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Podbean Review – It’s Good and It’s Simple

What is Podbean?

Podbean is a podcast hosting service. The company started in 2006 and it is located in Wilmington, Delaware. As of today, the company hosts over 250,000 podcasts. The services offered by Podbean are user-friendly. The range of services that the company offers covers almost everything that a podcaster need.

Podcasts hosted on Podbean servers can be downloaded or streamed, giving users a choice. Podbean will provide you with tools that you can use for getting new listeners, monetize your podcasts, and even create a basic website.

The Verdict – A Highly Recommended Podcast Hosting

Podbean is a brilliant podcast hosting service. There are many other hosts available, but the range of services and tools that you get with Podbean are quite unparalleled. The best part is the simplicity that comes with Podbean. It doesn’t matter whether you are a pro podcaster or a rookie, you can use the platform without facing any difficulty.

The company specializes in hosting large audio or media files and provides the necessary storage and bandwidth required. There are built-in tools for getting detailed statistics about the podcasts’ performance over time. You can use monetize the podcasts directly from that platform.

The hosting plans offered by the company are budget-friendly and they even have a free plan that is perfectly suitable for those who are starting out their podcast journey.

Will Podbean Get the Ownership of Your Podcasts?

Podbean is a hosting company. It rents out its servers to users against a monthly fee. The podcasters who host their podcasts on Podbean servers are the real owners of the podcasts. Under no circumstances can Podbean claim any of the podcasts hosted on their servers to be theirs. Doing so will land them in a legal tussle that they will invariably lose.

The only way Podbean can own your podcasts is when you transfer your rights to them by either selling your podcasts them or by providing an explicit written consent that Podbean will be the owner of your podcasts.

Pricing Plans Available with Podbean

Podbean offers budget-friendly podcast hosting plans. In fact, they are one of the cheapest options you will find on the Internet. That, however, doesn’t mean that their services are of inferior quality. In fact, they offer surprisingly high-quality services for such low price.

In total, Podbean offers four different hosting plans including the forever free plan. Here are some quick details about the plans available:

The Free Plan [BASIC]

The free plan, which they named as the Basic plan is the one that you can use without paying a dime! If you are starting your podcast journey for the first time, you should use the plan and host your podcasts for free. Definitely, when you start your podcasting journey, you will not have many listeners. So, you will not be eating up a lot of bandwidth or a storage, and hence, it doesn’t make any sense to pay for hosting your podcasts. Podbean understands that and hence, offers the following:

  • Storage: 5 hours’ worth of total storage. This means that your podcasts collectively shouldn’t exceed 5 hours of runtime.
  • Bandwidth: Monthly you will get up to 100 GB of data transfer.
  • You will also get embeddable players and mobile apps.
  • You will get iTunes and RSS feed support.
  • You will get your own podcast site.

The Unlimited Audio Plan

This plan will cost you $9 a month. It is perfect if you have started gaining listeners, but you are still to get a large fan following. The core features of this plan include the following:

  • Unlimited storage.
  • Unlimited bandwidth.
  • Embeddable players and mobile apps.
  • iTunes and RSS feed support.
  • Podcast site.
  • Ad marketplace
  • Premium sales.

The Unlimited Plus Plan

The Unlimited Plus plan is perfect if you have a large follower-base and podcasting is your primary business. Selecting this plan will set you back by $29 a month. The core features of this plan include:

  • Unlimited storage.
  • Unlimited bandwidth.
  • Embeddable players and mobile apps.
  • iTunes and RSS feed support.
  • Podcast site.
  • Ad marketplace
  • Premium sales.
  • PodAds – dynamic ad insertion.
  • Patron program.

The Business Plan

The Business plan is perfectly suitable for you if you have earned enough success that allows you to hire a whole team managing your podcasts. The Business plan will allow your team members to work on all your podcasts directly from your account. The core features of this plan include:

  • Unlimited storage.
  • Unlimited bandwidth.
  • Embeddable players and mobile apps.
  • iTunes and RSS feed support.
  • Podcast site.
  • Ad marketplace
  • Premium sales.
  • PodAds – dynamic ad insertion.
  • Patron program.
  • Multiple admins.
  • Live chat support.

Pros and Cons of Podbean

Just because I have recommending Podbean doesn’t mean that the company is free of any downsides. Well, there are strengths and weaknesses that you should know about. Here is a quick list of pros and cons that I feel you should be aware of:

The Pros

  • The setup is beginner-friendly, which means that you will not have to waste a lot of time to get started.
  • You can get built-in monetization options.
  • You will the option of creating a basic but beautiful podcast site.
  • The platform will allow you to add your episodes to iTunes and Google Play.
  • Hosting plans are reasonably cheap.
  • They offer a completely free hosting plan as well.

The Cons

  • Security features are quite limited. You have to harden the security by yourself.
  • There’s no backup feature available. So, make sure that you are keeping backups on your local computer. If you don’t have enough space on your computer, you can consider using a service like Wasabi to store your large files. Not only is it cheap, but also offers free egress.
  • The worst of all, Podbean doesn’t offer any uptime guarantee. That’s weird!
  • Finally, the refund period is very small.

Okay, now that you have come to know about the pros and cons, it is about time that I speak about their refund policy.

Money-Back Guarantee & Uptime

Funny thing about Podbean is that they never mention anything about money-back guarantee in their Terms of Service. However, they do explicitly mention that if you are a new customer and you are not happy with their services, you will get a 7-day grace period to let them know about your disappointment and ask for a refund. They will refund the entire amount you used without asking a question.

The company never provides any uptime guarantee or SLA. This means that if their server where your podcasts are hosted, goes down, they will not compensate you for the lost time. The absence of any service level agreement can be a deterrent for some people.

Experience with Podbean – Ease of Use

Podbean is quite easy to use. The simplicity is reflected right from the beginning when you start creating an account. You will have a choice of using your Facebook or Google account to sign up, or you can enter your email ID, set a password and then signup.

I found signing up with Google to be quite simple.

Once you sign up, you will be asked to set a subdomain. You can later point that subdomain to a domain of your choice. This is what you will see:

Once you provide the subdomain, you will have to login again. Follow the onscreen instructions to finally reach the dashboard which looks like this:

They will set up a very basic website for you. This is what the website will look like:

Podbean

You are, however, free to change the theme from Podbean account desktop. You can find the themes under Distribution >> Podcast Website.

Note that only a few free themes are available. Most of the theme you see there are premium themes. The good thing about the themes is that they are mobile-friendly. So, anyone looking at your website from a mobile device will see a perfectly designed website.

The dashboard will provide an easy way to upload your podcasts and publish them. Here is the uploader segment:

Podbean

Once you have uploaded a podcast, you will have to provide a title for it and a description. You can also select monetization options. Once you are done, you need to hit the publish button! That’s it!

Once the podcast is published, you can see it on your subdomain (website). It will show as RSS feed on the top of your website. It is this feed that you will submit to podcast applications like iTunes.

Core Features of Podbean

What you have learned so far is all about the ease of use. What about important features? Here are the most important features of Podbean:

Customization

You can customize your site’s styling directly from the dashboard. However, you need to be a paid customer of Podbean to avail such customization options.

Podbean

The amount of customization allowed is quite restricted. Here is what you can customize:

  • Header and background image.
  • Theme, font, link, and title colors.
  • Font size and style.
  • Audio and video player color.
  • Choose location of the podcast player.

That’s all! If you were expecting heavy customization, that’s not possible.

Actions

You can add custom domain, access the CSS editor for some style customization, or add new pages to your website, or even add widgets. All these can be accomplished directly from the Podbean dashboard.

Here is how you do that all:

Podbean

If you want to generate revenue from your podcasts, you need to have your custom domain. You can purchase a domain from any domain registrar of your choice. Once you have the custom domain, you can forward your Podbean website to that domain.

Mobile Applications

Podbean has mobile applications on both Google Play Store and App Store. Both the apps are highly rated. While these apps are designed for listening, they also have the core publishing features. This means that you can record podcasts directly through the mobile apps and publish them. I will not recommend doing so because that can dramatically reduce the audio quality.

Search Engine Optimization

You must have heard of this time and again. It is practice in which you optimize your content in such a way that people can easily find your content through search engine searches.

In the case of podcasts, you don’t have to worry about extensive optimization. Podcasts do not work in the same way as articles. You still need to optimize them with basic SEO stuff like adding titles, descriptions and meta tags. Podbean offers a free plugin called SEO Meta Tags to add all those things that matter.

You have to optimize your podcasts for podcast search engines and not specifically for Google or Bing. Podbean, for instance, has its own search engine. You can search for podcasts by typing a topic on Podbean’s site search bar. There are other similar podcast search engines. These search engines titles and descriptions of the episodes you create to determine search query results.

Monetization and Marketing

On the Internet of Things, people do stuff to make money. Think of it! Why would you even waste your time to create podcasts without earning a dime from those recordings? Afterall, creating a podcast will require a lot of instruments. You need to invest on equipment. Why would you even spend money on such equipment if you do not intend to earn?

So, it is quite logical to think that you will be creating podcasts with potential earnings in mind. Podbean makes it easy to add advertisements to your podcasts. So, even if you are not a very popular podcaster to attract some serious sponsors, you can earn through the advertisements.

What else? Certain plans will allow you to sell premium content or even create a patron system that will allow room for regular passive income!

To earn money from your podcasts, you need to reach out to people who will listen to your podcasts. This is where marketing comes in. You have to ensure that you are making your podcasts reach as many people as possible. That’s the reason why Podbean has certain marketing tools available that will help you. Those tools include:

Social Sharing

If you wish, you can connect your social profiles to Podbean and ask it to automatically share your podcasts to those platforms. This takes off the manual labor involved in social sharing and also ensures that your podcasts reach to your social media followers.

Embedding

For each podcast you publish, you will get an embed code. You can copy that code and embed it on other websites you own or on your social media profiles or anywhere such embeds are allowed. For instance, if you have a blog with a consistent reader base, you can embed the podcasts on that blog to attract new listeners.

Featured Opportunities

As I said earlier, Podbean has its own search engine. The company often features new podcasts on their search results. Albeit, this is an unreliable method of finding new listeners, but it does provide some boost.

Video Podcast Support

Some Podbean plans support video podcasts as well. Most podcasts do not require video support, but depending on the topic or niche, it can be a very handy feature.

There are people who enjoy watching your screen or you. This is especially true if you are creating podcast on a topic where demonstration or physical language makes a lasting impression.

Also, if you are thinking of building a personal brand video podcasts play a very important role!

Statistics

Understanding how your podcasts are performing is vital. Some of your podcasts may click more than others. This will tell you what type of podcasts will work best and help you get more listeners and earn more revenue.

Podbean

Podbean has a pretty decent analytics feature built-in. The free plan gives basic stats but you can get advanced statistics with paid plans. You can learn how many times your podcasts are downloaded, or what is the listener retention rate.

If you want more metrics to drill down on minute details, you can add the free Google Analytics plugin to your website.

Customer Service

There is no phone support available. However, you do get live chat and email support. They also have an extensive knowledge base where you can find hundreds of detailed articles and videos that can assist you with majority of the problems that you can face while using their services.

Conclusion

Podbean is definitely one of the best podcast hosting service you can get. It is feature-rich and super easy to use. However, it does suffer from a few drawbacks, which can be a dealbreaker. If you think that the drawbacks of Podbean are risky, you can always look for alternatives.

In short, the benefits of Podbean outweigh its drawbacks and I feel that going for Podbean will eventually be a good decision.

There are other alternatives like Blubrry, A2 Hosting, BuzzSprout, Captivate, Resonate, Simplecast, Castos, etc. You can always take a look at them and make a call. Eventually, you should select an option that suits your needs instead of listening to what others are saying.

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