Home of the Wheels of Wisdom cycling podcast
Perhaps the number one question I receive to the podcast is around how to edit and host a podcast and then get it into iTunes.
While I have a short explanation in the FAQs on the About page, I thought I’d explain more about the process I went through.
I spent a considerable amount of time researching editing and hosting options. Paid options are available for both and some of them are very good, but you’re here to discover how to do it for free.
And yes, there are probably better ways of doing it, but this worked for me, still works and was free.
Editing in Audacity
There are some seriously impressive editing software programs out there and if you have the budget and expertise then go for it and knock yourself out with Final Cut Pro.
For the more modest budget, I settled on the free Audacity. In the most part it is intuitive and well documented with a number of very helpful ‘how to’ videos on YouTube. I nearly abandoned it, however, because I didn’t realise that if you’ve paused the audio, then you can’t cut, move or edit it. A simple error message would solve the problem, but once I’d figured this out, I was away.
It lets you import from a number of formats, highlight, cut, copy and paste and has all the basic effects you need, with perhaps the most commonly used fade-in and fade-out, just what’s needed if you have multiple tracks and want to start talking as the music ends.
Adding in multiple tracks is simple and there’s a very handy view called ‘Fit Project’ that lets you see the whole set of recordings on a single screen, ideal when you’ve been editing multiple tracks and want to align them properly.
Likewise you can export to a number of formats including the MP3 format that I use on Wheels of Wisdom. And if you’re at your desk, rather than out and about on the back of a bike, then you can just plug in your microphone and record straight into Audacity.
Hosting the podcast at The Internet Archive
Now you may have grand ambitions for your podcast and dream of an audience of hundreds of thousands hanging off your every word, with advertisers banging down your door. In reality, unless you already have a substantial following, then it’s going to take time and it’s best not to fork out for hosting if you don’t have to.
In which case you should look at hosting with The Internet Archive at archive.org. They don’t allow commercial projects, so if you do decide to take advertising or to sell it, then you’ll have to move to another provider, but at least then you’ll have the budget to pay for it.
Uploading is wonderfully simple, you just upload the file, add some metadata, wait a minute or two and then copy the URL of your MP3 file from the list of options shown.
Top, top tip, make sure that that URL does not include HTTS (secure server link when you’re logged in) or your podcast content won’t be able to be delivered to iTunes. Just remove the ‘s’ from the URL and it’s fine. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way on my second podcast when the content wouldn’t load and I was baffled as to why.
Perhaps best of all is that there’s no limit on the number of podcasts you can host. Most of the freemium options limit you to five or under on their free service (along with a limited number of downloads), meaning your archive soon disappears into the digital wilderness unless you’re willing to fork out additional money.
Getting your podcast into iTunes
Now this was the tricky bit. As someone who works in technology I thought I would be able to figure this out pretty quickly. However, it seemed to be a case of either paying for a service to do this for me or messing about editing XML, something the majority of podcasters are unwilling or unable to do, certainly without making a mistake or two.
After doing yet more research I went with my blogging platform of choice, WordPress, to host the podcast title and description and then you just copy and paste the URL where your podcast is hosted – that URL on archive.org, remember (did I say don’t forget to check it’s http rather than https?).
To get the podcast into a suitable format for iTunes (and others), I went with obvious option of Feedburner which does most of the hard work for you, picking up the description, image and audio content. You tell it the URL of your WordPress blog (or website with an RSS feed), add in a few details and then you’ll be given a link you can put into iTunes.
There’s some disquiet online about whether Google will continue to support Feedburner or whether it will be one of those projects that they try and then discard. It’s possible as it’s been given limited support lately, but it works and historically Google have given you plenty of notice when they are about to discontinue a service allowing you time to take your content and find another provider. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. It may not be the best service, with analytics particularly ropey, but it works in the main.
Aha, but where do you actually add in your podcast to get it into iTunes?
Just follow the steps and tips on this link and you should be fine. You basically put a URL into iTunes, wait a few days for it to be approved and there you are a published podcaster!