Podcasting is currently one of the most vibrant activities in the media industry. A lot of great content has been coming out lately through podcasts, and there are even a lot of celebrities, presenters, and even writers and academics who have been creating their own podcasts for various purposes. There are podcasts aimed at education, entertainment, political commentary, and many other fields. The good thing is, you don't need much to start your own podcast.
You can do it from the comfort of your own home, and with a few essential tools, you can grow your audience exponentially without having to invest much as long as you have the material. Among these essential tools is your podcast's website, and more particularly, the plugins that will help you install a proper podcasting system that you can truly grow with. In this article, we'll walk through 10 extremely effective podcasting plugins.
- Price: Free
In this category, PowerPress is one of the most popular plugins, and I think that the reason behind this is that it was developed by actual podcasters to be used by podcasters, and so they put in there what they themselves would need or expect from a podcasting plugin. If you're a beginner podcaster and still unaware of what the best settings for your case might be, you can use the plugin in simple mode which takes all that burden off you. All you need to do is go through the very basic setup procedures and you are good to record and submit your first podcast. The plugin supports Google Play, iTunes, TuneIn, Blubrry, Stitcher, and several other podcast directories. Google Play and iTunes, in particular, are fully supported, and you can install iTune-compliant feeds to your WordPress website using this plugin.
The plugin is pretty flexible when it comes to the content's format. For audio files, PowerPress supports mp3, m4a, oga, and opus. Videos can be embedded from YouTube or uploaded in m4v, mp4, webm, or ogv format. It also allows you to import your podcast from Squarespace, PodBean, Soundcloud, LibSyn, or a number of other podcasting platforms. If you're using another podcasting plugin like PodPress, Seriously Simple Podcasting, Blogger, or TGS Podcasting, migrating from there to this plugin can be very easy. If you run multiple podcasts then it would be wise to go with this one, too, since you can run them all from the same account.
PowerPress has several tools that can help you grow your podcast's audience and get the exposure you wish for. For instance, the plugin has a shortcode that you can use in order to create a subscription page or widget. It also includes SEO tools that will help you get better rankings, both on search engines and on podcast directories like iTunes.
Smart Podcast Player
- Price: $8-12/month
This plugin can truly boost your podcast's growth on many fronts. It has some pretty smart features that are dedicated to just that. The first unique thing here is its email capturing feature. You can make your listeners fill in subscription forms and have them on the email list for your newsletter. Of course, a powerful newsletter can be a real game-changer especially when it comes to podcasts. If someone is listening to your podcast, then they are interested in one way or another in listening to your point of view about whatever you discuss. Giving them bonus content to read can work wonders in terms of branding.
Having social networks among your channels is kind of a no-brainer these days. Smart Podcast Player can make your content shareable on social media very easily, and you can customize your social sharing buttons. Generally, you can use the plugin to customize the entire color theme for your podcast's website.
Your listeners will find the interface extremely convenient, too. You can enable them to download right from the podcast player without having to be redirected to download URLs. The player has timestamps, which will enable your listeners to find exact moments in a track by just hovering. They will also have total control over the playback speed. The plugin will help you sort your episodes however you like, which is an often-neglected aspect of presenting your podcast although it can really matter. Some podcasts would do better if they gave their listeners the most recent stuff first, but for others, showing the listeners the latest episodes on the top can often confuse them and kill their interest in the podcast altogether. That tends to happen with podcasts that are a bit serial.
Seriously Simple Podcasting
- Price: $15/month
The podcasting plugins that you should trust and rely on the most are the ones that give you access to one podcast hosting platform or another like iTunes and Google Play with PowerPress, for example. This plugin is integrated with Castos, a podcast hosting platform designed specifically for WordPress websites. That way you can run your whole podcast from inside the WordPress dashboard. You are not obliged to host your podcast there, though. You're free to work from any platform whatsoever and you will find the plugin very adaptive. The plugin also enables you to customize its advanced media player and add your podcast's cover image to it.
From the same website, you can run multiple podcasts simultaneously and assign a separate RSS feed for each of them. Podcast episodes can be embedded into any type of post on the website, and the plugin provides a robust format for the RSS feeds that can be accessed from most of the major podcast platforms. Episode lists, single episodes, podcast playlists, etc., can be displayed in widgets that you can embed using shortcodes. Finally, this plugin will constantly provide you with insights into the slightest detail regarding your playback rates, durations, etc.
Podlove Podcast Publisher
- Price: Free
The best thing about this plugin is its customizability. It is completely flexible to your needs. The plugin was built using WordPress protocols and standards, and so it is fully compatible with the platform.
It has been in development for 6 years now and is still constantly updated since it is open-source and anyone can contribute to it. Podlove enables you to host your podcast on your own website, providing you with the whole foundation that you might look for in other podcast hosting platforms. You can have it all under your own control. Needless to say in this case, Podlove provides you with revenue streams so that you can profit from your podcast.
Podlove's features come in a modular format, which means that you can shape them to fit your particular needs. Users will find it easy to subscribe to and constantly follow your podcast, and with the plugin's capability to detect any damaged media files and alert you, you can guarantee that your listeners will not face any turnoffs with your podcast. You will see the difference yourself through the plugin's analytics, which will present to you the data in an informative manner, enabling you to read your audience's reactions to your content and come up with strategies to boost these rates.
- Price: Free – $12 – $18 – $24
Here's another plugin that can get your podcast out there for more people to tune in to it. Buzzsprout basically assists you from the very start where you are a beginner with no podcasting expertise to potentially a podcaster with a fairly wide audience. It helps you set up your podcast from scratch, and then guides you to the right podcasting platforms. It will show you how to get your podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast directories, as well as have it shared on social networks including Twitter and Facebook. You will find using the plugin's dashboard to upload new episodes, edit and preview existing ones, or keeping track of your episode history pretty convenient.
Buzzsprout optimizes audio files so that they fit the podcasting industry's best practices. That depends on the weight of your content, and you can enhance that capability by downloading one of the plugin's add-ons. Installing the media player on your website is only one shortcode away, and that media player is automatically optimized for mobile phones. Inside your dashboard, you will have a robust analytics center where you will receive insights on playback rates, sources of viewership, etc. Last but not least, if you don't already have a website to connect your podcast with, Buzzsprout provides you with your own website with a custom URL which you can design in full.
- Price: Free – Startup ($99) – Plus ($25/month or $225/year) – Corporate ($99/month or $999/year)
Cincopa is actually a vast multimedia platform, but we're only going to focus on its podcasting plugin. The podcasting plugin has all of the tools that are available throughout the platform, but in this case, they are all directed at serving podcasting functions. Cincopa operates using an HTML5 media player which you can use for your podcast and enjoy all of its flexible features. The player enables you to put together playlists, integrate your brand into it, and customize its whole design. You also get to add password protection to the media player, which can be as restrictive as you want it to be. It can be accessible to logged-in users and subscribers only, or simply to anybody visiting the website. Thanks to the plugin's integration with Google Analytics, you'll get to monitor your viewership figures at all times and receive consistent reports about your podcast's performance.
Besides the player's smoothness and practicality, Cincopa enables you to monetize and archive your content very easily. The platform's content delivery network (CDN) is quite robust and reliable, and there are more than 100 templates which you can choose from in order to organize and design your website. You can use the plugin to manage your subscriptions, and since it is compatible with several email list plugins, you can have your podcast's subscribers automatically subscribed to your newsletter.
Here's a plugin that you can use in order to make your podcast a bit livelier. It has animation effects that you can apply to the media player's buttons and the display of track details. There are also a few slider effects that can give your podcast some style. Listeners usually like to know all of the details about the tracks that they listen to, whether they are songs or podcasts. For that reason, tPlayer lets you display all of the relevant details about your podcast episodes along with statistics for their download and play counts. If you activate these options, listeners will be able to put your podcast on autoplay, playlist repeat, or shuffle.
The plugin's media player is mobile-friendly, but Android and iOS, unfortunately, do not enable autoplay, so your listeners will have to give up on that feature when listening from their mobile phones or tablets. Social sharing is facilitated for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+.
On your part, the plugin gives you full control over which of its features to allow your listeners to use. You can shut down any of these features with a few clicks. There are 10 different color themes that you can use in decorating your podcast's website, and you can place the audio player wherever you want, including in widgets and posts. If you are advertising on your podcast, tPlayer will also help you with that since it has an ad placement feature.
This plugin was originally intended to be used for religious sermons, but aside from its integrated Bible references, it is safe to say that Sermon Manager can be used for pretty much any type of podcast. You can add pages for your speakers, series, or even books. Given that the intended use of the plugin is a bit complex, this plugin can be perfect for educational podcasts or any podcasts with heavy material for that matter.
It allows the MP3, PDF, PPT, and DOC uploads, which means that you can give your listeners extra content to read along with or after the podcast's episodes. You can also embed videos from several sources including YouTube and Vimeo. Finally, Sermon Manager is fully compatible with WordPress.
Libsyn Podcasting Plugin
In order to use this plugin, you need to own a Libsyn account. If you don't Libsyn, it's a podcast hosting platform, and quite a powerful one, too. It provides you with publishing tools, RSS feeds for Apple and iTunes podcasts, stats, and everything else that you might need to run a decent podcast. There are other more advanced features that are provided by Libsyn. For all of these features, the Libsyn membership plans start at $5/month. This plugin was made with the aim of connecting Libsyn-hosted podcasts with their WordPress websites.
By using this plugin, you can upload your media files directly to Libsyn and have them appear in a customized RSS feed on your website. The media files are hosted on Libsyn and embedded on the website. You can also access your Libsyn FTP Dropbox through the plugin and transfer your content back and forth very efficiently and easily.
To be accurate, Podcaster is a theme for podcast websites rather than a player or podcast hosting platform. It does enable embedding very easily, though, and it is optimized for some of the top podcasting platforms including Blubrry PowerPress, Seriously Simple Podcasting, and Libsyn, allowing remote posting from any of these platforms. The reason this theme can be of great benefit to your website is its advanced design and coloring options. You can make your website look truly attractive and professional, and using Podcaster's animation effects, you can make it a bit dynamic, too.
There are no restrictions over the episodes that you are allowed to embed to this theme, and you can decide how many episodes are to appear on each page, and you can also make the latest episodes appear on the front page. Each page can carry your podcast's logo and header, and you can add cover photos to your episodes. Last but not least, Podcaster puts great emphasis on facilitating subscriptions. It lets you display subscription links or widgets, as well as links to your blog.