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.
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?
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.
Saw 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.
- Allow a Google Script access to your Google Drive account. It will create a shared folder labeled “Podcast#########” the # is a string of numbers.
- Then you upload a file in that script.
- 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
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.
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.
With 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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
You have blown through your 10 starter topics. You have a show due tomorrow. What are you going to talk about? There are ways you can search to conversation topics. You just have to get a little creative at times, while other options are very simple and can wield great results.
Brianstorm with Online community or groups
The idea for this very topic came from a Facebook groups. I I picked up last weeks topic up from a facebook group’s discussion about whether or not you need to have an RSS feed on your website. The topic captured the group so much there was lots of discussions on the topic and subtopics. Your topic is often talked about in some area of the internet. It is just a matter of finding these elusive people.
Don’t just target Facebook Groups, Google plus Communities, and LinkedIn Groups. Look to the different forums that are Centered around your topic, or if you are feeling really retro, you might check out different IRC channels. You will need an IRC client like mIRC or a web based client like KiwiIRC. There are times that you will find some great discussion on these early day chat rooms.
There are people gathered around the internet and they are talking about your area of expertise. If you spend a little time each day at a couple of these places you will be able glean some great information.
Brainstorm with Google Alerts
Want topics to be sent to your email on a daily basis? Or do you use and RSS reader and you would rather have that infomation appear there as it shows up? Then Google Alerts is a great tool to use. Google Alerts is a service that allows for you to get notifications of different search terms as they are found by Google. So, the moment Google indexes say “Microphones for podcasting” I will get an entry in my RSS reader Feedly and I can see if it is something that is worth looking in to. So, Start searching and turn it into an alert.
Brainstorm with your Guests
If you do interviews on your podcast then many times your guest will give you topic ideas. That you can either bring them back on and grow that relationship even more. Then again they may mention a person who might be of interest to interview. You can also ask your guest at the end of the show name three other people you should interview. Ask, it is quite possibly the most powerful tool when brainstorming. Ask your guest who you think should be interviewed, or what topic you think your audience would like to hear about?
Brainstorm with Your Audience
When it comes to wanting what your audience wants, there is no better source than your audience themselves. Your group has a rare insight into what they want to know and they are coming to your for that knowledge. So, they will tell you what they want many times in direct ways. Your podcast listeners will communicate their desires through email, comments, and phone calls. These may be low hanging fruit but then it may be a trend that you might start to notice and that is where the hidden gems and the power of your community comes into place.
Brainstorm with other people in your genre
Yep look to your competition. Listen to podcasts and read blogs of the same people in your field and topic of discussion. These people will many times bring up great topics just in passing without even thinking of how important it is for your followers. They could also talk about a great topic and you can then share that information with your audience. Or you can invite that person on to your show and forge a relationship with that thought leader.
What topics are your audience searching for? you might look to using a wordpress plugin like Swiftype. This plugin will actually give your search analytics to what people are searching for on your site along with a better indexing of your articles and show notes. Then there is Google’s analytics. This is the best analytics system available for the whole website. Now Google has turned off the keyword searching in whole but you can still pick out what people are after by seeing what you higher ranking pages happen to show up on your listings.
Social media in general
Try looking and doing searches for different phrases for your topic on Twitter or Google plus. With these floodgates of information moving at a continuous flow there are show ideas always running and you just have to do a search for yoru shows topic. You will find people asking questions making comments sharing articles with show topics.
Google has many great services and one of the best to show ideas is Google News. You can save different search terms in News and go back and see what is current for that specific topics from day to day.
You can also pull up an old trick may bloggers and writers use. Free writing is the process of you just writing and typing for the sake of doing so. As you write you mind actually opens up and wierd thought will come to the surface and with those thoughts hints to different topics can be hidden or even fully exposed to the world.
Use your material as inspiration
Many times while writing I have come to the next topic of discussion by working on another blog post or my shownotes. When writing you will start writng something and realise that it is a bigger topic than you were thinking and instead of spending 30 minutes on this topic you might just use that topic for next week and flesh it out even more
If all else fails go for a walk. Get your blood flowing with more oxygen in your blood it is bound to go to your brain and with the increase of oxygenated blood the ideas will increase.
Podcast.place – If you are going to be a consultant please show people that you know what you are talking about.