Making A Podcast on the Cheap: The Hostings

When last we spoke, your homework assignment was looking into your concept for your podcast. We continue the podcast on the cheap series with some of the more tangibles. One of the major questions, when starting a podcast: do I need a website for my podcast? The short answer is yes. Nearly every podcast has a website (or blog) that will showcase all their content. It’s important to have a place for your listeners (dare I say fans) to refer to.

Now, this piece will focus on three things: a domain, podcast hosting, and a blog host. You could do it in a way that you’re only spending about $60. That isn’t bad. Currently, I spend more than that but we’ve expanded. $60 to start a podcast on the cheap is really good.

Start with a domain.

Now, the domain should be your podcast title, but Google search your podcast name. See if there’s any website that has your name. If not, that’s your domain name. When we started The Lazy Geeks podcast, I snatched up thelazygeeks.com quickly. Since we’ve expanded our slate of shows, we don’t have to buy a domain for each podcast. I mean, you could and redirect them to your main site. But, in the end, it doesn’t always matter.

You can grab a domain from GoDaddy from anywhere from $11.99 to $13.99. If there is one piece of advice that I can give you, it’s this: don’t get your domain and web hosting from the same place.

Keeping it separate is like linking your TV, phone and internet together. You can an outage at one company, then you’re out in all areas. Not to mention, if you have issues with your hosting company and want to move, you can move your domain name too. GoDaddy allows you to go in and change your DNS setting (points to your website).

This is where it has allowed us to retain thelazygeeks.com for the last eleven years. That’s how you get a podcast on the cheap.

What if the title is taken?

Vary it slightly. But try to remain close to your title if possible. Also, I would create a Gmail account with your podcast name on it. If that’s unavailable too, you can do what we did. We wanted a separate email for each show. The Away Team was taken, so we made theawayteammail@gmail.com. Some sites will give you special emails, but if you leave it – your emails end too. This will allow you some control of your emails, even if you change hosting companies.

So I need a blog?

The answer is yes. The reason is simple, you need a place for your listeners to go. It isn’t enough to have a podcast. The blog can house your podcast catalog, updates on shows, and additional information about the show. If you get big enough, or daring, you can sell merch. For us, we do offer news and upcoming YouTube content. A blog will give you a one-stop shop for everything they need about you. They can get info like social media accounts, emails from fans, or even content that doesn’t make it to the show.

Again, this is about making a podcast on the cheap, so if you don’t want to spend a lot – use WordPress.com. They have a free blog hosting, which is okay. Especially if you’re starting out. You won’t have a lot of content to share. However, they have a $48 yearly plan that will give you some freedom. Mostly, increase hosting storage and the ability to map your domain.

But the say I can get a domain for free…

Trust me, you won’t stay on WordPress for too long. Eventually, you may expand and need more functionality, you can move and take your domain with you.

Maybe you want to give yourself some breathing room and want to buy a hosting site. Bluehost is a good service. We have used it a couple of times. They have deal for 36-months, which is three years. Their starter deal is $3.95/month for three years. Upfront, that will run you $142.20. But be careful. When renewal times comes, it will be at their regular $8.99/month option. That will run you $323.64. That’s with any company, so just be ready for it.

Again, if you want to move hosting to a cheaper server later, you can transfer your content to a new company and change your DNS settings on your domain. Then, you’re good to go.

You said something about podcast hosting…

There are tons of podcast hosting companies. But, again, you don’t want to commit too much right now. There are some free options. Podbean has a free tier. Their free tier only gives you 5 hours and 100MB of bandwidth. That will last for a little bit as you grow, but not a great option. The plans get a bit better with their paid option.

If you want more freedom, Anchor is the best free option. You’ll see YouTube users that say don’t use it, because it’s free. We’ve been using it for over a year, and all our shows are through them. The one limit is the 250MB upload. So, you should never reach that limit by doing a traditional podcast. If you’re doing a radio drama, look elsewhere.

On average, our hour shows run just under 60MB. So, you should never reach that limit. They have an option (which everyone offers) that they can distribute it everywhere for you. Don’t do that, and I’ll explain in the social media and distribution section later in the week.

They have a sponsorship program. Where you plug an advertiser and you get a penny for every person that listens through the ad. Keep in mind, you need 1500 listens to get $15.00. However, if it takes off, you should be able to get your own advertising and won’t need Anchor anymore. It is free, but it’s owned by Spotify. Judging by how deep they’re getting into podcasts, I don’t think it’s going anywhere for a while.

Like other companies, you can move your show to a new hosting site. If you decided to pay for hosting, to get more growth potential. So, it doesn’t hurt you at all. This is a great jumping off point. Again, Anchor is free and the site is easy to deal with. I may do an Anchor set-up later on our YouTube channel. I’ll update it when I do.

So the takeaways…

You will need podcasting hosting, website hosting, and a domain name. Again, you can get these for around $60 to start with. I know you will see YouTube videos about going all in. Yeah, but a lot of people don’t have the cash available or know if this is something they want to do. It takes a lot of commitment to simply do the actual show, but there is a lot behind the scenes. The little money as possible would make it a worthwhile adventure.

In part three of doing a podcast on the cheap, we will discuss equipment. What we mean is how that audio sounds. Also, it is important. Very important. Dos and don’ts. Because you can have the best hosting, best looking blog, but if your audio is a hot mess… it failed before it began. See you tomorrow.