Branded Podcast Website Best Practices
Your company has taken a huge step and created a branded podcast. However, producing your show is only half the battle. How you present your podcast has profound implications for listeners looking for more in-depth information about your show and provides a valuable discovery tool for new listeners coming from traditional channels like search and social.
So, what are the best practices to use when creating your branded podcast’s website? While it’s true that each show’s site will be different, we researched 63 of the top branded podcasts (from Fortune 500 names to startups to niche brands) to find out more about podcast website best practices.
The research below not only shows the common elements of top-rated podcasts but also the growing technical requirements necessary to take advantage of podcast specific requirements from platforms like Google and Apple. Use these tips as a guide for your site, but keep in mind that all shows are different and serve different audiences. Don’t be afraid to show the same type of creativity in your site that you bring to your show!
1. Should your podcast be indexed by Google?
YES. This is the only non-negotiable element on this list. If you’re serious about starting a branded podcast, your website needs to be properly indexed by Google. This is done by making sure that your website and your podcast RSS feed are connected by reciprocal links. You can find out how to do that here.
Shockingly, two of the 63 branded podcasts we researched did not have a website at all. This is a huge missed opportunity for several reasons: your branded podcast has no central hub, it is undiscoverable by Google Search alone, and you’re missing out on SEO traffic generated by your podcast back to your site. It’s also worth it to note that a website for your podcast gives it a home. If you’re just banking on your company podcast existing on Apple or Google Podcasts, you leave your content at the mercy of those companies. We’ll be excluding those 2 websites from the rest of the data sets below.
2. Should you integrate your podcast into your website?
82% of brands researched had their podcast site integrated with their company’s primary domain. By integrating your podcast with your overall brand site, you’re accomplishing two things. First, you are increasing your SEO opportunities since your podcast can add so much additional, rich content to your content marketing strategy.
82% of branded podcast websites are integrated into the company site
Second, you ensure a consistent listener experience across your brand’s channels. Positive associations that listeners attribute to your podcast will transfer to your brand. This increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to convert visitors and listeners to customers.
3. Should you use your company’s name for your podcast?
When thinking about what to name your branded podcast, there are two primary routes:
Both have pros and cons. However, the overwhelming majority, 76%, of our surveyed brands chose to give their podcast a unique title. The title has big shoes to fill. It needs to be memorable but at the same time it needs to convey what the podcast is all about. Segment’s podcast, “Fixed That For You,” aimed at businesses who control customer data, is catchy without being obtuse.
76% of branded podcasts do not mention the company in their name
Beyond the name itself, don’t overlook including a strong summary describing the essence of your podcast. Know Your Team’s podcast, “The Heartbeat Podcast,” has a succinct summary that is search-friendly:
This summary describes exactly what the show is about using terms that a potential listener might type into a podcast directory when searching in the business leadership category. It’s easy to find and the subject matter is direct.
One last best practice: if you choose not to include your company name in your podcast title, make sure the author and owner of your podcast is your company and not a specific person. That way, anyone searching for your podcast via your company name will still find it.
4. Should you include show notes and transcriptions for your podcast?
Show notes not only make your podcast look professional, but they are also a great space to include contact information and links to anything discussed on an episode of your podcast. Including show notes will give you a specific destination to refer your listeners so they can keep interacting with your brand, your guests, and any products or services recommended. 66% of branded podcasts researched included show notes.
66% of branded podcast websites have show notes
Edited transcripts of your podcast episodes can provide two very important advantages over just show notes:
They can be a great way for hearing-impaired listeners of your show to continue to get value from your episodes and engage with you. Since the transcripts are easily indexed, they are also another easy way to improve your site’s SEO rankings.
Episode transcripts can also yield various pieces of microcontent: a transcript of your podcast episode is easily made into a blog post. That blog post is further shortened to social media posts you can put up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other platform your brand participates on.
Don’t underestimate the power of separate text transcripts to increase your SEO and give your readers options. You can post a button that links to a transcript or you can simply post the transcript in your episode’s show notes or a blog post.
5. Should your podcast website be mobile optimized?
YES! According to the latest statistics, in the United States alone, 54% of phones are equipped with Apple Podcasts and 43% are equipped with Google Podcasts. Smartphones are the devices used most frequently when consuming podcast content. It is imperative that your site is optimized for mobile usage. 93% of top branded podcasts had a site optimized for mobile. That remaining 7 % are potentially missing out on providing an optimized user experience which in turn impairs discoverability and new subscribers.
93% of branded podcast websites are mobile optimized
There are a lot of little things you can do to ensure a great mobile experience. First, employ responsive website design. If you do not have a designer on staff to do this, there should be plugins for your CMS that can do this for you. Another option is to use a mobile theme. If you use a website builder such as Squarespace, mobile themes are automatically used when accessed by a mobile device. Either of these options will make your podcast’s website easy to view and interact with on a small screen.
Other tips for optimizing for mobile include touch controls for your embedded players that are easy to use with touchscreens, keeping your files as small as you can without sacrificing your audio quality, and including links to access your podcast on all the major platforms.
6. Should you make it easy to share your podcast on social media?
Yes, in order to get traction and grow your branded podcast, you need to make your podcast easy to share. The first step is creating a top-notch, user-friendly website. The second step is to ensure you have buttons that easily allow people to share your podcast across social media platforms. Surprisingly, only 66% of branded podcasts featured buttons beneath the audio player on their website. The 34% that don’t feature share buttons are losing a big social media touchpoint.
66% of branded podcast websites have social sharing icons & buttons
When we talk shareability, don’t forget that the term also refers to coming up with easily digestible, bite-sized pieces of microcontent for your other channels. For every podcast episode you produce, you easily have content for several social media posts, blog posts, and opportunities for shareable videos. This microcontent trend gets you the most bang for your buck as it saves you time in terms of creating future content assets.
7. Should you link to your podcast from your homepage?
Your podcast is an extension of your brand and offers a whole new channel of access to your customers. Without a link on your homepage, however, your podcast is just hanging out in the ether waiting for someone to click around long enough to find it. Only 30% of branded podcasts included a link on their homepage. This means 70% of podcasts are undiscoverable via the company’s homepage! How are listeners going to find your show on your own page?
Only 30% of branded podcasts are linked from the website homepage
There are two options most podcasts go with when naming this link in the navigation. Some brands simply have a link that says “Podcast,” while other brands use the branded name of the podcast. Unless your podcast is very popular on its own, we recommend linking it as “Podcast” to make it absolutely clear and apparent what the visitor is clicking on. It also doesn’t hurt to have the word podcast featured on your homepage in terms of SEO.
8. Should you link to individual episodes?
89% of researched branded podcasts included links to specific episodes for more detailed information about those episodes. Having episode-specific links gives each episode it’s own destination where people can access all the links mentioned, an episode transcript, and an episode-specific image. Your website is entirely within your control - platforms like Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts are not. Having a specific page for your individual episode is another potential onramp for driving traffic to your website through SEO.
89% of branded podcast websites link to individual episodes
Now let’s talk about a hot topic amongst podcasters: should you have different images per episode or should you just use your main podcast cover art? Either option is fine for your show just be sure your thumbnail image is eye-catching. However, 40% of branded podcasts opted to stick with the general cover art for each episode while the remaining 60% chose to use an episode-specific image. The advantage of an episode-specific image is that it gives each episode it’s own unique flavor and can serve as an enticement to get people to click. The two downsides are that it’s an additional step during your production process and when your show appears within a listener podcast app, listeners may not recognize your cover art.
9. Should you include podcast service logos on your site?
A service logo is a button that links to another platform that features your branded podcast. You’ve probably seen them before. They look like this:
70% of branded podcasts we researched had these badges. They enable one-click linking to your podcast within the biggest players and services out there and can really help with converting and retaining subscribers. These badges are a cinch to download and embed onto your site.
70% of branded podcast websites include major podcast service logos
We recommended only including the 3 main services we mentioned above: Apple, Google, and Spotify. Despite there being a lot of other podcast players (Overcast, Breaker, Pocketcasts, etc..) we recommend not including more than those 3 to avoid overwhelming your listeners.
10. Should you embed your podcast audio on your website?
It’s not enough to simply link your podcast to Apple Podcasts or Spotify if visitors to your site want to listen. While the majority of podcast listeners do get their podcasts from these apps, having choices for all users is always preferable. In fact, web listenership is on the rise, as reported by vendors such as Simplecast as well as our own client statistics. 95% of branded podcasts used an embedded player on their site. There are many player options but most users opt for using the embedded player function offered by their hosting site.
95% of branded podcast websites embed episode audio
When it comes to embedded players that show single episodes versus multiple episodes, the majority of podcasts used the single episode format. While a single episode is the most common, something else to consider is that having multiple episodes in your player can encourage binge-listening thus increasing consumption. Whatever you decide, your episodes should be embedded on your website...style is up to you. However, regardless of which style you select, you should absolutely be embedding your podcast audio on your website.
11. Bonus: Should you promote your podcast with Apple’s App Banner?
Apple provides the ability to promote your own applications via a banner that shows up when a user views your site in Safari, like this:
However, did you know that functionality also works with podcasts:
When a user clicks on your podcast banner, they’ll be taken directly to your podcast in Apple Podcasts, the most popular player on iOS. You can find instructions on rolling this banner out on your own site here. Just make sure to use your Apple Podcast ID for your app-id in the previous link. You can find your ID via your Apple Podcast link. An example below in bold:
The best practices discussed in this list form a framework to ensure your branded podcast is optimized for ease of use, SEO, discoverability, and is aesthetically pleasing. Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve produced 100 episodes, following these best practices will help you create a professional and usable podcast website.
Dante32 creates podcasts for businesses and brands looking to build brand awareness, increase customer education and improve customer retention. Contact us today to see how we can partner with you to help you achieve your marketing goals.