Podcasting Myths Exposed - Part 4 - Use WordPress For Your Podcast Website
This video is going to make a lot of podcasting gurus mad. Well, so be it. They should know better. Don't get me wrong. I don't think all podcasting gurus are evil. I think a lot of it boils down to ignorance and misinformation.
Certainly the glib advice given by podcasting gurus to use WordPress for their podcast website frustrates many podcasters because it takes their focus away from the thing they love to do most: podcasting. This myth is probably one of the most costly to podcasters in time, money, and sanity.
Here’s an ugly little secret about the WordPress eco-system: There’s money to be made in affiliate and direct sales of WordPress hosting, themes, plugins, customization, and support. Podcasting gurus and web developers alike love making money in the WordPress universe. When they recommend stuff you don't need, well, It’s great for them, but not so much for you!
One well known podcasting guru makes a significant portion of his income with affiliate sales for a web hosting company that he doesn’t even use for his main website and podcasts! Another prominent podcasting guru attempts to convince podcasters that they should subscribe to his WordPress-based hosting service for a whopping $97 per month! That’s $1,164 per year! Ouch! And he has a penchant to resort to regular price increases and uses pseudo-scarcity marketing tactics to scare you into buying his stuff. This WordPress-based hosting service is astonishing to me in it's audacity to charge so much for a service that simply isn't needed. You can get much better results for far less and have a much more attractive and easier to update website.
And get this... what some of these podcasting gurus don’t tell you is that they have a team doing the WordPress website work for them! They don’t even have to worry about the headaches associated with managing a WordPress website that you are likely to suffer from.
For the record, I'm not opposed to affiliate commissions - I like to get commissions, too! However, I do think it's a disservice to recommend tools and technology that podcasters - or anyone else for that matter - don't really need.
I’m an experienced web developer with several years of experience–including WordPress. WordPress certainly is a great platform for many applications. However, for most podcasters, WordPress is way overkill for a podcast website. Podcasters need to focus on creating content - not on maintaining a website.
Unfortunately, creating and maintaining a self-hosted website in WordPress is a time consuming, soul sucking, inspiration robbing, motivation sapping grind that robs many podcasters of the joy of producing their shows.
There's another aspect to this myth that gets my blood boiling. Podcasting gurus often recommend WordPress hosting because it’s cheap - in theory you can get started for less than a $50 per year.
But is this really the case?
As it turns out, a WordPress website is not as inexpensive as they claim.
First, you need to buy a theme for your WordPress website. This can cost you upwards of $130 - if you get the theme that some podcasting gurus recommend (with affiliate links of course).
For WordPress, though, you need more than a theme to run your website. You also need a reliable backup plugin and service. Further, to get good page load speeds and performance, you have to install a web caching plugin and perhaps subscribe to and configure a content delivery network service (CDN). Fast page load speeds are vital for keeping your fans from leaving your website in frustration and for Google SEO love.
You need a plugin to protect yourself from comment spam or subscribe to another comment management system. This used to be provided free. It still is for non-commercial websites. But I'm guessing that you'll probably want to benefit financially from your podcast or at least use it to promote your business. If so, you are going to have to pay for comment spam protection. You can't live without it. When my website was on WordPress, I received thousands of spam comments a month. That would have been a nightmare to manage without the Akismet plugin to block spam comments.
You also need protection from brute force attacks and security threats. It’s not a matter of if - but when your website is comprised. I know from experience! It happened to me many times despite paying for tools and services that were supposed to prevent these threats from happening in the first place!
If you want to sell any kind of product or accept donations for your podcast: Know this! Setting up e-commerce on your website is a pain! And it’s going to cost you even more money!
If you want customized landing pages with unique calls to action, you may need to to subscribe to an expensive landing page service like LeadPages or ClickFunnels.
My total WordPress hosting costs – including all the licensing fees for various plugins (usually an annual recurring fee) – cost me upwards of $2,000 per year to maintain. Because of the traffic I was getting, I had to use a VPS server with enough capacity to handle the load. The cheap shared-hosting service that podcasting gurus promote couldn't cut it for me. I had no choice but to move to a more expensive VPS.
If your podcast RSS feed is hosted on your WordPress website – as many podcasting gurus advise you to do – you can count on something going wrong. Interestingly, the iTunes support team says that WordPress RSS feed problems are one of the top podcast issues they address. I made this mistake with one of my podcasts. It was a nightmare to figure out.
If you can’t afford to hire someone to take care of all this for you, or you can’t afford an expensive hosting service that takes care of these details for you, you are going to have to sink a lot of time into configuring and managing your WordPress website all by yourself. If you don't know how to do it, you are going to have to spend the time to learn WordPress and website hosting. Ug!
For a number of years I self-hosted my websites on WordPress. After experiencing many server crashes, WordPress security problems, plugin conflicts, and numerous other issues that took me away from my creative work - I decided that I had had enough. The madness had to stop! I was going insane! And, remember, I’m an experienced web developer! Man, if I'm an experienced WordPress website developer and I'm feeling the pain, I can't imagine how non-web developers must feel! I finally made the decision to move all my websites off of WordPress to a non-WordPress platform that is super-easy to use and doesn’t cost me a fortune! I'm so glad I did. I now have more time to focus on doing the things I love most - photography, creating art, shooting and editing videos, and producing my podcasts.
In The Unconventional Guide To Podcasting I show you how I avoided the cess-pool of running a needy WordPress website. I’m not out to make a ton of money on affiliate sales in a WordPress eco-system. Instead, I want you to have fun podcasting. I don't want you to spend anymore than you have to or expend way too much time working on a website. In this guide I show you how to create a website that’s low cost, stress free, and beautifully showcases your podcast.
The result? More time to do the thing you love most: producing an amazing podcast!