Questions about Podcasts

I would like to add podcasts to my new website, and have some questions.

First f all, what exactly makes a podcast a podcast?

Is it simply uploading an .mp3 to your website and adding a link, or is there more to a podcast than that?

If it is more than just uploading an audio file, then how would I go about making a podcast>

My goal is to add content in an audio format, because less and less people like to (or know how to) read in today’s society.

I figure if I offer quality content in another format, maybe people will be more interested in listening to what I have to say.

Anything that would make these audio clips work well with mobile users would be better. (Not having ever owned a smart phone, I’m not sure how that changes people listening to audio files on my website.)

I have the ability to record decent audio clips, and I have open-source software to edit the files. Now I just need to better understand what users on the Internet are exepcting as far as how I deliver the audio.

Any advice or wisdom would be appreciated!


At it’s root a podcast is an audio file, and the common format is .mp3. The label “podcast” has really been adopted as a nice name for this type of media. That said “podcasts” are like regular shows rather than one off items of audio content, and most likely podcasts would be available through the likes of iTunes.

Creating a podcast is relatively straightforward. Record some audio, edit it, save it in .mp3 format and add it to your site (not forgetting a transcription if you want to make accessible to all).

For giving access to all devices you can use the

As far as what subject to do, well anything you want. Whatever you have to say there will most likely be an audience for it somewhere, however large or small.


I guess what I am struggling with is whether there is a difference between a true “podcast” and a hyperlink to an audio file when you click on each one.

(Maybe I am thinking more about mobile - for which I have never owned one!)

If you were on a smart phone, what would you expect a podcast to do?

If you were on a laptop/desktop, what would you expect a podcast to do?

If you were on a tablet, what would you expect a podcast to do?

Am I providing the player? is the user expecting the podcast to appear in their player of choice? Something else?

Do you know of any websites that do a good - yet simple - job of presenting podcasts?

I would like to create a subject where I can do a podcast a week so it become a regular thing. But I don’t want to be a fool on how I implement the technology and turn off users. :relaxed:

A podcast could be a simple link to an audio file, in which case most browsers will just download and play, others may prompt to save the file or open in the visitors chosen audio player.

Think of the word “podcast” as an umbrella term for a collection of audio files.

If I was on a smartphone I’d expect to see a player on the page where I could tap the play button and listen. Ditto for tablets and desktops. This is where you need an

See for a good example of presenting podcasts.

Any tutorials that you can recommend on implementing this?

If I wanted to mimic that page, how would I do it?

I guess I am looking for 3-4 websites that do a good job of implementing podcasts, and even better if I can then figure out how they built them! (Maybe there are some tutorials that do both?)


View source. :slight_smile: It’s all front-end technology, so easy to see what’s being done there. You can see from the source that the site is using

However, as noted, you don’t have to use all that JS stuff. Most browsers now support the <audio> element. Bam. Simple as adding an image. It’s just that you get to offer more options and controls with a JS library attached.

Note also that most people don’t listen to podcasts via a website. Serious podcasters set up their episodes in services like iTunes and Stitcher, so that people can subscribe to a podcast via their smart phone’s Podcast app, which automatically tracks each new episode and presents it to users (kind of like RSS for articles). Hoping that people will keep coming back to your site to check if there’s a new episode isn’t as effective. Jen posts those links to her site (the one you linked to) mainly for archiving purposes, but relies mostly on people subscribing to her podcast in iTunes.


So where should I go from here, Ralph?

Do I strive for the more serious stuff you mention, or start basic?

And how can I learn to be a guru on this topic?

It all seems foreign to me, and like most things, I am sure there are “best practices” that would increase my success.

These two may help some

The Definitive Guide to Podcasts



Is this what I would get by simply using the < audio > elements?

< Mods: I can’t paste my screenshot here?? >

@Mittineague your first link is broken

Thanks, I hadn’t noticed it was missing the “http://” - fixed

The podcast page markup includes

<p>Episode 111 of&nbsp;The SitePoint Podcast&nbsp;is now available! This week Louis Simoneau (<a href="">@rssaddict</a>) 
talks with Jeremy Keith (<a href="">@adactio</a>), a UK-based web designer, and author of several books on web design. 
We talk about Jeremy’s blog post <a href="">Sea Change</a>, 
his views on <a href="">Responsive Web Design</a>, and the state of the mobile web.</p>
<h2>Listen in Your Browser</h2>
<p>Play this episode directly in your browser — just click the orange “play” button below:</p>
<audio controls="" preload="metadata">
<source src="" type="audio/mpeg; codecs=&quot;mp3&quot;">
<h2>Download this Episode</h2>
<p>You can download this episode as a standalone MP3 file. Here’s the link:</p>
<li><a href="">SitePoint Podcast #111: Responsive Web Design with Jeremy Keith</a> (MP3, 37:56, 36.4MB)</li>
<h2>Subscribe to the Podcast</h2>
<p>The SitePoint Podcast is on iTunes!&nbsp;<a href=";s=143441">Add the SitePoint Podcast to your iTunes player</a>. 
Or, if you don’t use iTunes, you can&nbsp;<a href="">subscribe to the feed directly</a>.</p>
<h2>Interview Transcript</h2>


  • the use of the audio tag - which uses the browsers player, (my “play” button is not orange).
  • a direct link to the file
  • an Apple iTunes link
  • a link to an RSS feed (broken?)
  • a transcript of the recording

I think the most painful part for me if it were my podcast would be typing out all the “ums” and “uhs” :wink:

Am I no longer allowed to paste screenshots?


Thanks for all the advice.

Are you saying you can get your podcasts in the Apple Store? I don’t understand how you set things up so people can get notified in iTunes and listen to your podcasts there.

(Will have to read your first link later.)


You should be able to as long as they aren’t massive weight.
Are you “ctrl-v”, “drag-drop” or

I just took a screenshot of the control in the link you posted.

It shouldn’t be very big.

Am in FireFox at the moment and tried both command+v (Mac) and Edit > Paste.

Hope it is just a glitch tonight.

Not quite. You have to set up an RSS feed on your site (doesn’t need to be public) and then feed that to Apple, along with any cover images etc. That way, people can find your podcast in iTunes, subscribe to it, review it, etc. But when people’s devices download episodes, the files still get pulled from your site—or wherever else you’ve stored them (normally a CDN). This is stuff you’ll need to read up on.

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Another thread which may be of interest concerns not only adding audio but also video to a site. IMHO there are many insightful comments and the whole topic is well worth reading.

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