This is a quickie tutorial on how to put a podcast (a.k.a. a sound file such as you reading aloud from your book!) on your website or blog.
|Yes, this could be you!|
What you need to create a podcast:
1. Your raw sound recording. It might be you talking plus ambient sounds or commentary from other sources. You will need to record to a digital form - WAV or MP3. How? I am the proud owner of an H4N Zoom Recorder - a kind of high-tech version of the old tape recorders we hacks used to carry around. Most computers will have built in mics and basic recording software. You might even use your mobile phone. Mine does great recordings with a tiny bit of hiss.You can also record yourself using a camcorder and extract the sound using Quicktime Pro (I've always thought it's worth the price - I even use it to download youtube videos). There used to be a free way to do this online called Vixy.net but I think they've turned to capitalism now.
2. A way to assemble/edit your recorded sounds and music. If you work on a mac, you can use Garage Band to edit your recording, adding music and voice. Never used Garage Band? Watch this video tutorial. If you work on a PC there is a lot of software for this but you might find the free-to-download Audacity a good way to mix. Here's an Audacity tutorial
3. Additional music or sound effects. Some tasteful music does make for a better end product. There are a lot of places online to find royalty free music (Google and listen). Garage Band comes with music loops from many instruments AND sound effects (do try not to be too annoying).
4. Webspace/server to host your MP3 online. Once you create your recording, you need to upload it to a server online. This might be your own host (I much prefer 1and1.co.uk to the other ones out there). It might even be free webspace provided by your internet service provider (BT Internet, Virgin, they all give you free webspace - I couldn't find straightforward info on BT's free webspace, a bad sign). You can also sign up to the many podcast sites that provide hosting for a fee or free with ads. These sites are a lot like Podcast People and Podbean
5. Software to upload your MP3 to the server. You can use proprietary software such as Dreamweaver or a free ftp client like Filezilla . Ftp means 'file transfer protocol' - and the software is just a way of putting your file on the server. Here's a step-by-step for Filezilla
6. An mp3 player widget to put on the website. You can, of course just link to wherever you posted the sound file. But it's far cooler to have a button to press. I used this free flash mp3 player.
7. Oh and I am presuming you've already got a website or blog to post the thing on.
Here are the not-so-quick and no-so-easy steps to posting a sound file on your website (personally tested by yours truly):
1. Create the sound file. No, I'm not telling you how to do it here. My advice is: listen to Radio 4 for inspiration. Edit sharply. The shorter the better - my new reading is more than four minutes, probably too long.
2. Once you've edited to your heart's content, export as an MP3 file using your editing software (on Garage Band it's the 'share' button and on Audacity it's the File>export as) . This is what I did. Someone more widgety than me might advice using a higher resolution file such as a Wav but you'll have to ask them what to do next because I didn't do that.
3. Upload the MP3 to your webspace. How to upload? Use the aforementioned FTP software. This means you might have to teach yourself how to use it. How do you teach yourself? My personal favourite is googling "How to use (name of ftp software)" Always works for me.
4. Make sure you know the url by which to access your file. Url means uniform resource locator - it's the address of your file on the web or the link. You need this to link to from your website, or to input into the MP3 player in step five.
To find your url you need to know how your chosen webspace is organized. If you go on one of those podcast sites they will give you a link. I put my file in a folder called mp3 and uploaded it to my webspace on http://notesfromtheslushpile.co.uk. So the url of my file is http://notesfromtheslushpile.co.uk/mp3/tallstory.mp3 How do you know your url? Ask your webspace provider.
5.Select the model of mp3 player you want on this site. There are other sites of course but this is the one I used. Some of the podcast websites that provide you with webspace might also provide you with the player. I couldn't be bothered to research all the podcast sites so I decided to host mine on my own own webspace (under my domain notesfromtheslushpile.co.uk) and just find some pretty buttons to paste on my blog. There were many sizes to choose from but I chose the maxi - which allowed me to control the sizes of the buttons and the colour. On the right, there's a menu - go straight to 'generator' where you can enter your desired settings. The page will generates all the code you need to style the player.
6. The mp3 player website was not very forthcoming about how to make the thing work so I followed this tutorial which walked me through posting onto my website. The tutorial happened to be in French but on my browser Google Chrome a message appeared asking if I wanted it translated to English. I clicked Yes, and the translation was surprisingly good.
The potentially confusing bit: the process does involve creating two more files - an xml and a text file. Don't panic. Take a deep breathe and do this:
1. The MP3 player generator page gives you the text to paste into the xml and text files (be careful not to close the browser page as you will have to start working on the settings from scratch).
2. Create the xml and text files using the free text editor that comes with your computer (Notepad or Wordpad or Textedit on Mac) - don't use Microsoft Word because it will just add its own code. Paste the text generated by the website into a new file and save with a .xml or .txt extension.Note: To make an xml file, you need to have an xml declaration at the very beginning of the page as described in this article, before you paste in the text provided.Just copy the declaration in that article.
3. Upload it into the same webspace as your sound file using your ftp uploader (eg Filezilla). I uploaded my files into the same folder as the sound file.
7. Once you've uploaded your xml and text files, you can paste the html code provided by the generator into your website. (you have to paste it in 'Edit HTML' or 'code' mode on online website builders like Blogger or Jimdo).
It only sounds confusing when you're reading it and not doing.
Just do it.