If you know anything about podcasting, you know that a lot of works go into it. However, this shouldn’t deter you from sharing your story or creative ideas through podcasting.
Most podcasters start small and grow an audience with practice. You don’t need to be a celebrity or professional to share your opinions, craft a story, or host your own talk show through podcasting: you just need equipment, some sort of set up, and a dedication to getting better.
Eventually, once you prepare your first episode, you’ll have to publish. This is where your host comes into play.
Those who are new to the podcasting world often have no clue how often to publish. They don’t realize that you can’t directly upload to directories such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts.
That’s why the best option is to use a media host platform that stores and distributes your podcasts. This takes pressure off your shoulders to self-distribute: you’ll have a program that does a lot of the work for you.
The question is: which podcast platform should you use?
Simplecast is a popular option among many shows. To help you decide if it’s for you, here’s a closer look at the service.
We analyze whether or not this is a good podcast hosting platform and if it’s the right choice for your needs. We’ll also look at its pros and cons, how it stacks up against its competitors, and address other pressing questions!
What Is Simplecast?
Simplecast is a podcasting hosting service that provides users with top publishing, distribution, sharing, and analytic tools.
What’s particularly notable about Simplecast is how long it’s been around. It started in 2013 before podcasts became as mainstream as they are today.
The company committed itself to its innovative product from the get-go. Users looking for the ideal podcast solution flocked to its easy-to-use platform.
Throughout the years, Simplecast has established itself as one of the industry’s major players. It has served countless users from big and small shows alike.
Note that this in stark contrast to many podcast hosting companies who have come and gone throughout the years. When looking for a podcasting host, it’s best to go with a provider that has a long-standing reputation.
How Much Does Simplecast Cost?
Currently, there is no free version of Simplecast. Users must sign up for one of the platform’s 3 pricing tiers.
A standard subscription will charge you a monthly fee. Or, if you want to save money, you can prepay for the whole year.
The pricing is as follows:
- Basic: $15/month ($13.50/month if prepaid annually)
- Essential: $35/month ($31.50/month if prepaid annually)
- Growth: $85/month ($76.50/month if prepaid annually)
The company offers a free trial for any of these pricing tiers. After 14 days, it will ask if you want to continue with a paid subscription.
The Three Tiers
All three plans (Basic, Essential, and Growth) include the following features:
- Unlimited uploads
- Unlimited storage space
- Social media sharing clips
- Listener analytics and reports
- Customizable show website
The main difference between each tier is how many total monthly downloads they allow. The plans have soft limits as follows:
- Basic: 20,000/month
- Essential: 50,000/month
- Growth: 125,000/month
Some shows find these soft limits restricting. If your audience is particularly large, you may have to go with a different host.
If you start approaching your limit, the company will contact you about upgrading. It won’t cut you off and will only upgrade your account with your permission.
If you have a lot of listeners, you’ll definitely want to consider either the Essential or Growth options. These two higher tiers also have features such as:
- The ability to add additional team members to your account. This is great for bigger shows who have more than one person working on the episodes. And, you can customize team members’ roles. Admins have control over everything. Analytics members can only see metrics and episode details. Managers can upload and edit shows.
- Advanced audience analytics. You can see data about who’s listening, what devices they’re using, where they’re located, etc.
- Access to more web players (with color customization). This gives you more control of how you display your shows on your listeners’ web browser.
Let’s take a closer look at the number of features Simplecast has:
Like other podcasting websites, Simplecast lets you upload your files for storage and distribution. The process is very simple and makes it easy to get your new episodes out.
The program alters MP3s that are 128kbps or lower. It automatically re-encodes larger files down to 128kbps, but you can talk to the company if you need to keep your file at a higher bitrate.
All uploads will retain their original stereo/mono encoding.
As a podcaster, you should have access to your stats. This will allow you to see how your episodes are performing and how you can improve.
Simplecast does a great job of breaking down your numbers. The interface displays data beautifully, making it easy for you to get a sense of how you’re doing.
Aside from looking great, the statistics display according to Interactive Advertising Bureau guidelines. This ensures your dashboard is always accurate and makes it easy to work with brands.
The analytics work by collecting information from your listeners’ web browser. Some details you can get from the stats include:
- Directories used
- Types of devices used (iOS, Android, etc.)
- Location heatmaps
- Popular times of day
- How episodes stack up against each other (using the episode comparison feature)
Additionally, the Unique Listeners feature lets you count the individual devices that stream/download your episodes. This helps you get a better picture of your audience.
You may not want to share all of your episodes with the public. But, you still need a place to upload them to.
Simplecast gives you the option to hide a new episode from your RSS feed.
These private episodes won’t show up in your feed or on directories. This way, you can offer premium content through a site like Patreon.
Additionally, you can make your public episodes private (or your private episodes public) at any point.
Your Podcast Website
With your subscription, the company gives you the option of creating a customizable website. It’s a great spot to store and promote your content as it automatically updates with new episodes.
By default, the domain name will be podcastname.simplecast.com. If you want, you can set up a custom domain.
The customizable website is completely optional. If you prefer, you can use your website that you created with tools such as WordPress or Squarespace. All you have to do is hide the Simplecast site from search engines by checking the “No Index” box.
All tiers allow you to effortlessly embed players on your site. This is great as many listeners interact with podcasts via their web browser.
The Basic plan restricts you to the Standard player. This option is nice, but the Essential and Growth plans give you a bunch of player and color customization options.
Subscribers have access to the Recast editor, one of the most effective sharing tools for your podcast.
It’s great for editing short audio clips to share on Facebook, Twitter, a blog, etc.
The cool thing is that it lets you customize the clips with colors, artwork, or even a logo. This gives you even more control over your branding.
People who listen via an audio player also have access to Recast. They can edit their own videos and share them with friends, making it a great way to promote visibility.
The company makes it easy for users to move between platforms.
For example, let’s say you just signed on for a subscription. You can move any shows you already have published to the Simplecast platform. Just use its show migrator to locate your show and claim it. Then, it will transfer it over to your account.
Moving your episodes off of Simplecast is just as easy as moving them on. You can transfer your shows seamlessly, without any disruption.
Simplecast Competitors and Alternative Platforms
Simplecast, of course, isn’t the only podcast hosting platform on the market. You may be wondering how the competition stacks up.
Two of its competitors include Anchor and Podbean. Let’s take a brief look at these two hosts and how Simplecast sets itself apart from them.
Anchor offers free hosting. Like with other services, it allows you to store and distribute your episodes across different directories.
Some pros include its versatile recording abilities, options for monetization, and simple editing program. Many beginners and hobbyists love anchor for their podcasts.
Is Anchor a good podcast host?
Free hosting resources are great for those who are new to the industry. They give you a chance to test the waters and figure out what works for you.
However, if you need something more professional-grade, Anchor may not be for you. It’s free, after all, meaning it has limited features. The analytics it provides are very basic, it has limited editing features, etc.
One of its major cons is how it interacts with Apple Podcasts. Your episodes will appear on there, but they will be listed under Anchor’s ID, not yours. This means you won’t have access to the specific analytics that Apple provides.
Additionally, Anchor only lets you list your episodes under one category. Other hosts allow you to list up to three categories. So, with Anchor, you would only be able to list “News” whereas you could list “News, Science, and Technology” with other hosts.
Like with Anchor, Podbean offers free services. They’re great for beginners and hobbyists but lack what more advanced podcasters need.
However, the company also has paid plans that offer more features. These are much more useful for those who are serious about podcasting.
Its customizable websites look great, and you can easily share clips with your audience. And, it’s easy to set up ads to start making money.
However, Podbean is relatively expensive compared to Simplecast. There’s an Unlimited Audio plan for only $9 per month, but you’ll have to pay a lot more if you want extra features. For instance, to have multiple admins, you’ll need to get the Business plan at $99/month.
Is Podbean safe?
One major concern about this company is its security. Its website doesn’t mention much on security, and it doesn’t have any backup options. If you don’t keep your own backups and are worried about the safety of your files, this might not be the company for you.
Choosing the Right Host
As you can see, each company has its benefits. You’ll find different ones useful based on your podcasting needs.
Anchor and Podbean are just two competitors that come to mind.
There are also contenders such as Buzzsprout, Transistor, etc. You’ll have to do your research to determine which one is best for your show.
What Is the Best Podcast Platform?
Having a good podcast platform is important. It will make your podcasts easy to manage and allow you to successfully store and distribute them.
As we mentioned, good podcast hosts will have established themselves in the industry. The best platforms will also have features such as:
- Easy access to analytics
- Simple process for uploading and managing files
- Sharing capabilities
- Custom website building
Simplecast User Reviews and Testimonials
Josh Pigford, CEO & Co-Founder of Maybe: “We’ve used Simplecast for several years to host multiple podcasts. Not a single complaint and the whole team is one of the best in the industry.” Source: Product Hunt
Edward Shepard: “One of the easiest ways to get started with podcasting, without sacrificing professional features.” Source: Product Hunt
Zachariah Moreno, Co-founder and CEO of SquadCast: “We have multiple shows, Between 2 Mics & Remove Before Flight, that are powered by Simplecast. Leadership, Team, & Support are all world class.” Source: Product Hunt
James McKinven, Host of Indie Bites Podcast: “I’ve been using Transistor for the past year and I like it, no real problems, but I’d just like my website to look nicer. With this update, Simplecast seem to be offering a lot more features, for less money. I love Transistor & I’ll probably still host one of my podcasts there. However, I think I am going to switch my main pod over to Simplecast.” Source: Product Hunt
Nicolas H., Instructional Technology Coordinator: “In addition to facilitating the production of promotional videos for podcasts, the user interface is intuitive and uncomplicated, the initial setup procedure is brisk and needs very little time, and it is a delight to post podcasts. It is strongly suggested that you update your membership to access more features. At first glance, the dashboard’s operations could seem perplexing. It would be beneficial if there were built-in art that was of a higher quality.” Source: G2
Lohitha B., Media Broadcaster: “Pretty good email support. The subscription is divided into three sections, making the users choose wisely. They even contain a separate subscription for networking and business users. Some subscriptions are not worth the features they offer. Many features are similar in each subscription, making the user think twice about opting for a higher subscription.” Source: G2
Guille S., Marketing Manager: “I like that you get to see the analytics of each episode in different dashboards, even a worldwide map! Sometimes episodes take like 30 mins to upload, I’ve used other podcast players that take from 5 to 10 mins.” Source: G2
Through our research, we’ve found that Simplecast meets these criteria. It tends to be a safe bet as it has everything you need to store, distribute, and promote your shows. It doesn’t waste your time with fancy bells and whistles.
Thousands of customers from around the world report good experiences with the company. Users love it because it’s easy to use yet offers many great features.
So, if you are in the market for a podcast host, definitely consider Simplecast. Feel free to share our Simplecast review with your friends who could be in the same position.
You can’t go wrong as there’s a free trial for new members. And, there’s a promotion going on where you can save 50% on your first two months.
Simply use the promo code WIREDCLIP to give it a try!