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Setting up WordPress for Podcasting

There are a number of different content management systems that you can use to start your website, one of the most popular is WordPress.org. In this post we will look at setting up WordPress for podcasting. It is worth noting that this post assumes you already have your WordPress install setup and configured on a web server (we will be covering this in another post).

Themes

You can make WordPress do pretty much whatever you want, that is one of the great things about it. WordPress uses things called themes for the look and feel of your website, you can either find one for free in the official WordPress theme directory or you can go ahead and purchase one from companies such as WooThemes or ThemeForest (there are plenty of others also available). Which theme you choose is very much down to what you like, I personally would recommend sticking with a simple them to begin with and expand from there. The best ones tend to be the ones that can really show off all of your content immediately to the user, either showing the full post or an excerpt (a small snippet of the full content), as soon as the user has to start searching for the content on your website you will lose their attention.

Plugins

Once you have chosen a theme it is time to get some plugins installed. If you don’t already know plugins are things that you can install on WordPress to extend the functionality and add extra features. We will start off with some of the basic plugins that you should be installing onto any WordPress installation and work up to some specially tailored for podcasting or for other content.

  1. Akismet
    Akismet is one that comes pre-installed with most WordPress installations. It is a plugin designed to combat one of the most annoying things with owning a website, spam comments. We have used it on MunchTech for many, many years and we can safely say that we have never had a single spam comment slip through whilst Akismet has been enabled.It is super simple to setup, all you need to do is enter your API key that you receive from them once you have signed up. You can also use this API key for multiple WordPress installations.
  2. Disqus Comment System
    If you don’t like the built in WordPress comment system (which I don’t) or you want some extended functionality, I highly recommend signing up for and installing the Disqus comment system plugin. This will add a new comment system to your website that you can monitor from the Disqus website, you can manage multiple websites from one location on their site.
  3. Statpress
    Wordpress by default does not have any analytics built in. You could choose to use Google Analytics but the one plugin I have always installed on any new WordPress install is Statpress, it offers a lot of analytics functionality and remains very simple to use and interpret the data.
  4. Wordfence Security
    This is one of my favourite security plugins for WordPress. WordPress is not the leaky ship it used to be anymore but it is still well worth having something like this installed. One of the things I mainly use it for is locking out the login screen, there are a number of attacks where bots will just try generic usernames and passwords (tip: NEVER use the ‘admin’ username), you can set Wordfence up to automatically lock these attempts out after so many tries.
  5. LockdownWP
    This one goes hand-in-hand with the Wordfence Security plugin. Like I mentioned above most attacks are attempts to brute force the login screen using generic usernames and passwords. We got to a stage with the MunchTech.tv site where we were getting so many notifications from Wordfence that people (bots) were being locked out that we needed to add another layer. LockdownWP allows you to change the URL of the /wp-admin login page. Now when you visit /wp-admin you will be greater with a “You need permission[…]”, you can then choose a new location for the login page (note: once you are logged in, you will be able to visit /wp-admin as normal).
  6. PowerPress
    This one is for the people who want to setup their WordPress site for podcasting/media publishing more than anything. The PowerPress plugin makes it nice and simple to add your audio or video content to your WordPress posts. There are a plethora of options in the PowerPress menu but it comes pretty much ready to use out of the box. You can also use PowerPress to generate your podcasts RSS feed for you, although I would not recommend this as I have seen it be a bit messy (we will be talking in another post creating, publishing and updating RSS feeds).
  7. Pretty Link
    Pretty Link is a little gem in the WordPress Plugin world, it makes creating ‘pretty’ links super easy. If you are directing users somewhere on your podcast you don’t want to be reading out a super long URL! You can use Pretty Link to create a smaller, more readable URL to direct users to the longer URL. For example if you want to share a YouTube video instead of reading out the long URL that YouTube gives you, you can create a link like this http://example.com/ThisGreatVideo, much easier! Pretty Link also offers a number of other features, for example you can see how many people have visited through your ‘Pretty Link’ URL which is handy.

Conclusion

There are definitely a load of other plugins and things I could cover but this was just meant to be a ‘getting started’ type post. Keep on the lookout here for more plugin and theme recommendations along with any tips and tricks about WordPress that we may post. The easiest way to keep up would be to subscribe to the newsletter in the sidebar or to subscribe to the Podcast Assist RSS.

If you want more help or to speak to us directly, then take a look at the “One to One” page. We also cover more about this in The Ultimate Guide to Podcasting book.