Podbean is a website that gives users a very easy interface for both publishing and listening to podcasts. Creating an account and publishing your first podcast can be done in three simple steps, requires no advanced computer knowledge, and can be accomplished in 5 minutes.

It was founded in July 2006 by Henry Zhang and David Zhu. Since its beginning, a total of 133,376,503 podcasts have been downloaded from the site. It had over 150,000 unique visitors last month, which is a sharp drop from January during which they had over 200,000. (http://siteanalytics.compete.com/podbean.com/?metric=uv)

In form, function, and layout Podbean is very similar to WordPress. One can choose from a number of customizable themes, add widgets to the sidebar, etc. In fact, one can use a Podbean page as a simple text blog. However, the site is specially designed to support frequent mp3 and video uploads, and to make those uploads easy to download. The site also has an embedded media player, so you can listen to podcasts immediately with a click of a button, or you can download the mp3 file to store on your own computer.

One valuable feature of hosting your podcasts through Podbean is that they do not measure a customer's bandwidth. The free version of Podbean only allows you 5GB of monthly bandwidth, but the advanced version ($4.95 monthly) gives you unlimited bandwidth. This means that no matter how popular your podcast becomes, you'll never have to worry about maintenance costs. They do have a limit on how many gigabytes of data you can have published at the same time, but this limit increases for every month your account has been active.

Another cool feature of Podbean is the ease with which users can access a podcast using iTunes, an iPod, or a mobile phone. Podbean Mobile Edition automatically converts your site to a version easily viewable and downloadable from those small screens. Podbean's embedder also allows you to place podcasts directly on social sites like Facebook, Myspace, LiveJournal, eBlogger, etc.

In addition to mp3s, Podbean also allows you to upload images, videos, documents, and a number of other file formats: .jpg, .gif, .m4a, .ogg, mp4, .m4v, .mpg, .mov, .avi, .flv, .3g2, .3gp, .wmv, .pdf, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .zip

Uses for Podbean
Podbean can be a very valuable business tool that allows you to quickly and easily share audio and video with others. Potential applications include the obvious such as music, but it is also used by the news media, educators, and many different kinds of online retailers. For technical writers, Podbean is great for embedding sound or video into online documents without too much hassle. Since the site automatically converts a single podcast into many formats, it gets wide exposure whether the user is on a desktop PC or using an iPod or mobile phone. Privacy settings and comment options ensure that you can get as much, or as little exposure as you want.

You can find Joe's personal Podbean page here: http://beanmasterjoe.podbean.com

Here is an embedded audio file, hosted by Podbean.com, of my great uncle talking about his WW2 experiences:

Making your own Podcast on Podbean:

1. Register for a Podbean account. Go to the home page and click "Free sign up now." Enter in your information. You'll be logged in and a password will be sent to your email inbox.
2. Once logged in, you can click on your username at the top of the screen to go to your profile. From here you can change your profile photo, your password, adjust privacy settings, and write a little about yourself.
3. To get started podcasting, click on the "Dashboard" button on the sidebar.
4. Click on "Publish" on the top menu. You can now enter a title for your post, some text to go along with it, and at the bottom where it says "Add Media File" you can browse through your files and attach an mp3, a .jpg, a Word document, or anything you feel like sharing with your friends or the world.
5. Click the "Publish" button at the bottom. You're done!

Changing your Theme, Header Image, and adding Widgets
From your Dashboard, select the "Layout" button. Under "themes" there are a variety to choose from. Simply clicking on a theme automatically applies it to your Podbean page.

Also under Layout, there is a "Header Image" tab that allows you to upload a custom header image if you have one.

The "Sidebar Widgets" tab allows you to easily click and drag available widgets onto your page's sidebar. My page's currently active widgets are Search, Fans, Subscribe, Recent Posts, Calendar, and Twitter feed.

Embedding your podcast into a page outside of Podbean

1. From the Dashboard, select the "Manage" tab.
2. You should see a list of your most recent podcasts. On the right side of the page is an "Embed code" button for your episode. Click on that button.
3. Click one of the options to get the HTML code for a white or black audio player, or a simple download link. All you need to do is copy the HTML provided and paste it into your Facebook, company website, email message, or any other place that supports HTML embedding. In my case, I embedded one of my podcasts directly into the class wiki.

Editing your podcasts to make them downloadable from iTunes (requires downloaded and registered iTunes software)

1. From the dashboard, select the "settings" in the top right of the screen.
2. select the submenu "Feed/iTunes"
3. a preview of how your episodes will display on iTunes is shown. Below this in the field marked "iTunes: FeedID" you must enter the ID you were provided by iTunes when you registered your podcast with them. There are also fields for writing a summary, choosing keywords, a logo, and choosing up to three categories that describe your podcast.
4. Click the "update options" button at the bottom when you are finished.

Finding and Subscribing to a podcast

1. First login. Then from the homepage click "Podcasts". You can now see the most popular podcasts available. You can search for what you want, or just click on a category. Once you have found a podcast you're interested in, click on it.
2. Click on the green plus sign where it says "Subscribe". That page is now added to your subscriptions.
3. You can access your subscriptions from the top of the home page by clicking "My Subscriptions".
4. The embedded player allows you to play the podcast directly from the site or download it as an mp3 file.

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