6 Resources to Build Your Own Podcast and Website for Less Than $150

How to set up a website and host a podcast with 0 programming skills

In my writing journey, I’ve shared what I learned about writing, coming up with ideas, how to ask for help, how to write with your reader in mind, finding your writing voice, etc.

When I started out, I always knew I wanted to turn my short stories into a podcast too. Last February, I finally launched my podcast and the first two episodes. Since I’ve released one episode a month. Slowly I’m starting to get more downloads too :-).

I didn’t want to spend much money on launching my podcast, but it needed to be professional. Here are the 6 resources I used in launching my podcast.

1. A Squarespace website ($15 p/m)

I launched my website www.turnerstories.com in September 2017. On my site I publish one short fiction story every month, inspired by humanity, technology & fairy tales.

At that time, I wasn’t working on the podcast just yet. I was working on promoting my site and stories — this was even before I started publishing on Medium too.

I selected a template on Squarespace.com (I think I have “Native”). Just your basic blogging template, but it looks nice and clean. The first month is free, then it’s $15 a month. And the best thing is, I didn’t have to program anything myself!

The interface is very user-friendly, like Apple user-friendly. In a couple of hours, I had fixed the template to my liking. The right colors, fonts, sizes, menu, footer (I made that one up myself since there is no standard footer option), pictures, and the first story.

Squarespace has a lot of build in (and awesome) features. The best one being able to host your own podcast on your website. I danced a little when I found about that because I had been contemplating opting for either Libsyn or Blubrry and I it just seemed too daunting. As per accident, I found that I could just use my Squarespace site. Lucky me, lucky you. And it’s easy!

So with turnerstories.com, I had established my go-to site for all things concerning my writing, even a link to a merchandise store with prints from the illustrations (not quite successful so far), a bio, an illustrations gallery and since February, my podcast.

Once you have an episode ready, your podcast could be up in a matter of minutes. It works the same as putting up a blog, except on this occasion you upload audio files and fill in the specs for Apple. Tada! (The first episode takes a bit longer than minutes because Apple has to create your account, but every new episode is online in minutes).

More on the connection to the iTunes Store and requirements for Apple here.

A step by step guide to uploading your podcast on Squarespace can be found here.


2. The gear ($120)

Ok, I already had this mic, so that saved me a lot of money, but you can get it on Amazon for 120 bucks. It’s a Zoom H1 Handy Recorder with a Lavalier Mic and cable. You need a headphone or earphones too, but I assume you already own one (no Bluetooth!).

I simply clip on the Lavalier Mic on my shirt and start reading. I just go along, if I make a mistake or mispronounce something, I redo that phrase and continue. You can edit mistakes out later. Simple.

I can imagine there are tons of better devices and recorders out there. I just happen to have used this for making video’s in my job. But, if you’re starting out, don’t spend too much. Maybe if I ever get lucky to have tons of podcast followers I’ll upgrade.


3. Audacity for Editing (free)

My friend told me Audacity is almost a prehistoric piece of software, but it does the trick!

Relatively easy for editing your spoken words. Especially with some convenient Youtube tutorials.

Cut, delete, move around and paste. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
Import your Intro’s, sounds, stories and outro’s and have fun listening to yourself. (I know, it’s hideous).

4. Jingle and sound effects ($5 on Fiverr.com)

Ever listened to a podcast? All of them have some sort of jingle or recurring sound effect. It adds a lot to your podcast and I think it makes it sound more professional. But where to find an orchestra?

I took to fiverr.com and searched for jingles. There are a lot of talented people who can deliver your jingle according to your wishes. I found one for $5! (I was prepared to pay more, but I just wanted to see what 5 bucks would buy me).

Good luck instructing the composer what you’re looking for. My oh my was that difficult! I requested something along the lines of:

“I want a mysterious jingle. Adventurous. A mix between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.” Good luck, mate.

I was pleasantly surprised! I took a 15-second snippet and another 5-second “break” jingle. And that for $5.


5. Auphonic for Mastering (free — 2 hours p/m)

Once you’re finished editing in Audacity and you’ve saved your episode in .wav, you can upload it to auphonic.com. A free resource to master your audio. Think: eliminating noise and making sure the volume of your voice is even, etc.

I didn’t even know such a thing like mastering existed, but I asked a friend who has a successful podcast. (I recommend you explore beside this article and ask people who have already launched a podcast for more tips).

In Auphonic, upload your file and name it accordingly (very important for search results)! Add an image too and use the appropriate settings. In a couple of minutes (depending on the length of your podcast) your file is mixed in mp3 format.

Note: you get 2 hours of free mastering time per month.

6. Podtrac for Statistics/Apple Beta Statistics (both free)

This was probably the most difficult part. Since Libsyn and Blubrry offer statistical analysis with their hosting, and Squarespace only offers RSS feed info, how was I to know people even listened to my podcast?

Since December 2017, Apple offers their own statistical analysis tool. However, this only works if they can retrieve sufficient data, i.e. you have a substantial amount of followers. Since I’m starting out, and you may too, I suggest you use another tool. The tool I found by accident was Podtrac. The only thing you need to do is add a piece of code to your podcast file settings on your Squarespace website — it’s all explained on their website.

So now I know my podcast is the most popular in the US, followed by Spain. Who would have thought?

Conclusion

With these 6 resources, you’re able to start your own podcast for less than $150! But I encourage you to find out more about podcasting and compare the services. These resources just happened to work for me because they’re cheap and easy to use.

What are the extra costs involved? A lot of time and effort. A lot. And patience. Patience to slowly grow your following.

So, what kind of podcast do you want to launch?


Want to check out my podcast and listen to my short stories while your commuting, cooking or running? Listen to the Turner Stories Podcast.

Check out the Turner Stories Podcast in iTunes.

Originally published at www.turnerstories.com.


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