Starting a podcast was one of the best decisions I made for my personal and professional life. My first podcast, She Did It Her Way, I created with two friends to interview female entrepreneurs. We pick their brains about how they started their businesses, made sacrifices, faced challenges, and (for some) left their jobs to pursue their dreams.
Then, I did the same. I left my job as an Actuarial Consultant to pursue my dream of helping other millennial-aged women, and myself to be honest, navigate the world of managing their finances and making money work for them.
THE WORDS+MONEY PODCAST WAS BORN. (NOW, THE WANDER WEALTHY PODCAST)
Every week, I get to sit down, sometimes with other inspiring woman, and talk business and money, but your podcast can be entirely different.
The best part about podcasting? It's completely up to you what you put out into the world, and you can do it even if you're on a budget (which is obvs my favorite way to roll).
I've made friends, met business partners, expanded my network, learned all about the world of online marketing, expanded my knowledge on personal finance, and learned how to make money online from the comfort of my own home, all because I started a podcast on the topic.
IMAGINE WHAT STARTING A PODCAST CAN DO FOR YOU.
So here are my step-by-step directions on How To Start A Podcast (on the cheap). Exactly how I did it (with even cheaper options that I've found through my research!) and how you can do it and be successful too!
THE MOST AFFORDABLE WEBSITE OPTION
First and foremost, you need a home for your show. This is the place that people will go to listen to your show, get more deets (like in the show notes), and connect with you. It's your website.
Let's get you a website: Open this and follow my steps, below.
So how do you get a website? Well first, you just need to get a self-hosted domain. (See mine up top? It's “www.wanderwealthy.com” because I went out and bought my domain name and then I self-hosted it which means I 100% own my website.)
All the smart kids on the block know that you need to be self-hosted. It's really the way to go if you want full control over your site (and maybe someday make some extra bucks on the side-side).
GET YOUR DOMAIN:
Go to Bluehost.com. (their website is super sleek and their customer support is on fleek… that wasn't supposed to rhyme, but I'm pretty proud that it did.) It's really one of the cleanest platforms I've seen, and it is sooo reasonably priced.
Bluehost will self-host your website for $3.95 per month (say wha?! that's less than a latte with almond milk!) AND it includes a free domain for the first year as long as you buy hosting for 12 months, which… why wouldn't you?
All you really have to do is head over to Bluehost (<– my special link gets you a deeeep discount!) and select a plan. I'll be the first to tell you that the “Basic” plan is all you need at this point in time… I'm pretty #basic on all my websites.
Pick your website domain (name)… this is the MOST important part. Don't mess this up! Unfortunately, www.alldogsgotoheaven.com is already taken… I checked.
After you fill in your domain, you'll select your package information and be on your way. Note: some of the boxes might be checked when you hit the “package information” section. Really, the ONLY add-on that I recommend is the “Domain Privacy Protection” if you are purchasing your FREE domain through Bluehost. Selecting this will hide your personal details that are attached to your domain so all of that will remain confidential.
Imagine, getting 3 years of your website that can one day make you a solid living for under $48 a year, plus a free year of your domain with a 12-month plan. Not to mention, you have a 30-day money back guarantee. – BOOM! (Just in case you get that buyer's remorse.)
I don't tell you this because you would want to get a refund, I tell you this because companies that offer killer customer service like this (unlike some utility/cable companies we all know and love <wink>) just make me giddy, and I trust that they aren't trying to screw me over.
Here are the top reasons to love Bluehost:
FOR A MORE DETAILED STEP-BY-STEP TUTORIAL SEE: HOW TO BUILD A WEBSITE EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO SKILLS
SET UP YOUR WEBSITE:
Getting the domain isn't the end of it, but it is the end of you paying any money for your podcast home. Once you have your Bluehost domain, it's time to set up your actual website, and they make it super easy for you to get your website off the ground with Bluehost's 1-Click WordPress Install.
Worpress.org (not “.com” <– this is not self-hosted!) is a great website building platform. It allows you to completely personalize for the look and feel you want your website to have because it's yours and you own it.
Setting up a website on WordPress.org is completely FREE!
(Of course, you could purchase a pretty template if you don't like any of the vast number of free templates that are flying around the web-o-sphere, but that will run you around $50. Still a steal.)
I use Divi from Elegant Themes on this site, in case you're wondering. It's super easy to use and really nice if you're coming from a drag-and-drop website builder (like Squarespace or Wix) which is something I had originally done.
Now, it's a bit of a mess on my end. I use Squarespace to host my podcast's “blog” and WordPress to host everything else. That's because I started on Squarespace and haven't done the work to move EVERYTHING over yet.
But there are many reasons I now use WordPress, but for one–it's a much better platform if you're planning on turning your podcast or blog into a business–also, Squarespace is not the cheapest option (Bluehost+Wordpress.org actually is).
So that's why I recommend this combo for anyone getting started. Do it this way if you're looking to monetize in the future and build a business from your new venture. If it's purely a hobby blog/podcast, and you love Squarespace or Wix (or WordPress.com or Blogger.com which… I just wouldn't) then by all means! They are both great user-friendly platforms!
STEP 2: ALL THE TOOLS YOU NEED
Conducting Calls for Interview-Based Episodes:
You will want to use Skype to have a remote interview discussion. Skype is video-calling application that you can download on any type of computer for FREE. Skype is what I started with and what I currently use; however, I know a lot of people who prefer Zoom.
Zoom is a web conferencing website, but you can enter a “Zoom room” with your interviewee to conduct interviews, then get the recorded call downloaded for your podcast. There's a free level and a monthly subscription level, so just make sure you are getting what you expect.
Always do a “test call” before your first real official interview to make sure recording equipment and your web calling platforms work properly!
Recording for Interview-Based Episodes: Along with Skype for your interviews, you'll need a recording software to capture both the input (your voice) and the output (the person on the other line). You have a couple options based on whether you have a Mac or PC.
Soloshow episodes: If your podcast will always be in-person interviews or you are the only guest, you can record the episodes using another FREE software called Audacity. Just download it on your Mac or PC and hit record. I also use this software for editing my podcast (more on this below).
Eventually, your mic will be your biggest expense (if you decide to get serious) but you can get a pretty low-cost mic that sounds great until you decide to move up.
Most Likely Free: Use your headphones with a built-in mic! (If you have some.) I wouldn't recommend bluetooth headphones though, the mics don't pick up as well. Don't stay here for long – it doesn't sound the most professional. But, I'm very much a fan of getting started before you're ready, so get started before you're ready!
Getting serious: I've spent money on some of the “more expensive” mics, and I have to be honest, the mic I use now is one of the “cheaper” ones, and it is the best mic I've ever owned. I use the Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB (very specific name, very easy-to-use mic).
It's amazing, and I've found it produces WAY better sound quality than the Yeti I once had. Doesn't track when I bump my desk or a small thing happens in the background. The ATR is about $100, comes with a mic stand, is super easy to set up, and I threw in a “foam ball-type windscreen” for 3 bucks to drown out my pops.
For soloshows and editing your audio, you will need an audio recording and editing software. I use Audacity, it's FREE for PC and Mac and it's just fine for my audio editing needs.
If you want more bells and whistles and don't mind paying a monthly fee, you can download Adobe Audition for 20 bones per month ($20/month). It will give you a little more if you're a true sound engineer.
STEP 3: WHERE TO KEEP YOUR PODCAST
YOU WILL NEED A MEDIA HOST
With my first podcast, this was the most shocking thing to learn.
You need a media host to host your audio files because you website host will not be able to support the size of your audio files + your other website content and traffic. If your podcast takes off, say goodbye to your site bandwidth and it's ability to support traffic.
I'll warn you again: DO NOT HOST YOUR AUDIO ON YOUR WEBSITE!
I personally use Libsyn. Use code “TESS” to get the rest of the current month and the entire next month FREE! (This works best if you sign up on the 2nd of the month or later. Also, do not upgrade your plan until after your free trial. I'd recommend going for the higher plan then downgrading if you feel that it's really necessary.)
For just $5 per month you can get 50mb of storage each month, but I'd recommend doing the 400mb plan with lots of extra statistics options for $20 per month, at least during your free trial!
FYI: The next level of storage is 250mb for $15 per month. High quality, longer, or more frequent episodes will require more storage. If you're podcasts aren't super short, one podcast episode per week will likely put you over the 50mb of storage each month.
Libsyn is pretty simple to use, and they have great onboarding articles and videos if you need extra help.
The most important is knowing the requirements for your podcast image. That's right, if you want to get your show up on iTunes (more on that in the next step) then you have to follow very specific rules for the image, and Libsyn is alll over it! Read more here.
Once you publish your podcast on your media host, you can either embed the player into a new blog post that corresponds to your episode, or copy the link into a different podcast player on your website.
Don't forget to use code “TESS” to get the rest of the current month and the entire next month of hosting for FREE!
STEP 4: LET THE WORLD HEAR (ITUNES AND STITCHER)
PUBLISH YOUR WORK
You will want to publish to both platforms to hit both the Apple and Android (or other) market. These platforms both have podcast apps that can be accessed on-the-go.
Uploading to Stitcher is pretty easy and intuitive once you conquer iTunes, so I'll focus on iTunes because it's a little more difficult.
You must submit an application to get published on both of these platforms. You will start by submitting your RSS feed from your media host (Libsyn in my case) as well as a show description to iTunes.
The RSS feed can be found under Destinations > Quick Links > Libsyn Classic Feed. (as shown below)
Note: it will take 2-3 business days to get up and running, and I recommend that you already have a couple episodes uploaded in your media host and published to your RSS feed before submitting to iTunes.
To submit: Go to iTunes, filter to view Podcasts. On the right hand side you'll see “Submit a Podcast.” *CLICK*
This will send you to a website where you'll log in with your iTunes ID. Then you can submit your podcast RSS feed from your media host.
It's a process. The good news? You only have to do this once. Then every time you upload your episode to your media host, it automatically submits to the published directories.
STEP 5: SET SHOW STANDARDS
ESTABLISH YOUR SHOW STANDARDS
From what you're going to talk about, how you're going to open and close, what intro music you're going to use, who you're speaking to, and the visual elements of your shows, you'll want to think of all these items to make your podcast truly cohesive.
For my music, I grabbed some royalty-free audio for free online. If you search through the crowd of corny stuff, you'll find some gems. (Well, mine might be corny too… but I embrace it.)
I paid someone $5 to record an professional intro on Fiverr, but before I got all “profesh,” I had one of my awesome friends record an intro for me.
I also use Canva.com to create my show graphics. Canva is a FREE online photo editing tool, and I absolutely love it.
I use Canva to create all of my blog and podcast graphics. It helps my brand stay cohesive and really helps me systemize the process by having a standard template for all of my graphics.
STEP 6: MEASURE YOUR PERFORMANCE
The only way you can guarantee success is by measuring and tracking your past performance, improve upon what's not working (and even what is working) and continue the cycle.
I track my performance on social media platforms, my website, and my episode downloads.
Between your website analytics (I use Google Analytics) and using a media host that offers excellent stats like Libsyn for only $2 extra per month if you're on the $5/month plan, you should be set to understand what is and isn't jiving with your audience.
Measuring performance might feel like the least sexy of it all, but you'll be impressed at how many people are tuning in to hear a piece of your mind, learn something from you, and become loyal followers and listeners throughout the time that you're slinging podcasts to the world.
Now, I'd love to hear from you: What are some podcast ideas you have? What's keeping you from starting your own talk-show podcast? What do you need help with?