Last time I said I wouldn’t recommend podcasting for free. So today, I give you my recommendations for how to get podcasting without spending much at all.
I want to say though, start a “Podcasting Budget”. This will keep you responsible (which reduces regret), and committed (through knowing you have to justify your expenses). I wish I had done this early on, I think I’d be a lot better at this by now. You dn’t have to make the same mistake.
Here are the areas you’ll be spending on and my recommendations:
This is the easiest place to start in terms of spending very little to get something major done. As I mentioned in the previous episode, Audacity is the perfect option for software, because it allows you to improve your sound drastically. without spending a cent.
If you’re recording using your on-board mic (laptop or phone), I told you my biggest worry for you would be sound quality. This allows you to overcome some of that. Of course, you’ll need to do some learning in order to use it well. So get cracking on those YouTube tutorials!
Recommended Payment: n/a
I’m putting this second, not only because it’s next in terms of cheapest expesnses, but also because this is something crucial to get right from the beginning.
Some of your options for hosting include Dropbox, Google Drive, .org, and also, hosting the downloads on your website if you’ve got your own already. However those options are very limiting in one way or another, with the main limitation being on your growth. If your podcast becomes popular, none of these options are going to suit you. You could very well start with some of these, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Here, you can easily get cheap media hosting from Libsyn, who are very well-known and reliable. Their hosting starts at $5, and that gets you 50mb of hosting space every month. The bandwidth is unlimited, so the episodes can be downloaded for all time and it won’t ever come back to bite you like t would with the other options.
Also, the data limit is renewed every month, which means you have a fresh 50mb limit each month. So if you used the whole 50mb last month, this month, you’ll have 50mb to use again, and those previous files remain intact.
The only downside here is that 50mb is not much. So you have two ways around that. The quickest is to just pay more ($15) for the next tier of hosting, which will get you 250mb monthly. The other workaround has to do with the size of your mp3’s themselves.
A standard mp3 should be processed at 128kbps. If you lower the rate from 128kbps, to 96, or even 64kbps, you’ll make the file much smaller. The drop in sound quality isn’t really something people would hear unless they are trained to, and shouldn’t be a problem if you have done your sound editing well in Audacity.
I used 64kbps for a few months when I was experiencing financial issues. A 30min episode would be around 10mb at this rate, so I could do a weekly show easily within the 50mb limit, with one or two episodes going closer to 40min.
Recommended Payment: monthly
Cost: $5 monthly (50mb)
Owning your website has two parts to it: the domain, and hosting. The domain is like the title deed to a specific piece of land, and the hosting gives you the ability to build on that land.
As a result, these are two separate things you must pay for. Though some hosting providers can give you the domain for free as part of their hosting package, I suggest buying it separately in case you decide mid-cycle to change hosts. You don’t want to be locked into a host you don’t like for a year because they now own your domain!
For the domain, I recommend Namecheap as they offer good prices on domains and frequently have promotions on certain kinds of domains. The best is to get a .com, followed by .net & .org. If you want to be region specific (for me in South Africa that would be .co.za), then you may need to go with a local web-registrar.
****Special Note on Domain: If you can, buy your domain NOW! Someone else could buy the name soon if you wait. So even if you can’t get hosting yet, at least have the domain name.****
With the hosting, I personally recommend HostGator because of their rates, ease of use, and support. I’ve helped setup a few sites on HostGator, and any issues that came up were always very quickly resolved.
Payment methods can vary. You get a monthly rate, but you can reduce that rate if you buy a year or more of hosting in one go. That obviously costs more money, but it becomes cheaper than paying each month over 12, 24, or 36 months. If you have the money on-hand and don’t have a problem being locked in, go for it. Otherwise, it may be easier on the pocket to pay the smaller amounts each month.
Recommendation (Domain): NAMECHEAP
Recommended Payment: Annual
Cost: $11/year (depending on type of domain. .com and .net have different prices)
The best way to get this sorted, is to buy a good USB microphone. These are microphones that use the USB port of your computer. The beauty is you don’t need any extra piece of equipment to use them. They plug straight in, and you just need to open up your recording software, get the microphone recognised, and hit record!
The absolute #1 recommendation would be the Audio Technica ATR2100. This microphone is not only a brilliant USB mic, but it also has an XLR connection for when you upgrade to more traditional setups (i.e. with a mixer et al). That makes it versatile too, meaning if you do upgrade and buy a more expensive microphone, you don’t need to throw the ATR2100 away. You can keep it as a secondary mic for interviews.
The USB functionality also makes it very portable. You can use it almost anywhere, as long as there’s a USB and recording software.
Recommendation: AUDIO TECHNICA ATR2100
Recommended Payment: Once-off
Cost: $57 (Amazon)
So if you put aside $90 for your first month, then only $17/month from then on, you can have a fully functioning and respectable podcast setup!
Come on, those amounts are well within reach if you really want to do this.
Don’t just think about it…