7 Top Plugins for Podcasting with WordPress

Posted on October 10, 2015 by in Tips & Tricks | 26 comments

7 Top Plugins for Podcasting with WordPress

Unless you’ve been hiding under a (presumably delightfully comfortable) rock for the past few years, you will have noticed the extraordinary rise in the popularity of podcasting (one billion podcast subscriptions was passed way back in 2013). And being the enterprising type, you’re ready to wade in and grab the opportunity that podcasting presents with both hands.

As a WordPress site owner, you’ll be delighted to hear that podcasting and WordPress go hand in hand. To save you the unnecessary hassle and effort that can be involved with integrating podcasts with your WordPress site, we’ve rounded up seven of the top podcasting plugins out there for you to consider below. By the end of the piece, you’re sure to have found a solution to suit your needs.

Before we crack on to the list though, let’s cover some background on podcasting itself.

A Brief Overview of Podcasting

Podcasting’s history goes back further than blogging itself. Although its roots lie in the 1980s indie radio boom, the modern format become popular in 2004 through platforms such as Odeo.

During that time, the iPod was the dominant force in online media consumption. Developers and radio enthusiasts were on the lookout for a way to easily add their programs to the device and Apple’s 2005 integration of podcasts in iTunes set the ball rolling in earnest.

Since then, podcasts have been created by every conceivable media outlet and organization on earth and opened the door for many individual voices.

Some of the most popular podcasts have been entertainment-based. The Ricky Gervais Show, for example, started life as an incredibly popular podcast with roots in traditional radio. Due to its success, the show grew into an HBO series with multiple spinoff shows starring various cast members.

Other popular podcasts explore a diverse range of topics with standout examples including This American Life, The Joe Rogan ExperienceThe Nerdist, and Radiolab. The more technically inclined amongst you will be well served by the 5by5 network and shows such as This Developer’s Life.

WordPress has gotten in on the act as well. There are a number of notable podcasts covering the platform and addressing topics as news, how-tos, and advanced programming techniques. Apply Filters tackles WordPress development, plugins, and themes. BlogAid offers non-technical advice for those new to the software and Kitchensink WP provides a steady stream of well-sourced interviews, reviews, and tutorials.

All of the podcasts above have a website in addition to their RSS subscription feed. Combining your podcast with a WordPress site is a smart way of promoting and sharing your show. Let’s move on to take a look at some of the best plugins for podcasting with WordPress.

1. Libsyn Podcast Plugin

Libsyn Podcasting Logo

Libsyn is one of the most popular podcast hosts online.

Although still in beta, Libsyn’s Podcast Plugin is poised to be an incredibly useful addition to the WordPress podcasting plugin landscape. Leveraging the power of one of the most popular podcast hosting platforms, Libsyn’s new tool will make connecting WordPress to your shows’ content easier than ever.

This plugin will enable you to post new podcast episodes to your Libsyn account directly from WordPress. Your RSS feed will be automatically updated and your files will even be posted to Libsyn’s servers instead of your website. This not only saves time on your end, it makes sure your updates are viewable from both iTunes and your site right out of the gate.

You’re free to create a custom post on your WordPress site announcing a new podcast episode while Libsyn handles the RSS and uploading in the background. This will be a must-have plugin for anyone using Libsyn when it officially ships so keep an eye on the plugin’s development and check out the video above for more background.

2. Blubrry PowerPress

PowerPress logo

Blubrry PowerPress Plugin is one of the most widely-used plugins for adding podcasts to WordPress.

If you’re new to podcasting but have a WordPress site, you might want to consider PowerPress. This plugin offers just about everything you need to host and manage a podcast (minus the actual episodes, of course). You can post MP3 files to your WordPress site directly with PowerPress, effectively turning it into your podcast host.

The plugin generates the podcast feed needed for listeners to subscribe – RSS2, iTunes, ATOM and BitTorrent RSS are all supported. This is a major timesaver in itself. PowerPress also has an integrated HTML5 Media Player which allows listeners to enjoy episodes straight from your WordPress site. Embedded media from popular sites like YouTube are also supported.

In addition to these basic features, PowerPress also provides useful SEO settings. Getting these dialed in enables you to increase your blog and podcast’s discoverability in Google and the iTunes directory.

Other features on offer include easy podcast episode editing, migration tools for moving from other plugins or hosts, and multi-podcast support. PowerPress also sends free Blubrry Media Statistics straight to your WordPress dashboard.

Newcomers and long-time podcasters alike stand to benefit from PowerPress’s comprehensive feature set so it’s definitely worth a look.

3. Seriously Simple Podcasting

Seriously Simple Podcast logo

Seriously Simple Podcasting adds all the features you need with minimal bulk.

For people who aren’t so comfortable handling advanced podcast settings themselves or just need basic functions, Seriously Simple Podcasting is the way to go. This plugin promises an easy-to-use method for adding podcasts to WordPress without getting bogged down in unnecessary options.

Initial installation and setup is simple to follow and you’ll be up and running in no time. Although the interface is simple, Seriously Simple Podcasting offers some robust tools and enables you to manage multiple podcasts directly from WordPress. The plugin supports unique RSS feeds for each podcast.

Other features available include a highly configurable RSS feed which works with all podcast subscription software. The plugin includes shortcodes and widgets for easily posting episodes anywhere on your website using the built-in WordPress media player. You’re also free to host files on a server of your choosing, including your own WordPress site and native podcast hosts.

Seriously Simple Podcasting is a streamlined solution with basic but powerful features. It’s a great choice for both newcomers and established podcasters who want to keep things nice and manageable. With over 8,000 active installs (and a 5-star rating on WordPress.org), it’s definitely worth consideration.

4. Smart Podcast Player

Smart Podcast Player screenshot

This plugin provides a full player for your podcast, or a small player, to insert into WordPress.

Smart Podcast Player is a premium solution suitable for larger or more commercial podcasts. It provides an attractive, full-featured player that can be displayed on your WordPress site. The developers promise accelerated podcast traffic, downloads, and tools for boosting subscriber growth.

This player is great for established podcasts, or new ones that will be hosted on a podcast server. The player supports feeds from all major formats including Libsyn, SoundCloud, and others.

Smart Podcast Player offers simple to set up support and options for customizing the look and feel of the player. Episode descriptions are nicely displayed and a list of current and previous episodes are viewable from the sidebar.

This plugin enables you to add your podcast to a WordPress site without needing to integrate it fully into the back end. All episodes are viewable from the player. They can be streamed or downloaded. New listeners won’t have to subscribe right away either; they can sample your shows and even share them via social media.

Advanced features include speedup or slowdown playback (usually only available on iTunes or similar software), mobile-friendly formats, and automatic updates. They offer a free version to get you started, but most of the more advanced options come with a yearly subscription.

This may not be the best solution for new podcasters but for shows with a large audience that can shoulder the cost it’s worth a look.

5. Podlove

Podlove logo

Podlove offers a full publisher tool for your podcast and WordPress blog.

Like most of the plugins we’ve listed so far, Podlove Podcast Publisher offers simple solutions for adding podcast episodes to your WordPress blog. The developers promise a modern, streamlined option for hosting MP3 shows on the same server as your WordPress installation.

The plugin generates efficient, properly formatted podcast feeds for every subscription service. It also offers detailed control over how the user’s client – iTunes for example – will load and operate the podcast. This is a great feature as some older clients and software can struggle with loading, lose episodes, or display data incorrectly.

Additional features include multi-format publishing that includes support for legacy audio and video codecs. An additional Podlove Web Player is provided for playing media files through your WordPress site. There is also support for adding chapters to your content and flexible templates for customizing your podcast.

Podlove promises this is only the beginning and are committed to regularly rolling out new features down the line. If you’re interested in an alternative to PowerPress and would like to experience a few new features, Podlove is one to investigate.

6. Cincopa

Cincopa Logo

Cincopa is a full-featured service/software solution for adding a variety of media to a website. They provide tools for multiple content management systems, including WordPress. For podcasters, they offer a plugin to add a customizable player to your WordPress site.

This service aims to streamline the podcasting process by making it incredibly easy for you to post and play your episodes. Most of the back end is handled by them. You can pick from a number of pre-designed podcast player skins, upload your files to their servers, and use their generated code to embed on your WordPress site.

This plugin is best for companies or bloggers with occasional audio or video posts. You will have a subscription RSS feed for your listeners without being burdened with maintaining additional features.

7. Podcasting Plugin by TSG

Podcasting Plugin logo

This plugin offers basic tools for hosting a podcast on your WordPress site.

Rounding out our podcasting choices, we have the Podcasting Plugin by TSG. This plugin offers basic tools for hosting a podcast through your WordPress site.

The plugin generates an iTunes-compatible feed and associated metadata. It offers easy to follow controls for posting and uploading your files. You can also play media directly on your WordPress site using a standard video/audio player.

This is a no-frills option but it’s worth considering if you’re just getting started or don’t anticipate a long-term career in podcasting. Podcasting Plugin will give you the tools you need for the short-term but won’t demand hours of attention to maintain or update.

Conclusion: We’re Spoiled for Choice

The hardest part of maintaining a podcast is finding the time to record engaging episodes for your listeners. If you have that piece of the puzzle cracked, adding a show to your WordPress site is a piece of cake.

The tools we’ve selected cover a range of use cases from simple plugins to comprehensive hosting solutions. Regardless of your needs, there’s an option there to keep your podcast running smoothly and listeners entertained.

We’re eager to hear from you. Do you host your own podcast already? What tools do you absolutely love using? What plugins have you found that make adding podcasts to WordPress simple?

Share your thoughts and questions in the comments!

Article thumbnail image by Kit8.net / shutterstock.com

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26 Comments

  1. I want to give all of these a look, but I am leaning toward looking into Libsyn. Reason? One of the podcast I co-host uses Libsyn and I’m about to start another using that service. Interesting that there isn’t a Blogtalkradio.com version; which, in my opinion, has wayyyyyyy too many pop-ups/adverts.

    • Unfortunately SoundCloud may not be around much longer.

      • Why would you say that?

        • They ran out of money.

  2. You neglected to mention SOUNDCLOUD!
    I was on Libsyn my first year and then switched to SoundCloud which I find to be very easy to use with lots of features and a podcast network built in.

    Here is more information; https://soundcloud.com/for/podcasting

    You can see what I have done on lhdiet.com/quitsoda or lhdiet.com/wordcampri2015 and other posts.

    • At the moment the future of SoundCloud is unclear. It’s hemorrhaging money right now and it’s also in some major negotiations with Sony, Universal, and possible other major record labels over copyright infringement. They may not be around much longer.

      • Yikes! I had no idea.
        At least it’s pretty easy to migrate my RSS feed, if and when I might need to.
        I’ll enjoy their service until something changes.

        • Leaving Soundcloud may not be as easy as it was. There has been recent trouble in re-directing media feeds.

  3. I love the SimplePodcastPress plugin. It’s a ‘skin’ for PowerPress and provides great additional functionality, like a URL shortener, click-to-tweet and subscription functions. I didn’t know that Libsyn was working on a plugin, I’ll have to peek at that one. Thanks for the roundup!

  4. While a premium theme, Simple Podcast Press is a great tool as well. You can put subscribe buttons as well as subscribe via email buttons (and a whole lot more).

    • Thanks Dave!

      Don’t forget the world-wide iTunes reviews and the clickable timestamps too that let you put timecode on your show notes page and when clicked the player jumps to that point in time.

      A full demo of this feature and all our features can be experienced here on our demo site:
      http://demo.simplepodcastpress.com/interactive-show-notes/

  5. Tom, thanks for a great post.

    I’m just about to dip my toe in the unchartered waters of podcasting so this is a great help.

  6. The problem with the beta Libsyn plugin is that it is still all about control. The purposely break the Blubrry Plugin.. Which is currently used by 50,000 podcasters and is well established as working with any platform.

    Libsyn has talked badly about WordPress and WordPress RSS feeds for years so it is ironic that they are now taking actions to break PowerPress the industry standard.

    Libsyn wants to control you RSS feed and your SEO/IP.. Serious podcasters need to understand the choices they are making before they get locked into a platform like Libsyn where they control your SEO and IP

    PowerPress has always worked with all hosting Platforms. It would be very bad for Libsyn to break PowerPress on purpose.

    • Hi Todd, would you mind sharing more details? How exactly do they break powerpress?

      (And please give a full disclosure of your connection with blubrry/powerpress.)

      • Todd is the CEO of RawVoice. I am the CIO of RawVoice. RawVoice is the parent company to Blubrry, the makers of the PowerPress plugin.

        LibSyn’s plugin replaces PowerPress, you cannot use them together. LibSyn requires you to host your feed on their website. It is critical that your podcast feed reside on your own web site. Other companies want to lock you into their service. Blubrry always puts the best interests of the podcasters first then our business model second. We do not need your podcast feed, it’s your content, not ours.

        • Hey Angelo,

          Thanks for the info. I sue a service for one of the podcasts I host but otherwise I use TSG which has not been a good time as of recently. Based on what you just wrote I will definitely be checking out Blubrry. Lets hope your customer service is better than TSG I have requested help 4 times now and got zilch in return aside of frustration. I have some unkind words for them, but we are being professional so I will save them for beer with some pals.

          Cheers and thanks for being an appear stand-up guy !

      • If you install the Libsyn plugin you are forced to deactivate the PowerPress plugin. Their plugin breaks PowerPress functionality.

        Their is no reason for this, PowerPress has always worked with all service providers and remained compatible with other plugins.

        As a clarification of your article Libsyn’s plugiun does not utilize the RSS feed from your .com they continue to force you to use their internal feed.

        I am the CEO of RawVoice / Blubrry.

  7. Exploited numerous alternative directory plugins that have confusing choices, less enticing appearance and not therefore nice usability.
    Great plugins for even the foremost advanced directory website.
    Thanks Tom!

  8. I have tried TSG Podcasting, simple and easy to use plugin without too much confusing options like in other podcasting plugins

  9. I am curious about the REASON why so many of these plugins have value.
    We stil need traffic.
    Do these plugins “increase” traffic or just display an attractive presentation?

    • Hi Chuck,
      That’s an excellent question.
      I’ve been at this for a very long time, now, and I actually have a hybrid setup (files/feed on Libsyn, BluBrry on WP site for the player/download functionality).
      What I’ve found is that without a plugin like BluBrry, you wind up having to deal with a lot of little fiddly bits. With it, those fiddly bits are pulled from your feed and arranged in a way that makes listening very easy for the end-user.

      Disclosure: My podcast, CraftLit, has been on Libsyn since it started in 2006 (with shownotes on Blogger). When I switched to WP I got the Blubrry plugin and was very impressed. I’m now a Patron of BluBrrys on Patreon b/c what they’re doing for podcasters is great and important and, above all, easy-to-use and comprehensive.

      Let me know if you have specific bits you’re interested in!

  10. Do any of these podcast players provide an option to play a video podcast? Some people prefer watching the podcast. Also, I would love to see some of the podcast players in action. Do you know of site that are using the different players so I can see what they look like?

    Thanks, Erica

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