Simple answer: a resounding, yes!
If you thought just getting your podcast up on iTunes or Spotify was all you needed for podcast success, think again. Having your own website or page dedicated to your podcast is the way to go, for several reasons.
1. You ‘own’ your website
Two reasons why this is important: One, relying on third-party apps to showcase your show limits your control on messaging and branding. With your own website or dedicated page, you decide how your brand looks, sounds, and feels to new listeners and devoted fans. You determine the tone, artwork, font, tag line, first impression, trailer, embed listener, additional resources, complementary content, access to donations, products, and services – everything. Why would you relinquish that kind of control?
Two, relying on a third-party app is borrowed time on an entity you have zero say or control over. What does that mean? Think about how Facebook killed organic reach with paid social advertising and how YouTube made a similar shift to a paywall for its content creators. Businesses that put all of their eggs in the Facebook and YouTube basket scramble with every algorithmic change those platforms throw at them.
Podcasting platforms could easily make the same shift, but if you built your home base on your website, you wouldn’t be as affected. If iTunes started charging every subscriber tomorrow, would your listeners stick around and pay? Or would they know where to find your content on your website for free? Having your own website creates independence from third-party rules and restrictions.
2. Newsletter Lists
An email list is one of the few things a person or business can actually ‘own’ as an asset online (your website being the other asset). You own your email list the same way you own your website. Just make it simple for them to sign up or opt-in on your website, and you now have an additional line of communication. Nobody can take that away from you (unless they unsubscribe, but that beats the heck out of losing listeners to an algorithm!).
As you roll out new seasons or episodes, pulse out regular emails that have updates and newsworthy mentions in your area of expertise. You can even include downloads or PDFs that supplement each of your episodes. You can build a sense of community with your brand. An email list also allows you to offer your products or services outside of your website – but that comes with a caveat – promote sparingly. Don’t ‘abuse’ your list and overpromote!
Getting ears on your shows is one of the top struggles for most podcasters. It’s difficult for new or up-and-coming shows to get discovered on the directories alone. There’s much competition in the directories. Having a website or dedicated page gives you the extra benefit of being found online, either from someone searching for your podcast by name or showing up in a random search. This is where you want to get knowledgeable and good at SEO so that your website pages get found. Your website enables an extra stream of traffic to your podcast, pulling in new listeners that you may have missed if you didn’t have a website. Additionally, Google Analytics will provide you a wealth of information about where that traffic is coming from, allowing you to focus your marketing and promotional efforts.
Being smart with SEO will help you decide what content to produce. If you stay on top of trending topics, you can create content that is more likely to be found by someone searching for it—thereby enhancing your discoverability and ability to pull in new listeners. You should seriously consider adding transcriptions or show notes for each episode. Not only is this tremendously valuable for granting accessibility for those that are hard of hearing, but it will also help search engines represent your focus correctly. Google has natural language processing in the works for podcasts, but it’s not quite there yet, so in the meantime, include transcripts!
4. Professional Grade Quality
If you’re serious about your podcast, you should have a website for the sake of professionalism and display of production quality. Show the world that you mean business. The first place a potential sponsor or other podcaster looking to cross-promote will go to is your website. The first place a potential new listener will go to check you out and see if you’re worth their time is your website. So have a place to send them!
5. Centralized Hub for Promotion
Your website is a crucial part of your sales funnel. Your podcast serves as the “top of the funnel” content that catches the awareness of listeners. You can promote additional material, such as a look behind the scenes, to further engage your listeners. You can promote products and services, such as merch, or ask for crowdfunding that will provide additional income streams.
You should have all of your shows archived and easy to stream so listeners can dive even deeper into your audio content. You may want to pick a few best of episodes to give new listeners a starting point on where to begin with your shows. Your website sits at the heart of your little ecosystem, humming with everything you have to offer!
Now that you know why you need a website or dedicated page for your podcast, it’s time to make one! We typically recommend WordPress to our clients, but SquareSpace and Wix are also good if you’re just starting. If you need help getting started, Podcast Taxi has many years of experience creating and promoting websites. If you would like to know how we can help, jump on a complimentary discovery call and chat with one of our experts!