I've been podcasting since August, and during that time I've learned a few things.
1. Mics Matter
If you're building a home studio, don't cheap out on the microphones. The most important part of the puzzle is the mics and they're not cheap. I bought three RØDE Procasters and that alone set me back about a grand.
2. Chemistry is Key
Whether you're recording with a co-host, a guest or both, good chemistry is more than half the battle. When you click, interesting content will spill out naturally. Record with people you dig.
3. All the Pieces Matter
There are several components of a good podcast: hardware, software, content, hosting and xml. Dive in and touch all five and you'll be much better off long-term. If a part or two scares you, that's more reason to get your hands dirty and fully understand how it all fits together to create a proper podcast.
4. Measure With Perspective
Measure everything, including downloads of your MP3 file, but never lose perspective. The numbers will reveal a great deal, but don't let them dictate content or detract from quality without appreciating the complete picture. The numbers only tell a small part of the story.
5. Project and Get On That Mic
With my RØDE Procasters, for example, you need to speak directly into the front of the microphone. 10 cm to either side and you'll have a levelling issue. Practice projecting and getting right on that mic and make sure your co-host and guests are aware of the difference and have a chance to practice before you press record.
With the right equipment, the right chemistry and the right projection, you'll sound great. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I promise to reply.