If you’re just starting to think about beginning your own podcast, you may have a lot of questions. Creating a successful podcast, after all, takes more than just sitting down and recording. There is a lot of preparation and planning that takes place, as well as going through the process of trying to find the right hosting platform. With so many different options available, it’s no surprise many new podcasters find themselves spinning in circles as they try to decide on the right one for them to use. In this article we will take a look at ten of the top podcasting platforms for beginners, highlighting the benefits of each, in an effort to help you make an educated decision in what to use, but first, what’s the deal with needing a podcast platform anyway?
What Do Podcast Platforms Do?
Podcast audio files can eat up a lot of storage space, which is why podcast platforms are so important. A podcast platform will store all of your audio files for you, saving you a ton of money having to purchase a bunch of additional memory. Additionally, these platforms will talk to the podcast directories (such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher & TuneIn, to name a few) to inform them of your show details, so your audience can find you. They will also manage all of the backend processes that may not be in your wheelhouse. In other words, they let you do what you are good at (creating quality content for your listeners) and they do the rest. Each individual platform will also most likely offer other perks that go above and beyond the basic functions you might expect.
Podcast Platforms to Consider
Determining the best platform for your podcast will require asking yourself a multitude of important questions. First off, what is the purpose of your podcast? Do you intend to do this as a casual hobby or do you hope to make a legitimate business out of it? How long will your episodes be? Do you plan to make multiple shows? What is your budget? How many people will need to be able to access your hosting dashboard? The answers to these questions will help you to determine exactly what you need from your platform. Let’s take a look at a few of the best beginner platforms that are currently on the market.
Arguably the best podcasting platform on the web for beginners, Buzzsprout offers plans ranging from free to $24 per month. The free option is a great place to try out the platform before you commit to anything larger. It allows you to upload two hours of audio that they will host for 90 days. Should you choose to upgrade, you will benefit with unlimited storage and the ability to keep your files active indefinitely. Additionally, Buzzsprout has an easy to use dashboard that makes it simple to upload files, schedule your podcasts and track how many listeners are tuning in and where they are from. You can also embed a podcast player right onto your website.
Soundcloud is a great option for those that are just dabbling in podcasting. Plans range from free to $16/month. The free option allows for 3 hours of storage and the paid option allows for up to 30 hours per week. The downside to Soundcloud is that their other features are quite limited. While you may not get as much bang out of this platform, it’s perfect for getting your feet wet and understanding how podcasting platforms work.
Spreaker also offers a free version, but the true perks with this platform come with their paid plans. Their $18 “Broadcaster” plan will allow you to share live podcasts with your listeners, while also supporting your ability to use chat boxes to interact with your listeners in real-time during your broadcast. This plan also offers great storage benefits, with 500 hours of audio and three hours for live podcasts.
Another free to low-cost option (plans range from free to $99 per month), Podbean is a basic platform that’s great for beginners just getting their feet wet. The free plan does not allow for a customizable domain, but it will only cost you $9 per month (when paid annually) to upgrade to the next tier where you can enjoy a fully customizable one, as well as unlimited uploads and an impressive analytics tool.
While Squarespace is not traditionally known as a podcasting platform, it has podcasting capabilities. It’s not free, per se, but, if you already host your website through Squarespace (which many people do), you can add a podcast on at no additional charge.
With paid plans ranging anywhere from $5 to $75 per month, Libsyn is an affordable and reliable (they were one of the original podcast platforms) platform that is great for those just starting out. Their low-cost option allows for up to 50MB of monthly storage, however, in order to access their analytics tool, you’ll have to upgrade to a more expensive version.
Still, in the relatively affordable range, Simplecast offers plans ranging from $15-$85 per month, which includes unlimited episode storage and a website domain (without a custom URL). This is a great option for new podcasters because it gives you all the basics plus some with the low-cost option, and allows you to slowly upgrade as your podcast grows and your needs change.
Captivate offers plans ranging anywhere from $19-$99. Even the basic plans on this podcast platform offer WordPress plugins, a website, and an analytics tracker, as well as the capability to host unlimited shows (although you cannot exceed 10,000 monthly downloads on the low-cost plan).
Similar to Captivate, Transistor offers plans that range in cost from $19-$99. They also offer subscribers the same perks of hosting unlimited shows with the same cap on the monthly downloads allowable under the low-cost plan. The thing that sets Transistor apart from its competitor is the option it affords you to host unlimited shows, both public and private. They also boast an impressive and easy to use analytics tracker that shows stats such as downloads over time, downloads per episode, and more.
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If you’re looking for a podcast platform that will integrate effortlessly with WordPress, Castos may be your best option (after all, they do own the Seriously Simple Podcasting WordPress plugin). Plans range from $19-$49 per month and the low-price option offers subscribers unlimited uploads and downloads, as well as a player that will easily embed on your website. Castos supports video files, as well.
Choosing Between Podcast Platforms
As you can see, there are many different options to choose from when it comes to podcasting platforms. The ten that we’ve listed here just barely scrape the surface, but they are all great options for anybody just staring out and getting involved in the world of podcasting. While using a free option isn’t recommended long-term, it may be just what you need to familiarize yourself enough with the platform to determine whether or not it’s the right fit for you and the goals you have for your podcast.
Make sure that, whichever podcast platform you end up going with, they have access to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, as these are the biggest podcast directories on the web. Your hosting platform should walk you through the process of connecting with each one individually. It’s also highly recommended to create a website you can send your listeners to in order for them to learn more about you and what you do.
Whichever direction you choose to go, you’re sure to find your audience in the more than 100 million podcast listeners here in the United States. So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and create your first podcast and find them! If you need any help with your overall digital marketing plan, or implementation, please contact us!Creating a successful podcast, after all, takes more than just sitting down and recording. ~ Jillian A. #PodcastTips #StartPodcast Click To Tweet