In Part 1 and Part 2 we looked at ways of recording your Skype conversations with software and hardware. In this post we’ll look at free ways to host your audio files and turn them into a podcast. This process applies to any recorded mp3 file (or video file).

If we just put our mp3 file online it would just be an audio file online. What makes it a podcast is its distribution method. Podcasting is a contraction of two words, pod- for iPod and -casting for broadcasting. The pod bit is a bit of a misnomer because you don’t have to have an iPod to listen to a podcast. You can listen on any device that will play back mp3 files. The broadcasting bit is your distribution method done through something called RSS. You may have see little orange icons dotted around the web similar to the last icon in the image above. That indicates that the web page has an RSS feed. The good news is that you don’t need to be concerned with the technical aspect of setting up an RSS feed as there are applications that will do it for you. In this post we’re going to look at setting up a blog as a distribution method for your mp3 files.

Process

1. The first step is to upload our audio file to the web. There are quite a few sites that will host your audio files for you these day so I’ll just highlight the service that I use, blip.tv This is actually a video hosting service but it’s a little known fact that you can also host mp3 files as well. I actually use this service for most of the audio and video hosted on this blog.

Once you’ve set up a free account go to Upload > Web upload

Click on the Choose File button, locate and select your mp3 file. Then click on the Proceed to Step 2 button.

Your mp3 file will be uploaded to blip while you type in some additional information. It’s up to you how much you fill in here. It is, however handy for people browsing through blip who come across your files. When you’re ready click on the Publish button.

On the next page, it will give you a summary of the file you’ve upload. The bit we’re interested is right down at the bottom of the page under the Media heading. The web address here is the direct path to your mp3 file and we’ll be using that later in our Wordpress blog. Right-click on that and Copy link address (the terminology will vary slightly depending on the browser you are using).

2. Setting up your wordpress.com blog. As with audio hosting there are a number of free hosted blogging platforms including blogger, posterous and tumblr. Here, we’ll look at wordpress.com. So the first step is to head over there and set up a free account. Once, you’ve done that click on My Dashboard at the top of your screen.

Then click on Add New to create your first post.

Wordpress.com has a built-in audio player which lets display a small flash player to play audio files directly from within your blog posts. I’ve given the blog post a title. Added an image then added the code to play the audio file.

The code is [audio http://yourmp3.com/myaudio.mp3]. Just replace the address with the address you copied from blip.tv in Step 1.

So it should look something like this:

[audio http://blip.tv/file/get/Jiscrsc-JISCRSCScotlandNEMyStudyBar815.mp3]

The great thing about using a blog to host your podcasts is that you can put additional information here. So if you’ve mentioned various resources in your podcast you can post links to them here.

We also want to let people download the audio file without having to subscribe to your podcast through your RSS feed. To do that we need to insert a hyperlink to download the mp3 file.

On the blog it will look something like this:

Download MyStudyBar Overview MP3

In the wordpress editor, highlight the word Download and click on the hyperlink button and fill in the details.

In the Link URL box paste in your blip.tv address for your mp3 file. Then click on Update

When you’ve finished typing your post click Publish then view your Blog. You should see a something similar to the image below. The live blog post can be found here:

In Part 4 we’ll look at Google service called Feedburner. This service lets you customise your RSS feed and also has some useful tools including the ability to track the number of subscribers you have. We’ll then use that feed to publish the podcast in iTunes.

Again, if you’ve got any questions about this set up please don’t hesitate to get in touch :-)