In this edition, I decided to step away from the relative comfort of my dedicated production studio and go basic, recording only with my iPad and a free app called Recorder. I did this as an exercise to show that it isn’t really necessary to invest in a mountain of gear just to get your voice committed to disk. I also give a simple explanation of a podcast publishing setup that, while hardly optimal, could technically allow you to publish a podcast (including getting that podcast into iTunes) without spending any money on web hosting.
Sometimes, you may need an easy way to create a URL on your podcast site that automatically forwards to another location. For example, instead of simply asking your listeners to visit your iTunes listing by searching for your show inside of iTunes, you could simply tell them to go to example.com/itunes (example.com being replaced by your own URL, of course) instead. You can achieve this by setting up a 301 redirect on your website. The redirect will automatically tell a web browser to go from your specially crafted URL to wherever you’ve sent the redirect.
301’s are usually added to your website’s htaccess file, depending on what type of software your site is running. I use WordPress for all of my podcast sites, and all WordPress installations include their own htaccess files.
Htaccess files may be difficult to find with typical FTP clients. You may need to alter a client’s view settings or you may need to access your server’s control panel to get to the htaccess file. This may be annoying, but it’s actually a good thing as you can do some serious damage to your site if you were to accidentally delete or damage the htaccess file. But you can easily gain access to your site’s htaccess file by using the free Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin.
The upcoming release of Windows Phone 8.1 looks to be a major rework of the OS that runs Windows-enabled mobile phones. While the release date for Windows Phone 8.1 has not yet been announced, developer previews of the operating system have been available for a couple months. Those with access to this preview version of Windows Phone 8.1 have noted that the OS comes with a podcast aggregator app as a standard feature. This is good news for podcast listeners and producers, as it’ll create an easy way for Windows Phone users to subscribe to podcasts. If you want to ensure that your podcast will be easy to add to this new aggregator, you’ll need to follow one simple guideline: Be sure your podcast’s RSS feed is discoverable by Microsoft’s search engine, Bing.
The new Windows Phone 8.1 Podcasts app won’t be powered by a built-in directory like most other podcast aggregators. Instead, when a user wants to add a new show, they’ll enter either a show title or a subject of interest into the Windows Phone Podcasts app’s search box. From there, the app will do a Bing search for the show title or subject. And from those results, it’ll help the user get subscribed to new shows. For this reason, the search engine must be able to easily locate your podcast’s RSS feed. And while it may seem like an obvious requirement to have your show’s RSS feed linked from your main podcast website, there are still a lot of podcasters who (for whatever reason) don’t do this.