Be Aware Of The Lure Of Free Podcast Hosting

be aware of the lure of free podcast hosting

Please Be Aware Of The Lure Of Free Podcast Hosting.

I shared an article on my Podcast Progress facebook page  last week (27th January 2017) which was basically encouraging women to grab the opportunity and become involved with podcasting.

It was shared elsewhere and sparked off quite an interesting conversation. In a nutshell there were women expressing a great desire to start a podcast. And of course the second phrase is ‘how do i start?’.

It’s a double edged sword, that ‘how to start’ question! And in fact the comments in that thread have spawned 3 blog posts over here, written from 3 different viewpoints. Actually, it might be 4 or 5 posts as ideas are being sparked off as my fingers rattle my keyboard. Each post will resonate with a different group of readers.

Anyway, today it is ‘be aware of the lure of free podcast hosting’. Sounds somewhat dramatic really but it is an important subject so maybe a little drama is called for. And I can guarantee that if an inappropriate podcast hosting solution is chosen, there WILL be some drama in one way or another.

What is podcast hosting anyway?

Erm – what is podcast hosting? This is where your podcast audio files are stored on the internet – NOT on your website server please. And a podcast hosting solution provides a way of labelling your audio files, and adding descriptions and titles, and the show and episode artwork etc. Also it will provide an RSS feed which is used to distribute your podcast episodes, put them in iTunes and enable eager listeners to subscribe. Once they subscribe they get the new episodes sent to them automatically. Good eh!

Your podcast host will also provide a variety of different features and tools and stuff. At a variety of price points of course. Including FREE. Yippee don’t we all just love something that is FREE?

If you don’t know what you don’t know, then the subject of podcast hosting can seem overly confusing and not that important perhaps. And it’s not usually your focus. Your focus is in the idea, the excitement of starting a podcast. You might not really like podcasting when you get going, and find that after all, it wasn’t your thing. So spending a load of money on the great unknown is never appealing or even wise.

Free podcast hosting helps you get started with a podcast

Great advice given when people express a wish to try podcasting is to try one of the free ways to get started. Use a free tool or free podcast hosting site. Brilliant advice. Just get started with your podcast, experiment with recording and using audio, and then see how you go. There is tons of free info on the internet about starting a podcast, what to do and so forth. And your time is free isn’t it( 🙄 !)….

By the way, in my next blog post I will go through some of those more popular free and easy ways of podcasting and using audio in your business & marketing. You needed to understand the context and concerns first, so keep reading please.

Free. Free. Free.

I don’t want you to think I am being negative here. Rather what I want is for you to take that ‘FREE’ decision with your eyes wide open. Manage your expectations of what is the next step. What happens next.

Of course we know that nothing is really free.

Each different podcast hosting solution has different features for their free option.
Some may restrict how much audio you can upload per month, in time (minutes, hours) or size (gigabytes). How on earth do you know how many gigabytes matches to minutes and hours of a podcast?
Some may restrict how much audio you can store. That might be in time, say 3 months, or in hours worth of audio, say 5 hours worth. Once you reach that limit then you have to delete older stuff to fit newer stuff on. So you will not be able to create the back catalog that you maybe hoped.
Others restrict the amount of bandwidth you can use up when people are downloading your episode. When you reach their limit, downloads stop. Not great when people have found your podcast but cant get it. Doh!
When you reach those limits, then of course you can upgrade to a paid plan. Those paid plans from that particular podcast host might not be something you would have chosen, or even thought about had you not been so fixated on the free aspects.

And so it goes on. Also beware you may no longer own your own content or rss feed. They do, sometimes. Go read those tiny terms and conditions bits – don’t just tick the box and hope for the best. Or you retain the rights (that’s handy isn’t it) but they have the power to use it how they want. You might not be able to edit your RSS feed. That crops up when you want to move your podcast hosting elsewhere. Annoying when you find you can’t….

Remember I am talking about the various Free options here but it’s also wise to check out the nitty gritty of the different paid solutions too. For when you are ready to take the next step.

If your next step is NO! Podcasting is not for me then you haven’t wasted money.

If your next step is YES I LOVE podcasting, then you have more choices to make, with a bit more at stake this time.

You may decide to do your podcast differently, make an investment in different tools and strategies, and get help, perhaps. For the record, the ‘best’ way to structure a podcast is to ‘self host’ with a suitable PAID  podcast host (fyi Libsyn are market leaders) and use your own selfhosted website as your podcast ‘home’. A WordPress site is very popular for this.

Please be aware right from the start that the early decision to go for free options may now turn round and bite you. Forums and groups are full of almost tearful, and certainly annoyed, podcasters with the same story of starting with free, investing loads of effort, building up an audience only now to discover that the paid options of their current host don’t really suit them or that they turn out rather more expensive than hoped.

And that is when the crunch comes.

Depending on the host, moving can be difficult and you may lose everything you have built up. And by that I mean your audience. You lose your audience if you can’t ‘take your rss feed’ with you and change it so existing subscribers continue to receive your episodes even though you are now with a different podcast host.

Of course hosts are all different and it is possible to move between hosts – people do it. Again remember I am talking about issues when you have been using a free option. In my opinion , how is it possible to even expect a company to spend time trying to sort out technical issues for you when you are unwilling to pay for their service and website and technical architecture and ‘stuff’. Some will. Some won’t.

If you want to use a free podcast hosting option PLEASE do it with the mindset that it is a great way to get started. And also have the expectation that if your free choice no longer suits you because you are great at podcasting (who knew?) then you MIGHT have to start again bulding your audience. You could also have some strategies for capturing your audience in a different place like a facebook group or your email list, or both. Good strategies to follow regardless of your choice of podcast host, but it could reduce the impact of lost audience.

Do I have to mention to ALWAYS keep your own copy of your finished audio file as a backup. Cloud storage is great for this. If you move hosts, and the RSS feed is a problem, or even if your host goes bust, or just because it’s a wise idea, then you always have your own copy of all your podcast episodes. You can start again (if you have to) and load them up into your new paid podcast host.

I’m excited that you want to start podcasting.

I will be very excited for you to get started with podcasting by taking action and giving it a try and making use of the free gift of free podcast hosting.

Please do it with eyes wide open rather than fingers crossed?


Oh and here is the post that kicked off this series of blog posts.

Come on ladies – what can you podcast about? Go and look what there ISN'T and think about how a podcast can enhance your…

Posted by Podcast Progress on Friday, January 27, 2017

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Straight-talking Podcast Advice & Practical Podcast Training For Busy Business Owners

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