Don’t Get Stuck! How To Avoid Common Hosting Migration Issues

Thinking of switching hosting companies? Don’t let your website become a statistic! We’ve all heard the horror stories: lost stats, duplicate feeds, broken links, and missing podcasts. Don’t let a smooth transition turn into a traffic nightmare. Learn how to avoid these common pitfalls and ensure your website stays healthy and happy in its new home. Tune in as we cover hosting horror stories and a step-by-step guide to hassle-free hosting!

 

 

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Don’t Get Stuck! How To Avoid Common Hosting Migration Issues

I am recording what I would call a Podcaster Service Announcement. It’s a guide to things to avoid when you switch podcast hosting platforms. This is so you don’t get stuck on how to avoid common hosting migration issues. I’m sure many of you who launched your podcast started hosting your podcast on the first platform you came to know and you thought, “This company can do it.” That’s great. You may not have done a whole lot of research to make sure that host was going to meet your needs for months and years to come, and even if you did, which I did when I first started, your needs and circumstances change, and there are lots of good reasons why you might move from one host to another.

On the other hand, I hear from a lot of podcasters, “I’ve been with this one forever.” They have all this anxiety over moving. Do they need to move? There are lots of good reasons why you might want to move your podcast hosting from one platform to another. I’m not going to go into all those reasons why because that’s not the subject of the episode. I am going to talk about when you’ve decided to move, there are some very important things you need to know so that you can avoid common mistakes, pitfalls, and things that might make you regret that decision later.

 

Feed Your Brand | Hosting Migration

 

Within your podcast hosting platform, whatever it is, and I’m talking about the major platforms. Podetize is one. There’s BuzzSprout, Transistor, Podbean, Libsyn, Spotify for podcasters, Blubrry and SoundCloud. There are so many. I’m surprised how many more come up all the time. There are lots, you can’t even host your podcast on your own website. I strongly recommend you don’t do that because it’s complicated. It usually takes the server that your website is running on then there are questions about what analytics you have and all sorts of feature issues that you can do. It doesn’t mean you should.

Download Numbers

Melanie Garmon and I talked about one of these all-in-one website programs, Kajabi. Kajabi can be your podcast host too. I think there are many good reasons why you shouldn’t do that, even if you’re a Kajabi website user. I’m not going to go further down that rabbit hole. Let’s accept, you’re moving from one platform to another. What are a lot of the migration issues? I’m going to start with the first one. As a podcaster myself, when we were creating the Podetize platform, I was determined to not let this be an issue with anybody migrating from another platform to Podetize.

A lot of podcasters are very detail-oriented and become very attached to their historic download numbers per episode or for all episodes of the show. The people keep an eye on that. I was meeting with somebody who said, “I’ve finally reached 11,000 downloads total after one or two dozen episodes or so.” Others are saying, “I’ve reached 100,000. I’ve gone over one million downloads.” People get very attached to that number, and I understand that. It’s an achievement. When you move from one platform to another, I don’t know of any platform other than Podetize, and I’m not saying they exist, that does this, but I haven’t seen it yet, where you can take your historic download numbers from your old platform per episode.

 

 

I’ve got 300-plus episodes of my show. Each episode, in total, has received many thousands or hundreds of downloads, depending on how old the episode is. That’s a number that’s very important. When you switch platforms, a lot of people, if they care about their download numbers, are hesitant to move because they don’t want to start from zero. At Podetize, we made sure that doesn’t happen. Honestly, any platform could do this if they wanted to. I think very few want to. You can export your historic download numbers from pretty much any major podcast hosting platform and get a spreadsheet, “This episode got this many total downloads,” and you have that number. At Podetize, we migrate your show for free, and I’m going to talk about what that means in terms of importing your show in a moment, but your RSS feed contains all the data of your episode titles, descriptions, and the MP3 file itself.

There’s no information in your RSS feed about how many downloads each episode has received. You can export that from pretty much any platform, but most platforms don’t have anything that you can do with that, but at Podetize we do. You can either provide it to us or we can export it for you then we backfill, meaning we add those historic download numbers into our system for every single episode. We have a very easy way to do that so then it populates your total download numbers for all shows. If you ever look up the downloads for any individual episode, which you can do, you’ll have the total downloads for that episode.

Your new downloads and destination platform of choice start accruing as soon as your show is redirected from the old host to the new host. If you’re not familiar with redirecting your RSS feed, it’s not what this episode is about, but there is a mechanism. Every podcast hosting platform accommodates where they create a 301 Redirect from their platform to your new platform. In a lot of hosting platforms, you can do it yourself. On some, you need to reach out to their technical support, give them your new RSS feed at your new podcast hosting platform, and request a redirect and they will do it for you.

That’s the mechanism to make the switch. Here’s a little tip. When it comes to exporting those historic download numbers, you do not want to export them from the old platform until your show is redirected. There may be one or two platforms, and you need to check on this, that once you redirect the show, you no longer have access to the old analytics. If that’s the case with the old platform, then you need to export those historic download numbers before you do the redirect. I don’t recommend that. The vast majority of the platforms will still give you access to the analytics as long as your account is still open even after you’ve redirected it.

Feed Your Brand | Hosting Migration
Hosting Migration: When it comes to exporting historic download numbers, you do not want to export them from the old platform until your show is redirected.

 

The reason you want to redirect it first is until you have redirected it, more download stats are accruing in that platform. Every time somebody plays one of your episodes to stream it or download it, it is going to count as a download on that platform and you’ve got numbers you will have missed. Redirect first as long as you can download the analytics after that’s happened because then your analytics are accruing in the new platform and then the total download numbers from the old platform will be accurate all they will ever be because no more will accrue there. I hope that makes sense. That’s probably the most technical thing I’m going to mention. Hopefully, that made sense.

Multiple Listings

Podcasters who fear moving their hosting from one platform to another fear, “I’m going to lose all my analytics.” In our opinion in Podetize, you should not. When you move to ize, you do not. You can keep building on those download numbers that you’ve had forever. That’s one. Here’s another one that frustrates me: a lot of podcasters fall into this trap. It’s a bit of a rookie error, a newbie error in podcasting when you move from one hosting platform to another.

There is this belief that a lot of podcasters have. I think there are some producers out there who are green and new at producing podcasts, hosting them, and don’t understand all the ins and outs of hosting platforms and how and syndication to all the listening apps happens and works that believe when you change to a new host, you’ve got to register your show again on Apple, Spotify, iHeart, and all the different listening apps out there. Please understand that this is incorrect. Plain and simple. No two ways about it.

Once you’ve registered your show on the listening apps, you do not need to register it on the listening apps just because you move hosts. When you do or if you do register your show again, it creates quite a problem. Unfortunately, I end up doing triage on an awful lot of shows that have moved hosts 1, 2, or 3 times before coming to Podetize. It’s disheartening when we look into that show because when you move to Podetize, not only do we migrate the show for you and move the stats for you, but we’re going to populate all your links to where your show is syndicated, meaning all of those app links, your show on Apple and Spotify all exist. We copy those and provide them to you in your account on Podetize so you have a handy reference for all of them.

Once you've registered your show on the listening apps once, you do not need to register it on the listening apps again just because you move hosts. Share on X

Those links should exist once when you create your show new and it’s registered or syndicated on all those listening apps the first time. It should never change again unless there is some very unusual or rare good reason why one listing had to be deleted and a new one created. It almost never happens. It’s not even worth considering because 9.9% of you will never have that problem. When I come across shows that have moved usually more than once from one platform to another, I go look up their show on Apple and there are two or three listings of their show, meaning I type in the show name and see three of that same exact show in the search results. When I click on each of them very often, they’re all identical.

They’re all showing the same number of episodes. The most recent ones are all the same. The key differences I usually will find one of those listings has a large number of reviews and a large number of ratings. Usually, the duplicates do not because they were created much later and either don’t have any ratings, or reviews or have very few. Once you go down this road, it’s hard to fix this. It causes confusion among listeners, which one of these should I subscribe to and maybe they’re looking at the one that doesn’t have any ratings or reviews and they think, “This show has no ratings and reviews. Maybe I don’t want to listen to this show.”

When if they checked the other or the original show listing, it has all these good reviews and ratings for them to use to help evaluate the show, “Do I want to listen to it?” Why does this happen? Usually, it’s laziness and lack of awareness, honestly. It’s either laziness on the part of an editor or producer who says, “We’re moving you over to this platform that I prefer. I’m going to register your show on Apple,” and they do it through another Apple ID. I could probably do a whole episode on this subject and I’m not going to do that now, but please understand you only register your show on Apple once. You should have control of it as the host or the owner of the podcast as long as you do own it and you’re not doing it for a company you work for and they own it. That happens.

If you’re an independent podcaster and you own your show, it should be submitted to Apple through your Apple ID or transferred to your Apple ID after it’s registered on Apple. It only happens once because when you redirect your show from one platform to another, that’s entirely behind the scenes. It doesn’t change anything about all the listening apps and them getting your episodes and your show information. Listeners won’t ever know the difference when it’s done. You can move from one house to another to another at any time and maintain that listing.

When you get multiple listings, it causes confusion. You start getting listeners on multiple of those listings and it becomes an unraveling sweater that’s very hard to knit back together. It can be done, but it’s painful and confusing. There are some things that are not easy to do because Apple’s the biggest culprit in this. Apple will let you submit the same show as a show to the Apple Podcast listening app multiple times. You have to do it each time, and you do it through a different Apple ID. I don’t think you will be able to do it through the same Apple ID if I remember correctly.

Apple will let you do it. I don’t know why they do. They shouldn’t let you do it. That causes complexities and confusion. One thing I know is a certainty from long, hard experience with Apple is that they will not let you merge those listings together and combine all of the subscribers that you have in into one. All you can do when you have more than one listing is either keep it or delete it. There’s a way to very long road and painful in some ways processes to get all those people listening in one listing to go listen to another we’ve done it, but it’s not easy, most podcasters don’t want to go through that. Understand that you don’t need to do it. That’s one of those other big mistakes or rookie errors people make when they switch hosting companies. They register their show on listening apps. Please don’t fall into that trap.

Missing Podcasts

I want to talk about missing podcasts next, and this is going to tie into importing your RSS feed. I’m going to tell you, every good podcast hosting platform, and we do it Podetize, has a way to import your show from another platform to theirs by taking your RSS feed. They have an import function. You paste in the RSS feed, click go, it reads the entire RSS feed copies, all the information exactly, duplicates everything, including all of the episodes copies, the MP3 falls over, and all that. Wonderful.

When you do this though, you’ve got to make sure when you’re moving that and you understand that that’s only going to copy over all the episodes that have already been published. If you’ve scheduled 1, 2, or 3 more to publish in the future, which is great, all of us podcasters want to be ahead and have some breathing room before that next one publishes. Unless you’re recording live and publishing in real-time once a week or a couple times a week, and that might be different, but most are pre-recording and scheduling ahead.

Beware, any of those episodes that you have either in draft or scheduled to publish in the future are not going to be copied over in that RSS feed import. That either means in most platforms, you want to wait to import your RSS feed until all those episodes have been published so you don’t miss any or you’d have to manually republish them on the new platform, which you certainly can do. You’re essentially doing the work of publishing or scheduling an episode to publish twice. You could wait until they’re all published into it.

Feed Your Brand | Hosting Migration
Hosting Migration: In most platforms, you want to wait to import your RSS feed until all those episodes have been published so you don’t miss any, or you’d have to manually republish them on the new platform.

 

At Podetize, we even have another feature of our import where let’s say, “We import your show once and get most of the info there because we’re going to start backfilling all the per episode download data and get ahead on all that, but you have a couple more that publish in the week or two following before you’re ready to redirect from the old show to the new.”

We have a feature where we can put in your RSS feed and tell our system to import only missing episodes, any new ones that are published that are not already in our platform, and our system is smart enough to know that. So you can then import the later ones after they publish real quick, whatever 2, 3, 4, 5, that might be, then you’re good to go to redirect from the old platform to the news. You need to be aware that importing your SS feeds is a wonderful thing, but understand what will and will not import because there is a difference. Only what’s published is going to be imported.

Broken Or Missing Links

Let’s talk about broken or missing links. This comes down to another one of my pet peeves of a lot of other podcast hosting platforms and publishers of podcasts out there in the podcast ecosystem. I’m going to call out this one because the biggest culprit here is Spotify for Podcasters. I see this all the time. People that migrate from Spotify for Podcasters to Podetize. What Spotify for Podcasters does is try to hijack your traffic with that episode webpage and URL. The Apple app especially uses a lot of the Apple clones, and other platforms do it too, but Spotify for Podcasters will populate a link to your episode on their website in that URL.

That’s bad enough that they’re trying to take your listener traffic and send it to their website. It’s not what users expect to get when they click on that link. I think I talked about this in a past episode, but in any case, the best practice is you have the ability as a podcaster to put a link to a page on your own website if you have one. Another one of my pet peeves is that all podcasters should have their own website for their show. If you don’t, you need to go and do that. I highly recommend it. It’s like you go from being a podcaster with an audio show to another level of being a podcaster. It’s very important and it’s long-term in your best interest.

Podcasters should have their own website for their show. If you don't, you need to go and do that. Share on X

For those of you who either don’t have a website or never put a link in every episode because you didn’t know where to do it, guess what, Spotify for Podcasters and those other hosting platforms are not open and honest about and saying, “Remember every episode you want to put a link in here to your website or a landing page for this episode on your website,” or whatever it is. They don’t tell you that because they want to get the web traffic going to their website. They’re acting in their best interest at your expense.

Here’s the worst part, when you import your RSS feed to a new platform like I was talking to you about, that RSS feed contains that link to your episode on Spotify for podcasters. That link imports into all of the other platforms too. You move your show, import it to another platform, and let’s say you have 75 episodes, you’ve got 75 links, one in each of those episodes to a Spotify for Podcasters link for that episode. If you don’t realize this, you don’t change it, your hosting platform or you’re moving to is unwilling to change it for you as Podetize did, like we do for our customers, then you moved your show, great, you’re on a new platform, but that link is still sending everyone to your show on Spotify for Podcasters.

That’s not in your best interest and I would think, for all you podcasters, not what you would expect to have happen. It can be tedious going through editing every episode and changing out that link or removing it, but that’s what you would need to do if your podcast host doesn’t have a more automated way to do it or is not willing to do it for you. Be aware of that.

Track Player

Let’s talk about Track players. This is the last piece of this puzzle you need to be aware of. An awful lot of podcasters and I meet one-on-one with 6 to 8 different podcasters every day, looking at their shows, evaluating whether they’re following all best practices and getting the full value out of their show that they should be or not, I can’t tell you how often I see when they’ve moved from one podcast host to another, they didn’t think about the track players. Pretty much every host has a track player for a single episode, each episode you publish. Some are more basic, some are more enhanced, and can be custom colored for your brand colors among other things. You get an embed code and every podcast that has even a show notes to post on their website, a page for each episode, which is by the way, where that episode webpage link where you should send people to that I was talking about.

But having a show notes page or blog on your website for every episode is highly recommended rather than not having one. That’s usually where you want to have the track player for your episode. You need to understand when you move podcast hosts and now you’re hosted somewhere else, once you close down that account on the old host and it’s no longer active, all those track players you had from that previous host are not going to work anymore.

Feed Your Brand | Hosting Migration
Hosting Migration: Having a show notes page or blog on your website for every episode is highly recommended rather than not having one.

 

You need to change out each track player on your webpage or the big window player if you have one player that has all episodes that a lot of people have on a podcast page on their website, you need to change those things out. A good new podcast hosting platform will have a way to make that easier for you or if you’re changing to a new podcast production company and they want you to move to a new podcast hosting platform, make sure that production company is going to take responsibility for changing out all your track players because if they want you to move to be more convenient for them or to be hosted where they would prefer, which I see a lot, you got to make sure that they are aware of and considering all the consequences of changing hosts, those links I was mentioning for the episode and the webpage is one, and track players are another.

At Podetize, we try to make this very easy for our customers and have them have a better experience with track players on their website. You can imagine an unsuspecting or unaware podcaster who’s been on a platform for a year or more. Let’s say you have 50 plus episodes and you can avoid it, there are lots of good reasons why you might move from one platform to another. You have to be aware. You avoid some of these pitfalls. You understand what the consequences are and anybody advising you is confirming they’ve either got it handled or that you’re made aware of what you’re going to need to do in order to move platforms.

It is very important. Otherwise, you can leave yourself tripping on a landmine you didn’t expect that is going to cause you a lot of pain and headache in order to get things to be what they should be. You want it to work. You may move for some new feature of a different platform, better analytics, or a program that’s going to advertise your podcast to new listeners. There are lots of good reasons why you might move, but be aware of some of these pitfalls that I’ve shared with you. They’re not insurmountable obstacles, but they do get worse if you are not aware and you move and you’re left holding the bag as the podcaster when someone convinced you to move then tell you, “You got to do switch out all these other things or any one of the things I shared with you.”

They’re worse to deal with when you learn about them long after the fact and you’ve already made the change and much easier to do proactively either before or at the time you move from one platform to another. That’s all I’m saying. I want you to be aware of that. I hope you find this helpful. I’m not trying to scare you from switching platforms. There are lots of good reasons why you might want to move. One other little last tip here and then I’ll wrap this one up is Spotify for Podcasters, at least last I checked, for some reason, are only allowing podcasts to have 600 or 650 characters for the show description.

A platform that limits the characters for the show description does a real disservice to every podcast. Share on X

That does a real disservice to every podcast when the entire ecosystem and all the other platforms allow you to have the full 4,000 characters for your description that are available to you. There are some good reasons why you want to have such a long description, you’ll be found by more of your ideal listeners organically when you do. That’s the last tip and another good reason why you might want to move to a platform that doesn’t limit the length of your description. Thank you so much for reading, everybody. I hope you got a lot of good value out of this episode. I’ll be back next time.

 

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Tom Hazzard

As a top influence strategist for speakers, authors & experts, Tom Hazzard and helps major publications, sports stars, and entrepreneurial influencers ‘Brandcast’ their original messages via podcasting and videocasting. Tom is a real inventor and successful product designer with over 40 US patents issued and pending. He has been rethinking brand innovation for 30 years. His latest SaaS (Software-as-aService) and MaaS (Marketing-as-a-Service) innovation, Podetize, reinvents podcast hosting, advertising, and brand marketing with an obsessive podcaster-centric focus on solutions to get hosts seen, heard, found, and rewarded in our noisy digital world.
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