Over the last month, almost 40% of US adults have listened to a podcast. This once-niche form of entertainment has rocketed in popularity, giving rise to thousands of new content creators and a huge potential podcast audience. It’s clear that podcasting can be a great way to boost your brand – but what’s the best way to share your podcast episodes with the world?
Whether you’re considering starting a new podcast show or are already an experienced host, you may have heard of Fusebox. Originally released as Smart Podcast Player by Pat Flynn and Matthew Gartland, Fusebox is a WordPress plugin that enables you to publish podcast episodes on your blog or website.
In this Fusebox review, we’ll guide you through its key features to help you decide whether it’s the best podcasting plugin for you.
- What is Fusebox?
- What Are The Key Features Of Fusebox?
- What Are The Fusebox Pricing Plans?
- What Customer Support Does Fusebox Offer?
- Is Fusebox The Right Choice For You?
- The Bottom Line
What is Fusebox?
Fusebox Podcast Player was designed by podcasters, for podcasters. Pat Flynn is the creator of the WordPress blog Smart Passive Income and developed Smart Podcast Player in order to share episodes of his podcast, Ask Pat, on his blog. Matthew Gartland is the brains behind Winning Edits, an editorial agency that partnered with Pat Flynn and Smart Passive Income to create world-class content together.
Pat and Matthew created a custom podcast player because they were frustrated by the limited options already on the market. Their Smart Podcast Player became popular and, after combining with a podcast transcript plugin, has since rebranded as Fusebox Podcast Player. Today, it’s one of the most widely used WordPress podcast plugins available – enabling the world’s 75 million WordPress sites to host audio files, media tracks, and podcast episodes.
Although other podcast players make it possible for you to post episodes on your blog, Fusebox offers a wide range of extra features that are easy to use. It gives your audience the ability to browse your archive of old episodes, instead of simply displaying your most recent release. It also makes it easier for people to download your podcast and promotes wider social sharing.
In July 2020, Pat Flynn released the latest version of Fusebox – Fusebox Player 2.11. This added a host of new capabilities to the original Fusebox Podcast Player, including a sticky player and a selection of new subscription options. Let’s take a look at the key Fusebox features to see what sets this podcast plugin apart.
What Are The Key Features Of Fusebox?
Want to become a podcast pro and wondering whether Fusebox is the right podcast player for you? Keep reading to discover our review of the key features you can expect when using Fusebox Player.
Email Capture Tool
If you’re keen to boost your email list, Fusebox’s email capture tool is a great feature that encourages your audience to sign up for your newsletter. This takes the form of an embedded button that will take podcast listeners straight to your subscription sign up form, where they can easily enter their name, email address, and other contact details. As a result, it removes the need for you to use a third-party plugin.
The email capture tool is particularly valuable for podcasters who are just starting out and want to build their mailing list. The simple subscription buttons make it much easier to convert podcast listeners into leads and are compatible with a wide range of email marketing services such as MailChimp, HubSpot, AWeber, Constant Contact, and more.
One of the features that were released as part of the Fusebox Player 2.11 upgrade, the Sticky Player tool is a single track player that you can ‘stick’ to either the top or bottom of your web page. When anyone visits your blog, this player will remain in the same position even when they scroll through your site. This helps to draw attention to your latest podcast episode, encouraging people to have a listen.
Want to stick different podcast episodes to different pages of your WordPress blog? With the Sticky Player feature, you can do that too! Whether you want to pin your introductory episode to your ‘About Me’ page or an explanatory episode to one of your service pages, this single track player tool enables you to highlight particular podcasts depending on your audience as well as the subject area.
Full Player & Fusebox Podcast Player
Fusebox Podcast Player retains some of the key features that came with Pat Flynn’s Smart Podcast Player. One of those is its full player feature, which gives you the ability to display all of your podcast episodes in one place on a single page of your blog. When a member of your audience clicks on the page, the full player tool will display the episode title and description on the left side of the page and a full list of your podcasts on the right.
Although the full player podcast feed tool is a great way to collate your archive, some users of Fusebox have claimed that this arrangement makes it difficult for your audience to search for particular episodes. The good news is that Fusebox Podcast Player also comes with a smart track player that enables you to highlight specific podcasts.
If you want to plug one of your episodes, this feature means you can add a smart track player at any point on your web page. Unlike the single track player we mentioned earlier, this player won’t stick in the same position when someone scrolls through your site.
Although performance is important, you can never discount the importance of appearance when choosing your WordPress plugins. Of course, you want a podcast plugin that does the job well – but if you’re not happy with the way it looks on the front end of your site, you’re not going to want to integrate it into your blog.
One of the great features of Fusebox is the fact it has a customizable front end. This means you can edit the appearance of the podcast player in order to fit with the overall look of your brand website. You can customize the color scheme, font, and text, as well as adding your own images and choosing between light and dark modes.
It’s also possible to change the order in which your podcasts appear in the podcast player. That means you can bring older episodes to the top of the list instead of relying on chronological order.
Subscription, Social Sharing, & Download Button
Another great feature of using Fusebox is the selection of buttons that you can embed into the podcast player on your site. These include:
- A download button that users can click to download your podcasts directly to their devices, in the form of MP3 files.
- A subscription button that enables users to subscribe to your podcast on other platforms, such as SoundCloud, iTunes, and RSS feed.
- A social sharing button that lets users share your episodes across a range of social networks, without having to ‘copy link’ manually.
Fusebox was designed not just to host your podcast on your website, but also to enhance both the user experience of your visitors and your own social media marketing requirements.
Features such as these buttons are an excellent way to integrate different platforms seamlessly, making it simple for your audience to engage with your podcast in a range of ways. Over time, this should increase the reach of your podcast, and therefore the reach of your website or product as well.
Built-in Mobile Player
Did you know that 65% of your audience listens to their favorite podcasters on their smartphone? According to data from Statista, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices are by far the most popular methods that people use for podcasting. That means it’s crucial to choose a podcast player that isn’t limited to desktops – otherwise, you could quickly fall behind your competition.
The good news is that Fusebox Podcast Player has a built-in mobile player. This will automatically adjust to fit different screen sizes, whether your site visitors open your website on their laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Fusebox also claims that its podcast player will load equally quickly across all devices. In a world where slow load times can seriously impact your bounce rate (a whopping 70% of consumers cite page speed as a factor that influences their likelihood to make a purchase), this is hugely important if you want to attract more visitors.
Speed Control and Buttons
Fusebox won’t just play your podcast – its audio player also gives users greater control over the listening experience. A speed control feature enables your listeners to slow down or speed up the podcast on your WordPress website, while forward and backward buttons mean they can skip to different sections of your track.
For ultimate ease of use, these features apply to all aspects of your podcast player, whether somebody is listening via the Sticky Player or main feed.
Podcast Transcript Plugin
The transcript plugin enables you to offer downloadable transcripts for your podcast. Not only are transcripts important for increasing the accessibility of your website, but they are also great ways to boost your site’s SEO (search engine optimization).
It’s important to note that although the transcript plugin means you can add downloadable transcripts to your website, it’s not able to create the transcripts itself. You will need to use a third-party transcription service in order to transcribe your podcast.
What Are The Fusebox Pricing Plans?
The range of Fusebox features is impressive – and as you’d expect, they come at a cost. Fusebox is a premium plugin and there are two pricing plans available: annual or monthly. Whichever you choose, users are always billed per month, even if you decide to go for the annual subscription rather than the monthly version.
When you start a Fusebox subscription, you’ll gain access to the features that came with the original Smart Podcast Player as well as the integrated transcript plugin. Fusebox also offers a free trial as well as its Pro version. Below, we’ve outlined the difference between the two, so you can decide which is best for your WordPress website.
There is a free version of the Fusebox podcast plugin, but don’t get too excited! Users of the free version will gain access to far fewer features than those who pay for the premium podcasting package, so you really do get what you pay for.
Features included in the free Fusebox package include:
- Site-wide sticky player
- Built-in mobile player
- Light or dark mode
As part of the integrated transcript plugin, you’ll also receive:
- SEO-friendly live text
- Downloadable PDFs
- New tab popout
- Accessible design
The lack of more advanced features – such as email capture, speed control, and social media sharing buttons – means you won’t have as much control over the performance of your podcast. It also means that members of your audience won’t be able to personalize their listening experience from within the smart podcast player itself.
Overall, it might be a good choice while you get started with your podcasting, but it’s not advanced enough for people who are looking for a one-stop-shop plugin product.
As we mentioned earlier, you can open either a monthly or annual subscription for Fusebox Pro. Because both of the plans are paid per month, many people choose to get started with the monthly subscription before changing over to the annual version once they’ve tested out the product. That said, the annual subscription does work out a lot cheaper in the long run.
With Fusebox Pro, you’ll gain access to all the features that are included in our review. In addition, you’ll also benefit from the following features:
- Timestamps and future timestamps
- Volume control
- Host migration
- Integration with Rev.com (a third-party transcription service)
- Email support
- Webinar training
So, how much will this array of features cost? At the time we review Fusebox, the podcasting plugin costs $12 a month if you choose the monthly plan, or $8.09 a month if you choose the annual plan. Over the course of a year, this means the former costs $144 and the latter costs $97.
Based on these prices, it clearly makes sense to opt for the annual plan if you think you’ll be a long-term user. If you want to try the Pro version out before committing to a year-long contract, it might be best to start with the monthly plan – though Fusebox does offer a complete 60-day money-back guarantee if you decide you’re not happy with your purchase.
Some WordPress plugins offer occasional discounts, so you might want to keep an eye out if you’re planning to invest in the Fusebox smart podcast player soon.
If you forget to renew your license (or simply choose to stop subscribing), you don’t need to worry that the plugin will stop working. Your episodes will still be available on your site and features such as the Sticky Player won’t disappear. However, you won’t be entitled to any future updates or customer support from the Fusebox team.
What Customer Support Does Fusebox Offer?
Fusebox may promise complete ease of use, but as with any service, there may come a time when you need customer support. If you need to contact a member of the Fusebox team, you can reach out to FPP labs (Fusebox’s parent company) via email. However, this service is only available during working hours from Monday to Friday.
The company website also has a live chat feature that allows you to send messages online. It says that they usually get back to you within a few hours, which is good if you’re experiencing an urgent problem.
For users of the free version, it’s worth noting that this is your only option when it comes to customer support. Email support is only available to people with the Pro version of Fusebox, although there is a wealth of free support documentation available on its website.
Is Fusebox The Right Choice For You?
The purpose of our review is to help you decide whether Fusebox is the best smart podcast player for your needs. If you’re still struggling to answer the question ‘is Fusebox the best WordPress podcast plugin?’, we’ve summed up the key pros and cons below.
Pros of Fusebox
- A customizable front end means you can align the interface with your branding.
- The built-in mobile player means you can target listeners across a range of devices.
- Pro version includes integration with Rev.com, making it easy for you to create transcripts.
- Social sharing buttons mean listeners can instantly share your podcast episodes on social media, helping to boost your outreach.
- Embedded email capture means you can quickly convert your audience into marketing leads.
- Fusebox has a strong marketing focus, enabling you not just to publish your podcast but to use them to gain subscribers, followers, or customers.
- Cheaper than alternative podcasting plugins such as Buzzsprout.
- Fusebox offers a 60-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind.
Cons of Fusebox
- The free version is incredibly limited and there are better free plugins out there.
- Email support is only available to users of Fusebox Pro.
- If you want to use a transcription service that isn’t Rev.com, you will need to integrate it yourself.
- It’s only available for WordPress sites, so if you ever migrate to a new CMS, you won’t be able to transfer your plugin.
The Bottom Line
Whatever your experience level, Fusebox is a great podcast plugin that offers a wide range of features. Although the free version is probably not worth choosing over other free alternatives, the Pro version combines all the best elements of Pat Flynn’s Smart Podcast Player and the newer transcript plugin.
There are hundreds of different WordPress podcast plugins out there, but there are several key factors that set Fusebox apart. It’s currently the only plugin that offers email capture capability, which is a valuable feature for any brand that wants to turn its podcast into a powerful marketing tool.
Thanks to plenty of customization options, it’s easy to integrate Fusebox into your website. This plugin is a simple yet sophisticated way to boost the impact of your podcast – and with a 60-day money-back guarantee, you can try it out risk-free.