What Do I Need To Start A Podcast?

I have had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people at the St. Louis Podcasting MeetUp Group. We have had three get-togethers with a variety of topics like “Recording Your First Podcast Episode” and “How Can I Use Podcasting To Grow My Business”.

But the conversation always meanders back to “What do I need to start a podcast?

Here is a simple list of what you should have to start a successful podcast.

Note: Some of the items below include affiliate links and/or coupon codes that will earn a commission and/or save you some money!

Domain: Give your website a name

I highly recommend you purchase a domain for your website. This is the web address people will type into their web browser or on their smartphone to look for your content. Make it memorable and unique without using numbers, stop words or homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings like four, for, and fore).

If the domain is primarily for your podcast and you are 100% certain you will never use it for anything else then using the word “podcast” in the domain name might help you get an address that would otherwise be taken. This tip works really well for TV show fan clubs who podcast.

Website host: Give your website a home

Web hosting companies help you give your website a home. This is the company that hosts all your images and articles and data in a way that other people can access. You absolutely need a web hosting company when using your own domain.

Note: You could have a free website hosted by WordPress.com (note the .com in the title) or Blogger.com but you lose many things like SEO or the ability to fully customize the functionality and design of your website.

UPDATE: I no longer recommend BlueHost. You can contact me for the story, but there are many other options out there. My current provider is RedCanoeMedia.com and I'm very happy with what Will Hanke offers. (Tell him Steve Stewart sent you).

Media host: Give your recordings a home

I highly recommend a media host for podcasters. You could have your website store all the megabytes of data (if they offer unlimited storage), but what happens when your show becomes popular?

The problem with having your website serving your podcast MP3 files (downloads to subscribers) is that it can be too much for your server to handle – and it will crash your website! There are other benefits to paying a hosting service for your MP3s (and videos) but keeping your site alive is the main one worth paying for.

I recommend libsyn.com (click here and use the Promo code “fincon” for your first month free) or Blubrry.com (use coupon code “SOPfree”).

WordPress engine and themes: Give your site some style

Once you have all the accounts set up then my next recommendation is to use WordPress as the architecture and engine for your website. There are too many wonderful things to say about WordPress so you will just have to trust me.

Once WordPress is installed on your site you will have the option to use one of the default themes, install a different free theme, or choose from thousands of premium themes on the Internet. I’ve installed three different themes on this site and try new ones from time-to-time.

It’s quick and easy to do.

Microphone: Give your podcast audio a boost

ATR2100 microphone

You don’t need to purchase a microphone if your computer has a built-in mic. However, if you want your podcast to sound more professional and you have a few more dollars to spend then I recommend purchasing a microphone.

There are thousands of options to choose from but I have found the ATR-2100 to be the most versatile, budget-friendly, and expandable microphone to date.  

The ATR-2100 is both an XLR and a USB microphone. The kit comes with all the cables necessary to plug it into your mixer or USB port on your computer AND it comes with its own cute little stand.

Click here to purchase the ATR-2100 from Amazon.com

Editing software

The best editing software you can use is the one you already know HOW to use. Podcasters can get into passionate discussions about why their recording/editing program is better than the other but learning a new tool can be agonizing.

I love using Audacity by SourceForge. Not only is it free but it has dozens of effects and makes editing easy. I also have GarageBand, but would need to spend hours reading and watching tutorials. HEY! I have podcasts to produce – ain’t nobody got time for that!

If you don’t have an editing program yet then you have the ability to learn any number of other programs – some free, some expensive:

  • Audacity: Free for PC, Mac, or Linux
  • Reaper: PC or Mac. Try it for free, then $60 for the basic package
  • Adobe Audition: PC or Mac. Part of the CreativeCloud Suite, it will cost you between $19 – ??? a month depending on how many of the other services you subscribe to.

You could start podcasting with no out-of-pocket costs, but if you want your podcast to sound, look, and be accepted by its listeners as being professional then you will need to spend a little money. Take it from an expert: These tools work and make it easier to release a successful podcast.

Now, what are you waiting for? Yes, you can start a podcast too!

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