Andy Green's Blog

A web-workers world…

The Importance of the Podcast

When you are working to build your online presence so that you can enhance your business and eventually increase profitability, then you need to take advantage of all mediums available. This means it is time for you to get over your fear and create a podcast. The best way to connect with your visitors is to give them a way to hear you and feel as though you are a real person. Part of building a relationship with your customers is making them feel like they know you. The more comfortable they are with you the more likely they are to listen to what you have to say… and more willing to spend money on what you are selling.

A word of caution though, podcasts need to be done with diligence. Ideally you should start the podcast by talking a little about yourself. Do not unload your life story on the listener, you want them to get to “know you” but we are not looking to make best friends. Talk a little about you, then move to the product or service that you have which can provide a benefit to the listener. I would even recommend that you look for current news to include in the podcast that is relevant to your product.

I also recommend that you give your visitor an option of whether or not they want to hear your podcast when they come to your site. One thing that irritates me is going to a site, where I am looking to get certain information and I am bombarded by video and audio that I really was not prepared to listen to. Podcasts are very beneficial to your online success, when they are used correctly and not forced on the visitors to your website.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Podcasting | , , | Leave a comment

Which Podcasting Software?

Podcasting has been quite a mystery even to the experienced Internet users since it was introduced back in 2003. But now with its growing success, increasing demand, and huge income potential, podcasts have now been considered as essential resources in making the site interesting, which greatly help keep people within the site.

This is a great time to stay competitive and set up podcasts of your own so that you too can capture some fans of your own. To start things off, you will need a podcasting software or service that can let you create podcasts quickly and transfer them easily to the server. There are different kinds of podcasting software that vary in features.

Although choosing the software that you are most comfortable in using could be the best choice, it is important to know how each podcasting software weighs in with their pros and cons.

FeedForAll

FeedForAll is a decent program that supports one of the crucial elements in creating podcasts – RSS feeds. RSS is now being supported in all the latest Internet browsers and mobile devices. The sole purpose of RSS support is to allow regular Internet users to have syndicated content of the sites of their choosing and give them the quickest access when updates are made. If your podcasts are created with RSS support, you can easily distribute your podcast RSS link and have them add it to their browser for easier distribution and updating.

However, FeedForAll has no built-in audio recorder and editor requiring you to purchase 3rd party software for podcast production.

Podcast Studio

Podcast Studio is a strong contender because it has it all complete with the RSS feed support, an audio recorder with support for audio signal mixing, an audio editor which can be used to make some quick fixes and enhancements to new recordings, and even a built-in FTP client for uploading the podcasts to your designated server. The interface is well done and even has a trial version available for people having second thoughts in buying. The price is a bit much compared to other podcasting software, but all the programs included make it worth the purchase.

Magix Podcast MAKER

Magix podcast MAKER emphasizes on turning your computer into a radio station. This is the perfect choice for people who want to record their voice and have some music playing in the background. It has plenty of advanced audio options allowing users to tweak things such as the audio speed and even adding some cool audio effects too. It is fairly cheap and should be a perfect companion for making radio-style podcasts. However, it lacks an FTP client, but has a great submission tool for putting the new podcast link in a number of podcast directories.

The best way to choose which podcasting software is best for you is by downloading multiple programs and trying each one directly. Weigh them all in and see what podcasting solution is worth your money. If you find all of them too difficult to use, try to join some forums and ask around on what their favorite podcasting software is. Once you get the hang of things, you should be able to produce podcasts on a routine basis.

January 11, 2009 Posted by | Podcasting | , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Create Your First Podcast

If you are interested in creating a podcast it is really simple to do. If you have never created a podcast, follow these brief instructions and you will have uploaded your very first for distribution. The steps involved in creating a podcast include creating the audio, converting the audio, and publishing, creating a feed, and publishing your news feed.

A podcast is an audio file that you can distribute across the web or upload to your website. This type of file is similar to radio content in a way. Audio content is very important to online viewers today. It provides a way for you to give a feeling to the customer as if you are right there in the same room to the listener. You aren’t forcing an online user to read a bunch of material because you are offering it in audio. Many people would very much prefer audio files rather than read pages and pages of content.

The first thing you want to do when you create a podcast is to create an audio file. You do have certain computer requirements in order to do this. You will need a working microphone on your computer. If you do not have a built in microphone then you will have to purchase one. You will plug a microphone in the back of your computer on the sound card microphone input slot.

You should have software that will give you the opportunity to record audio files. Today, most Microsoft operating systems have integrated software that will allow you to record a short audio file of you talking. This will be called ‘Sound Recorder’ or something similar. This is what you will use to create your audio file.

Your podcast is going to be an audio file. You should write out exactly what you are going to say. You might want to have the text on your screen so you can read it as you speak. This should be professional. Be sure you do not say a lot of ‘ums’ or it will not sound professional but amateur. You might have to record yourself reading the content a few times until you are comfortable with the way you sound and read your copy.

Be sure while you are reading that there are no distractions or loud noises in the background. Many cheap audio applications, like the one integrated inside of the Window’s operating system will pull in the background noises. You should create these files with no television, radio, or children playing in the background. It should be silent. Open the recorder when you are ready. Press record and say aloud into the microphone your copy that you want to tell the world. When you are done click on stop. You have now created your audio file.

Once this is complete you will need to convert the file into an MP3 format. The best way to do this is to use a converting tool. If you don’t want to go through all of the work. Save the audio file to a thumb drive or a CD. Put the CD back into your computer and let your Windows Media Player automatically convert the file.

You have to have a website if you want a podcast. These instructions are upon the assumption you have a website and a web host. The next thing you will do is log into your web host and publish your audio file. This will require you to upload the file to the server. The next thing you will do is create a podcast RSS news feed to the location of your podcast. This is really simple. On your hosting tools you will click on the button that says create RSS feed. It will automatically generate a link that will be the destination of your website RSS feed.

Now all you have to do is publish the RSS feed and you are done. This means click on the save button or publish with your web host. Not all web hosts are the same. Some only require you to click on save. When you go to your website you will see an RSS link and your podcast file. When you click on it you will immediately begin to hear your audio file that you have just created.

You can create a podcast in just a couple of minutes if you have the right tools to do it. You will need audio software, a converter or a media player, and a web host. You can immediately begin blogging and distributing your podcast upon the upload of the file.

January 11, 2009 Posted by | Podcasting | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Which is Better? Audio Or Video

There are many pros and cons of audio and video and it may be subjective as to which is better. Here are many of the things you might want to consider if you cannot decide between audio and video on your site.

Video files provide more interaction for users. Users like to see your face because they provide a more personal experience when they are able to sit back and watch the video. Users like video today and it is almost preferred. You can take advantage of video in many ways and that even includes adding text with keywords and your site URL so you can work with the search engines for proper SEO. That’s right! Even in a video you can take advantage of keywords and SEO. All you have to do is provide an overlay of text and your URL in some of the frames of your video. This allows for attracting more traffic to your site and possibly getting a better rank with the search engines.

The downside to video is that it takes hard work. Video needs to be exciting and to attract the attention of the users. You do not want to be boring and have a monotone. You need a good background, a good voice, and something important to say. Video also takes up a lot of space. It is important to consider how it renders on your website because many people do not want to sit for a long time and wait for a video to load. High speed has offered people to lose their patience and video requires a lot of patience. Just remember, the smaller your video is the quicker it will load on the web.

Audio files can be created within just a few minutes while video can take a bit longer. Audio files can be loaded quickly up on the Internet and for the user to listen to because they are small files. You can say the same things you would in a video on audio but the users cannot see your face. Many users aren’t interested in audio files and they want to watch the videos. Audio files are easier for you and the users but they are not what the users want all of the time. However, it usually does depend on the type of viewers and site you have. You cannot take advantage of keywords with audio files.

There are many pros and cons of audio and video files that might help you make a decision which is better. The best way to test this is to put up an audio file and a video file next to each other on your site and see which file has the most clicks. This will help you determine which method of information distribution your customers want to see. If you can do a quick video and you know how to use text with your video, you are better off with adding keywords and the link to your site.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Podcasting | , , , | Leave a comment

Reap Rewards From Podcasting

Podcasting has recently become one of the most popular trends in media, especially when it comes to social media efforts online. Podcasting has become an excellent alternative tool for marketing and communication among online marketers who are looking for new ways to reach out to their target audiences. This is a trend that is picking up quickly, providing marketers and other webmasters with an excellent source of direct communication with target audiences, because it gives listeners a chance to receive your audio broadcasts quickly, easily and automatically without necessarily having to access your website for the audio content that they seek.

There are a surprising number of benefits that are associated with Podcasting. If you utilize Podcasting as an effective tool for marketing and communication, then these benefits can be yours to take advantage of.

1 – Podcasting will increase the visibility of your website. Your target audience is going to be able to locate your site more easily if you take the time to list your Podcast at Podcast directories online. This will in turn increase the visibility for your entire website tremendously. Search engines will also be able to find your website more easily, as well as your Podcasts, for even more increased visibility.

2 – Podcasting will provide for an effective method of communication in your business. One of the most important benefits that is gleaned from Podcasting is the fact that it creates a completely new tool for communication when it comes to your online business. People are going to come to know about your website by way of your Podcasting efforts. What you have written and what you have offered on your website will contribute significantly to building your credibility, which is important if you want your website visitors to believe in you as an authority on your niche.

3 – Podcasting provides for an increase in memory retention. It provides one of the best possible results for memory retention of at least 75 percent for the average visitor. What this infers is that audio messages are a great deal more memorable than simple text. Memory retention is one of the greatest benefits that you can reap by Podcasting online.

4 – Podcasting gives opportunity to provide offers with value added. Podcasting allows you to provide value added offers to your visitors in audio format. This will help to retain the interest of your customers and readers because it will give them something to be delighted over. They can return to your site every week to see what your Podcast has to offer, which will benefit your website significantly.

5 – Podcasting provides for an increase in traffic. If your Podcasting effort offers excellent content, then these Podcasts will drive new traffic to your website. Your content should be interesting, informative, and valuable to your listeners. This will create a positive impact on your sales as well as your bottom line. Through Podcasting and the increased communication that it offers, you can benefit immensely from increased traffic and sales.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Podcasting | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Tips to Make Your Podcasts Rock

If you are thinking of making podcasts for your loyal website fan base, you are geared towards the right direction in keeping your visitors even closer and begging for more. Podcasts are becoming more recognized by regular computer users and mobile users alike, so adding some podcasts to your blog or website should be worth the effort without any fear of nobody listening to them.

One of the most important things to take note is that the quality of your podcasts should never be overlooked. If your podcasts are stale and boring, it may drive away people from visiting your podcast feeds ever again or even worse, drive them away from your website all together. In order to get more subscribers into your podcasts, you need to use your creativity in making your podcasts rock.

Here are some tips to turn your podcasts into bursts of entertainment:

Set a scope for your target audience

This should be easy if you already have an active website with daily visitors because most likely, your website should have a theme. All you need to do is to make your podcasts correlate to the entire theme and subject of your website so you can meet the expectations of your visitors. There is no use of tackling random topics in your podcasts and relying on luck to attract people. Set boundaries of the topics being covered and amplify them to increase the appeal.

Check out your competitors

Most likely, the topics that you’ll be discussing in your future podcasts will be similar to other websites that have ongoing podcasts. Observe how they get the word out and find any weaknesses in the performances. Even if you think they are the best, you can always take a different path and present in new and creative ways to stir up a crowd of your own.

Make use of transcripts

One of the limitations of podcasts is that search engines cannot track them since they are powered by audio and video. It doesn’t matter what keywords you use since search engine bots cannot listen to podcasts individually and index them properly. The best workaround for this is to write transcripts so the search engine bots can crawl on them. Having the full transcript alongside your podcast can attract more visitors from the search engines rather than having each podcast summarized in a small header.

Devise a consistent schedule

As a webmaster, you have full control of when you want your podcasts to be. Use a website statistics tool to determine at what time your visitors log in so you can make the most out of your presentations. Announce your podcast schedules and make sure you commit to the times promised without any delay. Failing to meet expectations can bring forth a negative image to your entire channel.

The main factor in making your podcasts rock is your creativity. Try to make it unique and give it some wow factors to dazzle your audience. Once you are convinced with the quality of your podcasts, start to spread the word and advertise it all over the place using many of the popular social networking sites. Generate a buzz and get your podcasts noticed and you’ll have some rocking sessions with your podcasts.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Podcasting | , , , | Leave a comment

Podcasting and Search Engine Ranking

Nobody can argue that simply great and well produced podcasts will always be preferred than reading well written articles because podcasts have more depth, added entertainment, and easier understanding of information. Podcasts are great on the go as they are continuing to expand towards mobile phones and other portable devices. It is safe to say that podcasting is where the future is heading, but many people still rely on articles and text for their website. It is definitely a topic to think about, but the answer to this lies on the search engine rankings.

There is one big limitation of podcasts and that’s the fact that search engines cannot index the content being played in audio because search engines can only read text. You can conveniently replace a long boring article with a fantastic podcast that everyone can go crazy over, but the search engines will slide by it and that can prevent your rank from increasing or even harming it directly.

It is important to remember how search engines work. People type in keywords to what they are looking for and then the search engine lists what sites have that text within their page content. By neglecting to put some searchable text on the pages and relying solely on podcasts, you are literally blacklisting your site from being viewed by search engines and people who may be looking for something that you offer.

An easy remedy to this problem is by partnering your podcast links with keyword headers and supplying short descriptions to each. This is what most of the podcasters do and it serves as a balanced way in staying under search engine radar and at the same time keeping your site content clean and easy to understand.

If you still don’t get the desired ranking, you can greatly improve it by having each of your podcasts transcribed. This can be a pretty daunting task especially if you have plenty of archived podcasts that span huge lengths, but the effort can be quite rewarding as it results to a fully written article that search engines can really crawl on. It also provides greater accessibility to people who do not have the software needed to run podcasts and wish to see a text version of the message. If transcribing is too much work, you can always hire some companies to do it for a fee. Just imagine what will happen to your search engine rankings when you have all of your podcasts transcribed.

Search engine rankings should never be overlooked because there are millions of web surfers searching for information online and that information can be something that can be found on your podcasts. It doesn’t matter if it is transcribed or summarized as long as there is some text and main keywords on the pages that need focus. This won’t just prevent your search engine ranking from being harmed, but it will also attract new and unexpected visitors to your site and add more listeners to your podcast channels.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Podcasting | , , | Leave a comment

Finding a Podcast Hosting Provider

Looking for a suitable hosting for your website is quite easy and cheap these days and plenty of the hosting providers these days include huge packages that should be more than enough for any website needs. Even the basic packages of top hosting providers have large bandwidth and disk space allocations enabling you to offer advanced services in your website such as podcasting.

Before you think about using your current hosting package to set up your podcasts, there are some things to consider. First understand that podcasts are powered by mp3 files and even with good compression, the file sizes can be quite large depending on the actual length of the podcasts. With your paid hosting package, it may not be such a big deal with the huge bandwidth allocations, but if ever you attract massive amounts of traffic to your podcasts one day, you may realize some noticeable degrading in your sites overall performance. This isn’t good for your visitors because good podcasts must have great connections to make sure everyone can tune in at maximum speeds. Shared website hosting may not have all the hardware needed to accommodate the traffic and could lead the site to a temporary shut down due to exceeded bandwidth.

Dedicated website hosting may solve the problem, but it is just too expensive. There are however some specialized hosting services that focus only on podcasts so webmasters can avoid having their podcasts bog down the overall performance of their servers. These podcast hosting providers are built to handle loads of traffic to audio files so you can keep your podcasting experience at top notch.

Fortunately, many of the best podcast hosting providers are cheaper than standard hosting packages making them better alternatives than upgrading your current hosting plan. Here are three good packages that you can use:

HipCast

New podcasters should start out with this package because of its user friendliness for inexperienced users. It is quite easy to set up podcasts thanks to its simple controls and offers good features at a very affordable price.

Liberated Syndication

Liberated Syndication has a better pricing scheme than other hosting providers. Unlike HipCast, LibSyn doesn’t have any charges for data transfer making it very useful for those podcasters having large audiences. It charges instead per number of material uploaded every month. This is the recommended choice for any serious podcaster.

AudioAcrobat

AudioAcrobat looks a bit like HipCast, but it’s slightly more expensive and lacks a couple of the blogging features that HipCast has. It does have some unique features though such as the ability to allow visitors to dial a phone number and leave a voice message which can be appended to the podcast playlist. It isn’t the best choice for starters, but those wanting to have more functionality may find this service useful.

The best thing about most of these hosting providers is that they come with free trials so podcasters can give it a go for a few days without any money spent. These top 3 podcast hosting providers are trusted sources and can ensure security, stability, and performance for your existing and future podcasts.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Podcasting | , , , | Leave a comment

Build an Audience With Podcasting

Millions of people around the world are connected to the Internet. What better way to send out a message than by recording a podcast. If there are some skeptics out there, there’s always Quantcast to reassure your doubts.

Podcasts are one of the most popular and growing Internet devices that allows website owners to directly talk with their website visitors. There is no topic too crazy or different when it comes to producing a podcast. However, a podcast is not only a radio show converted to either streaming audio or an MP3 that can be downloaded to the end-user’s computer or iPod, but a conglomeration of technology that’s been put together to provide the ultimate marketing tool for anybody who dares to venture into speaking about issues important to them.

Podcasting has made it easy for even the novice computer user to get their message out. Information found on Apple’s own website along with other technology websites, make it easy to understand how to customize your own show with pictures, animations, and even how to make instructional audios. Even large corporations have jumped on the bandwagon to promote ideas, products, and services in order to increase sales.

Quantcast is a website designed to produce statistical data concerning the Internet websites that occupy the virtual world. Any individual at any time can access the site to search by date data for any website and even browse sites that are similar. This can be a useful tool for businesses and companies to track their appeal and popularity on the web.

Additionally, this website gives out statistics such as; how old is the average user; what is their annual income; or if they are a male or a female. This type of data helps businesses understand how to reach their target groups with their podcasting efforts and tailor their podcasting marketing campaigns.

Podcasts has become one of the best methods for building an audience for your website. Not only is a podcast available to PC and MAC users, the podcast can be downloaded on a phone, iPod, or even burnt on to a CD/DVD to use in the car. The adaptability of podcasts gives it an edge in building an audience.

Satellite shows are convenient but don’t run 24/7 without commercials, and you can only listen to it at home or in the car. Podcasts, on the other hand, are easy to upload and broadcast, are available for download from anywhere in the world and at any time of the day or night.

With the help of sites such as Quantcast, building an audience becomes easy; however, keeping an audience is the hard part. Millions of web surfers subscribe to podcasts, for free, each day. Users, also rate the shows, leave comments, and even interact with the producers in real time. Taking phone calls, sending out emails, and answering questions live is a great way for producers to connect to users in real time.

Podcasts put the human element back into the equation. They can be used to answer questions, teach how-to’s and comment on the world scene. And, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to podcasting. Since the future lies on the Internet, podcasting will continue to be a force in the global marketing, advertising, and online communication arena. It increases businesses popularity, company sales, generates interest in other nations, and gets good ratings on websites like Quantcast.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Podcasting | , , , , | Leave a comment

Making an Income From Your Podcasts

Many people have learned and believed that one of the best ways in generating some extra income online is through blogging and writing good articles. It is true that success can be made by using these methods, but they take a lot of time and effort in attracting people and hoping that they would be interested with your ads so you can gain some revenue. It is always good to think of ways to improve the income even more and make the money come in faster. A routine that has some similarities to blogging and writing can be used to escalate the income- and that’s by podcasting.

Podcasting is quite the same as writing. You talk about a certain subject or make announcements that can attract visitors to tune in more often. However, podcasts go the extra mile and offer a unique voice to be heard, which can further define the personality and theme of the website. Because of the added capabilities of podcasts, many would rather listen to podcasts than reading long articles. And the more listeners means more revenue for your advertisements.

Podcasting is all about audio, leaving it unnecessary to plant so much text into the podcast page unless you are willing to do transcripts. The advantage of less text means having more available space that be used for putting bigger ads that stand out more and give you higher chances to benefit from clicks and even commissions. People can be having lots of fun listening to the podcast while actively browsing the main site and seeing what these advertisements are.

Charging visitors to listen to podcasts is never a good idea, but adding a link for donations won’t keep people away. In fact, it may even be rewarding putting it there if lots of people enjoy your podcasting. Just remember that most people donate to support you and the site and encourage you to make more podcasts and keep the site updated. It’s a good idea to follow those wishes of the visitors so that you can attract more numbers. And in turn receive more donations and advertising revenue.

Even when your standard advertisements are doing extremely well, never give up in getting more people to your site. If your bandwidth can’t handle it, consider using the money you earned in getting a podcast hosting package so you can accommodate more listeners. The more listeners you attract, the more advertisers will see it worthwhile in investing some money for commercial grade advertisements.

This is where the big money comes in so make sure you put your contact information on the main page because you never know, you may find some corporate sponsorships coming your way and willing to pay you to get their advertisements up there giving you even more income. And by having the donation link and other PPC advertisements there, you’re looking at big earning potentials.

It is very possible for you to do this all through the means of podcasting and keeping your website simple. Make sure you don’t overdo it on the ads as too many ads can take away some loyal visitors. Keep your website balanced and the podcasts steady and you should be piling up on some extra revenue.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Podcasting | , , | Leave a comment