Audio & Podcasting

Putting audio on your site is really easy. Not only can you include individual files for download but you can now create full Podcasts.  A Podcast is an audio feed showing what files you have available matching certain criteria. Your visitors can subscribe to this feed and whenever you release a new audio file their computer (or mobile device) will download it automatically.

Before uploading your audio files (MP3, WMA, RM, AAC) please ENSURE YOU OPTIMISE YOUR AUDIO FILES. MP3 files should be set to a maximum of 32 kbps mono (in iTunes this would equate to a Stereo 64 kbps setting with Mono set for channels). If you don't know what that means please contact the helpdesk and we will assist. Step-by-step instructions about audio optimisation are available here.

If you are just uploading a single audio file then you can easily link to this from within your site and you do not need to make it part of a Podcast (if the file is part of a series then a Podcast could be helpful). Podcast pages not only let people subscribe but also make searching for a particular audio file very easy.

Uploading Audio Files

Adding Stand Alone (individual) Audio Files to Your Pages

Creating Podcasts

Adding Files to a Podcast

Using Podcasts

Adding Images to Podcast Files

Adding Other Content to Podcast Pages

Audio File Optimisation

Uploading Audio Files

  • Go to File Library
  • Click the green + icon (Add a file). A box will appear
  • Click Browse
  • Locate the relevant file on your hard drive (click once on the file) and then click Open
  • Fill in the information boxes (see info on each box below the screenshot)
  • Click Upload File (Uploading may take some time depending on the size of your file and the speed of your Internet conntection)

Once the file is uploaded you can either upload more files or put it on a page. If the file is just a stand alone audio file (not part of a regular series of talks) then you can just create a single link to it from any page on your site, see here. If the audio file is the start of a series of talks you can create a new podcast or if it is part of a series of talks that already has a podcast then (as long as the appropriate information you filled in matches the podcast's requirements, in our example that's a label of lead08) it will be automatically added to the existing podcast.

 

File UploadPod cast

 

Title: The name of the talk / music track

Author/Speaker: Who gave the talk or made the music

Topic:  If the talk is one of a series on talks (e.g. about leadership) then put the series title here. If it’s not part of a series just enter the general topic.

Date: Enter the date the talk was given or the music recorded

Keywords: These are very useful for creating podcasts. For example if you have several audio files per week e.g. one in the morning and one in the evening one day and one another day only aimed at young people you could use these keywords on each one: am (for the morning one), pm (for the evening one) and youth (for the one aimed at young people). Carefully considering your keywords enables you to easily make multiple audio feeds (Podcasts) with just the right content in them. Each keyword should be separated by a comma (but a keyword can actually be more than one word. So if you have a leadership conference in Brighton 2012 you could have keywords such as 'leadership conference, brighton, 2012,Brighton conference' (you wouldn't type in the quotes). When filtering by keywords you provide one keyword to search on and all audio files with that keyword are returned.

Label: The label is the easiest way to identify a Podcast but is limited to just 8 characters. In the example above the leadership series is given a label of 'lead08'. If another series on leadership was run the following year it could be called lead09.

Description: Put in the description the details about the talk. This will be visible on the web page. If part of a series you may wish to include which talk number it is e.g. Leadership Talk 3 of 10

Using Individual Audio Files

If you don't need a podcast but just want to make audio files available for download then follow these steps:

  • Go to Edit Site -> Edit Pages
  • Click Edit next to the page you'd like the audio file accessible from
  • Type some text such as Click here to download our audio newsletter (or insert an image on the page)
  • Select the text (or image)
  • Click on the Links menu
  • Click on the Attachment (paperclip) icon
  • From the options select your audio file and create the link
  • When you've finished editing click Publish and Close (if you want the changes put live) or Save Draft (if you want to save the work you've done without it going live) or Close (if you've changed your mind and want to lose your changes).

Note: if when you view the site you can't see the changes remember to click Refresh in your browser to get the updated page. Also when in the editor you can't click on links (other than to modify where they go).

Creating Podcasts

If you already have a podcast then any new files you upload that match the criteria will automatically be added to that podcast. You can have as many podcasts as you need. Podcasts are best used to help visitors find all the audio files in a series. If your organisation regularly produces audio files then we recommend you do not put them all in one podcast. It would be much better for your visitors if you have one podcast for each distinct series or time period (E.g. autumn term 2009 or leadership series 2010, etc). Categorising your audio into separate podcasts will help your visitors find what they want and only download the relevant audio (rather than downloading lots of files they don't require). A podcast is a special page type. To make a new podcast follow these steps:

  • Go to Edit Site -> Create Pages
  • Type in a page name (the page name will be the name of your podcast)
  • Click More Options
  • Select whether or not you want the podcast to be a subpage (in the example below ours is a subpage of our main Audio page (which would appear on the master menu)
  • Add a page label to help find the page later (e.g. podcast). This means you can easily filter and only see the podcast pages in the Edit Pages list (useful when working with large numbers of pages)
  • Click the Podcast option under Page Type (as soon as you do this a Podcast setting box appears)

Example page creation: Create Podcast Page

As soon as you click the Podcast option you are presented with the options that select which audio files will be included within your podcast (remember you can have many audio files and they may not all be included in one podcast. You can also have multiple podcasts). In our Audio File Upload example (top of page) we uploaded an audio file from a series about Leadership and decided to give it the label 'lead08'. All audio files in that series would also be given the same label. That way we can easily create the podcast. In the Podcast Setting box we would simply put lead08 in the label box, click Create Page and the podcast (including all files labelled lead08) would be created for us. All the input options are described below.

Podcast Settings

You can use more than one label to narrow down what is included in your podcast. Remember even if years in the future a file is uploaded into the File Library if it matches your criteria it will be included in this podcast, which is how podcasts should work. Be careful when creating a podcast not to make the options so broad that it picks up unrelated audio files. You can use multiple criteria to make your podcast more specific.

File Label: This creates a podcast only includings files that have that exact label. It's very useful when you are running a series of talks as you can ensure you only get those talks in the podcast.

File Topic: You could put a word here (e.g. leadership) however take care not to use too broad an option on its own or you may accidentally include non-related audio files in your podcast. E.g. if you put the word 'sewer' there you could find yourself including talks about how to sew nice shirts and how to clean blocked waste drains all in the same podcast.

File Artist: This is useful if you want to make a podcast of all the talks (or music) from a specific person. On its own it would be all of their talks for ever but you could use it in combination with other options to return just a subset of their materials.

File Keyword: As long as useful keywords have been entered in the audio files this can be very powerful. For example you could set it to 'Brighton conference' and you'd get all talks that have that keyword. Note you can only search on one keyword and it will return all the audio files that have that within their list of keywords.

 

Adding Files to Podcasts

When you setup a podcast (see above) you will have specified which criteria must be met in order for audio files to be included in that podcast. These criteria apply to all audio files in your File Library. So adding a new audio file to a podcast is simple, when you upload the audio file make sure you fill in the relevant fields (see above) matching the criteria of the podcast you want it included in. If you can't remember what the criteria were simply click the Edit button next to the Podcast page and a box will pop up like this:

Edit Podcast Settings

Where it says Current Settings you can see that the only criteria set is that the audio files must have a label of lead08. Therefore if I want to add a new file to that Podcast I would simply ensure that when I upload it I give it the label of lead08. You can also edit the tags you've given to any of your audio files by clicking the Details link in the Audio section of the File Library (this enables you to correct or update audio file information after upload, e.g. if you've missed off a label or want to change the description etc)

Using Podcasts

Once you've successfully created a Podcast page there are numbers of ways people can access it. Firstly if the page is on the menu (or linked to from a page that is) then they can visit the page and all the files will be listed there. If they are using a browser that supports RSS feeds (such as Internet Explorer 7+, Firefox or Safari) they can click on the RSS Feed button in the browser and this will then give them sorting, searching and filtering options. Alternatively they may wish to subscribe to the feed using a program such as iTunes or equivalent. When subscribed their device will automatically download the files in your feed, so when you add a new file (matching the criteria) they get it.

 

For help creating recordings please contact the Helpdesk.

 

Adding Images to Podcast Files

If you like you can add an image beside each audio file:

  • Add an image file to your File Library
  • Click 'details' next to the applicable image. Copy the "Image ID" (e.g. 983CBAEF-CB82-5C93-89EE-CD102386BF3B, note that's not a real example you need to find your own Image ID)
  • Go to the 'Manage Audio' screen
  • Click 'details' next to an audio file then click the 'Details' tab. Information you enter in the 'Description' box will appear on the live site
  • Paste the "Image ID" you copied earlier into the "Thumb ID" box.

 

Adding Other Content to Podcast Pages

The links to the audio files are automatically generated (matching only the files you specify as above). However if you wish to add your own content above the audio files that is possible. This is useful if you want to add information about a series of talks or links to additional downloads, etc. Clicking Edit next to a Podcast page lets you change the Podcast settings but to add content follow these steps:

  • Under Edit Site -> Edit Pages click More (next to the relevant page)
  • From the options now available select Alternate Editor
  • The editor will load and let you add and remove content. This content will appear above the automatically generated Podcast. 

Audio File Optimisation

A note about formats: MP3 is excellent for music but doesn’t produce very well optimised spoken voice files . If for example you had a one hour talk and compressed it as MP3 it may end up being 15MB whereas the same file optimised as WMA (using the voice codec) might be under 3MB. Although WMA gives an obvious size advantage the reality is that many people have MP3 players and they won’t all support WMA. If you have time you may like to offer your users a choice between MP3 and WMA files but if you can only select one format then currently more people can play MP3 than WMA.

It is very important you optimise your audio files. This is easy to do and the helpdesk are happy to walk you through the process. For those who know what they are doing we'd recommend you try 16kbps mono MP3 files. Please read our detailed online podcast audio optimisation instructions.

MP3 talk optimisation / file size

Talk Length (minutes)

10 

20 

30 

40 

60 

120 

File Size (in MegaBytes, MB)
Optimised at 16 kbps mono MP3
Optimised at 32 kbps mono MP3


0.6
1.2 

 
 1.2
 2.4


2.4
4.8 


3.6
7.2 


4.8
9.6 


 7.2
14.4 


14.4
28.8 

Time to download (seconds)*
Optimised at 16 kbps mono MP3
Optimised at 32 kbps mono MP3

*if using 512 kbps connection


10 
19


19
38 


38
77 


 57
115 


 77
154 


115
230 


230
460 

The above table shows you how large your MP3 files will be when optimised correctly.