If you’ve read our free podcasting ebook, you know that we strongly recommend a standalone website for your podcast, in addition to whatever your media host might provide as a landing page. For practical purposes, this protects you against having a single point of failure (i.e., if your podcast feed were to go down, you can still use your website to update your followers, and vice versa.) Posting your episodes to a website also improves your online presence and makes you more discoverable by search engines and good old fashioned humans with ears.
Without wasting too much space here, we’ll just quickly state that we highly suggest using WordPress for your podcast website. It’s easy to use, developed with many podcasting needs in mind, and continuously improves upon itself as new technologies become en vogue.
Identifying Your NeedsBefore we jump into our list of the best WordPress themes for podcasts, it’s important to note that all WordPress themes are usable for podcasts. No matter the layout and design, any WordPress site has the required functionality for a podcast. Namely, embeddable audio and an automated RSS feed. Some themes are just customized by designers to emphasize features that are important to podcasters or anticipate the kind of visual layout they might want.
Before choosing the best out-of-the-box theme for your podcast website, you need to identify your needs, which in turn are based on your objectives. Obviously, your own objectives may vary, but they should usually include:
- Listen : make it as easy and immediate as possible for visitors to listen to episodes.
- Subscribe : provide clear and prominent CTAs for the platforms on which your podcast is available (iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, etc.).
- Share : include social sharing links with integrated open graph tags, so users can spread your content across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
If your podcast is part of a larger content marketing strategy, your objectives would also include:
- Lead capture : email list sign up forms
- Sales conversion : integration with your ecommerce product
Again, any WordPress theme has the backbone to implement features in support of any of these objectives. But the trick is to find a theme that is already designed out-of-the-box to support and emphasize these goals, so you don’t have to climb under the hood and customize code, install plugins, integrate with APIs, etc. (Unless, of course, you think that’s as much fun as we do.)
Oh, and it should look good, too.
In fact, our opinion is that so many podcast websites get bogged down with lead capture forms, banner ads, affiliate links, social follow CTAs, comment forms, send us your feedback buttons, blah blah blah, that they lead to three major problems:
- The focus on your main objective is lost, and users’ attention is all over the place.
- Maintaining your website becomes a burden and a distraction from your main purpose: creating a good podcast.
- It’s just plain ugly. Your website is a visual representation of your podcast, and the last thing you want is to look chintzy or like your ulterior motive is just to drive page views for your ads.
So, with all that in mind, let’s get to the fun stuff.
Recommended WordPress ThemesThere are an absolute ton of WordPress themes to choose from, and by no means is this meant to be an exhaustive list. But if you’re looking for a good place to start, you can’t go wrong with one of these that we consider to be the best WordPress themes for podcasts in 2016.
The Podcaster theme from Themestation puts your episodes font and center with a minimalistic aesthetic. Design customizations are somewhat limited (without advanced customization), but you can choose your color palette, light vs. dark templates, etc. By default, the home page will show a preview of recent episodes, plus any episode you choose to feature in the header. This theme is entirely focused on presenting your episodes so visitors can listen and subscribe.
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The Soundbyte theme from ProgressionStudios brings some more theme options, like advanced typography settings and unlimited colors, as well as built-in ecommerce support, so you can sell your podcast t-shirts and mugs. It also includes design elements specific to podcasts, such as a pre-formatted show notes template, and a demo importer so you can choose one of their pre-designed demos as your website’s template.
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X: The Theme
X from Themeco is a fairly big step up from the previous recommendations, with respect to customization. It’s almost mind-boggling how much you can customize X without messing with any code, thanks to Themeco’s Cornerstone page builder. [Full disclosure: we use the X theme for our site, and love it.] At last count, there were more than 30 pre-designed demos to use as templates for your site, and each is integrated with other services you’ll likely want to use, such as Contact Form, MailChimp, WooCommerce and more. If you’d like our help customizing X for your podcast, just give us a ring.
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