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 email@example.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
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.
Do you need a mixer?
Reasons for YES
Skype Recording and you do not want to worry if Microsoft is going to pull the API again and you want to be able to do Skype recordings without having to spend anymore money. A mixer comes in very handy for this. you can do what is called a mix minus and that allows for you to be able to record the audio on a separate platform or just to have a backup of the conversation. Mix Minus is…
In audio, a mix-minus is a particular setup of a mixing console or matrix mixer, such that the output to a certain device contains everything except the input from that device. This prevents echoes or feedback from reverberating or howling and squealing through the broadcast or sound reinforcement system.
… Thanks Wikipedia
this is a technique used in not just podcasting but radio too that allows for people calling or skyping in to be mixed into the audio stream but not have to try to talk with their echo coming back at them
Co-hosts you want to have more than one person on, while they are in the studio. It is cumbersome to try to talk to a co-host or guest on your podcast with only one microphone. With some mixer boards you can actually record your podcast episode with each person in their own track so it is easier to edit separate tracks than trying to separate two people talking over each other on one track.
Incorporating a sound board
If you want transitions or background music and you do not want to do the post production insertion of the sounds or transition music. A mixer allows you to control the volume and allows you have a separate channel for the sounds
You want more granular control of your sound. So you don’t sound so flat and you want a little more bass in your voice or a little more treble, the mid range sounds need to be brought out. A mixer can adjust and fine tune your sound.
You can mute a mic if needed. If someone is having a coughing fit you can mute that microphone till your guest or co-host regains their composure.
If you are needing to connect your microphone to your computer. If you have an XLR microphone it can be a little tricky connecting your microphone to your computer if you do not have a digital recorder. A mixer can be a good link to get your audio into your computer by using either USB, if your mixer supports a connection, or by using the audio out into mic port.
Reasons for NOT having a mixer
It is just you. Unless you are wanting to have the control of your sound and push your audio to the sound you want.
If its only you and you only have the one mic that is either USB or you have a TS end then you can plug into either into your Recorder or your computer.
Keep it simple There are fewer points of failure so you don’t have as many chances of strange buzz on the line
Update to BluBrry PowerPress
- Released on 1/30/2014
- Fixed bug with MEjs player not working for m4a files (Thanks JT for the code patch!)
- Added logic to PowerPress edit iTunes Subscription URL settings, precaution to make sure the field is saved correctly.
- Made a few CSS changes for WordPress 3.8+
- Noted in the HTML5 audio player option that Firefox 26.0+ now supports mp3 playback. We are aware that Firefox 21.0 supported mp3 playback but it was limited to particular Windows versions.
- Fixed bug where player and links may not appear for custom post type podcasting episodes. (Thanks Seth and Segovia for discovering and helping me debug the problem!)
- Fixed bug where Blubrry hosting customers may not have been able to publish media for custom post type podcasting.
- Renamed post type podcasting setting field in database to avoid possible field setting conflicts.
- Added logic to allow for the premium podcast feeds feature to work with custom post type podcasting.
- Added the HTML5 download attribute, when then download link is clicked the file will be downloaded, rather than streamed to default media player. Only Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers currently support this HTML5 attribute.
The Patent troll update
Electronics Frontier Foundation (EFF) was able to raise over $76,000 but the patent troll Personal Audio LLC is now wanting to know who the donors are. Personal Audio is asking a judge to force the EFF to give up the 1300 names on the donor list.
“If Personal Audio succeeds, we fear it will send a message that this new process can be made invasive, cumbersome, and expensive after all, which will in turn discourage others from using it to challenge low quality patents,” – Daniel Nazer lawyer for EFF
Now ArsTechnica was able to get a hold of the CEO of Personal Audio LLC to explain their action and Brad Liddle replied with…
“EFF insinuates the information we are seeking is not relevant to the Texas litigation, but to the extent that other third parties have donated or assisted to the PTO proceeding—to the extent they’ve been working on the inter partes review—they should be bound by the result.”
EFF is fighting and fighting hard to keep the donor list private as it should be.
Some people find shopping for a podcasters a little difficult. Do they need a new mic or mixer. What type do I get? Would they use a new set of cables, or what is a pop filter? The following list is a collection of different equipment needs going from inexpensive, it is the thought that counts; to high dollar, I really love ya, gifts. The podcaster in your life can and will use any of the following you purchase for him.
- Audio-Technica ATR2100 – $39.99 Great beginner podcasters microphone it has a USB interface for those who do not have a mixer to connect and a XLR connector for those who have a sound system. So this is easily the most versatile mic out of the lineup. It Many podcasters use both the USB and the XLR to record while using it with a Skype call. This inexpensive mic also has great sound rejection or not as much background noise is noticeable when being used.
- Dynamic microphone with USB and XLR analog output
- USB to your computer for digital recording, and the XLR connects with your sound system conventional microphone input
- Smooth, extended frequency response ideally suited for podcasting, home studio recording, field recording, voiceover, and on-stage use
- Built-in headphone jack allows you to directly monitor your microphone output without audible delay
- Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of unwanted sounds from the sides and rear
- Built-In Headphone Jack With Volume Control
- Electro Voice RE320 Dynamic Microphone – $276.99 Bring this great professional studio quality dynamic microphone home to really add the desired warmth and depth to your podcasters recording.
- Designed for Broadcast booths, Concert venues, or podcast studio
- Variable-D pattern control
- proximity control minimizes positional and off-axis tonal shifts
- Integrated hum-bucking coil and built in pop filter helps get the best sound you can
- Neodymium magnet creates faster transient response and allows for a cleaner fuller sound
- Unique Dual Personality switch creates two mics in one Extremely durable build, fit and finish
- Heil Sound PR40 – $310.00 The Cadillac of the podcasters microphones. This is a great durable warm sounding microphone. This gem of a microphone helps bring the polishing touch to your sound.
- Copper-wound dynamic with neodymium magnet structure
- Body: Steel body with zinc die-cast bottom ring
- Frequency response: 28Hz to 18kHz
- Impedance: 600 ohms balanced
- Output level: -53.9dB @ 1,000 Hz
- Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone – $229.00 If you are needing a USB alternative to record with this microphone will help bring your sound to that desired level
- Broadcast sound quality
- 28mm dynamic capsule
- 18-Bit Resolution, 8 – 48 kHz sampling
- Windows and Mac compatible
- Tight Cardioid pattern for superior off axis sound rejection
- DS7200B Adjustable Desk Microphone Stand – $12.95 This little desktop mic stand can do the job of holding your mic so that you will not have to worry about the handling sound.
- Pyle-Pro PMKS3 Tripod Microphone Stand W/ Extending Boom – $27.94 To keep the sound of your desktop at bay then you might want to have a mic stand that is free standing and away from the desk
- Heil Sound PL-2T Overhead Broadcast Boom – $120.00 Balanced to handle the Heil Pr40 This boom arm mic stand is designed to keep noise to a minimum
- Okeba shock mount and Pop filter $11.99 Dave Jackson of the School of Podcasting found this little gem. which will fit most stick style of mics
- Heil Sound PRSM Black Shockmount for Heil PR30 and PR40 Mics $105.00 This special shock mount will kill any sound that may still be traveling through your arm to keep it from entering your recording.
- Peavey PV 10 10-channel Compact Mixer $229.99 Great little mixer with XLR inputs along with 1/4″ TRS connections the slider controls help with the percission of getting the sound just right.
- Built-in DSP effects processor
- 6 RQ (reference-quality) low noise microphone inputs with insert points
- Channels 7/8 and 9/10 w/ dual switchable stereo line inputs
- 3-band EQ on all channels
- LED clip, signal, mute indication
- Mackie 1402VLZ4, 14-channel Compact Mixer$399.99 Recommended by many podcasting enthusiasts
- 14-channel mixer featuring Mackie signature high-headroom/low-noise design
- 6 Onyx mic preamps
- RF rejection perfect for broadcasting
- Phantom power for Condenser Mics
- 14 line inputs with +4/-10 operation control
- Allen & Heath ZED-14 14-Channel Mixer $399.00 Perfect mixer for the beginning Podcaster that is looking to add a mixer to their audio chain. Contains a USB for the chance to send the recording to a computer if you choose.
- 14 inputs total, with 6 DuoPre mic inputs
- 4 auxiliary sends, 2 stereo returns
- 3-Band EQ with sweepable mids
- 12-100MM faders for a professional feel
- Sony MDR7506 Professional Headphone $89.95 Probably one of the clearest sounding headphones allows for you to hear the minute background noises.
- Audio-Technical ATH-M40FS $52.99 Low cost alternative to clearly hear the sound you have recorded, with these around ear cans.
- Roland R-05 Studio WAVE/MP3 Recorder $188.00 – You will want to have the Roland Recorder Power Adapter$43.65 This is a must have if you have a podcaster in your life and they are recording into a computer. Hep them out and get them this little personal digital recorder. The Built in condenser mics are incredible to record with but if you like you can also record in the mic input and ass an extra line input.
- Zoom H4N Handy Portable Digital Recorder $215.00 Quite possibly the most versitile personal digital recorder you could use. With a wide pattern of recording you can use the built in mics or you can use any mic you like because the H4N has 2 XLR input jacks that provide phantom power.
Who doesn’t need adapters? We all need adapters. All are needed in one form fashion or another, Buy one of each or ones you have heard your podcaster talk about
GLS Audio Mic Windscreens – $9.99 These are your typical foam ball mic cover it helps with the plosives and mild wind noise.
Rode Dead Kitten Windscreen – $24.99 Designed for the Rode SVM but will fit any mic that is shaped like it. but dont worry no cats were harmed in the making of these windscreens
Studio Microphone Mic Wind Screen Pop Filter/ Swivel Mount / Mask Shied For Speaking Recording – $7.59 to keep the noise of plosive and simblances at bay your podcaster needs to use a popfilter this will clamp on to just about any stand
Auphonix Pop Filter for Best Recording – $16.99 a double meshed pop filter for added filtering.
Like the adapters a podcaster can always use cables. normally they will just need either XLR male to XLR Female or XLR female to 1/4 Male TRS
6 Foot XLR Male / Female Microphone cable – $8.09 XLR male to Female
DBX 286s Microphone Pre-amp Processor – $187.89 many times you need just a little extra power and clean gain.
Fethead inline mic preamp – €69.95 great inline preamp, that does a incredible job of increasing the gain of a mic without the noise.
Macally Audio and Video Cable for iPod classic 4G, 5G, 5.5G (White) – $9.95 This cable is great for tying an audio device to a mixer.
PNY High Performance 32GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Card (P-SDH32G10H-GE) -$21.99 if you have a personal digital recorder then you want to have an SD card
Tip of the Week
Adapters, thes little things are a life saver!
What do you need for equipment? Now you can use a head set with a microphone to start off. This will get you by but if you are serious about growing your audience the you will need to get serious about your equipment. Now content is King but the equipment is the Queen and and she decided how well the King is portrayed. If you excellent content is not coming through clearly and is distorted you may get some listeners but they will not stick around.You can start with just the very basics this is a microphone computer and hosting.
So, What do you need to have great sound and not bust the budget? This is surprisingly easy.
The bare bones you need is
- A Microphone
- Computer but a digital recorder would be even better
These three items are for the bare minimum to start a podcast. You can start that podcast but you will want to rapidly get a better setup especially if you are going to get serious about your podcast show. So, What about these three items do you need to know?
There are two different types of microphones. There are
- Dynamic – normally found where there can be lots of other sounds due to their ability to pick up the sound right in front of them.
- Compressor – considered the mic for studios because of the rich sound you can get from them but they pick up lots and lots of room noise.
Both are good but it depends on your environment as to which one you get. If you have a sound deadened room then you might want to look into a Condenser microphone. If your like most podcasters your studio is in your house, and that house is not known for being a sound deadened. If that is the case then it might be better to use a Dynamic Microphone. But don’t get a microphone just for the price. many times you will find that getting a $500 dollar mic when you just start is not needed. It is just as easy to start with a Audio-Technica ATR2100-(affiliate) this mic is very inexpensive and both USB and XLR so this microphone will grow with you as your podcasting equipment improves.
Headphone are needed part of your podcasting arsenal. This is for one reason and it is sound quality. You want to know what you sound is doing. Does your sound have a crackling noise? Is there an echo? You want to know if something is happening in your sound. Can you can fix it at that time? If not, at least you are aware of the problem and adjust for the sound. You want a good set of headphones or also known as Cans. You can use ear buds but you might miss some details that are in your sound that many people will pick up if they are in a quiet room.
Record your podcast
The final piece of equipment you are needing to have is away to record your sound. Whether this is your computer or you get a portable digital recorder you cant have an mp3 to give to your audience unless it is recorded. Using a computer can cause some problems, many times that problem will happen when you least expect it. More often than not, when you are doing the most important interview you have ever done.
Computers are great instruments, but when you try to do too much computing there can be problems. Sometimes these problems are not detected other times the problem is a program crash and your data is lost. How do you fix that? Many podcaster who use computers will use one computer for only recording. They will turn everything off and close all background programs so that there is no problems. Or you can go to something that its whole purpose is to record sound. That is what a portable digital recorder will do. You don’t have to worry about there being any audio problems due to too many programs running in the back ground. though there are times that a SD card will die and that might cause you to loose your recording but that will happen far less than a program crashing or having bad sound because the computer is over taxed.
A solution that I started off with was the Technical Pro podcast kit (Affiliate) if you keep your eye out you can catch it for $100 which is what I did. or you can get just a simple headset and microphone this is good if you are not sure if you want to podcast.
Equipment is needed to make your podcast but you don’t want to depend on that equipment because your content is what brings your listeners. Yes equipment is important but don’t over do it. Use what you need add equipment to fix a problem. Now that you have your passion and your home time to record.
You need a place to call your home for the podcast. This is a hosting service, true this word may of just scared the crud out of you. Finding a good hosting plan is a truly scary ordeal. You may not think you are technical enough, or spending your scarce hard-earned dough is a rather stressful thought. I understand, I was in your shoes, 4 years ago, when I first tried to podcast. I chickened out for a long time because I could not see spending money on something that was just a virtual hobby. Just remember there is more than one way to de-fur a feline.
You have to have some sort of home for your podcast. This home is important and you really need to pay for web hosting, if for any reason it allows you the ability to control more of your site. There are a few different types of hosting these are
- Shared Hosting – This is the economy class of hosting. Which means your server is packed in too one server with hundred if not thousands of other websites. Your site performance is effected by other people’s sites and your site can affect your neighbors. This is good for starting out for the price and probably the only time you will celebrate that you have to spend more money because you are getting more popular. A good hosting service is Site5 and BlueHost both of these site will help you get set up and going out the gate with very little effort.
- Dedicated Hosting – This is the where your site is the only kid on the block you have a whole server to yourself. If you get so popular that you crash this server then that means you are Amazon. You have pretty much full control but you are still somewhat limited. The prices on this very on your Bandwidth. Other words if you get popular your fees will increase because of how much data you are using.
- Private Server – You make the server you install the operating system, the web server, the database, You have full control. This also means you are in charge if your own security on that server. You have a problem you will have to hire somebody. many times private server are charged by bandwidth also and a fee to connect your server to the network not cheap at all. There is a reason that only the big corporations have their own private server.
- Virtual Private Server – These are cheaper than a dedicated private server but again the price is not for the beginner unless you are starting out with the funds.
So, Why not any Free hosting servers?
This is because if you have ever played around with free hosting servers the big problem is that they are fly by night. Here one minute and gone the next day usually without any warning. Which means your podcast is gone daddy gone. Another problem with Free is they have to make money somewhere and that is usually in the form of ads and guess where these ads appear. Oh you are the smart one… That is right on your web page! you don’t want that.
Ok so no free hosting how about free blogging sites?
These don’t give you the control you really want either many times you are restricted by your themes and plugins you can use. The wordpress.com site you can’t place the Power press plugin on your blog. So again very limited. It is possible, I helped a young woman out on getting her podcast set up on tumblr she does have RSS and I recommend that she go through Feedburner till Google closes it. That way she doesn’t have to worry about changing domains and the problems it causes to your feed.
Be kind to your media
Media hosting is the one item that is required. A person can go free but you do not, I repeat DO NOT, want to do that, you lose most if not all of your control of your control over many important items. Speed of the download for your listeners and fans. Many Free Media Hosts take over your RSS feed and so when you leave, you lose many of your listeners because they are not willing, or do not know how to move their feed to your new site. You can do a 301 redirect but need to have access to your RSS feed and you don’t get that for free. But if you go with Libsyn or BluBrry their hosting is very reasonable in price and created with podcasters in mind
Let me make one change on the earlier statement because there is one media host that is free and will work as a means of hosting because it has byte range requests for iTunes yet you can not remove a file if you find that you messed something up and need to take it down. This media host is Archive.org, Very good host but you are subjected to slow downloads. but it is a work around.
Tip of the Week
Plan for the future, What happens when you stop paying for your site or you pass away? normally your site will fade just as fact as you. So, protect your site and media from no pay deletion and Move your media to archive.org and throw up a mirror site of your information on a free blog site.