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Showing posts from August, 2005

Headlines with Impact

The headline for this blog is a daily challenge - you get what comes to mind while I compose it. Web page drafting is rather more considered but the need to position targeted Keywords appropriately can cause some stresses and strains. Websurfers are skimmers - headlines and headings are important signposts to the information they are seeking. Here is an article with some tips:

Writing Great Headlines - Get Attention!

Writing great headlines is a requirement to having your
material read. If the headline doesn't get attention,
chances are your article won't be reads. One secret to
writing great headlines is to keep it short and boldly
state your case.

A headline must be effective in its message so that it
attracts the attention of the reader. Writing a great
headline is one of the most critical things in offering up
written material because it a headline attracts the reader
to reading your material above other materials. Let's
examine what differentiates great headlines from poorly
co…

Friday's Experiment Worked

Our test phrase "Favourite feel good song - Electronica" is there on Google provided you use the "" - otherwise it is not in the first 100. Just goes to show the impact of "" . In some respects this demonstrate the power of this function especially with longer keyword phrases. But we shouldn't get too carried away because we didn't make too much effort to optimize the blog for that phrase although it did appeared early in the text as well as the title and we used it as link text later on. This is a bit of an issue with Wordtracker who recommend analysis with "" but I've never been too sure about the extent to which real searchers use them - we certainly don't see them often in the search logs.

We are also starting to see the benefit of some of the other changes we have made in the last couple of weeks. The samples pages are starting to appear in search results for specific pieces so there is more to do there. More encouragingly t…

Favourite feel good song - Electronica

Yes - we have been to Wordtracker and I am here to tell you that there were no sites until today which targeted "favourite feel good song electronica" ! Yes I dressed it up a bit for the headline and in a minute I'll incorporate it in a link text back to my favourite feel good song.

The reason this phrase is worth a mention above all the others that are not to be found in Google yet is that according to Wordtracker 8 people a day search on precisely that phrase. I'm not sure I believe them but this entry is by way of a little test of the system.

I don't want to disappoint all those searchers and so I am going to link to my favourite feel good song - electonica version of Faure's Bacarolle which makes me think of warm summer days in the countryside. Not an entirely appropriate response to a Gondondolier's song but never mind.

This phrase illustrates a couple of other points about the time I have been spending with Wordtracker. Finding search opportunities…

Alta Vista Audio Search

If you want a genuinely independent music search tool you need look no further than Alta Vista Audio Search .

It targets the main file formats and on our pages picks up the hidden references to the files that we offer for sale on both the main pages and the sample pages.

Although Alta Vista has fallen from the heights that it used to enjoy as a premier search engine my observations indicate that its spiders are particularly assiduous and a selection of their findings are picked up and presented by Yahoo. Specifically this blog is picked up every day by Alta Vista and from time to time Yahoo picks it up. Yahoo doesn't have the Audio search facility and so they tend not to pick up all the mp3 file references and nor do Google as far as one can tell but it could just be that they work harder on excluding duplicated material. It is Google's failure to regularly pick up the latest from this blog which has been most surprising.

Here is another little tribute to Bob Moog and the guys at…

Bob Moog - In Memoriam

There are not many people who have succeeded in creating new musical instruments that have gained wide usage but Bob Moog was one of those.

His synthesizer achieved a mythic reputation for people of my generation with the beach boys and Emerson Lake and Palmer who I heard live in concert. It was on leaning of the existence of a realistic software emulation of this instrument that led to the beginning of this enterprise. My first experiments were with ELP midi files which I found worked well with the moog and a Hammond organ emulation.

The marimba we have used on many of our tracks is a Moog emulation but the Mega Moog on Gounod's Marionette's Funeral March is a particularly appropriate example of how effective it can be. You could also try the HiFi streaming sample of Bach's Fugue in D minorto hear it at full power.

Back to Wordtracker.com

Wordtracker have issued an excellent guide to the application of their Keyword analysis service to the effective promotion of web based businesses at www.wordtracker.com . Although I have been doing this for a while there is always more to learn.

Yesterday we reviewed some of the earlier work to see how it is panning out and to consider where next to focus our efforts. Today we are going to have another go with Wordtracker to explore some fresh angles - trying some of the ideas in their e-book.

One of the unintended outcomes of beefing up the content of the samples pages is that they are starting to appear in search results so there is probably more to do on that front to provide an effective entry to the rest of the site.

Now that it is clear that there are no regular readers of this blog I am abandoning the daily publication of streaming samples but I will use them on an occasional basis when prompted by the content.

Finally a big hello to the parkranger who has just started blogging …

Some Changes Work

One of the gratifying things about working with this medium is the speed of reaction/feedback.

We can already see the beneficial effect of the changes we made on Thursday to encourage visitors to listen to a sample. The visit profile has changed and the average time on site has gone up. This would have been even more obvious if it had not been for the referral's to the streaming sample of our percussion arrangement of Paganini's La Campanellafrom a Georgian forum - I can only assume that the comments were positive because of the number of visitors - so thanks very much.

The changes to the sample pages that we made on Friday have yet to show any effect but I guess we need to be patient.

Reviews, Reactions, Testimonials

Too early to see any real effects from the changes made over the last couple of days but it does look as if some visitors are using the new links to the streaming samples. We have tried out a lot of different wordings but in the same position on the page so there will be some real quantified analysis to do in a while.

In the meantime here is an article about testimonials - food for thought:

Proof Positive! The Weight Of A Testimonial

Don't be shy - soak up the praise! When you let others toot
your horn for you, you not only raise your credibility but
you also build a deeper level of trust with your visitors.
While its okay to tell visitors that you are credible, these
statements are much stronger coming from a testimonial.
Before many visitors will purchase, they expect this level
of trust.

Would you rather hear a salesperson say, "I'm fantastic!" or
would you rather hear a testimonial that reads, "The service
from this business was so wonderful that I wouldn't hes…

The Ringtone Story

I thought you might like to see the following article after the action we took earlier this year to convert our MP3 download samples to streaming samples because of the high levels of consumption.

Ringtone Market Hits The Jackpot With Teen Cell Phones

The ringtone industry recently hit the jackpot after
striking a popular cord with teenage cell phone users. This
market likes the freedom to purchase their favorite tune or
sound without paying as much for a CD version. Mostly
comprised of 13 to 24-year-olds with discretionary income to
spend on monophonic or polyphonic sounds that makes their
cell phone sound match their personality, this group isn't
afraid to drop serious dough on a frequent basis.

According to RealityTVWorld.com, today~s teens are willing
to substitute cell phone minutes for the latest ringtone.
This behavior places this age group in the largest
population of ringtone purchasers. Since over 40% of cell
phone users fall into this group and have disposable income,
the ringtone …

Is this what a Fan looks like?

Our repeat visitor from an Energis site was back again yesterday and spent over an hour streaming one tune after another.

He did visit our multi-track shop but something put him off and he went back to streaming samples - perhaps he'll be back again today!

Observations are consolidating first and second impressions - so it is down to work - updating all those pages.

On reflection we don't appear to have any regular readers of this blog but it is being found and reached following searches sometimes months later! We'll have to reflect on that. Google's apparent lack of interest is particularly strange when contrasted with Alta Vista faithfully picking up each daily issue and listing it on the "links to www.download2mp3.com" page.

Here is the third of the Rags published last week - Bees-Wax Rag from our Ragtime page.

Second Impressions

As the data from Hitslink begins to accumulate the impressions broaden out - we start to see our first repeat visitors and more of the quirky enquiries pop up - like the search for "used steel drums" where you can see why the search engine would list us but you can't see why the searcher bothered to visit.

For the most part it is what you'd expect with quite specific searches listed on pages 1,2 and 3 with the very occasional obsessive burrowing down to 381. What we don't have is the killer keyword or phrase to drag in large volumes of searchers. We knew from our use of Wordtracker that there weren't any opportunities like that within our competitive reach - hence our strategy to maximize the volume of possible hooks with their associated bait. Interestingly this blog is contributing to that strategy with blog entries appearing in some of the search results and usually resulting in a sample being streamed and sometimes pages visited.

Looking at the content disp…

First Impressions

We have had Hitslink on over the weekend so it is much too early to draw any firm conclusions but here are some initial observations and reactions.

There is a frighteningly high proportion of very short - one page visits so we need to look at the first impressions we are making.

The proportion of robot to human traffic has also been quite a shock. In particular it appears that much of the page view volume of activity on this blog is robotic although there have already been a couple of visitors who followed up some links including streamed samples. I shall have to test whether secondary publishers get picked up by the Hitslink system.

The biggest category of visits are people looking for a specific piece and they are listening to the sample - apparently entirely successfully. So I think some work on the sample pages may be in order.

The next most frequent visitors are of the composer + mp3 kind which is what most of our pages are optimized on but these are the visitors who are least likely…

Back to Hitslink

For several years I used Hitslink to monitor visitor activity on the sites that I managed but I abandoned them last year because they were no longer relevant to those sites and it was too early for this one.

I had a quick look round this morning and was tempted by Hitsville but decided that it is just too twee. The log analysis set up that comes with the webspace was OK to get us going and some aspects like the failure analysis are still going to be relevant. But now that the site structure is much more complex and there are significant development possibilities we need to get a better handle on visitors experience of the site.

Histlink is a hosted application that relies on embedded code on all the pages of the site you want to monitor. They provide an application which pastes it into your current pages. For the PHP part of the site I just installed it in the footer file that is incorporated into each page on the fly by the server. So it was all set up in a matter of minutes and it is …

Thwarted!

Thwarted - such an nice expressive word, apparently borrowed from Old Norse. We made some progress yesterday but the bundle contribution still doesn't work properly with the download controller. Research in the osCommerce forums shows others raising the same frustrations without response so I think we'll put this to one side for a while.

On the other hand the new ragtime tracks have come on nicely so we'll try and get those out today. The new Ravity versions do seem to give us a bit more room to maneuver.

Continuing this week's Debussy's Children's Corner theme - here is a lofi streaming sample of our arrangement of Snow is Dancing not very seasonal but very pretty non the less.

Un-glamorous detective work

Finding your way through other people's software code is not the most glamorous of detective work but 'hey!'- somebody has to do it.

At the moment we are trying to track down how the 'buy now' button for a package does what we were seeking to achieve for the products but which we abandoned as too difficult. Then we need to tackle the compatibility of this contribution with the download controller. This is all looking a bit tough at the moment so we are mixing in some music if you'll excuse the pun.

A Ragtime page is in the offing with a few famous rags alongside our current Scott Joplin tracks. We have taken advantage of the latest Ravity upgrades from Luxonix. They reduce the CPU overhead and so give us more room to maneuver and enrich the recordings - looks encouraging for some of the more complex arrangements we are planning to tackle in the coming weeks.

In the mean time here is another lofi sample from our arrangement of Debussy's Children's Corner Su…

'Multi-Track Packs' it is then!

Well the Discount Package is installed and we have crystallized Multi-Track Pack in the graphics.

Multi-track is a recording terms so there is just a hint of a little pun there.

There is still one little wrinkle to smooth out but generally it seems to be testing out OK. So a little bit of detective work to be done and then we can get back to the music.

Looking at the links to us on Alta Vista it is evident that all our htm pages are there including the streams directory which has a file for each piece but the multi-track shop (php) pages have not appeared yet.

Here is your next treat from Debussy's Children's Corner Suite - a lofi sample of our original percussion arrangement of Jumbo's Lullaby.

Multi-Track Packages - 'Deals' or 'Albums'

The press release should hit the electronic 'streets' today. It takes a while to propagate but it helps to maintain the up to date image of the site.

It was a quiet weekend on the site as you'd expect in August so we're still looking forward to seeing customers dashing round the new multi-track shop.

In the meantime we are going to add the next 'contribution' to this osCommerce implementation - packages. One of the issues for digital content is the absence of physical packages and here that issue spills into the digital environment. We intend to offer package deals of related tracks such as the Nutcracker Suite or the six movements of two Mozart Quartets. This will be a logical and commercial proposition realized in the database and the pages of the site but we can see no benefit from zipping up the tracks for download or recording them on physical CD's.

Given that - is it legitimate to refer to these packages as albums or will that whimsical thought just draw…

Press Release

Just a slight delay on the Press Release - we had an unscheduled day out yesterday.

Here is the release which has gone to the online distributors - should come out on Sunday all being well. You can read it here first:

Multi-Track Shop Opens at Download2MP3.com Today

The online source of original percussion arrangements of selected classical pieces - Download2MP3.com had a new shop extension fitted out today. Powered by osCommerce the new shop enables customers to use a shopping cart to select several tracks, benefit from a 20% Launch Discount on orders of four tracks or more and charge it to PayPal or one of the major payment cards.

BitPass continues to an excellent service to customers purchasing one or two tracks and the new multi-track store provides an alternative route for those putting together a more significant selection.

In both cases a lofi streaming sample from each track is available so that customers can hear what they are buying up-front.

The shop stocks MP3 files of digital r…

Download2MP3 Multi-Track Shop Opens for Business

Yes - by George they did it!

The new Multi-Track Shop extension to the Download2mp3 website was opened late yesterday afternoon - we have PayPal and major payment card acceptance options:



BitPass provides a very good solution for customers buying one or two tracks at a time but our new PayPal arrangement makes multi-track purchases much easier with a standard shopping cart adapted for download only products. The alternative payment options should also lower the barriers to purchase for customers who are unwilling to set up a BitPass Account.

The new facility enables us to offer volume discounts and we are beginning with a Launch Discount of 20% for all orders of four tracks or more. Regular readers will note that - yes - we did implement the volume discount contribution to osCommerce yesterday with the absolute minimum of fuss.

Here is a lofi streaming sample of one of our original arrangements of Scarlatti's Harpsichord Sonatas K531 in E Major - if you like it why not visit our Multi…

Niggles Sorted - Shop Opening on Track

The elusive graphic turned out to have a complex cause and a simple solution.

It seems that Dreamweaver doesn't necessarily tell you when an uploaded file hasn't completely arrived. So it was detailed examination which exposed empty files on the server. Once that had been resolved a new discrepancy between Firefox and IE emerged whereby Firefox refuses to load GIF file where it has detected an error which is ignored by IE. So we re-optimised and re-saved the GIF's in question and all was sweetness and light.

The home page revamp has gone well and we even found the PayPal graphic we needed on their US site and have that up and running. Plenty more to do on other pages but that can wait and the next priority is to install the osCommerce volume discount contribution. Press release on Thursday and then a long weekend off. If you are interested you can already get into the new shop via a link from our commercial page - any feedback would be most welcome.

Reviewing the site&#…

Tracks Loaded - one niggle to go

The slog was complete on Friday afternoon and over 150 tracks are now available to be bought using PayPal or Credit Card.

During the review of streaming samples associated with loading the tracks only one error was detected and that has been corrected.

The remaining niggle is a graphic which was working when we started the product input but has given up, so we just have a little detective work to track this one down before we can start work on the html pages and the press release.

In memory of the British 'summer' weather this weekend here is a lofi streaming sample of our percussion arrangement of Claude Debussy's Garden in the Rain. Not that we should complain - it seems that the would be bombers have all been caught and the family party for my daughter's birthday was enjoyed by all.