Podcasting resources are hardly a scarcity these days. Among them, podcasting hosts and plugins that all what to be your show’s One and Only. You have the big players like Libsyn and Blubrry and even SoundCloud, but don’t forget about Seriously Simple Podcasting. They’re a long-time cult favorite, and the developers have recently revamped their hosting platform, too. But is it as seriously simple as they say it is? Let’s find out.
Seriously Simple Podcasting
I should start out by saying that the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin is completely standalone. And free. Just as with the Blubrry PowerPress plugin, you can host your media wherever you want, including your own servers. Most folks will upload episodes via the WP media library. Or you can use this as a way to get your Libsyn-hosted episodes to WordPress.
Additionally, the plugin’s parent company Castos offers integrated podcast hosting. It’s the same as using Libsyn or SoundCloud or any other external host. It’s also not free. Well, the plugin is. But the hosting is not. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial, after which it costs $19/month. In terms of cost, that’s pretty standard, especially since you have unlimited storage and number of episodes. That’s great for video podcasts, especially.
Additionally, they offer a concierge media migration from your old host for free, which is an unbelievable deal.
That said, let’s dig into the ins-and-outs of Seriously Simple Podcasting.
Seriously Simple Dashboard
When you activate the plugin, you get a seriously simple page under a new Podcast (1) in your admin menu. The first time you click in, you get the rundown of what Castos hosting and the plugin offer. You will also see a Sign Up Today button (2) to the right, which leads you to their 14-day trial. If you want to take advantage of their hosting deal, hit the button. If not, you can dismiss the message (3).
Upon dismissal, you have the list of all podcast episodes that the plugin will manage.
We aren’t gonna add a new episode just yet, though. We need to hit the Settings tab first.
Settings – General
I wanted to remind you to check out the Settings first because are a couple
fun quirks that may impede your use and make you think the plugin isn’t working when it actually is. (This happened to me, and I want to save you that trouble).
Primarily, you will be concerned with the 4 items I’ve highlighted. Once those are taken care of, you can adjust the others according to your preference and your site’s needs.
By default, the Seriously Simply Podcasting does not show your podcast episodes in the blog’s main feed. So if you your home page always shows your newest posts, new episodes won’t be there. So if you want that, check this box.
Also, by default, the built-in player does not show up anywhere on your site. This is because the plugin is a publishing tool first, and a bloggint tool second. Your episodes to go RSS, regardless. You have to enable it wherever you want. I think the player should go in Full Content and oEmbed Excerpt (which is an awesome, media rich card the plugin generates for you that we will get to later).
And finally, you’ll probably want to make sure that your episodes have all the fields needed for the newest iTunes update, as well as pick what the player itself looks like — compact, or with meta-data and art.
In general, (or technically, not in this case), the other tabs aren’t so much settings for your WordPress site as they are for your podcast feed itself. You’re setting up the show minutiae in the other tabs, which will affect how listeners see and hear it.
This one is fairly straightforward, so I won’t linger on it. You can read about it more in-depth in our article on submitting to iTunes, but the info is stuff like the title of your show, the host names, the categories, the cover art, and so on. You also have places below for additional URLs you will receive later like Google Play Podcasts.
Pay attention to the notice up top, too: this info is what’s getting distributed to your RSS feed that your users subscribe to, so you want it as complete as possible.
You have the option to password protect your podcast feed in this tab. Not a lot of people may take advantage of this, but it’s amazing for people who publish multiple versions of their show — such as maybe those who have Patreon supporters.
Redirection & Publishing
These tabs are, again, pretty self-explanatory. A lot of podcasters won’t ever need to redirect their feeds or use an external feed, but if you need to, this is where it is. It’s also where you can set up series feeds, so if you do mini series or story arcs as part of your main show, you can set up the feed URLs here.
Hosting & Extensions
Not a lot to say about these, as they tend to only apply if you’re using the Castos hosting. You will put in your API key and credentials to link the site to Castos under the Hosting tab, and in the other, you get a list of their optional Extensions and other plugins that tie into Simply Serious Podcasting. Be aware, however, some of these extension plugins haven’t been updated in a while (the Transcripts plugin, for instance).
Under the Podcast menu in your dashboard, you have a link for Series. It is possible to use this in two ways: to create miniseries of episodes for your show. You may have a podcast on running, let’s say, but do a special interview series with ultramarathoners. If you want to keep those episodes separate, you can make them a series, and they will be included in both your main podcast feed and be accessible by a unique secondary feed that contains only them.
You can also do this to create and run multiple shows from the dashboard as well. Just make each show its own parent series, and you can choose which show the episode gets pushed to before you publish.
You will want to create the series you want, however, before you start publishing episodes so you can pick.
Creating an Episode
Posting an episode is as easy as creating a blog post. Just go to Podcast – Add New, and you should see the same editor you always do. In the main text area, you post just like normal. Show notes can go there, images, whatever else you want. The title gives your post its individual slug, and so on and so forth.
Below that, however, are the 4 pieces of info that Seriously Simply Podcasting absolutely needs.
1. Episode Type and File
You will need to add your media (1). You also choose whether you want audio or video. Audio is fine to upload through the media library (generally .mp3 is small enough not to warrant any problems with upload sizes, plus you don’t need a high bitrate for podcasts), or you can paste in the file’s URL from your host, such as Libsyn or Castos. If you do a video podcast, however, you should really go with an external host. In this area, Castos’ hosting really shines because of it’s unlimited space. Other hosts, such as Libsyn, give you a storage quota based on how much you pay.
2. Date Recorded
You really want to let folks know when the episode was recorded. Listeners sometimes come in much later than when the show first goes live, and it’s good for them to see how far back this episode came.
3. Podcast Series
And this is why I said earlier to make your Series first. You can choose which feeds this episode shows up in like this. You can have it in multiple parent feeds, a child and a parent feed, etc. By setting up individual series for how you want it to be published, you get more control of how your show is published through the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin than I have seen in any other service out there.
4. Episode Embed Code
Here you have an embed code generated by the plugin itself that you can paste anywhere that HTML is allowed. By doing so, you don’t get just a link to the episode or to the player, but to a rich-media card with links back, a player if you’ve set it up, the featured image for the post, etc. Your users also get sharing buttons, playback speeds, and download links.
It is a much better way of sharing and displaying your posts than a simple, compact bar with a play button. And really, it’s a major reason why I think Seriously Simple Podcasting stands out as a contender. This is probably the best free podcast player I have seen on the market. (The best premium one is the Smart Podcast Player, if you ask me.)
Custom Fields and Metadata
When you install the plygin, it creates a custom post type called podcast that has various custom fields to keep track of all your metadata. And since they’re custom fields, you can add your own if you need any. These show up in your feed with each episode, but keep in mind that while you can edit the values of the plugin’s fields here, upon save, they revert back. You need to edit them through the provided fields above.
Seriously Simple Podcasting does live up to its name. It’s easy to set up and really get going. And after digging in for a while, I was pretty amazed at the power provided by a free plugin. I wasn’t expecting the ability to manage multiple shows, much less multiple feeds within a single show. It’s really nice to be able to do that. And on top of that, you have the option of combining this plugin for publishing with the existing tools within Libsyn or another host. I use Libsyn for my own podcast, but I am very tempted to install this plugin to provide feeds for episodes on a similar topic.
In the end, Seriously Simple Podcasting lives up to its name, and it’s definitely worth a look.
Have you used this plugin to podcast before?
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