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Unless you’ve been hiding under a (presumably delightfully comfortable) rock for the past few years, you will have noticed the extraordinary rise in the popularity of podcasting (one billion podcast subscriptions was passed way back in 2013). And being the enterprising type, you’re ready to wade in and grab the opportunity that podcasting presents with both hands.
As a WordPress site owner, you’ll be delighted to hear that podcasting and WordPress go hand in hand. To save you the unnecessary hassle and effort that can be involved with integrating podcasts with your WordPress site, we’ve rounded up seven of the top podcasting plugins out there for you to consider below. By the end of the piece, you’re sure to have found a solution to suit your needs.
Before we crack on to the list though, let’s cover some background on podcasting itself.
A Brief Overview of Podcasting
Podcasting’s history goes back further than blogging itself. Although its roots lie in the 1980s indie radio boom, the modern format become popular in 2004 through platforms such as Odeo.
During that time, the iPod was the dominant force in online media consumption. Developers and radio enthusiasts were on the lookout for a way to easily add their programs to the device and Apple’s 2005 integration of podcasts in iTunes set the ball rolling in earnest.
Since then, podcasts have been created by every conceivable media outlet and organization on earth and opened the door for many individual voices.
Some of the most popular podcasts have been entertainment-based. The Ricky Gervais Show, for example, started life as an incredibly popular podcast with roots in traditional radio. Due to its success, the show grew into an HBO series with multiple spinoff shows starring various cast members.
Other popular podcasts explore a diverse range of topics with standout examples including This American Life, The Joe Rogan Experience, The Nerdist, and Radiolab. The more technically inclined amongst you will be well served by the 5by5 network and shows such as This Developer’s Life.
WordPress has gotten in on the act as well. There are a number of notable podcasts covering the platform and addressing topics as news, how-tos, and advanced programming techniques. Apply Filters tackles WordPress development, plugins, and themes. BlogAid offers non-technical advice for those new to the software and Kitchensink WP provides a steady stream of well-sourced interviews, reviews, and tutorials.
All of the podcasts above have a website in addition to their RSS subscription feed. Combining your podcast with a WordPress site is a smart way of promoting and sharing your show. Let’s move on to take a look at some of the best plugins for podcasting with WordPress.
1. Libsyn Podcast Plugin
Although still in beta, Libsyn’s Podcast Plugin is poised to be an incredibly useful addition to the WordPress podcasting plugin landscape. Leveraging the power of one of the most popular podcast hosting platforms, Libsyn’s new tool will make connecting WordPress to your shows’ content easier than ever.
This plugin will enable you to post new podcast episodes to your Libsyn account directly from WordPress. Your RSS feed will be automatically updated and your files will even be posted to Libsyn’s servers instead of your website. This not only saves time on your end, it makes sure your updates are viewable from both iTunes and your site right out of the gate.
You’re free to create a custom post on your WordPress site announcing a new podcast episode while Libsyn handles the RSS and uploading in the background. This will be a must-have plugin for anyone using Libsyn when it officially ships so keep an eye on the plugin’s development and check out the video above for more background.
2. Blubrry PowerPress
If you’re new to podcasting but have a WordPress site, you might want to consider PowerPress. This plugin offers just about everything you need to host and manage a podcast (minus the actual episodes, of course). You can post MP3 files to your WordPress site directly with PowerPress, effectively turning it into your podcast host.
The plugin generates the podcast feed needed for listeners to subscribe – RSS2, iTunes, ATOM and BitTorrent RSS are all supported. This is a major timesaver in itself. PowerPress also has an integrated HTML5 Media Player which allows listeners to enjoy episodes straight from your WordPress site. Embedded media from popular sites like YouTube are also supported.
In addition to these basic features, PowerPress also provides useful SEO settings. Getting these dialed in enables you to increase your blog and podcast’s discoverability in Google and the iTunes directory.
Other features on offer include easy podcast episode editing, migration tools for moving from other plugins or hosts, and multi-podcast support. PowerPress also sends free Blubrry Media Statistics straight to your WordPress dashboard.
Newcomers and long-time podcasters alike stand to benefit from PowerPress’s comprehensive feature set so it’s definitely worth a look.
3. Seriously Simple Podcasting
For people who aren’t so comfortable handling advanced podcast settings themselves or just need basic functions, Seriously Simple Podcasting is the way to go. This plugin promises an easy-to-use method for adding podcasts to WordPress without getting bogged down in unnecessary options.
Initial installation and setup is simple to follow and you’ll be up and running in no time. Although the interface is simple, Seriously Simple Podcasting offers some robust tools and enables you to manage multiple podcasts directly from WordPress. The plugin supports unique RSS feeds for each podcast.
Other features available include a highly configurable RSS feed which works with all podcast subscription software. The plugin includes shortcodes and widgets for easily posting episodes anywhere on your website using the built-in WordPress media player. You’re also free to host files on a server of your choosing, including your own WordPress site and native podcast hosts.
Seriously Simple Podcasting is a streamlined solution with basic but powerful features. It’s a great choice for both newcomers and established podcasters who want to keep things nice and manageable. With over 8,000 active installs (and a 5-star rating on WordPress.org), it’s definitely worth consideration.
4. Smart Podcast Player
Smart Podcast Player is a premium solution suitable for larger or more commercial podcasts. It provides an attractive, full-featured player that can be displayed on your WordPress site. The developers promise accelerated podcast traffic, downloads, and tools for boosting subscriber growth.
Smart Podcast Player offers simple to set up support and options for customizing the look and feel of the player. Episode descriptions are nicely displayed and a list of current and previous episodes are viewable from the sidebar.
This plugin enables you to add your podcast to a WordPress site without needing to integrate it fully into the back end. All episodes are viewable from the player. They can be streamed or downloaded. New listeners won’t have to subscribe right away either; they can sample your shows and even share them via social media.
Advanced features include speedup or slowdown playback (usually only available on iTunes or similar software), mobile-friendly formats, and automatic updates. They offer a free version to get you started, but most of the more advanced options come with a yearly subscription.
This may not be the best solution for new podcasters but for shows with a large audience that can shoulder the cost it’s worth a look.
Like most of the plugins we’ve listed so far, Podlove Podcast Publisher offers simple solutions for adding podcast episodes to your WordPress blog. The developers promise a modern, streamlined option for hosting MP3 shows on the same server as your WordPress installation.
The plugin generates efficient, properly formatted podcast feeds for every subscription service. It also offers detailed control over how the user’s client – iTunes for example – will load and operate the podcast. This is a great feature as some older clients and software can struggle with loading, lose episodes, or display data incorrectly.
Additional features include multi-format publishing that includes support for legacy audio and video codecs. An additional Podlove Web Player is provided for playing media files through your WordPress site. There is also support for adding chapters to your content and flexible templates for customizing your podcast.
Podlove promises this is only the beginning and are committed to regularly rolling out new features down the line. If you’re interested in an alternative to PowerPress and would like to experience a few new features, Podlove is one to investigate.
Cincopa is a full-featured service/software solution for adding a variety of media to a website. They provide tools for multiple content management systems, including WordPress. For podcasters, they offer a plugin to add a customizable player to your WordPress site.
This service aims to streamline the podcasting process by making it incredibly easy for you to post and play your episodes. Most of the back end is handled by them. You can pick from a number of pre-designed podcast player skins, upload your files to their servers, and use their generated code to embed on your WordPress site.
This plugin is best for companies or bloggers with occasional audio or video posts. You will have a subscription RSS feed for your listeners without being burdened with maintaining additional features.
7. Podcasting Plugin by TSG
Rounding out our podcasting choices, we have the Podcasting Plugin by TSG. This plugin offers basic tools for hosting a podcast through your WordPress site.
The plugin generates an iTunes-compatible feed and associated metadata. It offers easy to follow controls for posting and uploading your files. You can also play media directly on your WordPress site using a standard video/audio player.
This is a no-frills option but it’s worth considering if you’re just getting started or don’t anticipate a long-term career in podcasting. Podcasting Plugin will give you the tools you need for the short-term but won’t demand hours of attention to maintain or update.
Conclusion: We’re Spoiled for Choice
The hardest part of maintaining a podcast is finding the time to record engaging episodes for your listeners. If you have that piece of the puzzle cracked, adding a show to your WordPress site is a piece of cake.
The tools we’ve selected cover a range of use cases from simple plugins to comprehensive hosting solutions. Regardless of your needs, there’s an option there to keep your podcast running smoothly and listeners entertained.
We’re eager to hear from you. Do you host your own podcast already? What tools do you absolutely love using? What plugins have you found that make adding podcasts to WordPress simple?
Share your thoughts and questions in the comments!
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