Adding an Audio Feed

To help enable my blog to become more accessible to a wider audience, I’ve added an audio feed.
I’ll share with you how I’ve gone about it and why.

I’ve been looking into audio feeds and podcasting recently, trying to see how I can use them in my site. I discovered a nice free tool to enable easy feeds and podcasts which I’ve now implemented on my site.

I used the ReadSpeaker AudioFeed which is powered by Readspeaker.
Audio Feeds Logo

It’s really easy to set up and all you need is a normal RSS feed to enable this to work.
ReadSpeaker AudioFeed uses the latest in automatic speech conversion to create the voice from the text. (hence why if you have a listen, it is not my voice!).

One thing that I noticed with my RSS feeds was that they were cutting short, because I use a tag on my posts to only show a summary on the front page.
I realised that my audio feeds were going to be really short and possibly not make sense to the listener if I used that, so I downloaded a little plug-in for WordPress that overrides the cut off for my RSS feeds. It took a while for my Feedburner account to realise that my RSS feeds had changed in length, so I used the Ping facility in Feedburner to get things working again.

If you’ve been reading my posts in a feed reader, you’ll notice that now you’ll see the full article rather than just a snippet of what it is about.

Now my feeds were fixed and working better, I thought about how I wanted users to be able to use the new audio feed.
Did I want it as a feed which they can subscribe to in a feed reader or add to their podcast player such as I-Tunes? Or did I want it to be a linked instant podcast?

Well, as you’ll see on my site, I am offering both. I can use my Google Analytics to see which people prefer to use also. When I update the About page, I’m going to add some more information about audio feeds and podcasting.

Where I usually put my ‘Keep in touch’ or ‘Subscribe to RSS’ sections, I have also added a ‘Subscribe to Audio RSS’ as well. My RSS subscribe links are located on my home page, and at the left hand side of individual articles.
This means that readers can add the RSS link easily to their feed reader or view the post and have the mp3 file added at the bottom of the post to listen too.
I tested out the new audio feed earlier by adding the subscribe to audio RSS link in my Netvibes RSS feedreader. It works really well. You can play the article straight away or link into the post and read it and play it.

At the bottom right hand corner of the page, you’ll notice a little orange and blue icon image which reads ‘Audio Feed’. You can use this to instantly hear my latest posts as an mp3 file, and choose to download it if you wish. It opens up in an external link page. You can also subscribe using I-Tunes or similar once you have opened the link.
I thought this would be a useful link to have, so that before people subscribe to the feed fully, they can have a go and listen instantly if they so wish.

Typepad users and Blogger users will be pleased to hear that once you have set it all up, there is a widget ready for you to install on your site.

I’d love to hear any feedback on what you think.