January 5, 2019

Finished MVP to turn blogs to podcasts with AI. What do you think?

Hello there!

We have just finished a free version of a realtime "AI Text-To-Speech" blog & articles to audio converter. A small play button on your blog to be added with a single JS line of code, the result is that your blog gets powered by high quality voice of your choice!

We built it mostly to help people with reading disabilities enjoy listening to online web content, also for people who are always on the go!

Check it out! Your feedback is appreciated! https://websitevoice.com

Cheers!


  1. 6

    I like the idea!

    I would suggest you change the "installation" word to something else - because it's not about the installation at all.

    1. 4

      @Zencentric thanks for the feedback. The installation word is now changed to "Add to your website" as by the comment of @botvader thanks. :)

    2. 2

      yeah it's more like "Add to your website"

      1. 1

        @botvader thanks. Its changed now. We appreciate your suggestions. Wordings are many times tricky. :)

        1. 1

          also what is your business model like?

          1. 1

            @botvader, Its a Freemium model, but there is no paid version of the feature yet! We are building some premium features :).

        2. 1

          I understand...it's more tricky to think about these things during dev.

          1. 1

            very true. That is why feedback of people is highly appreciated. Thanks to IH community and people like you. :)

  2. 4

    Really a good idea, I'll use it on our blog!

    1. 2

      @Dozey great! Please share with us your feedback and if you have any wishes or encounter complexities we are ready to help out! :) Also if you like to share with us an example of your blog pages, we can use it for our learnings. :)

      1. 3

        Hey again, it works very well ! Easy to setup, even no need to implement any css etc in our Wordpress theme.

        One question, how to change the way play button looks? Also, guess it's not working on mobile atm.

        Here's an example page from our blog:

        https://blog.userguiding.com/product-tour-tips/

        1. 3

          Great to see it working on your blog. Yes, we wanted to make sure that the "basic" installation was extremely easy, but there is a lot of "hidden" stuff for more advanced users who are seeking more. We are working on many features which you will love (including the widget customizations which is one of the most requested features).

          By the way, if you add the following line before the closing </script> you copied, it will put the button just near the text and the audio won't play the post date:

          wvtag('text-selector', '.mkdf-post-text-main');

          1. 2

            @Dozey forgot to mention that it should be fine on mobile now. the icon should now be visible. We hope your mobile audience enjoy more your audio articles.

        2. 2

          @Dozey we've modified your widget so it appears properly on your site as we want your users to have a great websitevoice experience. But that is just temporary until you can add the following line before the last </script> tag:

          wvtag('text-selector', '.mkdf-post-text-main');

          1. 1

            Hello, appreciate the quick support! Just added the code, works perfectly.

            Followed "Websitevoice" on Linkedin also to keep up with news.

  3. 3

    wow great idea, I always have many tabs open of things pending to read, so this is a lifesaver for me. Let's see if you can convince bloggers to implement that. I would definitely use it everywhere but as a​ ​ consumer, I don't own a blog

    1. 1

      @naradia thanks for the feedback! We hope you will enjoy listening to your lovely articles soon enough. If you want, you can share with us one of your important blog sites that you read daily and we will convince them with your story. :)

      1. 1

        I read a lot of travel blogs as I love to travel​. There are many, also blogs for fashion and trends. I could post here examples but I feel it's better that you just go on google and search, I do not want to spam here ☺️

        1. 1

          Sure, we will start reaching soon to blogs out there, hopefully you can find websitevoice soon in your daily blogs.

          Would you like to be able to choose the voice reading the audio? Or you are fine with whatever the author of the blog has chosen?

  4. 3

    You will rock it! Congrats!

    1. 2

      I'm fully consumer of audiobooks and podcasts. For me that is just a great great idea. 👍👍👍

      1. 2

        Yes we are also fans of audiobooks, so we asked ourselves why can't we turn the web into an audiobook? That's what websitevoice does :)

        1. 1

          Awesome!

  5. 3

    nice one, i'm going to include a link to it in an article i'm writing

    1. 1

      Great! Please share once you are done, we would like to see the article and we might as well share it in our social networks

  6. 3

    Thanks WebsiteVoice, great initiative. The landing page looks stunning!

    1. 1

      we appreciate your feedback. :)

  7. 2

    Great idea!

    I have an idea that could make it even better though. I've seen something like this on some news websites recently and whenever I try it, I can't listen for more than 10 minutes. The computer voice just gets to me. I wish it was more like a podcast that I could listen to for an hour or more. Atavist does a great job with this -- they have an audio version for nearly all of their magazine stories (e.g. https://magazine.atavist.com/blood-cries-out-chillicothe-missouri-murder-mark-woodworth)

    What about, if you're a premium member, you can request for a real human to read the content for you. It could cost even $20 an article -- or $50 if it's pretty professional sounding and practiced. Then, on your end, you can hire real humans to read these articles and pay them for it.

    I think this would give publishing companies a potential new stream of revenue too! You could (eventually) automatically compile their articles into podcasts and dynamically insert small audio ads into them. It'd be a win-win-win-win situation. :)

    1. 1

      Most of the sites that have audio autogenerated do sounds very robotic, but have you tried ours? It's much more natural. Does it sound robotic to you as well?

      Problem with human is that takes time, and usually sites wants to publish the post as soon as it's finished and don't want to wait. But it's a great suggestion we will definitely consider.

      1. 2

        Yours is much better than average, but not something I could enjoy listening to for more than 10-15 minutes. I'd rather just read the article at that point.

        What you could do is have three options (for large publishers -- small publishers would pay less and maybe not have the same options):

        • Your current service at $5/month for every new article

        • Your current service (plus an automatic switch over to the human-voiced version when it becomes available) at $30/month for every new article

        • The option to not use the automatic version, but just add the audio player when the human-voiced version is available

        • The option to pay for rushed service for an extra $50/month for every new article

        (Edit: Not sure these prices are right considering you'd probably be doing a high-touch sale with a lot of the big customers. Something quadruple these rates or even more might make more sense and not really affect their bottom line. Start compiling stats on the engagement of visitors with articles that have your plugin installed vs. articles that don't, so you can sell this product more convincingly to the big publishers when that day comes.)

        I think a lot of big publishers are struggling right now and looking for how to monetize / expand into podcasting. Sold in the right way, your offer could look like an easy buy. You could even up-sell some podcasting producer services for when they're ready to make the switch.

        Anyways, sorry -- this is a lot to just dump here. I'm just excited by this idea and the potential here.

        Congrats on the launch!

        1. 1

          @panphora thanks for your thoughts! While its too early still to think about ways of making a final version of it and how to monetise it. For now it stays for free for many blog owners to benefit their audience who prefer audio blogs. I appreciate your feedback!

  8. 2

    I wish I had a blog to add it. Let's see if blogs start to implement it as seems like a must-have for them. I will use it as soon as I see it available

    1. 1

      We just launched recently and we are looking for blogs that want to be the first ones so make sure you contact your usual blogs and tell them to add it. It's free for them and free for you!

  9. 2

    Really impressive and great idea!

    1. 2

      @martinzimdahl Happy to hear that. If you have a blog or content published online you can make use of the feature, nothing beats free! :)

  10. 2

    I had that idea a while ago. Now I'm happy to see someone implementing it in a greater way.

    Congratulations and good luck! :)

    1. 1

      @FBNKCMaster we are glad the way we did it gives you this good impression. Thanks for your feedback. If there are any features of your idea still missing, make sure to tell us so we fill our backlog :). Highly appreciate it!

      1. 1

        You're welcome :)

        For the features, I would like to add an option to allow users to download the audio for an offline listening.

        I was thinking about a widget that would be like a store/catalog where end users (visitors of the blog) can select and save to their preferred cloud storage (dropbox, google drive...) all articles they want to listen to offline.

        You charge the blogger and he charges his users for this option :)

        1. 1

          @FBNKCMaster very good point to have the option to download the audios. We will discuss it with some of the bloggers and see how to iterate on it. Thanks again for the input, it can be very useful for audience to store the articles for future read, but here are some points, articles change content often so we not sure how to tackle that easily. Do you have any ideas already on that?

          1. 1

            Happy to see that you find the idea useful :)

            For the question, I didn't really thought about that, but I would suggest you to let the blogger notify your service to auto-generate the audio whenever the article is updated and send notification to the audience, or some system to do all these automatically.

            You're welcome :)

            1. 1

              @FBNKCMaster very good suggestion. I've noted that in our backlog items. I will make sure to reach you when we start cooking it. Thanks a lot.

              1. 1

                You're welcome :)

                Good luck!

  11. 2

    This is cool, I wonder how long it's going to take until we can't hear the difference between a robotic voice and a human voice. Good luck.

    1. 2

      @phedkvist Good point. Artificial intelligence (AI) and Text to speech (TTS) technologies are on a recent slop to make a better use of the internet. Thanks to such technologies robotic voices that are not friendly are fading away and people enjoy more real human voices. We are thinking of more ways to make the voices speak well to people and its an ongoing process to make the web a better audiobook too.

    2. 1

      @phedkvist forgot to ask, would you like to have some robotic voices as well :)?

      1. 1

        No I personally don't like listening to a robot :D

  12. 2

    good stuff!

    1. 1

      @andreigaspar thank you. Happy free podcasting! :)

  13. 2

    I really love the idea!

    1. 1

      @nayamoss thanks for that! :) we loved it too so we made it real

  14. 2

    What are the limitations on the free version? Thanks

    1. 1

      @michael24 Thanks to your question. The free version is limited to 1000 daily plays per website. We have no paid version yet though :) Happy Podcasting!

      1. 1

        That's a very good amount for the free plan. There should be more companies offering this kind of free services

        1. 1

          @lutulu it depends on the companies, their visions and business models. Could you name us some services that you pay for which you would like to use for free?

      2. 1

        @WebsiteVoice 1000 plays for free per day is a good amount of plays. Do you provide any metrics on the "added button" performance. Those might become useful. Just an idea.

        1. 1

          Not at the moment but we are working on them, they should be ready by this coming week. We want to make the web speak, so metrics will come handy to know how each of your blog articles perform

  15. 2

    Thanks, I've just enabled it for this blog.

    https://jaywad.com/blogs/what-should-be-in-a-coder-s-toolbox

    I struggled to test it in local machine but then I figured out that I could change the domain in the dashboard. :)

    It was pretty much easy I've to say, I do not see the realtime reports though, is that not available yet?

    1. 1

      Great @pattrick, happy to see you making use of it. I hope your audience will enjoy the high quality audio. In regards to the realtime reports, we are currently building them. What would you like to see in those reports, what kind of metrics? Thanks for the feedback!

      1. 2

        I've just visited @pattrick 's blog. The quality of the reading is pretty good!

        A couple of points:

        1. Can your AI recognise a heading? I saw a number of visual headings in Pattrick's blog but the voice did not pause either before or after the headings. Can it "look ahead" to a heading so it knows to pause just before it and then just after it before continuing?

        2. I don't know if it is customisable but can there be a fractionally increased pause between sentences?

        The voice sounds a lot more natural than pretty much any other text to speech voice I've heard though - so good work!

        Edit: I have just realised that the pause I need is between paragraphs, not sentences!

        Edit: can we use custom tags to identify blocks of text such that we can click at the beginning of a section and have the AI start from that point? I wasn't paying attention at one point on the blog (at the A Scripting Language point) and wanted just to click and have the software re-evaluate and start from where I had stopped paying proper attention. Is that possible?

        1. 1

          @thomasm1964 Impressive feedback, our favourite so far.

          Here are some answers:

          1. Yes we can detect headings and pause more naturally after. We have an item in the backlog. Its coming soon. :)

          2. We can increase the pauses between paragraphs more, this is also coming. Our machine learning algorithms are getting trained the more the snippet gets embedded.

          3. A resume play from left point is also coming. This is a new request and we truly appreciate your input on that.

          4. Yes its possible to play the article from a starting point, we are yet not sure to how we could visually make it a good case. How would you imagine the feature to the outside?

          We will give an update soon again that you see a better version of the feature!

          Thanks again for the great feedback. Keep them coming!

          1. 1

            From a purely technical standpoint, how do you recognise the point from which the user wishes to start?

            Presumably, you could dynamically create a hover event for each sentence, paragraph or other meaningful unit that simply displays a speaker icon in a transparent overlay which could be clicked on?

            1. 1

              at the moment we play the whole article. We've been thinking to either present the classic player or to do something more like the thing you mention where we highlight paragraphs, we are working based on user feedback as we want to build this for the users.

              From what we have heard so far, people prefer to listen to full articles and not pieces of it. Do you usually listen to full articles or just pieces? What would be the use case for listening just a part of an article? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

              1. 1

                Use cases:

                1. I missed something and want to replay a particular section.

                2. I'm listening to a technical article but only one or two parts of it are relevant to me at that time.

                3. I am interrupted for some reason mid-flow and want to go back to the beginning of the segment to which I was listening.

                4. I want to save a couple of salient points (see other comments re. saving audio: in an entire article, there may be one or two points which are especially relevant to me but not necessarily the whole article. In Pattrick's blog, for example, I was most interested in:

                A Task Runer / Scheduler

                Queue Software

                Stream Software

                The other parts were not so important to me personally. Other people would have picked up on other areas.

                So I might want to replay these paragraphs to understand them properly and I might have wanted to save just these parts if I was visually impaired.

                Particualrly with technical articles, a listener may need to replay a segment several times to allow the technical concepts to sink in properly.

                1. 1

                  looks like more than "paragraph selection" would be something more like go forward/backward a paragraph no?

                  1. 2

                    Glad you've found it helpful!

                  2. 1

                    I prefer scripted podcasts over blogs but blogs over unscripted podcasts. As you say, the latter can often take forever to get to the point.

                    1. 1

                      @thomasm1964 your contributions to this post have been a great help. some of your ideas and thoughts are being groomed already!

                    2. 1

                      @thomasm1964 Ok I understand. thanks for your input. :)

                  3. 1

                    I have to reply here as the thread is now too deep.

                    I only listen to podcasts occasionally because it is difficult to listen and program. My partner, on the other hand, listens to a lot of podcasts. Some of them are thoughtfully written and beautifully read. Others contain information she finds valuable but she has to go back and forth to get the content out of them.

                    My other half, by the way, is not visually impaired but still suffers from the vagaries of the quality of production of both the written and audible content.

                    Your tool has no choice about what it reads so it must assume poor quality writing on the other end and compensate as well as possible in my opinion.

                    1. 1

                      yes at the moment it doesn't have but it will have soon. I was asking because I wanted to know how much you prefer podcast hover spoken blog posts as podcasts sometimes take a lot of rounds and discussion to go to the point while usually, blog posts are more direct.

                  4. 1

                    I think so.

                    Suggestion: Put a blindfold on and spend a couple of days listening to a number of recordings on a number of different sites. The feature list will make itself very apparent to you!

                    1. 1

                      yes we have some heavy podcast/audiobook users in the team and they also suffer from the things you mention. Do you also listen to podcasts/audiobooks?

      2. 1

        I would appreciate to see things like, a spread out of how many people listen to the audios daily, also from which countries they are. I do not know if this is even possible. Thanks. :)

        1. 1

          @pattrick yes those will be available. We will give you some nice insights on how your audience like your blogs, we will also possibly tell you if you need to fix your blogs somehow to make them sound better. :) We truly appreciate your feedback here!

          1. 2

            wow that would be amazing! of most things I liked is the one line of code drop and it works! Magic! I look forward to see the daily reports! Thanks again.

  16. 1

    Well.. this is awesome. I love the concept.

    Is it possible to do in reverse and have consumers pay for the service and point it any site the like?

    There are a bunch of articles etc that I would like to consume in this way.. but I probably wouldn't bother if it was only supported on some sites as I don't want to be steered towards particular sites. but have my own freedom online, if that makes sense?

  17. 1

    Cool stuff. I take it you guys use google TTS api ?

    1. 1

      @Arneh Thanks. Yes google TTS is one of the many options we have, we are also growing our own!

  18. 1

    Hey! I love it. I read this, and then later found what I think to be a competitor of yours.

    https://play.ht/extension/

    What are the chances of seeing both in the same day! Best of luck.

    1. 1

      @Ephatha thanks. Competition is good for products. Our product is free and its very easy to add to any web page!

  19. 1

    Make a premium paid version!

    Another thing... be prepared to have at least 2-3 competitors with more features in the very short term since the development time building this seems very short(widget).

    1. 1

      According to what they say, their widget is close to one line of code and works out of the box in most of the websites. If this is actually true, I would say that this is not so easy to do, I guess they have done a lot of research on different types of sites

      1. 1

        I built widgets, it's not hard at all. The problem is the idea is attractive and friction to enter the market is very low, it needs something that's hard to replicate.

        1. 1

          We are a team of people and we have many features coming in the next weeks so it will be harder and harder to replicate what we are building. Plus we have a long-term version and we are free.

          As a widget builder, is there any feature you would like to see implemented?

          1. 1

            whats your business model in the long run?

  20. 1

    Nice one! is there alexa and Google assistant support with news briefing ? Don't miss that market segment

    1. 1

      @guru_shiva great point. Can you give us some details on how would you use the feature for news briefing. We would love to listen to your story.

      1. 1

        @WebsiteVoice This was my whole idea ( not audio podcast ) a year back.

        • Bloggers can insert your plugin to their website, so users can subscribe and listen ( audio ) in a single place instead of emails/RSS feeds ( You should think like Pushbullet subscribe modal )

        • If blog website can't support, your users can install chrome/FF extension and pull out the article RSS/data to save in your service.

        Finally now having web app/ mobile app users and data, now you can connect your content and push it to Alexa briefings ( check out Amazon Alexa briefing docs - it's similar to announcement/reading out or else at least a kindle like app for Alexa and Google assistant should be better to hear from smart devices. )

        more than blog/content podcast, you can run generic service similar to pushbullet/Feedly for contents. Meanwhile, you should be able to define your business modal too like sponsored post/Ads ( the worst one ) / Subscription to your customers/bloggers and make it like marketplace. ( just my two cents )

        1. 1

          Thanks for your feedback, we are building our backlogs based on all user feedbacks as we want to make this product for the users, so everything you can say helps us.

          We haven't gone into apps yet as we want to make it as easy as possible for our users to listen to articles, but it's true that we will never manage to get all the blogs in the world to implement websitevoice, even as being completely free.

          Would you prefer a browser extension or an app where you can load a site and extract the content?

  21. 1

    I'm just about to start playing with your website.

    One immediate observation: the image https://websitevoice.com/assets/images/browser-demo-bdc4796cd2.png is not responsive. On my desktop, I cannot see the right hand side of the image or the text below "nowadays".

    A key part of your sales message is thus unreadable - something you need to look into pretty quickly I think!

    Edit: I forgot to mention: I like the name!

    1. 1

      @thomasm1964 We are glad you like the brand name. :) While we totally understand your comment about the image. Note that the image is not complete, its made like that by design. We are collecting more feedback on that and we are surely going to consider a design change with a complete image if more people feel the same way like you. Thanks again.