December 21, 2019

We just simplified our podcasting stack

Tyler King @tilikang

When we started our podcast (www.startuptolast.com), we were trying to figure out exactly what we wanted it to be. As is common with new projects, had all kinds of ambitious ideas that we were really excited about, so we got started.

Our goal was to create a podcast, and to write a high quality article about the topic we discussed in each episode. From there, we were wanted a commenting system so that we could have conversations with our listeners. Basically, the podcast was just supposed to be the start of a larger conversation.

Here's the stack we chose to produce and host all of that:

  • Zencastr for remotely recording the podcast ($20/month)
  • Rev.com to get a transcription (~$200/month)
  • Transistor.fm for podcast hosting ($20/month)
  • Squarespace for website hosting ($40/month)
  • Disqus for comments (free)

Overall, we're really happy with how things have been going. It's fun recording the episodes, we're learning a lot from each other, and our audience has been growing slowly but steadily (we're getting about 100 downloads per episode right now).

However, we realized that almost all of the things we were happy with were related to the podcast itself, and the website/community angle wasn't really working. Despite a significant amount of effort turning the transcriptions into high-quality blog posts, we got virtually no traffic to our site. Additionally, as you can see above, the main financial costs were related to the written content, not the actual podcast.

So we just made the decision to significantly simplify our stack, and so far we're both really happy with it. Now we're only using Zencastr and Transistor. Transistor's website hosting isn't as powerful as Squarespace, but it's so much easier for us to use (especially because we were already creating each episode in Transistor anyway).

This project went from costing $280/month to just $40/month, and we're spending significantly less time now that we aren't writing a full blog post for each episode. We'll never know if this will impact our growth or the long-term potential of this project, but I really think we're going get 99% of the results for 15% as much cost and 30% as much effort.

  1. 1

    Great post Tyler. I love seeing posts about podcasters and tools they use for creation. Woah, Rev was costing you $200 a month for transcription services? Have you tried out Descript or Otter for transcription?

    1. 1

      I'm not sure if we tried those two specifically, but we did test a number of different transcription services. Our experience was that no automated transcriptions are anywhere near good enough to really be usable, and all human transcriptions are $1/minute or more. Rev.com was actually really affordable and high-quality compared to other options we tried, but since we record about 4 episodes per month and have about 50 minutes of audio per episode, it just naturally costs $200/month.

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