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Adding Audio to Your Web Site

Thei Zervaki

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What is the best way to add an audio on your blog/Web site? I want to hear from those who have added audio on their sites not only for business but also just for the extra fun element. Was it a podcast, www.blogtalkradio.com, youtube.com or a streamline server? What equipment did you use (software, microphones, devices)? What results did you get? Was it good for your traffic or just a waste of time?

— Pat Wiklund

I am a firm supporter of AudioAcrobat.com. It is a full service audio recording and posting company.

So far, I have added audio to my sites, recorded teleseminars and then put up download pages for the replay, recorded coaching client calls, and then set up the download for the client to capture the session, use it for audio testimonials, and am just starting a podcast and will be using it with iTunes to do more marketing for one of my niche sites.

Their training is superb and frequent, service is great, and their prices very reasonable. I have had no problems with them and have been using them for almost 4 years.

— Sallie Goetsch

As co-founder of the Podcast Asylum, I’m naturally biased in favor of podcasting, but the way in which you add audio to your Web site depends on what you want to do.

I do advocate making it possible for Web site visitors to listen directly from the page AND download the file.

As for podcasting, it comes into its own when you have an ongoing series, preferably at regular intervals. There’s not really a need for setting up a podcast feed (much less registering with iTunes) if you only have one or two audio files you want people to listen to.

A quiet environment does almost as much for the quality of your recording as expensive equipment does. Less-than-perfect production values can enhance your authenticity, but you don’t want to be competing with loud background noises.

If you aren’t sure whether you want to commit to long-term podcast production, start with an inexpensive headset and record directly onto your computer.

If you’re thinking about creating audio to sell, it may well be worth renting studio time to get the higher production values.

If you don’t have a sound engineering background, you should probably find someone who does to do your post-production. But start out by reading something like Podcasting for Dummies.

For integrating podcasts into blogs, I generally use either PowerPress or PodPress with WordPress. Both include click-to-play options and easy integration with iTunes. WordPress also has good “insert video/audio” options all by itself. As a hard-core WordPress fangirl, I use it to run all the Web sites I’m responsible for regardless of whether their main focus is blogging.

BlogTalk Radio and TalkShoe are handy tools if you want to have a live call-in show, but beware: the audio quality is strictly that of a telephone line. Not impressive. For a two-host show or an interview show, you’re better off with Skype, which transmits a wider sound spectrum.

I have several hundred bookmarks about podcasting on Delicious, and some specifically on recording, here.

— Dan O’Day

I use AudioRazor to stream audio from my Web site and from my blog.

Why I like it:

  • 1. It’s very easy for me to upload audio. If I have an mp3 file and the ability to upload it to a Web site, I can stream audio from anywhere.

    (You can stream it from a blog — as you’ll see in the example I’m about to give you. But even for a blog, you *do* need to have a Web site you can upload the actual mp3 file to.)
  • 2. It has a much nicer interface than many of the players I’ve seen — and more features (e.g., a "scrubber" — the thing that lets you go to a specific spot within the audio, rather than being forced to sit there as it plays through the entire thing).

Because my market is radio and voiceover people, I frequently use audio on my blog.

Here’s a sample of how I use it.

— Mary Westheimer

Because sculptor Kevin Caron does work with sound (bells, gongs, fountains, etc.), we add sound to the artwork pages.

We record using an Archos 404 personal video player, clean it up as necessary in software called FlexiMusic Wave Editor, save it as an MP3 file, then simply link to it on the site. (We actually link to an image as well as the word — you can see the actual link to this sound on this page.)

SO much depends upon what the Web visitor is using — platform, browser, default sound program. You can only control so much by putting the sound on your own server. We also use YouTube, but for video. Yes, it’s worth it. People love the sound, especially those who are aural learners (as opposed to visual or kinesthetic learners).

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions