If you're a regular reader of my blog, then you'll probably know that I'm really enjoying getting back into podcasting right now. Recently, I decided to invest in some new podcasting software. One of which was the Fusebox Smart Podcast Player and Podcast growth tools. So, naturally, I decided to write a review about it.
Podcasting is nothing new or out of the norm. I have been dabbling with creating podcasts since around 2015, but I never really found traction with my podcast until a few months ago.
These days, I get pretty excited about writing, recording, and publishing a new podcast episode, though I know it's still very early days, and I've got a lot more to learn! But needless to say, I'm having a great time with it.
You can find all of my podcast episodes here.
If you're blogging or you create content on other platforms, such as YouTube and social media, podcasting is a great addition to your content strategy!
If your competition is only doing the blogging thing, you can easily squish them by adding podcasting to your content strategy. Of course, that goes the same with videos.
Did you know that between 2014 and 2017, smartphones drove the highest podcast usage, growing by 157% - Source
That means you could be tapping into a whole new audience for your blog with your podcast. Seriously consider starting one if you haven't yet!
Right then, today, I want to review the Fusebox Podcast Player and all the awesome features and tools that come with it. Here's what we're going to go over:
Ready? Let's dive in!
Fusebox.fm (Affiliate link) is a website service that offers a suite of powerful podcasting tools that consists of three customizable podcast players-in-one, and more.
The Podcast Player itself was originally called SPP (Smart Podcast Player) and created by SPI founder and entrepreneur Pat Flynn. Fusebox.FM, Co-Founded by Pat, is the new branded name and brings together not just the awesome podcast player, but a neat suite of podcasting growth tools to go with it.
Here's a quick list of the features that's included in the all-in-one player -
Fusebox.FM also provides the transcript plugin (premium). The features include -
OK, so what's the benefit of using any of the Fusebox tools, especially when there are free plugins available out there for WordPress, like Blubrry?
Well, I actually love the Blubrry plugin and I've been using this plugin myself since 2015. I'm still using it now, in fact, to keep most of my podcast settings intact. However, Blubrry's player leaves very little to be desired. This is where the Fusebox player (Affiliate link) comes in.
Now, I should mention right now that there is a free version of this plugin available, and with the free version, you get the site-wide sticky player, which sticks to the bottom of your website at all times.
With Fusebox Pro, however, you get the sticky player and the full and single player. The full player is something that you can add to your homepage or landing page, and the single-player into your actual blog post containing your podcast episode.
Screen shot of the full player.
For me, the advantages of using Fusebox is all about the player itself. It's beautifully designed and so easy to use. If you look at the images below, you'll see that I've been able to customize the player to match the brand of my blog very nicely.
It also looks great on mobile devices, which is a big one since most people visiting the blog would want to listen to shows on the go, right?
This is what the single player looks link in my blog posts.
This is what the single player looks like on mobile devices.
The other huge advantage of using Fusebox is the conversion factor. As you will no doubt notice in the player there is the option to add a nice signup button. And we can all agree that this is useful for growing your podcast listeners.
In addition to this, your listeners can download a show they like, subscribe via iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, etc. They can do all of this without having to leave your blog! And as for sharing, listeners can share your shows on social media using the built-in social sharing buttons. Pretty neat, right?
I'll be honest, the other features are beneficial too, but the foremost important things I care about when using Fusebox on my blog is the aesthetically pleasing, simple-to-use podcast player and the ability to turn listeners into subscribers, and have listeners promote your show for you.
I should also mention that the script part of your podcast shows are very important. At least in terms of SEO and enabling the search engines to read the content and rank your shows, yep, it's pretty important.
The Pro subscription comes with the Transcript plugin which give your more control and options for your transcript. If you're not sure what transcript is, it is basically the written text version of your audio.
OK, so how easy is it to install, configure, and get this plugin to run smoothly on your WordPress blog?
Well, I will say that if you're starting your podcast from scratch, the setup process is probably a little more complex than if you already have your podcast setup.
As I mentioned at the start, I launched my podcast with the Blubrry plugin, and so all I needed to do was disable the player in Blubrry so that I could use the Fusebox player instead.
Now, for me, the process was relatively simple as I'm familiar with WordPress and all things related. However, if you're totally new to podcasting and using WordPress, then it might be a little challenging at first.
With that said, you don't need to sweat or fear as you're in good hands. With the Fusebox free version, you can access the Help Centre with full documentation and tutorials. With the pro version, you can access the Help Centre, Email Support, and Webinar Training should you need to.
Pro subscribers can sign into their Fusebox admin area and access the plugins, documentation, and all the other goodies that come with it.
Generally speaking, though, it's relatively easy to get set up once you've got the knack of it. Once you've installed and activated the plugin, you can simply go to Settings > Fusebox Player to make changes. You only need to make these changes once.
What options you see on the Fusebox Player Settings page depends on what version of the plugin you're using, i.e. free or pro version (Affiliate link). If you're using the pro version the license key is entered under the General tab.
Once you're setup, when the time comes to publish a podcast show, you can use the Fusebox player shortcode block to drop into the editor for embedding your shows. This part is probably the easiest, but if you get stuck, as I mentioned, the Fusebox Help Centre has some useful tutorials to help you through.
You don't have to use the shortcode blocks in WordPress, you can manually add the shortcode and customize it yourself.
I tend to customize my shortcode for all my shows. This means I can add the unique mp3 download URL (I get this from Libsyn), along with the artist's name and title.
I talked briefly about the support provided if you're a free user or pro user. Like most plugins that are created and managed by reputable authors, you can expect timely updates when they become available, regardless of whether you are a free or pro subscriber.
Keeping plugins updated is important in any case, you can keep up to date with the latest version and release of Fusebox on their page here.
Pro subscribers can log into the admin area and access support directly.
OK, let's talk about pricing.
As you've probably gathered by now, there's a free and pro subscription version of this plugin available. I mainly want to talk bout the pro subscription version for several reasons -
The pro subscription version (Affiliate link) will set you back $12.00 per month. It won't break the bank exactly, but you can save a lot more if you pay $96 yearly. It works out at $8.00 per month, so you save $48.
For $96 you can make your podcast look professional. You can use the tools and features to grow your podcast audience (subscribers). And you can use the transcript feature to optimize for SEO, make it downloadable (in PDF), and integrate it with Rev.com to convert your audio into txt-file.
So, is it really worth it?
In my opinion, if you're serious about taking your podcast to the next step, and you're committed to putting time and effort in creating shows and whatnot, then yeah, $96 is not a bad deal.
Click here (Affiliate link) to learn more about Fusebox Pro.
You're probably expecting me to say yes, just so that you can purchase the darn thing through my affiliate link, and I can earn a commission, right?
Not exactly! $96 a year may not be a lot of money, however, it could be if you're not going to be doing much podcasting in the future and therefore don't need any new features to grow your podcast.
As I said above, it's worth it only if you're going to dedicate time and energy into developing and growing your podcast show. If you're only going to be putting out an episode here and there, as in not frequently, then you can make do with the free version very well. Save yourself the money.
You can still grow your podcast email subscribers without the option in the pro subscription version. You'll just have to set this up using something like Thrive Leads and MailChimp.
For me, I could have purchased this plugin way back when it was branded the Smart Podcast Player, but I didn't and I'm glad that I didn't.
Because I wasn't ready. I wasn't really paying that much attention to creating podcast shows. These days, I'm trying to put out a new show each week, and I'm really keen on growing my audience with it, and so for me, this was the right time to invest in the Fusebox tools (Affiliate link).
You will have to figure out and decide where you are at with your podcast, and whether investing in another new tool is worth your while or not.
Remember, you should only invest in your blog as it grows. You don't need to waste money on shiny new things before you've even started. It just makes zero sense. I'll leave you to decide.
Of course, there are plenty of free podcasting plugins you could explore for WordPress. The problem with free plugins, however, is that you never know how well they are coded. When you pay a premium price for something like the Fusebox Podcast Player (Affiliate link), you expect it to be coded well, updated regularly, and receive top-end support when you need it.
My final verdict on Fusebox? I love it and I'm really happy that I made the purchase. I'm honestly enjoying putting together my podcast episodes and having the slick Fusebox podcast player to showcase them.
As a pro subscriber, there are some new features in the work too, such as Analytics, integrations, library, and a community! I can't wait. Huge thumbs up to Pat and the Fusebox team. Five outta five!
Affiliate Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclaimer.