May 242012

This guest post is by Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing.

You’ve probably heard that adding multimedia to your blog is a great way to grow your audience. But if you’re like me, and technology makes you assume the fetal position and cry like an overtired baby, you may have put off the idea.

The good news is that after pulling out half of my hair grappling with a half-dozen different podcasting platforms and audio-editing programs, I discovered there is a simple way to create, embed, and play audio on your WordPress blog. So I’d like to save all of you the agony and share how I now do my podcasts.

Below is my five-step guide to bare-bones podcasting for the newbie, using mostly free tools.

Step 1: Pick the right podcasting platform

Here’s the key benefit you’re looking for in a podcasting platform: the platform will let you export audio files as mp3s. You won’t believe how many of even the most expensive, premium platforms will not (yes, I am looking at you, GoToWebinar).

The intent of most recording platforms is to chain you to their own, proprietary recording format or to trap you in some awkward format that’s hard to edit or play. They want you to leave your recordings on their site and put links to their site on your own site—so they can build their Google rankings (and often, so they can charge you extra for storing them).

If you export these weirdo-format files, you end up with a mess of various files my husband has likened to a scrambled egg that you then strive to turn back into a whole, unbroken egg that will play on your blog. Ever tried to unscramble an egg? Yeah. It’s a nightmare.

Also, you don’t want to trust your precious recordings to another site on the cloud somewhere that could close up shop or lose your media. You want to control your own podcasts. Every one of your recordings is a valuable asset to your blog that can be offered as a freebie for subscribers, for sale as a standalone product, or as a bonus bundled with another paid product.

After many false starts, I now use Instant Teleseminar, which creates an mp3 by default. It has a 21-day free trial so you can play around on it if you’re shopping for a podcasting platform. (I’m sure there are other

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