Tag Archives: Keep in Touch

How to turn a Podcast RSS feed into a website

As I wrote previously, getting started with a Podcast can be very straight forward. Todd and I wanted to add some personality to our show’s online presence, so we decided we needed a website. A lot of the information that would normally go on the website is already available in the Podcast’s RSS feed, so I started thinking about a way of not duplicating this effort. The Keep In Touch show is a hobby, and given how busy (and lazy) I am at the moment, I needed a pragmatic solution.

TL;DR

KeepInTouch.fm runs on Jekyll and is updated every time we publish an episode using our fork of the Jekyll RSS importer. We upload the episode and its metadata to our Podcast host and then we point the importer at the Podcast RSS feed. If needed, we customise the blog post and then push it to GitHub. GitHub pages then automatically updates the website.

List of requirements

We wanted the website to provide some fairly basic functionality:
– general information about the show, and a the ability to subscribe to the Podcast
– a blog/website where each episode can have its own page
– each episode page would need to privide visitors with the ability to listen to the show, and to find shownotes, links, and other relevant information

As the administrators of the website, we would need:
– a modern website: responsive, fast, and secure
– an easy to maintain set up (i.e. no hardware / software maintenance)
– a simple updating mechanism
– a simple way of transforming the information we had already provided in the Podcast’s RSS feed

The solution

GitHub Pages was the first option we considered, and luckily it ticked all our boxes. We quickly set up an organisation and picked a simple, but quite configurable jekyll theme for the site.

The only friction I still had to deal with was the “transformation” of the Podcast RSS feed into blog posts on the site. Jekyll does come with an RSS importer, so I gave that a go. Most of the metadata was extracted nicely, but there was no way to play the show without changing the post manually to link to the mp3 file that was actually available in the RSS feed.

Open Source FTW

Luckily, the Jekyll project is open source, which meant I was able to fork the RSS importer, and turn the RSS audio enclosure into an HTML audio tag. All it took was 13 lines of code.

The result

Today, my workflow couldn’t be (?) simpler:
– Record and edit the show
– Upload the episode and it’s metadata (i.e. shownotes) to the podcast host
– Run a simple script to fetch the new episode (and turn it from a feed Item into a blog Post)
– Push the new post to GitHub


If you found this post useful, please consider subscribing to KeepInTouch on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever else you listen to podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. Lastly, please send us your feebdack via email or twitter @KeepInTouchFM.

The free and easy way to start a Podcast

Setting up a Podcast in 2019 can be fast, free, and painless. More importantly, the distribution and maintenance of the show can be (almost) fully automated. This post covers the steps I took to launch KeepInTouch.fm together with my co-host, Todd.

MVP – Minimum Viable Podcast

  • First we decided what our show is about. Keep in Touch covers topics from two main areas: Apple/Google tech platforms, and raising kids
  • To solve the hosting and publishing of the show we set up an account on Anchor.fm
  • Lastly, we recorded and published the show

That’s could’ve been the proverbial it, but since both Todd and I are tech people, we were not satisfied, yet. Why not? Because of the details…

Past the basics

We wanted the show to have a home that we could customise, personalise. We also wanted to be able to understand and interact with our audience. To achieve this we made did a few more things:

  • We put a little effort in the show artwork, we created chapters for the shows (chapter artwork and web links when appropriate), and we collected and published thorough show notes.
  • We recorded and edited the audio outside Anchor, and only published the mastered audio. It’s not perfect but it’s definitely less *rough*.
  • We bought a domain and we set up a website: KeepInTouch.fm.
  • We set up a Twitter account: @KeepInTouchFM.
  • We set up a vanity Google Alert for our show title and website.
  • Speaking of vanity, we created a Chartable.com account to keep an eye on how the show is doing in the charts (we were #7 in the Educational Technology category at one point!).
  • We transferred the ownership of the Apple Podcasts and Spotify feeds.
  • We set up the Stitcher and TuneIn feeds ourselves.
  • We integrated the podcast RSS feed with our new website: once we publish a show, a corresponding blog post gets created (almost) auto-magically.

Some of these enhancements will be the subject of future blog posts.

Things we learned

  • Apple Podcasts took about five days to process Anchor’s request to list our show.
  • Google Podcasts approved the show almost immediately but took about two weeks to actually make it available to listeners.
  • PocketCasts picked up the show immediately (most likely due to an integration between them an Anchor).
  • Anchor didn’t seem to get the show listed in TuneIn so we had to list add show manually.
  • Anchor doesn’t actually support all the podcasting networks.
  • Hosting the show’s website on GitHub pages was straightforward but did have some limitations. We forked Jekyll-Import to add support to the Jekyll RSS importer for Podcast RSS feeds, so we needed a home on GitHub. Hosting the website itself on GitHub made sense since Git enables a simple way to publish new episodes / blog posts.

Costs

  • Hosting and publishing the show: Free.
  • Hosting the website: Free.
  • Having a custom domain name: same cost as for any other type of website.
  • Podcast recording and editing tools: Free (not really, since we decided to use our own microphones and Digital Audio Workstation).
  • Time required to record, edit, and publish the show: 1 hour for the recording, 4 hours for editing (takes less and less each time), 30 minutes for packaging and publishing.

We are four episodes in, and we are having a lot of fun. I hope you will give our show a listen and let us know what you think. Keep in touch by subscribing on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.