You started podcasting – that is great! You might be thinking your show will be low-key so you decide to upload the media files within your website. After all – you got the space and the hosting provider says you have unlimited hosting. WordPress also makes it easy to upload, so it must be acceptable, right?
As we’ve learned in the last few years – unlimited is NOT unlimited. Hosting media files can become an issue if its on your website host. There are three good reasons why your podcast media files should be in another area – let’s take a look at those reasons.
3. It’s Probably Against Your TOS
Look over your Terms of Service. Even though a web host says unlimited, there are definitely limitations. If your website gets over 100,000 hits a month, your hosting site might want you to upgrade. If you have 20 Megabyte file (which is usually a 20 minute audio podcast at 128 kbps quality) – 1,000 downloads equals 20 Gigabytes of data.
Higher traffic websites can affect the service on hosting – especially if you are on shared hosting (which is a lot cheaper than a dedicated server). If you pull even 10,000 people a month to your website you are getting to those limits of shared hosting. If 10,000 are downloading files 10 MB or larger, your provider will throttle or even suspend your service. Worst yet, they may just charge you for extras for going past the TOS.
That is a growing pain you don’t want.
2. Media Stats
A lot of websites don’t handle media as well as Libsyn or Blubrry would. Further, these companies built a stats system around A/V media. I can tell you my shows get downloaded from the US – New York, Chicago and San Francisco are the top locations. iTunes, Mozilla and Stitcher are the top download locations.
However, lets say I want to drill down on ONE show. I have that option, too. Yesterdays’ Day in Tech History podcast saw top downloads from the US, UK and Canada, with Stitcher being the most downloaded location (iTunes, then Blackberry). The top location of DITH was the website, but interestingly at number 5 was a website I’ve never seen. Yet they accounted for 3% of my traffic.
1. Website Down? Media Up!
If your web host suffers an outage – If a hacker gets into your website and defaces it – If YOU even mess something up and your website goes down – the RSS information was replicated in iTunes as well as other aggregators. People will still be able to get to your media, even if the latest episode didn’t update. Losing numbers on one episode is a lot better than losing on ALL the episodes.
iTunes and other podcast houses will not delete the feed if its down for even a couple weeks. You’ll have time to make corrections and bring your website back up.
It might look like extra work, but most podcast hosts simply require you to upload media. Some will give you an alternate RSS feed, which could serve useful in getting those few stragglers that listen to 1-2 episodes, then move on to other things. If you can see your stats, you can find out where people watch/listen and know they drop off after 5 minutes. Therefore, you can find ways to entice them to continue listening.
Most important, you won’t wake up one day and find out your podcast has been off-line for 24-48 hours. You won’t find out that your most powerful show to date has lost tens of thousands of consumers because your web host turned your site off. Having that done once is all it takes…