STEP FOUR: Upload File to Blog
At this point in the process, you are done being a producer and an editor, now you’re moving onto publisher. Just like publishing a newspaper means making the finished product available to a large audience through mass distribution, “publishing” your podcast means putting your finished mp3 up on the internet so many people can have access to listening to it.
You may be tempted to simply e-mail this mp3 file to your friends. And while you could just attach it to an e-mail like a photo, this audio file is way too large to send via e-mail (somewhere between 8MB – 30MB, depending on how long you preached and some other technical factors). It would either take a VERY long time, or be rejected altogether by the e-mail provider (either yours or theirs).
Upload / Download
So instead, you will publish your podcast by “uploading it” to the internet so that others may first find it and then download it to their computers. While this terminology gives the impression that the internet is somehwere up in the sky and that the internet is one big storage warehouse for all of your audio files, neither is in fact the case. When you “upload” files to the internet you are really just copying them to another computer hard drive somewhere else down here on terra firma–a computer that is much bigger and much faster than yours. Sometimes these are called “servers,” or web hosting providers.
Maybe you already have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or use a web hosting service if you have a web site. These companies would probably be happy to let you store your mp3 files on their servers so that other people can access them. BUT… the problem is that they will CHARGE YOU ALOT OF MONEY to do this. Web hosting is priced based on two factors: storage space and bandwidth. Podcasting is costly on both fronts: audio files are larger than the simple .html files that make up web pages, and even larger than vacation photos you can store via your web hosting service. And bandwidth usage charges–which you incur every time someone listens to your podcast–increase the more people listen. Essentially this means that you are penalized if your podcast becomes popular; it will cost you more to evangelize more. “Wow, this sounds terrible! Why did you lead me all this way only to tell me this will be cost prohibitive?!”
A Refuge for Podcasters
There is one ray of hope that makes podcasting affordable to the masses. It is called “Libsyn.” The name stands for “liberated syndication”: “syndication” being the term for distributing content via the internet so that people receive it automatically (they don’t have to go search for and click on it), and “liberated” because it is EXTREMELY inexpensive.
Their lowest cost package is sufficient for you to post even a high sound quality, half-hour homily every week that can be listened to (downloaded by) an UNLIMITED number of people for only $5.00 per month. This could literally cost HUNDREDS of dollars per month with any other web hosting plan. Libsyn is also very user-friendly, even for beginners. The process of creating a web site or blog to host your audio files, uploading the files to the server, and making the homily “live” for people to access could, without Libsyn, require 3 different software programs and pretty dense technical knowledge. Libsyn streamlines the process into 3 easy steps that all happen through their website interface (see below). They literally are the Swiss Army Knife of podcast publishing.
The Libsyn service is so inexpensive and highly recommended, and its user interface is so easy to use, I am confident that I can now leave you in their capable hands. They will walk you through all you need to do from here on in. Some things you will only need to do the first time you sign up (like select a method of payment for your monthly charge). But each time you return to Libsyn to upload your homily podcast they will be just as helpful, reminding you how to do it.
Once again, if you would like to print out an overview of this whole process–perhaps to convince someone else they should try it–just download my handout in PDF format by clicking here.
Thanks for getting this far, and happy podcasting!!