Sunday, 22 November 2009

Did My Podcast Post/Upload?

If, like me, you use a podcast host who gives you a web-based uploader to add new audio files to your podcast, it can sometimes be a bit confusing when you get an error message saying that things went wrong.

If I've been sitting there for 20 minutes waiting for my latest 'masterpiece' to upload, then I don't get the final confirmation screen I was expecting, I'm always left thinking: "Well, did it upload or not!?".

I'm guessing I'm not the only person who's had this issue, so I thought it was worth a quick tip to show how you can check.

You can obviously go to your podcast hosting site & check to see if another episode has appeared, but if they're having technical issues, this may not be a good test. I've heard of folks doing multiple uploads, and nothing seems to have been uploaded, only to find some time later they have the same episode uploaded multiple times.

Probably the quickest and easiest way to see exactly what state your podcast feed is in, (i.e. what has been published) is to look directly at the feed.

Looking at your RSS feed used to be an arduous task, as you were presented with pages and pages of gobbleygook if you tried to look at your feed with a browser. But, in more recent times, browsers have become far more 'feed friendly' and will try to render the RSS output in a format which is something like readable. I've put a screen shot of my own RSS feed opened up in Internet Explorer to show what a feed might look like when viewed with a browser (you can click on it to see it close-up):


So, if you know the RSS feed addreess of your podcast (which I'm hoping you should, as it should be on the front page of your podcast site), you can simply paste it in to the address bar of your browser.

All being well, you browser (if it's a fairly recent one) should show you your episode listings and the audio files associated with each episode. If the epsiode or audio file you expected isn't there, then there was obviously was an issue with your upload, and you maybe need to try the upload again.

One thing to bear in mind with this technique is that if you are also using a feed burning service such as 'Feedburner', then it may take quite some time before the changes in your 'native' podcast feed are reflected in Feedburner. So you should always check the RSS feed supplied directly from your podcast hosting site (or blog, whichever you use).

In fact taking a look at your RSS feed is a great habit to get into whenever you post a new show. It saves the angst and pain of proudly uploading a new show, only to receive an email or two a few days later telling you that there is no audio with your new posting. A quick check of your feed shows your new episode AND the audio enclosure are safely published to your feed and are available for your audience.

Well, I hope this tip has been of some use, and isn't teaching too many grand-mothers to suck eggs out there.

I've also recorded an audio version of this tip at : http://nigelrunner.posterous.com/did-my-podcast-upload which you might like to listen to.

Nigel.

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