How to take your podcast to the next level

Are you looking to improve your podcast? If so, you can look to the Web to find the tools you're going to need to do just that.

If you're podcasting, you're probably looking for ways to make it both more entertaining and easier to produce.

That's where the Web-based apps and tools come in.

Producing your podcast

Archive.org's NetLabels collection of freely available MP3 and OGG files is fantastic. The site allows you to choose from thousands of songs, which you can download and add to your podcast. Those tracks can be your intro, outro, or bumpers for the middle of your show. It's a great way to add value to your podcast.

Archive.org
Archive.org has some great tracks for your podcast. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Enablr provides a really great service. Instead of making your podcasts available on just a few audio sites, Enablr makes your shows indexable and searchable by transcribing your shows to text.

For $1 per minute, the site will take your audio podcast and convert it to text, thus making all its content available to Google, Bing, and other search engines. The site gives you the transcript in three business days. Enablr claims it will increase the popularity of the show. I haven't tried it, so I can't comment. But I do think it could help some shows that discuss hot topics. It might be worth trying out once to see if it works.

Enablr
Enablr will make your show indexable on Google. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Gcast isn't the easiest tool to use in this roundup, but it's still worth using if you're trying to find an online podcast-creation tool.

Once you sign up for Gcast, you'll be brought to a page asking you how you'd like to produce your first show. You can opt to record via telephone or upload tracks from your computer. If you choose the former, you'll be forced to pay $99 per year for access to the service. Gcast also lets you create multiple podcast channels if you want to produce more than one show. All of those shows will then be added to popular podcast directories.

Gcast
Gcast will allow you to upload tracks from your computer. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Hipcast will help you record just about anything on the Web. When you sign up for the site, you'll have the option of calling Hipcast's telephone number and recording up to 60 minutes of audio. You can also record your show from your browser. If you're still tied to the desktop, the site will even let you upload your podcast.

But Hipcast doesn't stop there. You can have a blog specific to your show, save up to 5GB of material, and make your podcast available on iTunes and other directories. But there's a catch: you'll need to pay to do it. Hipcast charges $9.95 per month for its basic service. Its top offering will run you $49.95 per month. It offers a free seven-day trial before you buy.

Hipcast
Hipcast gives you three options to record audio. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Magnatune is a record label that encourages fans to use their artist's favorite song in their podcasts.

Once you go to the Magnatune Web page, you can search through the service to find the right kind of music for your show. Once you find what you're looking for, you can download it, free-of-charge, as long as it's being used in a noncommercial podcast. Those who accept advertising need to pay Magnatune a small fee. Regardless, it's a great service. And believe it or not, some of the tracks are pretty good.

Magnatune
Magnatune's selection might not be big, but it's worth checking out. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Mevio is a great place to go if you want to have your podcast exposed to more listeners. After you sign up for the site, you can either browse the site's huge listing of shows or you can add your own. Once you upload your podcast, Mevio will keep your episodes in the database. Users can search for it by the content of your show. It's a great way to get your content out to more people. You might not add a large number of new listeners, but then again, you just might. Mevio's mileage will vary.

Mevio
Mevio is a good way to promote your show. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Podcast.com is a huge database of audio and video podcasts. Everything from basketball to music to tech is included in its database. And it's a great place to add your podcast. Doing so takes just seconds. From there, you can share it with friends, check out similar podcasts, or just move along to the next podcast directory. In any case, it's a great place to promote your show.

Podcast.com
Submitting a podcast to Podcast.com takes just seconds. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

PodOmatic reminds me of a cross between Twitter, Facebook, and a podcast-recording platform. But it's that combination of different ideas that makes it so compelling.

After you sign up for PodOmatic, the site will ask you to pick a design for your podcast page. From there, you can start recording your shows. You'll have the option of uploading your show from your computer, selecting a file from your PodOmatic Media Library, or simply recording the show online with the help of your Webcam and microphone. Once you're done recording the podcast, you can fix it up and post it to your feed for your subscribers to listen. PodOmatic provides you with 15GB of bandwidth each month and 500MB of storage. Smaller podcasts won't have much trouble meeting those demands, but if you have a large following, PodOmatic might not be for you.

PodOmatic
PodOmatic lets you record right in your browser. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. PodOmatic: PodOmatic has a premise that makes it quite attractive.

2. Magnatune: A record label that makes tracks available for free? Awesome.

3. Archive.org's NetLabels: With so many songs, it's a great way to add some flavor to your podcast.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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