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How Can We Help You?

 

We have gotten a lot of great feedback about our blog posts, largely positive, but now that we're getting into a groove we want to reach out again to see what's working for you guys.  We know we've sprung a lot of changes on our users.  Change can be tough, but we aim to make this all worth your while.  We've collected a lot of strange, diverse and wonderful info over the years, at Podcamps, Expos and of course virtually.  it is not always clear to us what info is most helpful to you guys.

Lets start with something simple.

What nagging questions do you still have as a Podcaster?

Please respond in the comments below, and we'll all chime in where appropriate... Open session style.  Don't be shy, help each other out too.  

And....Go!


Dave Chekan - Birthday Boy!

We don't even what to think about what age he's hitting today, but... Older and bolder, onward and upward today marks the birth of libsyn founder Dave Chekan.  Please feel free to extend your birthday wishes to him in the comments.  


Podcast Clean-Up Series: The Accessible iTunes Podcast Page

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When was the last time that you checked out your own podcast landing page in iTunes?

It may seem a bit basic and even perhaps a waste of time, but in all honesty it's a very important space that podcasters often overlook. I may venture to say that for the majority of your potential raving fans this is the first and only impression that they will get. There will be no second chances.

Why not take a moment right now to make sure you are making the best first impression?

Here are key points to make sure folks click that subscribe button:

  • Have a podcast description: Did I really need to get this basic? YES. Because of my duties here at libsyn I visit a large amount of iTunes podcast pages and there are a surprising amount of podcasters that have no description at all!

  • Make your description clear, succinct and informative: What exactly is your podcast about? Describe it in two sentences and have these be the first paragraph in the description. Most people don't scroll below the fold, meaning that they usually won't click ...more on the page. If you make those first two sentences clear, precise and appealing anything you write below the fold will just be icing on the cake. Write those two sentences for those that are already familiar with you content as well as those that are not. Keep the jargon and inside jokes to the latter half of your podcast description.

  • Link back to your main website!: In your iTunes page, on the left hand side column there is a link to your website. 50% of the time when I've clicked on the link to the podcasters website, I either go to a broken link or to the libsyn.com blog page that is part of your libsyn account. Now, there's nothing wrong with your libsyn blog. In fact a lot of podcasters do use that as their website. What I'm talking about here is for those of you that have spent time creating an awesome website for your podcast, but no one from iTunes goes there because you are not linking to it! Tip for libsyn users- you can edit this information within your edit show settings pane in your account

  • Add easy feedback accessibility to your description: Somewhere within your iTunes description, usually towards the end, add the easiest way to get in contact with you: email address, voice feedback line, and your url. Although this information will not be clickable it will provide your existing audience as well as potential listeners a seamless way to get in touch with you. There are a ton of podcast listeners that never go to your website and perhaps never will. When they want quick access to you, the first place they will go will be to your page in iTunes. I know this has been true for me and have always been so glad when I find the podcaster email address right in the description to send along that feedback :)

Although simple podcasting tips, you'd be surprised how much they really do help both existing and potential subscribers.

There are other ways to subscribe to podcasts, but the reality of the situation is that iTunes is the easiest and most accessible way to subscribe to podcasts, especially for those that are not particularly tech savvy.

Why not provide them with the best experience of you and your work?

Do you have any other hints and tips that you can offer to other podcasters regarding the iTunes landing page? Is there other information that you feel is helpful to promote your podcast? Leave it in the comments!

-Elsie Escobar


Expand Your Learning With Podcasts in 2011

Philosophy & Poetry
                                                                                      Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr

As the new year rolls in, we often take inventory of our lives, perhaps even decide to expand our horizons. Podcasting provides an opportunity to learn and deepen the understanding of the world around us in a really simple and cost effective way. You can immerse yourself in a topic so completely, it feels like you've gone back to the university :) Here are a few podcasts to get you going with your Podcast Art and Science degree ;)

 

  • Podictionary- the podcast for word lovers- Short and sweet and totally easy to consume. I always love learning the history behind words and adding more to my vocabulary. If you don't want to subscribe you can get the iphone app and have a ton of words at your disposal. Great reference.

  • Brain Science- "Recent discoveries in neuroscience are unraveling the mysteries of how our brain makes us who we are." I already subscribe to so many podcasts, to the outsider it would seem a bit obsessive. I've been trying to stop my subscribe tendencies, but I just couldn't help it when it came to Brain Science. The quality of information offered, the depth on insight and simply the subject matter is the perfect podcast for revving up your brain for optimal functioning ;) You also get the opportunity to see the world and yourself in a whole new way. Give your brain a workout. Dr. Campbell offers very detailed shownotes, so if you don't want to listen or subscribe at first, hop on over to the site, or even subscribe to the blog RSS feed and get your learning that way. If that's not enough Brain Science also has an iPhone AND and Android app with access to the full shownotes as PDFs!

  • Books and Ideas- This is another one by my new favorite person Dr. Ginger Campbell. It's sort of the spill over from her Brain Science podcast, "exploring history, philosophy, other areas of science, science fiction, monthly interview with an interesting person." If a podcast all about the science of the brain is not your cup of tea but you wanna delve into the world of science in an accessible way, check this one out. You won't regret it. The iPhone app offers detailed shownotes via PDF! Love it.

  • Microbeworld Radio- "An educational outreach initiative that revolved around a daily, 90-second radio and podcast series designed to increase public understanding and appreciation of the vital role microbes play on our planet and to promote the science of microbiology." Yes, this is a podcast all about the teeniest of the tiny. Who knew how magical it could be to delve into the micro? The more you get into the micro the more you see it in the macro. You must first start at the Microbeworld website. It's jammed packed with info. You'll see there that Microbeworld Radio is not just one podcast, but a lot of them: BacterioFiles, Meet the Scientist, Mundo de los microbios, This week in Parasitism, This Week in Virology and more. You can subscribe individually to each one of these shows, or you can simply get the iPhone app and have them all at once. Nice.

  • Photography 101- Having an iPhone 4 has made me be a picture taking maniac. This podcast is a great way to learn a little bit more about all aspects of photography. There are tons of episodes available that address the simple to the complex. One of the latest podcasts has nothing to do with digital photography but with a really cool technique for polaroid pictures called polaroid SX-70 manipulation. It's very cool. Now if I could just get my hand on a polaroid camera...Photography101 is also available for the iPhone and Android.

  • Philosophy Bites and Philosophy The Classics- I put these together, not because they have to be listened to together, nor because they are alike, but because they complement one another. Get into the conversation with Philosophy Bites. Listen to discourse and in depth interviews with awesome philosophers. You get an opportunity to become informed about an array of books that perhaps you have never heard of, plus be exposed to aspects of philosophy you may not get a chance to anywhere else! Philosophy The Classics is just that, The Classics. It is Nigel Warburton reading off his book of the same name. A really great resource to have. iPhone apps are available for both Philosophy Bites and Philosophy The Classics

  • iWoodwork- When was the last time that you did anything with your hands? I suppose getting started woodworking may be a bit far fetched, especially if you've never done anything like it, (plus you do need all the tools and everything), but I simply could not pass up the opportunity to share this podcast. Mark Sterner is such a great guy, down to earth, humble, knowledgeable and passionate about what he does. He cares deeply about his work and loves his community. His video podcast is very well done and thought out. He's supported by the Mark Adams School of Woodworking, having them as a sponsor and also helping them with their online woodworking presence. Check out iWoodwork even if you don't woodwork, it'll get your creativity going. If you do woodwork, this is a must for you! iWoodwork is also available as an iPhone app.

  • The Barefoot Beekeeper- I'm sure at some point you have heard all about the slow disappearance of bees and the huge impact that they have to our ecosystem. This podcast offers so much information about beekeeping, the bee ecosystem, as well as the world ecosystem. You get an opportunity to listen to interviews with an swarm of experts within and without the beekeeping culture, plus learn tips and tricks about building and keeping your own beehives! The passion for beekeeping also stumbles over onto an iPhone app called Biobees :)

I hope learning a bit about some of these podcasts inspires you to learn something new and subscribe, or at minimum pop on over to iTunes and search for a subject you've been interested about for a long time and haven't ever followed through :) Podcasting is the ultimate choice of taking your education and growth into your own hands, offered to you by those that are truly passionate about what they know.

Learn, grow and expand for 2011!

How about sharing some of your favorite podcasts that helped you learn something new? Share them below!

- Elsie


Review of WPmob Lite: A Mobile Theme For Wordpress

WPmob Lite screenshotOptimizing your website for mobile browsing has become very important in the world of podcasting, especially with all the new tablets and Super Phones. If you are using Wordpress, your choices for mobile themes have been pretty scarse. The one most folks are using now days has been WPtouch.

There's a new WP mobile plugin called WPmob Lite that has come into my radar. I decided to check it out. Here are some of it's features intermingled with some of my initial thoughts:

Good stuff- Customization and Readability

The strength of the plugin comes from it's ability to be customized and the clean and fast loading mobile site that it provides.

  • You can customize it by putting your logo and a banner on the mobile site.

  • It seems that potentially there may be more mobile themes to choose from. At the moment there is one called Poseidon, which you can also customize.

  • You can customize social media icons which are displayed at the bottom of your main blog page.

  • You can override your WP landing page to a specific one on the mobile site.

  • Custom HTML for Welcome message shown on 1st visit, Custom 404 message, Custom footer content.

  • You can choose your first time visitors to land in your full site.

  • You have Switch Link and Custom CSS (not elaborating on this 'cause I have no idea what this does.)

  • You can customize Prowl push notifications.

  • My favorite aspect is that you can choose specific pages where the mobile theme is not used.

  • I adore the way you can easily play my episodes with my WP audio player of choice the degradable HTML5 audio and video player. It renders really well.

  • Reading the site is clear and easy. The text formatting of the posts looks great, at least from my iPhone.

  • The site loads relatively fast. I happen to have tons of pictures in every one of my podcast shownotes, and even then it did a pretty good job.

Not so good stuff- Advertising and Lack of Theme Support

  • I'm using Thesis, and it's not compatible with this plugin. All you have to do is uncheck a setting where it says "Include functions.php from the active desktop theme." If you have that checked the mobile site will not work.

  • The navigation dropdown shows pages I do not want shown. This is due to the fact that I'm using Thesis. I've customized my navigation bar on my site, but because it can't use Thesis, then the pages that are shown in the mobile version are not ones that I have even displayed on my site anymore.

    I suppose this will require me to go into my WP settings and take care of that manually there.

  • Random AdMob adds on site. Big FAIL. As far as I could see within the plugin setting, there was no way to turn off these ads. I don't know how they are even getting on there as I have no advertising on my site.

  • Some links on the navigation do not go to where they should go. It's like they get stuck on a prior page/link. This may be a bug.

  • It's insane to get the proper sizes for the banner and logo. I'm not a web designer, nor graphic designer. I have very limited knowledge of creating graphics. It took me FOREVER to create a banner and logo that would fit and look relatively ok on the mobile site. I had to do a lot of random tweaking. I found no support for this on the developer's website.

FYI, these are the sizes I ended up using: logo 300 x 50, banner 320 x 200.

  • Large pictures and videos look gigantic. They are not scaled for the mobile viewing at all. The only pictures that looked great were all my thumbnail images. Perhaps that is something I have control over either within the plugin or on WP, but I had no idea how to do it.

Bottom Line

The potential for WPmob Lite is great. I do love the customization, but the ease of set-up of this customization for one that is not well versed on web design/graphics is not the easiest.

Reading and listening to my episodes on the mobile site was great, but I don't like the gigantic pictures and videos it renders which makes browsing less than stellar.

Two points helped me make the decision to not to use this plugin: the random Admob advertising and the lack of Thesis support. I don't want the ads and I want the folks visiting my mobile site to have access to the navigation that I have chosen on my main site.

If you are using WPmob Lite I would love your thoughts about the plugin. Are any of you using a different WP mobile plugin that you want to share! I'm still shopping for the perfect one ;)

Leave your thoughts!

-Elsie


Marc Maron, NYTimes, Rolling Stone, Road Trip

WTF is Marc Maron on a streak.  The show is currently the number two ranked podcast in iTunes, nipping at the heels of This American Life.  Ira Glass was a recently a guest on WTF so that seems fitting.  Ten minutes into the show and Ira is swearing.  if you haven't yet heard the show its a rare window into the life behind comedians.  Maron interviews the best talent in the industry, and draws amazing moments out of his guests.  It's the first show that comes to mind now for friends seeking podcasts.  But ignore our clunky bloggin's and head right over to his big New York Times story for the the full scoop.  

Or check out the Rolling Stone roundup of The Ten Funniest People, Video and Things of the Coming Year.

And if you are lucky, you can do what we did, take a road trip to catch his stand up in person.   We are currently enjoying Mama's Falafel in Philadelphia while we wait to catch his show.

 

You should check out his App for iOS too!

 


Podcast Clean-Up Series: Check Your Links!

Podcast or podcasting icon
Image via Wikipedia

A couple of years ago, I was interviewed for podcast. Of course I linked to it in one of my blog posts as well as my own podcast show notes. About a year or so later I received an email from one of my podcast listeners informing me that a link on my site was going to a porn site!

*Gulp*

I quickly went back to the post she mentioned and realized that the podcast had podfaded. He had let go of the url, and the url was now a porn site! I had linked to that url at least 5 times on my site.

That was when I began to make checking my links of great importance.

Websites, blogs, podcasts, media links come and go. As I initially browsed through my blogroll I realized that almost half of what I was linking to was no longer in existence. This made me have to get really clear about cleaning up my all my links.

Here’s a little check list to help you keep your links all nice and clean :)

  • Your Sidebar/Blogroll– Literally go down your sidebar and click onto everything that you have on the entire column. Make sure that you are sending people where you want them to go. Remove or update any dead links.

  • Six Months of Links– Go back to your last six months worth of posts and browse through to make sure that links that you used or referred to are actually working and in existence. Update as necessary to keep at minimum your latest post linking efficiently.

  • Videos– Videos are removed all the time. Having their code on your site slows down the loading of the post, plus irritates those that want to watch the now defunct video. Save them the hassle by removing the code or take the time to check to see if the video is available from a different video sharing service.

  • Image Links– When I first started blogging and podcasting I often linked back to images and graphics on other people’s websites. I had no idea about proper protocol. I'm still finding missing graphics and pictures on my older posts. Take the time to browse through your posts to make sure your images are all properly displaying.

  • Links to time sensitive material– Think about all the times that you promoted or shared links to events or event sites/pages that were time sensitive ie. podcamp boston 2008 sessions, macworld podcast meet-up 2007, PNME 2007 schedule, etc. Go back and un-link your references if they lead to a dead page. You can always do a quick-update and either link to a larger website with consistent relevant information, such as the main Podcamp site or write a one sentence update about the event mentioned.

On your site, the areas that have the largest amount of dead links are on your oldest posts. Going back through all your posts, especially if you've been podcasting for a long time is a tedious job. Consider setting aside some time monthly to take care of it yourself, or perhaps invest on a little help from those places like fiverr :)

I hope you have found these tips helpful!

Do you have any good tips, workflow or even plug-ins/software that could make checking dead links on your site easier? Share them! I'm always up for making my life easier :D I'm sure other folks would love to hear about them!

- Elsie Escobar


Do You Tweet?


One of the things that has been incredibly helpful not only in promoting my blog and helpful for finding new things to blog about has been Twitter.  Do you have a twitter account for your podcast? 

New to Twitter? Check out this video from Common Craft here.  A really nice simple overview of Twitter.

The Craft blog had a great post before Christmas - "Crafting Your Online Presence: Twitter Tools" - while this post is written with a crafty audience in mind, I think the info here is still very useful to podcasters too.  Diane Gilleland, who produces CraftyPod - a blog and podcast about making things, has put together a great list of tools to help you do more with Twitter.

My favorite from her list is HootSuite and I am excited to check out Twitalyzer.  

What are your favorite Twitter tools? And just a reminder - you can follow Libsyn on Twitter too - http://twitter.com/libsyn

- Lindsay

 


Podcast Podcasting Starter Kit For Absolute Newbies

You've been hearing about it for a while and you're finally up for jumping in. Where do you begin if you want to podcast? Especially if you are not too familiar with what exactly podcasting really is.

In order to offer the best advice I decided to put on my newbie hat and start where I would have, had I no knowledge of the subject: googling “how to podcast.” I believe that I did this exact same thing when I decided I wanted to podcast, although at that time, there weren’t so many results!

I got a headache just skimming through all the information that came up. Holy cow!

I gotta say that if I would have found what I found today, I would have given up. It would take so long to sift through all the sites out there that are simply focusing on keywords, making money on adwords and those that actually have helpful easy to digest information that will in fact help you start podcasting.

So, I decided to make it as simple as possible and give you a place to start and avoid the pain of sifting through all the clutter.

If you are serious about podcasting and want to do it either for your own personal self expression or as a business move, your first step is to listen.

Part of learning anything is aligning yourself with those that are doing it, and doing it well. Podcasting is about giving voice, personal expression and freedom. All of these are nothing if not fueled by passion- passion for your work, your relationship, your hobby, or whatever has meaning to you. What better way to attune yourself to those that can lead the way than to listen to their voices?

The following are specific episodes from podcasts about podcasting whose subject matter will both provide information and inspiration about podcasting. I'll provide download links for each episode as well as the specific podcast website and iTunes podcast page.

After listening to these podcasts I hope that you gather optimal information and support to embark on your journey as a podcaster. Consider downloading the files and making yourself a little podcast starter kit playlist to get you all fired up!

The Art of Podcasting Through Podcaster Voices:

These 3 interviews come directly from the Podcast411 Podcast (direct link to iTunes). SOOO worth your time.

  • Leo LaPorte: Leo talks about podcasting, gear, and geeks out remembering the old while creating his current massive domination. He’s very candid and courteous about a lot of information. direct link to episode MP3

  • Tiki Bar: It’s so fascinating to see how artists are able to transform mediums. Jeff Macpherson is one of those folks. I dare you to listen to his creative process and work flow and not wanna grab a video camera and go at it :) He shares all about how Apple contacted him regarding featuring Tiki Bar in one of the keynotes, awesome. direct link to episode MP3

  • Grammar Girl: So inspiring to see what podcasting can become. Mignon is down to earth and accessible, incredibly talented and organized. It’s such a treat to hear her explain the creation of the Quick and Dirty Tips Network. Hearing her tell the story of how she ended up on Oprah is awesome! direct link to episode MP3

There are so many more interviews to listen to. Subscribe in iTunes or go to podcast411.com

Can You Make A Living Podcasting

  • Cliff Ravenscraft: This interview is from the Smart Passive Income Podcast (direct link to iTunes). It has an incredible amount of important and powerful information about podcasting and making money, plus it’s a great introduction to the Podcast Answer Man. After listening to this one, you will be chomping at the bit to get started. Cliff and Pat are both amazing sources of information. direct link to episode MP3

Subscribe to the Podcast Answer Man(direct iTunes link). Cliff has HOURS UPON HOURS of insight and commentary on and about podcasting.

The Smart Passive Income Podcast is not about podcasting but offers a wealth of information about exactly what the title states ;).

Ready To Get Started Podcasting?

There are other podcasting tutorials out there. There are tons of books out there. I found that Alison Sheridan’s series Podcasting on Podcasting (direct iTunes link) gets right to it and does it in the most accessible way that I have come across.

Here are links to the MP3s of the first two episodes of the series (click and the file will automatically download:

There are only 11 succinct and easy to digest episodes. By no means is this the be all and end all of how-to podcast, and some things are a bit outdated, but Allison is such an amazing teacher that you will absolutely have a clear understanding of how to begin and most importantly what questions to ask to get better at it!

Find Podcasting on Podcasting in iTunes.

If you can’t get enough of Allison, you can get much more of her on the Nosillacast Podcast hosted at podfeet.com

Listening to all these episodes will take you about 3 hours, that’s almost no time at all! Especially if you listen in your car, or when you're working out or even playing Cut The Rope ;)

I hope you are inspired and choose to take the plunge into the world of podcasting.

When you are done, why not come on back and share your thoughts? If you are a seasoned podcaster, what podcasts or specific podcast episodes have inspired you?

Share the love!

- Elsie Escobar


9 Health and Fitness Podcasts and Apps For Sustaining Healthy Living in 2011

This time of year is when the majority of us decide it’s time to get healthy, or at minimum start to make better choices about our health. I've already seen a ton of posts out there guiding folks towards the best health and fitness apps and there will be a lot more how-to guidance from the health and fitness community.

The hardest aspect about living a healthier life beyond the first step is sustainability.

Without a doubt at the beginning of the year, there is a vast amount of support from many different places: local news, newspaper articles, special reports, magazine features, digital products, blog posts…I could go on and on. This helps whatever choice you have made stay front of mind, but as the year goes along, holding steady to your resolutions will become pretty darn hard.

Since diet and fitness is not our expertise ;) we offer you a few podcasts that will help you maintain your commitment toward living a healthier lifestyle.

Why podcasts? Because they are intimate, personal, community oriented, accessible and generally produced by folks that are absolutely passionate about what they do. Who wouldn’t want that person in their corner while attempting to take control of their health?

Podcasts offer you an array of points of view that are not only about your own individual fitness and diet choices but show you a well rounded approach toward living a whole healthy life.

  1. Sustainable World Radio– As you get healthier you'll want the world around you to be just as healthy. This podcast offers you ways to take your health beyond your own body to the next level.

  2. The Living Barefoot Show– Hadn’t heard about running barefoot and it’s plethora of health benefits? This podcast will get you up to speed with insight, philosophy, gear and news regarding the newest fitness/health craze of running and living barefoot!

  3. Phedippidations– Running is a passion for so many people. If you are remotely thinking of starting to run in your fitness routine, this show is a must! If you listen consistently and you are not running or have never run, you will. Guaranteed. Bonus: this is one of the longest running and most consistent podcasts ever!

  4. Yogamazing– So running is not your thing, how about some yoga. Chaz offers you some easy to digest short video classes to get you started. He has tons of videos with different themes and focuses.

  5. Meditation Oasis and Meditation Station– Optimal fitness isn’t just about your physical body, our minds and the key towards true transformation. These podcast offers an array of short meditations and visualizations for different kinds of emotional and physical situations: anger, stress, creativity, rest, etc.

  6. Vegetarian Food for Thought Podcast– Obviously food plays a huge part in health and wellness. Even if your choice in diet is not a vegan lifestyle, this podcast gives you ways for to make more informed food choices.

  7. Build A Sexy Body– Love the description of this podcast “Honest and powerful information so you can get into the best shape ever.” The information ranges from specific information regarding building a specific body part, tips for gym workouts, cooking and tons fitness related information.

  8. The Reasonable Diet’s 6 Minute of Sanity– Information, motivation, tips and more toward firmly embarking and sticking with a more directed weight loss plan. Sandra gives great every day advice and is an awesome diet coach to have in your corner.

  9. Elsie’s Yoga Class– Full Disclosure, this is my podcast :) Taking yoga classes in yoga studios is expensive and perhaps for newbies, a bit intimidating. This audio podcast is designed to bring the class experience to you. Classes range from absolute beginners to more advance practitioners with occasional mini video tutorials.

These podcasts are awesome ways to keep you motivated throughout the year! Just download of few episodes of each and when you are feeling less than motivated tap that play button and listen!

BONUS: All the podcasts above have corresponding mobile apps that offer really helpful and in depth extra content for their show as well as greater accessibility!

We hope you have a sustainable healthy and happy entire new year :)

If you have a favorite health, fitness or cooking podcast that is your favorite, why not share it in the comments?

- Elsie