This was a subject that I have not really thought about in the past, but in the past week, it has come up well helping a new friend with his podcast. It has made me rethink how to properly publish a Podcast to iTunes.
I think the key to Podcasts in iTunes, is when you submit a Podcast, make sure the Podcast feed is something that is flexible(moveable), and could be changed if needed, without impacting what is seen in iTunes.
When I setup my Podcasts originally, I just submitted it with the domain that I had the Podcast associated with. That is alright, if you plan to always keep the same domain, and the directory path will not change even if you move to another server. But from my reading over the past few days, the use of something like Google Feedburner might be a good thing. This would be especially true if you are hosting your Podcast on a site like Podbean, where you might not have total control over the Podcast’s XML file. The theory is, that instead of using the Podbean feed to publish to iTunes, you would setup a feed in Feedburner that points to the Podbean feed, and then use the Feedburner feed as the one you use to Submit your podcast to iTunes.
The reasoning behind using the Feedburner feed, instead of a Podbean(or another service) feed, is that if you move your podcast to another domain or service, you just make the change in Feedburner to look elsewhere. By doing that, nothing changes in your setup in iTunes, and you don’t risk losing listeners because you changed your Podcast location, and had to create a new entry in iTunes with a new iTunesID.
I wished that I would have paid more attention when setup my own Podcasts feeds, and used Feedburner. At the time, I just thought it was just another layer on top of what I already had, and really did not see where it’s actual value came in allowing your podcast feed to be more flexible in where it resides. It also provides some good metrics on your Podcast, that might be hard to get from your site.
There are a few other things I have learned as well about moving feeds around.
There is a line you can add to your Podcast xml file, so if you move your podcast to another feed, you can tell iTunes to look at the new feed location
What apple said about this line, is that you have it in your podcast feed for 48 hours, that it will update the directory in iTunes, which might just actually help you move your Podcast, without having to resubmit to iTunes and allowing you to keep your iTunes subcribers. If that is so, it is a very powerful line to help manage your Podcast move.
For non iTunes users, you will want to add a 301 redirect in your servers .htaccess file, so anyone hitting your Podcast feed will be redirected to the new feed. You would want to do it with something similar to this against the Podcast feed file
Redirect permanent /oldlocation/nameofxmlfile http://newfeedlocation
Alternatively, if your host has cpanel access, there is a spot in there where you can setup the redirect. It might looking something like this. It would save having to edit files.
A lot of this is on the web, so I am really not telling anyone anything that is new. Actually would appreciate replies, if anyone has anything more to add, as it would help my understanding on this subject. Especially with the 301 redirect, as I suspect I am missing something there. I probably documented this on my site, more for my future reference then anything. Also, Apple has some good information on their site about managing feeds, check this link.
Just writing this blog entry, I learned some things from start to finish, which is cool.