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How to create a Podcast - the Easy Way - by Hoagie Malone

OK, OK so you want to make your very own podcast, but don't want to mess around with too much code and programming because you're not a total geek like me. Well I completely understand. You want to get to the fun creative stuff, and not mess around with learning too much about html, xml, RSS feeds and other technical crap.

I'll let you in on what works for me. If you have a Mac, I suggest to:

  • Get the best microphone you can afford. I use a Shure KSM27.
  • I love Mac's GarageBand software to record my podcasts.
  • I export GarageBand files into iTunes then convert to mp3 or AAC in iTunes.
  • I have pro hosting at Visox to host my mp3, m4a, and m4b audio files.
  • I use Blogger for the Atom Feed they automatically generate for me.
  • I then add my Blogger Atom Feed to Feedburner to generate my RSS.
How to create a Podcast using PC
If you do not have a Mac, a more affordable way to create a Podcast is to purchase a desk top computer microphone at Radio Shack for $29.99 that plugs into your computer's mic input, and then pay another $29.99 for QuickTime Pro to easily record your podcast's AAC audio files. You can download iTunes for free to convert your files into MP3. If you are not making an image enhanced podcast, MP3 is the better format for cross platform compatibility.

Download iTunes FREE - A Great Tool to Create & Listen to Podcasts!

I assume you already have some way to create audio content. If not then my best advice to you is to go out and spend all your money on new Mac gear. Make sure you get iLife with GarageBand. Buy the Jam Packs that appeal to you so you have a full version of GarageBand. Get the M-Audio gear Mac suggests on their site so you can plug in a high end microphone, keyboard, electric guitar and so on. Get whatever makes sense in order to do your podcast and create content in mp3 format.

In order to save the audio files you made in GarageBand in mp3 format, you must first open iTunes, click Edit > Preferences. Then click Importing > and set the drop down menu to MP3. Now when you export your finished GarageBand projects into iTunes, they will show up as AIFF. (Not mp3, you still have one more step). Find the podcast in your iTunes library, click it once to highlight it, and choose Advanced > Convert to MP3.

Now you have two versions of your recording in iTunes. The smaller sized file is the MP3.

NOTE: You can click Edit > View Options and put a check in the box next to "Kind" in order to see file format extensions on iTunes.

Hosting your MP3 audio files

You now have your first podcast in mp3 format. Now you need to host it somewhere. Some people use the free service of FreeMedia.org to host their audio files. I like to host them on a pro host for faster downloads. I use a great web host called VISOX. I've used them since 1999, and they are the BEST in customer service. Be sure to tell them Hoagie from SuperFantasticUltra.com sent ya!

FTP (transfer) your mp3 to a host. A pro host you pay for, or use the free services. Free services tend to be a little slower, or add their own ads, but hey, it's free.

Use Blogger - they automatically generate Atom Feeds

Sign up for a Blogger account. It's easy and free. Google owns Blogger, so you will be sure to show up on their search engine by having a Blogger account. I host my Blogger on my pro host space, but you can let them host your blog on BlogSpot for free, and it's great. Be sure to write down your user name and password into a little book or journal so you don't forget it. Always keep a little book to write these types of things so you can look them up when you DO forget. Remember, you will forget, so write it down NOW.

When signing up, choose to have Atom Feeds. You will need to later use the Atom Feed to make it possible for people to subscribe to your podcast. Each time you post, your subscribers will get your mp3 automatically. It's so cool. Also keep your eye out for an area in Blogger's sign up where you turn on the ability to add links in posts. For some reason it is not already on by default, so keep an eye out for something to that effect. That way you get a little button you click and just paste a web address or mp3 path. Otherwise you would have to write html by hand to add links to each entry.

Create an entry to get your blog started. Write anything, you can edit it later. Put the URL path to your mp3 as a live link somewhere in your entry. Just use the link button in Blogger's entry box that you turned on when signing up. If a little link icon is not there when you are writing your post, you have to go into your Blogger account and update the form. Either way just add your mp3's URL path. It must start with http:// and end with YourPodcastFile.mp3

When you post the entry and view the blog, the mp3 link must be clickable, and not just the code as plain text. If you hover over the Podcast link with your mouse, you should see the URL path in the bottom of your browser.

Feedburner.com - SmartCast

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. If you would like your visitors to be able to subscribe to your Podcast, you need a service to turn your site's Atom Feed (from Blogger) into XML code. Feedburner will generate your site into XML once every half hour. Each time you post a new Podcast, your subscribers will automatically receive it.

So get an account at Feedburner.com to generate your RSS feed. Write your user/password into the little book I told you to get earlier for passwords.

Just put your blog's web address into the form. If your blog is hosted at Blogger's BlogSpot your web address will look something like: myblog.blogspot.com

Follow the instructions, and take the time to read your options. You can update your options later, so just get through the options. Be sure to choose SmartCast in the many options. At the end you will have the RSS link from FeedBurner that you need to put on your blog. Post your RSS URL as a text hyperlink, or use a button that says SUBSCRIBE in your navigation bar of Blogger so that it shows up on all your pages. Now your visitors can subscribe to your site and receive your most recent podcasts. All they do is paste your Feedburner RSS path in the subscribe area on iTunes or any other RSS reader.

NOTE: Blogger has 10 entries on it's main page. When people subscribe to your Blogger site, they will only receive the 10 posts that are showing at the time they subscribe. They will continue to get all your podcasts as long as they stay subscribed.

Each time you record a new podcast simply FTP your mp3 to your host, and then add an entry into your Blogger site. Write a little description about the new podcast, and include a live link to your mp3 in your entry. All your subscribers will receive your new podcast.

That's it!

If you are confused, just read the Feedburner site more. It's very cool. Feedburner will keep records of how many people are subscribed to your RSS feed, what kind of reader they are using, and other interesting stats, and it's all FREE! They also provide subscriber chicklets and headline banners like the one at the top of this page.

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