Podcasters often adhere to the well-known Field of Dreams quote, “If you build it they will come”. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. And this is why you might need a podcast website. Confused? Don’t worry, keep reading.
Although there are over 1.5 million podcasts out there (and growing), it is interesting to note that the number of listeners has also been steadily increasing. Today, more than 55% of the US population has listened to a podcast — and 24% have listened weekly! This means that your pool of potential listeners is huge. You just need the right knowledge and tools to reach them.
Once you’ve finally launched your podcast, the next step is to get people to actually listen to it. And although sharing your latest episode on Apple or Google Podcasts, is a great first step, it’s often not enough. So what next? How do you get people to find and ultimately listen to your content?
A podcast website is a great way to both increase listenership and bolsters your content with the use of blogs, images, and much more. In fact, podcasters have been using websites not only to share information about themselves and their work but also as a way to reach new audiences and enhance their SEO. Whether you are a seasoned marketing expert looking to grow your brand with podcasts, or simply want an effective landing page to draw in new fans, there’s an option just for you.
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In this article, we want to take you through the process of creating a website that attracts new audiences, encourages your community to interact with your work, and ultimately feeds back into the content of your podcast.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s first take a quick look at the main components of a great podcast website:
▶ A landing page that tells your audience and potential listeners about your podcast, episode highlights, and your other work. This landing page should include direct links to your social media accounts, podcatcher pages for your podcast, and your podcast’s homepage on your hosting platform.
▶ A page with all of your episodes with embedded players and SEO friendly episode descriptions, show notes, and transcripts.
▶ An ‘About Us’ section with more detail about the hosts and producers, as well as links to company accounts and websites.
▶ If you have merchandise, a new book or product, live events, a Patreon, or Steady account, you can also tell your listeners about these features.
If you want to take your website to the next level, you can also add a blog or ‘News’ page where listeners can read about your latest guests, reviews, endorsements, and articles. This is a great place for you to merge your personal brand with your podcast. If you don’t have a lot of expertise in creating a website getting an independent website audit can help you identify opportunities for improvement.
It is important to note here that if you already have a personal website, you don’t need to create a whole new website for your podcast. Instead, you can create a subdomain or just a new page within your personal website. Yvonne, our content and community specialist at Spreaker has her own personal website, so when she launched her own podcast, she just created a podcast landing page within her own website, you can see it here. Remember, creating a website is a lot of work and upkeep, so make sure you keep it as simple as possible.
If the idea of creating a website with multiple pages, and a blog element makes you sweat, then maybe a landing page is more your style. Websites are meant for exploration and information. A podcast landing page is different from a website because it’s a simple webpage with all relevant information, zero navigation elements, and a single call-to-action, usually a subscription section. Landing pages are much easier to set up and need almost no upkeep. They are also a great way to gain subscribers and provide individuals with the basic details of who you are and what your podcast is about. See an example of a landing page below 👇👇
First things first — content is king. The best way to convert listeners into fans is to regularly produce engaging, interesting and high-quality content specifically targeted to your ideal listeners. Your podcast caters to a specific niche of listeners, so make sure to identify who they are, what their needs are, and how your podcast will fulfill those needs. All too often, podcasts spend too much time marketing their content, and not enough time creating that content. In the end, your marketing efforts can not serve your purpose if you don’t have the content to back you up.
The best way to convert listeners into fans is to regularly produce engaging, interesting and high-quality content specifically targeted to your ideal listeners. Click To Tweet
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way… let’s begin. If you have a podcast, you’ve probably heard someone ask, “Where can I listen to it?” Instead of giving them a link to your podcast’s Apple Podcast URL, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or your email, you can simply send them to your podcast website page.
Remember — the easier you make it for potential listeners to get to that ‘play’ button, the more they are likely to listen and subscribe.
Once you’ve hooked your listener after that first episode, you can use your website to keep them coming back for more.
Depending on your podcast format, messaging, tone of voice, and community, you can use a website to pinpoint new audiences and then get them to listen (and keep listening)! Not only can it be a tool for audience engagement and branding, but it can also be a ‘hub’ for all the activity surrounding your podcast — from getting listener feedback, to posting show notes and transcripts, to directing listeners to your merchandise and membership platforms. And with the introduction of pre-made templates and drag-and-drop website builders, it is now easier than ever to get your podcast website online even if you aren’t that tech-savvy.
So why should you have a podcast website? Well, let us count the ways:
Content and SEO:
One of the main benefits of having a website for your podcast is SEO — also known as search engine optimization. SEO is a powerful tool to grow your audience organically if you know how to do it correctly.
SEO helps search engines find your content and put it in front of people who are Googling information that is related to specific keywords and phrases that are found on your website. Having a podcast website that has high-quality content around specific keywords related to your podcasting topic can help your website rank in Google search results. This means that someone who has never heard of your podcast can accidentally find it if they type in the right keywords in Google search.
Keyword research is vital if you are creating a podcast website.
There are a number of free tools available that can help you find the right keywords, like Ubersuggest, Google Keyword Planner, or Google Trends. There are also a number of paid tools, one of which is Keysearch — an affordable keyword research tool that is not only easy to use but also provides relevant and low competition keywords for your website.
Remember that as a new website, you will need to find the best keywords with the lowest competition, because choosing enough low competition keywords will really help boost your website ranking. You will also want to make sure that your website hosting platform optimizes your website for mobile viewers — many search engines will place ‘Mobile First’ websites at the top of their rankings.
In the end, this is a brief and simplified overview of SEO, so if you’d like to learn more about the world of technical SEO, ‘alternate’ linking, and more, check out this awesome blog from the team at Podcastpage. In the meantime, here are a few examples of websites that make excellent use of extra content and blogs in order to increase their keyword volume and SEO.
We’re big fans of everything that the 99% Invisible team does, but are particularly impressed with the companion articles that accompany each episode. As you’ll see in this article accompanying an episode entitled “Goodnight Nobody,” the team has assembled historical information, photos, links, and SEO-optimized copy. This ensures that when people search terms like ‘New York Public Library,’ ‘Anne Carroll Moore’, and ‘children’s library,’ the episode is likely to appear higher in search results and more potential listeners are likely to stumble upon the podcast’s website.
Similarly, the Crime Junkie team always makes sure that their listeners are getting the most out of each episode by posting resources, show notes, sources, and additional materials and photos on their website for each episode. In this example, they have a wealth of resources and backlinks for those looking to learn more about the particular case covered in the episode.
The website for the Busy Being Black podcast by Josh Rivers is another example of a companion website that hits all the main points; it tells the backstory and manifesto of the podcast, has quotes and testimonials from both guests and listeners, dozens of backlinks, SEO friendly content, and gorgeous photos to engage the listener. It also links to the podcast’s hosting page and relevant social links. The team also has engaging video content, highlight clips, and more on the website.
Transcriptions are an easy way to increase the content on your website and in turn reach new audiences. Having your episodes transcribed on your website enables search engines to ‘read’ your website for keywords, which increases the chance that someone will find you on Google search. Also, having interview and episode transcriptions will enable you to turn your audio into keyword-rich blog posts, newsletters, and articles. Podcasts like Reply All tend to embed episode transcriptions on their website, while Fresh Air uses transcribed interviews to build out ‘interview highlights’ for each guest. For embedded scroll-through transcription windows, check out Happyscribe.
Furthermore, there may be hearing-impaired individuals who have an interest in your content and would prefer to consume it in a written format. This is a great opportunity to reach them and ensure that they can also enjoy your work.
One of the best ways to build a website that attracts new listeners is to learn about your potential audience very early on and present them with SEO friendly content that will keep them engaged and coming back for more. If you have a podcast about architects in Europe, and you know that most of your listeners are early-career architects and architecture students, then you’ll be able to gear your podcast and website content to peak their interests. This audience profile may encourage you to feature interviews with younger architects, profiles of academics exploring new architecture theories, and even hosting special reports on the world of 3D printed architectural models. Once you are able to hone in on your key audience, then you’ll be able to adapt your website and its content accordingly.
People listen to podcasts because it feels like they’re listening in on a chat between friends. Podcasts create familiarity and a form of trust between listeners and hosts. This trust can be further nurtured and developed through your website. Some podcast websites, like that of Restorya, give listeners the chance to leave voice messages and sound clips with widgets like Say.Link. Others use messaging plugins like LiveChat or the Facebook Messenger chat plugin, as a way to open the lines of communication between themselves and their audience. In the end, the possibilities are endless, your website can have quizzes, surveys (embedded with the WordPress Form Generator), listener stories, or even email subscription pop-ups.
This is also an opportunity to write copy in the ‘voice’ of your podcast and show potential listeners what you’re all about. Your podcast has a personality, brand, and voice of its own. You’ll want to apply this to your website as well. You can also use this space to tell your own story. It’s a great way to convey why you’re doing the podcast. It also explains what makes you an expert in your field and why they should listen.
While this may seem like a lot to juggle at the beginning of your podcast website’s journey, you can always start with a simple landing page for your listeners. Just a little reminder, podcast landing pages are single-page websites that feature the key information about your podcast, links to the latest episodes, as well as links to your social media accounts. Whether you’re starting out with a landing page or a fully built-out website, you should always direct your listeners to subscribe to the podcast itself.
Linking back to your interviewees and guests:
Depending on your podcast’s format and intended audience, another motivation for guests to come on your podcast could be the potential for cross-pollination and back-linking. If you’re able to build out a unique blog post for their episode or interview, they’re more likely to link back to you for their own marketing purposes. For example, the “We Are Podcast” show features a unique landing page with links to its guests’ socials, websites, and more. In turn, guests are much more likely to link back to that unique landing page, which is also known as a backlink.
Backlinks are especially important for SEO purposes because, as explained by Backlinko, they are seen by Google and other major search engines as votes for a specific page — these votes tell search engines that this particular link provides valuable, credible, and useful information. The more vote or backlinks a page has, the more likely it is to have a high organic search engine ranking.
Whether you’re approaching a company to sponsor you with some podcasting equipment, or connecting with potential advertisers, using your website as another avenue of advertisement may sway sponsors when choosing whether or not to work with you. If you approach a company and say that you can not only advertise their products and services on your episodes but your popular website as well, then there’s a greater chance that they’ll choose to partner with you.
Many podcasters feature their sponsors on their website’s homepage, as well as on podcast episodes. Once you’re able to show that your website has traction, you’ll be able to bundle your advertisement offering to sponsors — thus, making you a much more attractive investment. We also recommend that you post episode highlights on your website so that you can call attention to your best work.
Directing Your Audience to Your Newsletter:
Many podcasts prefer to publish weekly or monthly newsletters for their community with updates, exclusive content, visual elements, and more. If you want to drive traffic to your newsletter and increase subscriptions, most website hosting platforms feature a call-to-action pop-up that is integrated with our newsletter services like TinyLetter or Mailchimp. Some plugins connect with your Google Suite account and can store the emails in a spreadsheet to be imported later.
If you have a large email list, then we would also recommend looking into mass email services for marketing emails and automated campaigns for your podcast.
Last but not least, a website is a great way to give potential members a teaser for the exclusive content and features you keep behind your paywall. Linking to your membership platforms will encourage them to join your community for more of the awesome content you’ve reserved for patrons. You can always have a few blog posts, exclusive episodes, and podcast extras on your homepage. But always redirect people to become paying members.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s address another common question.
In short, no. It is never too early or too late to build out a website for your podcast or audio project. We recommend starting to build out a dedicated website at the beginning of your podcast’s journey. The website will drum up interest and support for your upcoming release. Plus — as Squarespace’s motto states — ‘a website makes it real.’ With a website, your podcast transforms from a fun idea shared between a group of friends, to a full-fledged platform.
That being said, it’s also never too late. If you start your website, later on, you’ll benefit from already having a wealth of information and content. You’ll also benefit from having an already established audience, tone of voice, and mission statement. So it will be easy to populate each page with SEO-friendly copy that represents your podcast and your community.
Jill Beytin is the Founder of Bear Radio, Berlin’s English language podcasting network. She has worked at radio stations around the world, as well as at NPR in Washington, D.C. She teaches workshops, leads podcasting meetups, and works to grow the podcasting ecosystem in Berlin.