I just thought I would through this out and see what others might say on the subject of websites for podcasters. I don't know if I would be more or less the typical listener but my experience can't be that far off. Keep in mind, a say this as a trucker with a podcast, and a trucker who listens to podcasts.
When I discovered podcasts 4 years ago I had a Palm hand held device with wifi. I soon went to a BlackBerry smartphone so I could find more podcasts and update them regularly. Even today I download podcasts with my pod catcher on a 3 year old BlackBerry.
My point is this; I have about 35 podcasts that I regularly listen to. Three of these are daily shows. I rarely ever visit their websites. In most cases I have never been to their website. The only sites I have visited are the ones on podcasting that I found impossible to do without for building my site, and/or the ones I wanted to reward by using their affiliate links for products and services I have used over the years. Also, I have made a few donations to a Christian podcast, and I am a "member" of one podcast community, although I have never posted a comment on their site. I am a member because I love the show and I get a few discounts from the show's sponsors.
With this in mind, I have to thing about where my focus should be next. Should I focus on a killer website that I don't think the bulk of my target listener will ever see? Or, should I focus on better audio content, better sound quality and getting my show ready to submit to iTunes and the other podcasting services?
Tom Ballard Jesusfreaktrucker.com
I guess it matters on what your audio sounds like. There is some hiss to your episode. You might want to check your recording levels. The one thing having a nice looking webstie is when I was persuing a sponsor. They do see you before they hear you. They sponsored my podcast and one thing they mentioned is they really liked the look of my website. From there they were interested in the stats and downloads, etc. If you're not interested in making money with your podcast, you might ignore this. Your website doesn't look bad at this point. It is very gray. As I see you are using thesis, that means you planned it that way. You could always look into a header graphic. You can only make a first impression once. Spicing up the look of your website is probably less expensive than buying new equipment.
One other tip, hit stop on the recorder before turning down the CB at the end of the podcast. It will sound better.
Keep testifying to the truth my friend.
I would suggest creating a "really decent" website for your podcast. It doesn't have to be "KILLER" by any stretch of the imagination. However, please know that 30% to 50% of your audience will listen to your podcast right from the website.
You site should be easy to navigate and should included an audio player with each new post so they can listen to the episode without leaving your page. It should also be easy to browse through the archives of your show.
Any simple WordPress theme will be just fine for this.
Financial investments should certainly go more toward better sound quality and the bulk of your time would be best spent in preparing great CONTENT for your podcast.
More people will visit your site than you might imagine.
Once you are getting your website up and running, you'll eventually get to the place where you will want to GROW your audience. At that time, you'll learn all about the benefits of engaging with your community via Social Networks. The goal is to make it SUPER EASY for your community to refer all their friends to your podcast. 99% of the time, this referral will be to your show's website!!!! Just keep that in mind. ;)
Hi Dave - I agree with what Cliff said pretty much. But it really depends on what your goal for your site is too. There is a lot of work that goes in to creating an awesome website, and that doesn't really have anything to do with the design!
You want it to be professional first of all. You don't need jquery sliders, or other really cool visual effects on a site, but it does need to look like you've invested the time and effort in to making a professional presentation. You don't have to look like a Fortune 500 company, but you don't want to look like you're using a cookie-cutter theme either. Studiopress has a lot of AWESOME child themes for Wordpress, I'd suggest looking there for something easy to install and manage.
Then you have to think, who is your target visitor, and why are they at your site? What do you want them to find? What are they going to find? Are those the same thing? They should be for sure.
Setting some goals for what you're hoping to achieve with your site is a good way to get yourself going in the right direction without having to spend a lot of money on a designer like me.
I've written a few posts on website planning that may help on this.
Having a Podcast of my own and being part of the Podcast Mastermind I would have to tell you that you will want to have a decent looking website, but most importantly you will want to be producing great content foremost. It is easy to get trapped into trying to do all sorts of different things with your website when in reality you are taking time away from having Producing Content. Better to have content with a decent looking site, than having an amazing looking site, with very little content.
Great question, Tom! Let's address a few things.
Whom is your website for? If it's for your listeners, then you need to have valuable shownotes that listeners will need, and then you have to always tell your listeners to go there. (Make sure your shownotes are easy to get to—never tell your audience to "find" anything.)
I would guess that the podcasts whose websites you don't visit either provide no value in their shownotes, or don't remind you where to get them. Like I share in my episode about writing better shownotes, there are several things your shownotes must have: any list, link, video, reference, quotation, image, or anything else that doesn't translate well in audio.
If you're not writing good shownotes, then there's not much need for your current listeners to visit your website.
But your website isn't just for your current subscribers.
Like Cliff said, a large percentage of your audience may want to listen to your podcast through your website. How easy have you made it for them to do so?
But the biggest advantage a good website will give you is attracting new listeners. That's why you must have an effective website. This doesn't mean "wowing" every visitor, but clearly communicating to your new visitors:
Good shownotes will help you with search-engine optimization (SEO). This brings new website visitors. Then it's your website's job to turn regular website visitors into listeners and subscribers. If your website doesn't do this, then your audience won't grow.
I'm a freelance web designer (for hire) and I'd be happy to work with you to improve your website. But I'll be honest in saying there are plenty of simple things you can do yourself without paying anyone else.
Hi, why do you have to decide whether to have a killer site or a killer podcast? Just have both ;)
Seriously, with the WP themes available these days, you can have a killer looking theme up in minutes!