"I want a REFUND!! Your course videos are not loading and your download links are all broken!!!"
"Your videos are loading really slow - unable to watch them!" "I'm not able to access the course I just bought from you!" "Your videos are not playing for me at all!" "Can I get a refund? I can't download anything from your membership site!" "I'm not able to log in to your website!" "Your podcast is not downloading!" "Unable to play the audio files in the member's area!"
Sound familiar? If it does, then I have great news for you, because I'll show you why it's happening and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.
And if it doesn't sound familiar and you haven't had your members say those things to you (yet), then I have even better news for you, because in this article, I'll show you how to make sure it never happens to your members - not even once.
Do NOT use your web host to store audio or video files (or even PDF/Zip/Doc etc). Regular web hosts (think Godaddy, Dreamhost, Hostgator, etc – which are terrible web hosts, by the way) are not suited for media hosting, not even if you have a VPS or Dedicated Server.
If you’re a podcaster and host your MP3 files on your own server (you shouldn’t be using WAV files for podcasting, by the way), then when you release a new episode, your RSS feed could get hundreds (or hopefully thousands) of hits, and that will in turn download thousands of copies of your mp3 file. And that can put a great strain on your web host.
CDN’s like CloudFront and CloudFlare were created just for this reason – because regular web hosts cannot handle massive amounts of media downloads, especially if they happen concurrently.
And if you’re an Online Course Creator and you have Audio, Video and PDF in your courses, and you release a new course, or do a launch, then when a (even reasonably) large number of your members try to access your online course, that means potentially hundreds (or thousands) of requests to your video, audio and pdf. That could cause the same kind of spike in server utilization on your web host. That kind of load increase on your website could cause problems for your members: Website being too slow, errors when trying to log in and navigate through your membership site, videos and audio loading very slowly (or not at all), your website crashing and your members can’t even get to your member’s area, etc.
So for various technical and logical reasons, it’s never a good idea to host your media files – Audio, Video or PDF (zip,doc,etc) – on your own web site.
Podcasters: Use a regular podcast host like Libsyn (what I use and recommend; coupon code subscribeme gets you up to 2 months free) , BluBrry or PodBean. Or if you must host your own RSS feed, you can do that with PowerPress, but don’t host the actual files on your own server. Use a quality podcast host for that. And DO NOT use Google Drive or Dropbox or some free hosting site for this. It’s against the TOS of many of those services, plus free hosts can disappear overnight, and they’re still not optimized for audio delivery for podcasts.
Online Course Creators using WordPress: Store the files on Amazon S3 and use a plugin like S3MediaVault.com to securely embed your members-only content in your website from a fast and powerful media hosting service like Amazon S3, and then add CloudFront to it to deliver it at blazing-fast speeds.
Regular “progressive download” videos are downloaded to the viewer’s browser first, which is why using plugins like Video Downloader will let you download the video you’re watching.
But using S3MediaVault, you can create true-streaming videos that cannot be downloaded, because they’re both secure, as well as streamed in segments to the viewer’s browser. Which means plugins like Video Downloader won’t be able to find a single mp4 file to download.
You’ll have to use both S3 and CloudFront together to create this streaming video, and S3MediaVault.com can help you do just that..
S3MediaVault uses Amazon AWS MediaConvert service to create the streaming version of your mp4 and then delivers that to your viewer, and makes it really easy and manage everything from within WordPress without having to log in to AWS or know any of the technical stuff behind creating a streaming video.
S3MediaVault.com can create an audio player for your mp3 and wav files stored in your Amazon S3 account.
You can create individual audio players for individual audio files, and publish multiple individual S3 audio players on a single page.
Or if you wish to combine a bunch of audio files into a playlist, S3MediaVault also has an Audio Playlist player, where the group of audio files will appear as a playlist. And if they hit play on the first one, then the player will continue playing through the entire playlist, one after the other, until it reaches the end of the player.
Prettiest Audio Player on the Planet
Large “Play” button
Customizable Title for the audio. If you don’t provide it, it will display file name.
“Download” icon that provides a direct link to the audio file, and upon being clicked, will give user option to either “Save” the file or “Open” it. Very similar to any other file you download from the web.
Smart-Speed: Clicking on it allows the playback to play at speeds of 1x, 1.5x and 2x. And the smart-speed feature speeds up the audio by cutting out the dead-air, gaps and silences, and will make the overall audio sound faster and won’t make the person speaking sound like a chipmunk 🙂
Starting timestamp always shows how much time has elapsed since the audio started playing.
Nice and big “scrubber” allows the listener to easily fast-forward or rewind the audio according to their convenience.
Fully customizable Player color (player background). Comes with a easy-to-use Color Picker with a full color palette that lets you pick any color of your choice for the player background. You can also enter Hexadecimal codes (like “#0faacc”) if you already know what color you wish to use.
Has a border that also has a color picker and you can choose any color for the border as well.
Ending timestamp always shows how much time is left in the audio being played.
Fully customizable Audio Artwork that you can configure using any Image URL hosted anywhere online – including, of course, on your own WordPress site in your Media Library.
Before I launched my show SubscribeMe.fm in 2015, I was terrified of my Indian accent for a long time and probably wasted about a year overthinking it. And this was in-spite of having written books and recorded tons of sales and documentation and how-to videos over the previous 16 years. I was practically fearless when it came to everything else – including speaking on stage, dancing at a party, acting in a play (or even in TV shows back in India), being loud and demonstrative at a basketball game, etc.
But somehow, when I wanted to start a podcast, the intimate nature of me being in someone’s ears where they listened to me closely, the way I was listening to all of my favorite shows, terrified me because of what I thought of my accent.
One day, I had a client on a call – he was a podcaster and online radio guy – and he said he loves my show, that he loved my accent (when I sheepishly asked him about it) and that it adds a certain level of credibility to the stuff I talk about (digital marketing, WordPress, technical stuff, etc). And he added that he loved the authenticity of me not trying to fake anything.
I’m not claiming to be some kind of a big-shot or some major expert in voice training, but from having created about 200 podcast episodes on my 2 podcasts – SubscribeMe.fm and CutToTheChase.fm – and probably over a few hundred sales-, how-to and content marketing videos, here are some of my biggest tips for recording a podcast (and even to videos):