Podcasts aren’t just random content on the internet. Unlike written content on blogs and websites, podcasts are authentic and offer a personal touch using the podcaster’s voice.
But preparing your message and hitting the record button doesn’t necessarily mean you can reach millions of potential listeners across the globe. You need a podcast hosting platform to help you distribute your content on major podcast directories and effectively reach listeners.
This Fireside review is aimed at providing buying insight for podcasters looking for suitable podcast hosting products to take their podcasting to the next level.
What is Fireside FM?
Fireside is an all-in-one podcast hosting platform designed to provide an increased level of ease for the newbie podcaster while being extremely useful for the advanced or professional user.
This is not surprising, considering the podcast hosting product was created by Dan Benjamin and a handful of his peers in 2016. The Fireside team is a relatively small one, but it is made of former podcasts hosts, so it makes sense that the platform is designed with the average podcaster in mind.
The product has gained increased recognition and recommendation owing to its impressive features, simplicity, and pocket-friendly pricing plans. This combination makes it easy for the budding podcaster to easily give the world their authentic voice without worrying so much about high costs and complex technicalities.
With Fireside, publishing your podcasts on all the major formats or importing existing podcasts from other platforms is a walk in the park. Podcasts show notes, descriptions, and other associated files are not lost when you import existing podcasts from other platforms. Plus, each registered podcaster has access to a customized website and fully responsive blogging engine that offers extra value to their audience.
Who Is It For?
Just about anyone who runs a podcast show can use the Fireside platform. However, it is most suitable for individuals looking for a simple yet robust product to host and publish their podcasts.
The competitive pricing makes it an ideal choice for budding podcasters, too. But most importantly, podcasters looking to grow their audience using repurposed content on a website at no additional cost will find Fireside an appropriate option.
Creative podcasters will find the custom pages, playlist colors, and audio player covers quite useful for creating eye-catching website designs. On the other hand, newbie podcasters will have an easy time working with the basic features.
Pros and Cons
- Ease of use: Fireside is designed by podcasters for podcasters, so it is not difficult to see why the platform is easy to use. Both the basic and advanced features and tools are easy to find and intuitive, and the site is pretty straightforward to navigate.
- Streamline processes: The platform features tons of useful tools to streamline processes and improve workflow. Some of the tools include automatic RSS feeds, link bookmarklet, sponsor integration, and more.
- Increased security: Podcast content is securely delivered to authorize listeners only because they are hosted on domains and sub-domains secured with an SSL certificate.
- Affordable cost structure: The pricing plan is considerably more affordable compared to other podcast hosting platforms. While Fireside isn’t without its flaws, the low-cost plans are a huge plus and tend to attract more indie creators.
- Integration: Podcasters can easily grow their audience, thanks to Fireside’s easy integration with major podcast distribution services, including Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and virtually all other third-party services.
- While the option to import existing podcasts from other platforms is a great addition, it can be a bit tricky to figure it out for podcasters with custom URLs.
- A lack of help from within the Fireside website can be frustrating as users can’t get immediate response to their issues unless they use the support form.
- Although Fireside has been in existence since 2016, it is a bit tricky to find any detailed customer reviews online. Information about real experiences from real users is quite scanty.
Fireside.fm Key Features
This part of the Fireside review sheds light on the standout features that make the podcast hosting service unique. These include:
Customizable Website and Blog
Each podcast on Fireside Podcast gets a beautiful, customizable website and blog. The feature-rich and highly responsive website is a great addition, as it allows listeners to learn more about your show.
This feature gives you access to custom pages and links, tag pages, individual guests and hosts pages, as well as a full blogging engine.
You can use your custom domain with Fireside to create a seamless experience for your podcast audience. And the setup process is pretty straightforward, even a complete novice can get it done with a few simple clicks.
Every podcast has a free SSL certificate that applies to both custom domains and other sub-domains. An SSL certificate (HTTPS) increases your website security and ensures that your episodes and other content on the website are only accessible to your audience and securely delivered to them.
Accurate Download Stats and Analytics
The platform is equipped with a stats engine and analytics reporting to provide accurate, real-time download stats and analytics. Users will be able to track and count every unique download and quickly identify the most popular episodes judging from the audience engagement.
Podcasters can share their podcast episodes on all web pages using the embeddable player. For a little icing on the cake, you can choose between the light and dark themed player, depending on your preferences or what works well for the webpage where you want to embed the Fireside player.
Both beginners and professionals have access to the Fireboard dashboard that’s designed to give a simple and efficient user experience. The dashboard may be simple but it is created to be extremely fast. Plus, it is optimized to improve the podcasting workflow so that users can channel their time, effort, and energy to creating worthy-listen content instead of worrying about complex settings.
Seamlessly Import Existing Podcasts
Importing existing podcasts from other platforms or custom RSS feed comes at no extra cost and can be done with just one click. But most importantly, you won’t lose your current subscribers during the transfer process.
Existing podcasts from other podcast platforms are imported into Fireside Podcast together with all associated titles, descriptions, notes, and audio files.
Custom importers are available for all podcast platforms including:
The professional tools allow you to easily share your stats with your sponsors, allowing you to keep your sponsors in the loop about ad campaigns. You can also add collaborators, insert links using the handy bookmarklet, and create redirects and custom pages.
If you would like to publish episodes sometime in the future, Fireside offers the option to set episodes to automatically publish at a later time and date.
Fast Content Delivery
Fireside provides lightning-fast file hosting that enables new podcast episodes to get right to your listeners the very minute they become available.
This is made possible by combining Fireside’s infrastructure and the fastest CDNs from other partners. The combo results in fast content delivery to your audience.
Fireside has a three-tier pricing plan suitable for different types of podcasters. To make it easier for you to decide which plan suits you best, you have the option to try the podcasting service free of charge for 14 days. You can cancel your subscription before the trial period expires if you decide that Fireside isn’t the right choice for you.
But if you’re satisfied with the service, you can purchase any of the pricing plans below:
- Starter: This plan is available for $9 per month. It allows you to host only one podcast and upload up to five episodes monthly. Downloads are limited to 10,000 per month but you get basic download stats and third-party tracking support. With this plan, you get instant Spotify integration and you can distribute your podcasts on Apple Podcasts.
- Standard: At 19$ per month, the Standard plan is a fairly popular option for many podcasters. It allows you to host an unlimited number of podcasts with up to 75,000 downloads monthly. In addition to the features available on the Starter plan, this option offers unlimited storage and allows you to use your own domain with SSL. You get professional download stats and can have up to five collaborators.
- Professional: This plan offers you all the features of the Standard plan and a lot more at only $49 per month. You get unlimited downloads per month with advanced download metrics and up to 10 collaborators. It offers access to exclusive website themes, click tracking and priority support.
This Fireside review will be incomplete without mentioning customer support. Podcasters can reach Fireside through a couple of channels to resolve issues or have their questions answered.
For general inquiries, you can contact them through the company’s emails while support tickets can be submitted in the support section.
The support section contains answers to most issues that users may need help with. It is a FAQ and support documentation page with plenty of articles that help users to resolve common issues. On the page, you can find articles on:
- Account management (plans, pricing, billing, cancellations, and more).
- How to migrate existing podcasts from other services.
- Integrating with various platforms, such as Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcasts, and more
- Managing and publishing podcasts, as well as collaborations.
Unfortunately, Fireside customer support isn’t as robust compared to other hosting platforms, and that comes down to the lack of a Slack channel or one-on-one chat service for customers and potential clients.
Individuals as well as small to medium businesses looking for a podcast hosting product that easily integrates with all the major publishing formats may want to go with Fireside. Its built-in, customizable website combined with the host and guests’ bio pages are excellent additions with the potential of quickly growing podcast shows.
As you can tell from this Fireside FM review, the platform is simple and easy to use. But whether it is the right podcast hosting service for you is your call to make. And the only way to find out for sure is to try the product for free.