Written by Peter Bui Follow on
Published: 18 September 2013

Podcasting with Joomla

There is a lot of documentation of there about how to start a podcast using platforms like Wordpress. It is by far the most commonly used platform for it but as I am personally a HUGE Joomla fan and the podcast is all about Joomla, I couldn't be seen using WordPress for a Joomla based podcast.

This article will go through the step by step process on how you can set up a podcast on your Joomla website quickly and easily with a lot more flexibility than you would out of the box compared to a WordPress site.

I'll be explaining the differences on how a podcast can differ on the two platforms and why you may use one over the other.

This article is also going to assume that you've already recorded your podcast and edited the audio. If you have not reached that stage yet please check out these websites to help you get started with the recording your first podcast episode.

These three podcasts are all about podcasting. How you can record, publish and promote your podcast!

This article is also going to assume that your recording an audio podcast and not a video podcast as a video podcast again is a different method.

Lets define what you need and the flow

There are a few main things that you need to be able to create and start publishing your podcast with Joomla.

Joomla itself won't be able to produce everything that you need in order to go from start to finish but it does have all the starting building blocks to get you going.

Here is the order of things that you will need in order to start podcasting with Joomla.

1. A hosting platform

It is a requirement by iTunes to have your podcasts streamable and scanable, that is a user should be able to skip ahead in the audio or video podcast without needed to wait for the entire audio file to buffer. This is really important! Not being able to list on iTunes means that you will be missing out on your largest possible source of traffic so make sure you take advantage of podcast hosting services to be able to meet these requirements. Having the right media file server also gives your end user, or listener, a better user experience. If a listener wants to skip to a certain part of your podcast episode, they should be able to without needed to download the entire podcast or wait for the entire thing to buffer before hand.

2. An RSS feed generator

Joomla comes with a lovely RSS feed generator BUT the feed is only for articles and isn't formatted correctly for audio or video podcasts. So the idea here is that you add on an extension that will take care of just that. You will need to find an extension that will allow you to customise the podcast feed details, the categories and pull in the podcast episodes automatically. There are several extensions for Joomla that can do this and we'll start looking at a few a little later in this post.

3. Audio and video players

You will need something to be able to embed the media onto your website. Whether it is a flash media player or a HTML5 based one, you need something that will allow the user of your website to see, click and listen to your podcast episodes.

4. Marketing and syndication of your podcast

There are many networks out there that will accept and syndicate your podcast on your behalf. Networks such as Stitcher, Spreaker and iHeartRadio are all hugely popular audio and on demand radio networks that you should make sure that you appear and are listed in all of those services.

5. A Joomla website

And of course you can't podcast with Joomla without a well tuned and optimised Joomla website made for a podcasting audience.

Now that we know all of the basics and the outlines of all of the elements that you need to be able to podcast with Joomla, lets look into more detail each one of these steps.

 

Podcast hosting platform

Hosting of the podcast audio if very important and getting the right type of audio hosting is critical to the usability of the podcast and delivery of the podcast. iTunes rules state specific audio hosting requirements that most web hosting companies don't provide this. Because of this reason, I recommend an audio or podcast  hosting provider.

Podcast hosting providers

Just to name a few.

Your web host might be a good starting point if you are low on budget and can't afford the costs of an external third party podcast hosting provider but just note that you may be excluded from the iTunes store because it doesn't make this requirement. 

A podcast hosting service that I've been a fan of for a long time is Libsyn. They provide detailed audio download and listening stats as well as the hosting of your audio files. It does cost a small fee depending on how much you are using it but with some good compression of your audio files you can really optimise your usage.

At the time of writing this article, we're using the 400meg a month upload plan with Libsyn. You can potentially use smaller plans if you compress the audio of your files more or if you upload less data per month.

Once you've  signed up  to Libsyn and have logged in, it is a very easy process of uploading the file and e data of your podcast episode to the system and get your audio online and syndicated.

Once you've logged in, click on upload.

Here you will be given an option of choosing what type of upload you may want to do. In most situations just a simple file upload is all you need but I personally like to create an episode and the file upload within Libsyn it self so that you will have a backup feed of your podcast, with in Libsyn if anything should happen.

The downside of the Libsyn feed is at all of the show notes urls are all directed back to Libsyn. Well cover more on this on the promotional side once we under stand how we're setting it all up in Joomla.

Fill in the form details for the podcast episode choosing the right corresponding options, filing in the date of the podcast episode and also the show title and description.

Click the cover art and upload that for the episode and also click on the file from hdd option to upload your podcast episode from your computer or where you have saved the recording.

Hit save at the bottom of the screen and it will begin the upload process.

At the point you've finished uploading the file, you technically would have released your podcast to the world. Just that no one knows that it is there just yet. This is where Joomla will help.

 

Creating your Joomla RSS feed

There are a few ways you can create an RSS feed of your podcast episode.

The easiest way is to use the feed that comes out from the Podcast Manager extension. This will be specific to your podcast and will always from from your website.

Currently the Joomla Beat Podcast feed comes from Feedburner, which holds the RSS feed. I wish back in the day I didn't do this as now I can't change from this RSS feed as iTunes now holds that feed URL as the one that it uses for the RSS feed in iTunes. If Feedburner was to ever close down, I'd potentially loose all of my iTunes subscribers.

Instead I've now need syndicating all of the feeds of the site via custom feed files such as http://joomlabe.at/podcast-feed.php This will help and ensure that I always have full control over that ever so important podcast feed URL that the rest of the world uses to download and enjoy my podcast.

 

Joomla podcasting extensions

Now you will need an extension or component of some sort that will cate your rss feed for your website and podcast. Tis rss feed will be the one that you push out to iTunes and other podcast syndication services to get your content out to the world.

Joomla Beat custom feed builder

On the Joomla beat website I wrote a really simple component that pulls in specific data from Joomla articles that are specific under a podcasting category. Tie allows you to simply use the core Joomla article system to create your content and organize your podcast.

There are a few tweaks that I have to do to the component to make I t commercially usable and customizable for the general public. At the moment specific things such as show description and titles are all hard coded into the components. I didn't see the need to create database change variables as I was she only person using it.

The way it works those is that it will pull in all of the intro copy of an article and use that as the show description. the title would be replicated identically and things such as cover art images sand the downloadable audio file would use the extra attributes fields that can be found on Joomla 2.5 websites onwards.

This created for the podcast by far the most easiest and seamless publishing system for the podcast.

 

Joomla podcast players

At the time of writing this article we've been using the default Libsyn embed player that is HTML5 friendly. We've been using it for quite a while now since switching over from SoundCloud player but we'll be upgrading again soon to another even better audio player.

That is MediaElement.js. This particular player is very fool proof. It loads by default as a HTML5 player, but then falls back to alternative versions until it loads successfully for the end user.

 

Peter Bui

Peter Bui

An all round web specialist with years of experience in web design, development and open source solutions at PB Web Development

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