headphones-embed-audio

Adding audio to your website creates an extra dimension for visitors (Image gcg2009 via Flickr)

Have you ever wanted to embed some audio into one of your WordPress Posts or Pages?

I’ve just had the request again recently, so I thought it might be helpful to re-share a previous blog post on the topic, with some trimmed down steps.

Before you consider streaming audio on your website, it is a good idea to think about:

  • file types
  • file sizes
  • expected traffic
  • download access

Let’s look at these issues and then share a plugin that will make life easy for you.

Audio file basics

Generally speaking, MP3 and OGG files are the most widely compatible audio files for online sharing and streaming. Most of us will be familiar with MP3. OGG is an open source file format that is widely supported by the latest range of web browsers.

The benefit of these file types is that they keep file sizes small. By small, I mean just a few megabytes, rather than hundreds. The size of your file can be determined by the ‘bit rate’ it is saved at. The bit rate is the amount of information being held and shared per second – the higher the rate the richer the sound but with a larger file size, the smaller the rate the thinner the sound but the lighter the track is for playback online. Spoken word audio can often be fine at a bit rate of 56 or 64.

If you expect just a few listens per week, hosting the audio on your own site should be fine. If you are expecting a large number of listens, it would be wise to host your audio file in an online media library. We’ll review some of those in a later blog post. The reason for this consideration is that every time someone plays your file, data is downloaded from you web hosting account and uses up your monthly allowance. If you get too popular, you might end up with a bill for excess data usage.

One other consideration for having audio-based marketing content on your site is whether you want people to be able to ONLY listen on your site or be able to DOWNLOAD your content for listening later. Most of the time, if it is marketing material, you will likely be happy for them to download it and store it/play wherever and whenever they like.

So what audio plugin can help?

I am a great fan of Blubrry PowerPress and Community Podcast because its free version will suit most small business people dipping their toes into audio content on their websites, and the premium version is very affordable.

Other features include the smart way your audio player is displayed, so your web pages still load quickly, and the option of choosing an HTML 5 player – the latest version of web coding language that enables your media to be played on all sorts of devices, including iPhones and iPads.

For full details on setting up Blubrry PowerPress and combining it with an app that turns your iPhone into a mobile podcast recording and publishing studio, please read, Using a WordPress plugin, an app, and and iPhone to podcast on the fly.

AFTER you have installed PowerPress, as noted in the article above, you have a handy box at the bottom of every WordPress post and page screen that allows you to add a player, like the one you see at the bottom of this page with some of my dummy audio in it.

The steps to use this simply are:

  1. Upload your audio file to the Media section of your WordPress site – Media > Add New. Once it is uploaded, copy the File URL (the web address of the file automatically created for you by WordPress).
  2. Go to your Post or Page where you want your player to appear and paste the File URL. in the Podcast Episode box at the bottom of the admin screen.
  3. Publish your Page or Post and you will now have a player ready for playing your audio.

Listen to this sample by clicking the play button below. Enjoy.

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