At first glance, venturing into starting my first website and podcast from start to completion seemed like a simple task. What could be more difficult than purchasing a microphone, recording some audio, and uploading it to Itunes or any of the other countless hosting platforms? The realist would say it’s not, and they would already be onto their 20th episode by now. In reality, that is not the way it worked out, at least for me. So what is it exactly that makes creating a podcast and its accompanying website so difficult?
The Idea Stage:
If I were to point out a single point of failure when it comes to developing a podcast, I would immediately point to the Idea of it. Not the idea of putting together a podcast, but every idea that makes up the podcast. That can be anything ranging from the name of the show to the topic of discussion and every conceivable supporting element such as a website, social media, and even hosting. You could be 10 miles down the road with your podcast off of a haste decision, only to realize that maybe the parts don’t fit together as you thought they would. It is that realization that results in strenuous rework that can drag out the development and ultimately your patience. I remember spending around 2 months procrastinating starting my podcast all because I couldn’t settle on a name. Even now as I look back, I am not entirely settled on it but here is the one key lesson I took away from it. That lesson is to “Commit”. It’s the word that will not only set the wheels in motion but the one that will propel you forward. The reality is that no detail has to necessarily be perfect to a T. After all, no one is going to care if your website font is Ariel or Verdana and especially if your logo is centered or left aligned on your website. We often here the quote “The devil is in the details”. Nothing is worse than spending countless hours or even days attempting to perfect a single section on your website only to realize that you have been spinning your wheels the whole time by fixing issues. Commit to a name, commit to a topic, and deliver the best content possible. Everything else can be built around it at a later period in time.
Choosing the Right Equipment:
I spent countless scouring the internet and Reddit for the best starter audio equipment to get the podcast off the ground. I collected dozens of posts and articles, each pointing me in so many directions that by the end of it all, I did not know which way was up. In fact, I left more lost and confused than when I started. Sometimes we simply get too caught up in the idea of what we need, that we lose track of what it really is that we need to put ourselves in a position to succeed. We put up more questions than answers, and more walls than roads that we end up not gaining any traction. There were countless times in which the advice I received was to purchase a simple microphone and record, but I was determined to have all of the questions answered before making a decision. What resulted, was weeks in wasted time, only to come full circle and purchase a simple microphone. The key takeaway here is to not fear failure and to go the simplest route. By seeking perfection from the get go, we prevent ourselves from truly learning and from having fun with what we are doing. Keep it simple and be alright with failing forward towards your goals. Remember, you must learn to walk before you can run. To make it easy for any prospective podcasters, I recommend the Audio Technica AT-2005USB microphone and have provided a link below.
Building a Website and Hosting Episodes:
For anyone that is interested in getting a podcast off the ground in a matter of days as opposed to months, I highly suggest you skip the website and make a B line straight for a podcast hosting service such as Libsyn, Pinecast, Blubrry, or one of the many other options out there. Unfortunately I decided to play this on hard mode by also building a website in my free time to supplement the hosting of my episodes and blog content. In retrospect this was a questionable decision, but I committed and I needed to see that decision through; whether it resulted in success or failure. As I mentioned prior, focus on the main goal and circle back to supporting elements as you get further down the road. People are more interested in the 10 episodes you created than the fancy looking website and 1 episode you created. In many cases, hosting services will provide you with a simple website depending on the pricing tier you are under. When juggling the many possible tasks at hand, always look at it as “less is more”. Keep it simple and keep it straight forward by leveraging a hosting service to handle your podcast, website, and RSS feeds to publish your content on a variety of platforms.
Putting It All Together:
When I wrote this, I was still sorting through a backlog of website design and hosting related issues that were taking precedent over the launching of my podcast. In a perfect world, I would have had a perfect website, top of the line equipment, and a list of guests on the top 100 most interesting people in the world… Fortunately, that isn’t the case. You see, the fun of making a podcast is in the journey of putting it all together. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t need to have the best of everything up front. If you really want to start one, it boils down to three simple things:
- Purchase a simply microphone (assuming you have a pair of headphones and recording software)
- Source a hosting platform for your shows episodes on any number of platforms
- Create strong content (including a logo)
Granted the above is an over simplification of putting a podcast together, but it really is all you need to get your show up and running. No fancy equipment or website will ever take the place of an individual with a microphone in one hand and powerful content in the other.
Thanks for reading and look out out for part 2 of this blog in which I provide a retrospective on my first episode!