So, you’ve decided to start a podcast. Or maybe you’ve been uploading podcast content for a while now and you’re trying to up your game. In 2020, the podcast medium is more popular than ever, so it makes sense that you’d want to dive in. Podcast episodes are a great way to engage with an existing audience and build on their numbers.
This means you’re going to have to dive into the world of podcast hosting and analytics if you haven’t already. Educating yourself on the many podcast hosting platforms available is a daunting task. There are so many, and they all have unique features. How do you know which is best for your project?
Luckily, you aren’t going to have to look any further. Castos is a podcast hosting platform that promises to streamline the process of creating and uploading podcast media, and we’re pretty sure you’ll see why it’s one of the more popular platforms in this guide. Castos’ plugin itself is titled ‘Seriously Simple Podcasting’, and it lives up to its name.
In this Castos review, we’ll cover how Castos works, how Seriously Simple Podcasting can help you build your audience and brand, the importance of knowing what makes each hosting platform different, and how much all of this will cost. Let’s get started.
- What is Castos?
- What Analytics Does Castos Provide?
- How Does it All Work?
- Castos Alternatives
- Castos Final Thoughts
What is Castos?
Simply put, Castos is a podcast hosting and analytics software that allows you to manage your audio or video files, depending on your payment plan. You get increased data on who is listening/watching. It can be used as a WordPress plugin as a direct add-on to your pre-existing website, or as independent software. Let’s break down what separates the two.
If you aren’t that into WordPress, or you’re just looking for some standalone software to either launch or build on your podcasting, then Castos could be the podcast host for you. It brings with it a variety of features while having full control over your podcast media, whether that comes in the form of audio or video.
For those of you who have been podcasting for a while and have numerous episodes on another platform, Castos makes it easy to move over via a simple importing system. Simply click a single button and you can begin to import all of your previous episodes onto the Castos platform. There’s no need for you to start from scratch!
If you have a YouTube account associated with your podcast, then you can utilize Castos’ automatic republication feature. This allows you to immediately upload podcast episodes to a linked YouTube account as soon as you’ve uploaded through Castos, allowing for wider outreach to audience numbers.
It also provides a premium podcasting feature that allows you to curate which members of your audience get your content first. This is a great way to monetize your subscription base and offer unique exclusives to particular members, as they have access to a unique RSS feed that others won’t.
To round it all off, due to its independent nature, listeners/viewers aren’t required to tune in via any one specific podcast hosting service. Instead, they can listen via whichever service they are most fond of.
WordPress Plugin Castos Review
The plugin works in a very similar way to the standalone software, with just some minor variations. The most prominent of which is, of course, the collaboration with WordPress. Castos developed the plugin, known as Seriously Simple Podcasting. You can find it on your WordPress dashboard.
If you already run a WordPress site, perhaps for your business or blog, then utilizing this form of podcast hosting is preferable over the standalone software because you can easily unify your media. Adding built-in podcast players to your site is a great way to boost traffic and encourage visitors to explore what you offer.
Seriously Simple Podcasting allows you to operate your entire podcast setup via the WordPress dashboard. Having everything in one place like this makes managing your media so much easier. It means you can view a wide array of analytics on your audience from one convenient dashboard.
The plugin provides your site with a highly minimalist player that blends seamlessly into your site. Castos understands that not all websites look the same, so the players they provide are designed to suit any aesthetic your site is going for. You can customize the color of your player and add/remove certain modules that may be relevant to particular episodes, such as guest information).
Plans and Pricing
There are three separate plans available to Castos customers, each with different features. They’re broken down as follows:
- Audio Podcasting: $19 per month, provides unlimited storage and episodes, but no automated republication to YouTube
- Audio Podcasting with Republishing: $34 per month, same as above with the option of automated republication
- Video Podcasting: $49 per month, same as above but also allows for the posting of video podcasts as opposed to solely audio
All of the packages available give you endless storage, so you don’t have to worry about hitting a wall and having to pay additional fees. Whether you’re uploading daily episodes or weekly, you’re covered.
What Analytics Does Castos Provide?
Both the standalone Castos software and the Seriously Simple Podcasting platforms provide analytics that can help you improve your podcast’s performance based on who is listening to your episodes. Some key analytics Castos monitors include:
- Location of your listeners: This can be vital information when planning the best time to drop episodes. If your main listener base is in a different timezone to you, it would be wise to adjust your schedule accordingly.
- Device types: Are your listeners primarily consuming your content via their phone or on their desktop? This information can be used to greatly improve your site’s interface to suit the needs of your audience.
- Playback duration for each episode
- Viewing/Listener stats: This also includes the total listens and downloads. You can filter all of the data by date and episode. This is a fantastic way to add some specificity to your research when it comes to learning from the gathered data.
Podcast hosting and analytics go hand in hand, and that’s because analytics are highly valuable to anybody looking to establish themselves in the digital sphere. They provide you with information that allows you to sharpen your sales focus and discover where your primary audience resides. Castos understands this, so it doesn’t skimp on providing you with the necessary details.
How Does it All Work?
All this background information is helpful for getting a theoretical understanding of Castos and the process of podcast hosting, but let’s look at some of the more practical aspects. How does Castos work?
Here’s our step by step breakdown of what you’ll encounter if you choose this platform for your podcasts:
Step 1: Account Creation
This is a fairly standard process. Simply navigate to the Castos website where you’ll be prompted to begin your 14-day free trial. From there, you’ll be asked to fill out some details regarding your show.
These details cover things such as the title of your show and the URL where you wish your shows to be shown. It’s important to be careful when deciding on your URL, as this can’t be changed later. You will also be asked to specify whether you’ll be using Castos as standalone software or through WordPress.
Step 2: Linking With WordPress
Assuming you’re going down the WordPress route, Castos will provide you with an API key, which you can then use to sync up your WordPress site with your new podcasting hosting platform. This is all done from your WordPress dashboard under the subheader ‘Podcasts’.
Step 3: Configure Your Settings
Via the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin tab, you can configure your settings to personalize how your episodes are uploaded and how they are seen by your audience. Adjust the format the episode takes, whether it’s part of a blog post or a dedicated podcast post, and who can see what you’re uploading (for example, if you have patrons who are eligible for exclusive early access).
This is also where you’ll be able to customize the appearance of your player and add any modules or extra information you wish to attach.
Step 4: Upload and Launch!
Now that you’ve made your account, linked your Castos with your WordPress, and configured your settings, you’re good to go and upload your first podcast episode. This is made especially easy via the plugin, as you don’t need to leave your WordPress dashboard at all.
Simply select Podcast, then select Add New, and upload your file! Once you’ve done that, you’re free to tag it within an inch of its life for maximum discoverability. Then you can publish whenever you please. You can also attach a featured image along with the post, like how you’d publish a blog post, to catch the eye of a potential listener.
Where is the Best Place to Upload Podcasts?
This particular question can trip a lot of podcasters up before they even begin. The most popular streaming services for podcasts are platforms like iTunes, Spotify, and Audible. You would think they would be the best places to upload your podcasts to given their popularity, but no, they aren’t.
The truth is you don’t upload podcasts to these streaming sites. In fact, nobody does. Every podcast you’ve ever listened to has used a specific, third-party podcasting hosting service. All podcast files are uploaded to a podcast hosting server, and you can then submit your show to platforms such as iTunes or Spotify to circulate your content.
Another misconception is that you can simply upload episode files to your website and publish them that way, but this can really harm opportunities for traffic as they aren’t discoverable by other streaming services. You also don’t have access to the valuable hosting and analytics features that come with platforms designed for podcast hosting.
What is a Podcast Host?
Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. These are services designed specifically to host podcast content, and then distribute them to other applicable streaming services. They provide key podcast hosting and analytics data that you wouldn’t get if you opted for direct upload to a site.
In a rough breakdown, but here’s how they work:
- You upload your podcast files to the site’s servers
- These files are stored in feeds that can then be accessed through various streaming platforms
- Subscribers to these streaming platforms and your podcast can then access your material
By hosting them in this way there’s heightened security for your content, in the sense that if your website went down you wouldn’t lose everything you’d worked on, and there’s opportunities for more people to discover your episodes through the many streaming services available.
What is the Best Podcast Platform?
That’s a very good question, and unfortunately not one that has a definitive answer. It truly depends on what you value most or rely on, particularly when creating your specific content. Luckily, you aren’t starved for choice in this regard. There are plenty of podcast hosting services available.
Besides Castos, BuzzSprout is another reputable podcast hosting and analytics platform that offers high-quality service with low-cost charges. Make sure you shop around before committing to one service. If our review of Castos hasn’t immediately sold you, we recommend exploring BuzzSprout to see if its features align themselves more with what you’re after.
Castos Final Thoughts
- Multiple payment plans to accommodate all users
- Endless storage
- Can be used as a simple plugin to link with a pre-existing WordPress site
- Great podcast hosting and analytics features
- Automatic republication available
- Though you can use the software independently, it’s designed foremost with WordPress users in mind, which may alienate those who do not possess a WordPress account
In this review, we’ve covered Castos thoroughly, and it’s pretty clear to see why so many love it. It’s easy to sync up with any existing WordPress site you might have, and it offers a wide range of analytics and customization options that suit the needs of creators who need variety to stay on top of trends. It offers free unlimited storage, and the statistics it provides you are easy to understand and monitor.
If you’re ready to start your project with WordPress compatibility, then Castos is the host for you.