listeners going to the site listening through the players I have on my site. But I feel those people are few and often they are just people sampling the show to see if it is worth them downloading. My actual browser listeners have a special place and they let me know they are listening by commenting on the site.
So are they listening to the whole show?
This is very difficult to show how far people have listened to a show. The best way to tell is to use Stitcher. This service is free to add your show and they give some useful stats for help to understand where your listeners are dropping off, and it will be just those people that listen to your show through stitcher not all of your listeners. So it will not give you a full idea of how people are listening to the show, but it will give you an idea.
So finding your listeners is possible in a way but getting that number is just part of the solution. Never put numbers over names getting to know who your audience is and what they do and how they use your information is the absolutely best way to find out who your listeners are. Also, when you put names over numbers you will cement you audience and help turn them into fans, and that is what we really want.
In the realm of podcasting there is one thing you will discover and might even become addicted to. No it is not the fame nor the fortune you will make from podcasting. Yet is it a particular service you will need and want. People will inquire about this item that is so addicting that it has closed shows down. Is it a drug? Is it the latest and greatest social network? No. Is it a set of numbers that tell you how you are doing in the scheme of things. Stats. What are your stats? Should you be worried about your stats? Why are stats important, and why you should at the same time not worry about them.
What are stats
Statistics or stats are the collection, organization, and study of data that is analyzed and interpreted to help give insight as to what your listeners and readers are interested in. Stats will help tell you if your show is doing good or bad, growing or shrinking. Stats are normally a third-party service that means you install a piece of code on your webpage and then the service will collect assorted data associated with what the user does on your site. Yet there are normally some type of stat service on your web hosting.
What’s services should you use?
By far the most popular is Google Analytics
Open Web Analytics – open source web analytic service that you run on your own site there is a WordPress plug-in that will allow you to be able to view in your dashboard but this service can be recourse intensive. So if you are wanting to run it you might look at running it if you are on a private server.
Clicky – Web Analytics that the price depends on the number of page view you get.
Count.ly – Web analytics for a mobile platform
Buzz Numbers – Social Media Monitoring
Data Torrent – Real time stream processing platform Enterprise solution
ViralHeat – Social Media stats service
Site 5 uses Awestats
Podcasting centered Stat services
Podtrac – Uses a redirect to gather numbers and information good but is difficult to change your feed if you need to.
Blubrry – Will integrate with your WordPress through the PowerPress plug-in or you can use a redirect Very good service. They have certified stats that you are able to give to an advertiser.
Libsyn – Many claim it is the best most comprehensive stats available.
Should you be worried about your stats?
Stats are great for telling you lots of great information about your site and your show, but they can be a point of useless obsession. When you first start and you release your first show you will want to check your site daily and at times hourly. You may want to see if a particular tweet is having any effect on your traffic or you start looking at your bounce rate. Yet these are only indicators to what people are looking for on your site. It that type of information s good to know but you will not see that type of information by looking at your site everyday. This has an old saying of Cant see the forest for the trees. Checking in on your stats from time to time is good because you will be able to see the different trends a lot better than if you check hourly.
Terms you should know
Hit – A hit is actually not important at all. At first people used to mention the hits their site would get and it was this huge number and that is because a hit is anytime a file on your webpage is called. So for example you home page has 25 pictures a CSS file, and a JS file. That would end up being 28 hits just for going to the home page. that is one hit for each image, plus the hit for the CSS file, a hit for the JS file, and the hit for the HTML document that is your homepage.
Page Views – This is what you will look at stat wise. how many page views or how many pages have been looked at? The difference is this is the whole page beginning counted instead of each individual element.
Bounce rates – Many people, including myself, can get a little nervous about bounce rates. A bounce is when a person goes to one page and then leaves. This could be caused by an assortment of reasons. Either your site is not easy to navigate, or it could be that the person who came to your site found what they are looking for and then left. So, it really depends on the context you are looking at your site to be able to tell whether it is a good thing or not.
Visits – This is how many times your site was looked at
Unique Visits – This is how many different people looked at your site.
Why are stats important?
Stats are very important. They tell you interesting tidbits of information about your sites that your listeners aren’t telling you. Many times you can glean some very rich nuggets of data out of your stats. They give you heads up of different trends that are happening on your site. You can find out how people are finding your site through what key words and what pages they are being attracted to. For instance This site is getting the majority of its page views for the Podcatchers/Manger list I created. Since this is the case I have started working a little harder on my reviews of these different apps so that I will provide a little more value to those who come by and maybe they will stay and listen to the show. Without the use of Google analytics for this I would not of figured that out and would be doing my visitors a disservice by not helping them out with their searches. If you have on site searching that helps you find new information you can provide in addition to what you already have..
Yet I shouldn’t worry about them?
No, I wouldn’t you can many times obsess about your stats and not see the whole picture. many a podcast has shuttered because they were not getting the numbers they wanted. Of course that shows that those particular shows were in podcasting for the wrong reason. So, maybe stats are good for weeding out, but then there are some great shows that closed because of numbers also. You numbers will grow. Your audience for your podcast will expand as you release shows and you engage your audience. Your marketing is more important, for growing your podcast audience while looking at your stats will help judge if it is working, staring at your stats will not.
Now How do you tell how many listeners you have?
Lets use Podcast Dojo numbers. I have had 658 Total Downloads. Most people would think sweet! I have 658 listeners. The Answer to that is no, not quite that number is for the past 3 months so you do not want to give that number to an advertiser. You will be messing up your chances Yeah the Total downloads sounds impressive, Well not this one at this time but it is growing but if you look at October I have 355 Total Downloads and 253 Unique downloads You can then look at all the downloads and find the average number of listeners off of the unique listeners and you can then have a starting point. Yea math I know not a big fan either but it has to be done from time to time. But how many subscribers so you have? that is a tough marker to put down unless there was a standard put into place that any RSS feed, Podcatcher or Podcast Manager would sent back a ping of some sort, but that wouldn’t go over well because people do not like to give out identifying information. In reality it is a guessing game as to how many podcast subscribers you have.
Tip of the Week
Be honest. When it comes to your stats be honest. Yeah your numbers might be low but they will grow. They will get bigger and if you engage your audience they will listen even more and tell other people about your show and so you will grow even more. But don’t lie about your stats.Not only are you cheating yourself you are putting a black mark on other podcasters who are looking for advertisers and sponsors.
Skype closing desktop API. This is putting a lot of podcasters in to a tizzy their way of recording podcasts is being pulled. Now this will mean one of two things either 1) People will start doing Mix Minus on their mixers or someone will come up with a program that will work around the problem of there not being a means to record Skype. maybe more people will go to Hangout on Air but that will not fix the problem of those who do not use a microphone. There has to be a solution of that will allow people to call phones not just other computers.
If you would like to have a WordPress site set up for podcasting you can go to Site5 and sign up and is doing so you will help the podcast out and I will give you a shot out and link to your site