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Showing posts from January, 2006

Blog Marketing Crash Course

This blog is visited more frequently these days but there is still room for improvement so I thought I'd share this article with you:

Blog Marketing Crash Course

Many people with blogs get disheartened after a few weeks or
months when their blog fails to attract thousands of readers.
It is a real shame, because if bloggers followed a few simple
blog marketing steps, then they would probably find that there
is a willing audience just dying to read about most topics. So
what can a blogger do to get noticed? Here are a few blog
marketing ideas that should get most blogs getting reasonable
traffic in a short space of time.

Blog about a niche: The world doesn't really need another '‘vanity blog'’ about what you had for breakfast. Unless you are
a super-model good looking teenage girl who wants to put a lot
of photos on your blog, then you are probably going to have a
hard time getting noticed. If you already have a vanity blog
and are wondering why you are not getting traffic, then you
ne…

BigDaddy - the facts

A bit belatedly I went to the source on this topic and if you are interested I'd recommend http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/bigdaddy/ . I can only find one of the BigDaddy locations on MacDar but I suppose that is sufficient.

Quite a big Mozart response this weekend with searchers going much deeper into the search results than usual and finding us.

Another customer has had problems locating his downloaded file so I think I'll extend the advice to cover the problems some people experience with IE/XP default settings which can hide downloads away in hidden folders. Yet another good reason to go with Firefox which has explicit controls built in.

Gradually getting to grips with Analytics and starting to use the trend analysis settings as data accumulates. I still miss some of the Hitslink detail but not the expenditure.

Going to try and tackle the big bounce problems on our iTunes page today because it is clearly consistent and very different to the equivalent iPod page.

I've also be…

Mozart 250 Anniversary

Even Google pays homage to Mozart today and who are we to buck an anniversary.

We have our own new world percussion versions of two of Mozart's famous Piano Quartets and so I gives that gives us some basis for comment.

In Mozart's case we approached the adaptation of his work with more than usual trepidation. His orchestration seems so much part of the work that one really does hesitate to alter it in any way and his orchestral works have eluded us so far. But with the chamber works like the quartets we found that the combination of steel drums and Mega Moog synthesizer gave a new expression to the music with fresh angle on the light and shade so deftly handled by Mozart. Unusually we were even able to include the slower movements of these works including the tottering introduction of the Larghetto movement of the E Flat Major. These are also instances where the sunny overtones of the steel drums bring the music out of middle European drawing rooms and give it an optimistic New …

Google Analytics Timing Issue

Having been used to Hitslink statistical package I had made some assumptions about Google Analytics. One of those was that the time periods reported would be complete but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Specifically Tuesday's visitor numbers have been revised upwards while Wednesdays are shown at the same low level as Tuesdays was yesterday - if you see what I mean. So panic over - BigDaddy is not knocking us for six - it is a statistical anomaly. This gives a much less hands-on feel to the whole operation - but then again it is free and Hitslink was getting more expensive as our increased volumes took us through one of their pricing thresholds.

Back to BigDaddy - this is being downplayed in the SEO chat room and best news of all - the silly results that we spotted on MacDar yesterday have disappeared this morning. Nevertheless there is significant movement afoot - as reported by Rankpulse - much more than the normal daily flux.

Today's lesson as the Hitchhiker's Guide …

Ouch - BigDaddy is on the move!

Yesterday's fears are being realized as we write.

The BigDaddy algorithm has started to roll out to more data centers - around the first 25% so far and we have already taken a dramatic hit on our visitor numbers.

The irritating thing is that Google seem to be picking up less optimised pages for targeted keywords and not surprisingly then ranking them in the hundreds. Thankfully it is patchy and we will obviously be having a look at the affected pages to see if we can get them back in the frame. No analysis in the chat rooms yet so we are out on our own in the dark with this one.

Other than that we have made some progress with the goals set up in Google Analytics but it is not practical to track customers going to BitPass so I'm going to contact them and see if something can be done about this.

We also have a published privacy policy now in line with the requirements of the Google Analytics Ts&Cs. I imagine that a lawyer might be able to pick holes it but to me the point is to …

BigDaddy is a nasty lurker!

For new readers that headline demands some explanation.

BigDaddy is the designation assigned to the next big Google update as reported in the SEO chat fora.

We can see what we think is BigDaddy sitting on one of Google's many data centers while they test it. We are hoping that the tests are giving rotten results because all the checks we have made on our key words are significantly adverse for us. BigDaddy has been around for a while and it looks as if they are trying variations because it wasn't this nasty at first blush.

This just reinforces the uneasy feelings induced by a new monitoring package as we continue to get used to Google Analytics.

On the plus side we tracked down our elusive customer's order details and have sent him the tracks that he paid for. We're not sure but it looks as if the link back from PayPal failed. At least we now know where to look in the database for the relevant details if this ever happens again and we will be able to respond in a much …

Google Analytics are Go!

Yes our patience has been rewarded and we are now successfully established with Google Analytics as our website visitor tracking solution.

It is always a bit of a wrench when you change analysis packages. Most of the data is the same but the way it is presented is always a bit different. With Analytics we gain a strong Goals focus but loose a lot of detail compared with Hitslink. The navigation analysis is much more responsive and it will take a little time to get accustomed to that.

The first impressions are that Google pay much more attention to the duration of visits and what they refer to as 'bounce' i.e. very short duration visits. I speculated in an earlier article that they may find that useful data when analyzing the success of searches. At first blush apart from the problems we identified some time ago with our iTunes page there seems to be an issue with a few of the composer pages where visitors don't seem to be stopping for long.

So the next task is to formula…

Deja Vu Again!

As I signed off yesterday's post I had an uneasy feeling,and I was right, we posted that article a few weeks ago - if it confused our regular readers I'm sorry about that. We now move articles into the used folder but I had overlooked that one.

I have just finished reading an excellent book called The Wayward Mind: An Intimate History of the Unconscious by Guy Claxton and I agree with most of the comments in the two reviews on Amazon
except that I enjoyed the history. It provides a frame work to help understand experiences like deja vu and stupid mistakes like repeating an article post after a few weeks.

Have a great weekend.

Shopping Online – Protect Yourself

A slight change of tack - I though that the following article makes a good point:

Shopping Online -– Protect Yourself

These days, there are great bargains to be found by shopping
online. Many items that previously were only available in
stores are now being bought and sold online every day. Books,
cds, DVDs and electronics are all growing in popularity as
online purchases. Then there are things like flights, hotel
bookings, car rentals and the like that are which are well
established in the online shopping world. More and more stores
are putting up websites that allow you to make online orders
and even supermarkets now let you do your grocery shopping
online and they'’ll deliver the goods to your door.

Added to this growth in stores and other big business websites,
there are also millions of small traders offering you goods
online too. Online auction sites such as eBay are experiencing
phenomenal success. These types of purchases however carry the
risk that you do not really know who you are dea…

Superb Support from Xara

Xara is a software company that started life 20 or more years ago producing software for the much loved Acorn comupters including a vector based drawing package called ArtWorks that was way ahead of its time. Over the last five years I have been using their current drawing package and their web graphics package called WebStyle and I have continued to be impressed.

When the sub-menu problem emerged we carried out the usual checks and made little progress and then asked for help from Xara. After an inital clarification we noticed that on pages like MP3 Ringtones where a lot of elements are loaded (even on broadband this takes a noticeable period of time) the menu worked properly until the page was fully loaded. Xara support followed up that clue and spotted the clash between one of their javascript variables and the code for Hitslink and proposed the modification which we are now rolling out across the site. So full marks to Xara support for their excellent detective work - we didn't…

Piano Music Interpretations

I thought you might like to see this article because we have attempted a fresh approach to piano music. Much of the material on our site was originally composed for piano and we have replaced it with combinations of percussion such as steel drums and marimba to achieve a combination of percussive attack with delicate sustain. On other occasions where the balance is more in favour of sustain, typically organ works, we have used the Mega Moog synthesizer.

Piano Through the Ages

Piano has become an integral part of music. Many musical
notes do not seem possible without it. And many notes would
not sound as good as they can do on a piano. Everyone must
have listened with relish to Beethoven's fifth, Gershwin's
Rhapsody, rock and roll of little Richard and Jerry Lee
Lewis. The piano can be played solo or with other
instruments. It would hold its own nonetheless.

Piano has remained unchanged for years, whereas other
musical instruments have undergone immense changes. It was
the change in volum…

Bigdaddy's in the Wings

Friday's customer mystery is unresolved ...

But meanwhile, word on the SEO street is that, the next major re-index on Google, code name Bigdaddy, is being prepared and a few of our keywords seem to be in play. Since Jagger we have already seen our most competitive keywords drift back into effective obscurity but the rest seem pretty secure at the moment. It looks as if this could cause some further erosion but nothing too exciting.

Our sub-menu problem isn't helping people to move around the site so we must get to the bottom of it. The response from support hasn't been too helpful so far but we shall persist. The production software problem is also proving intractable - technology is great when it works but more than a tad frustrating when it don't.

Customer Contact

Working over the internet you tend not to have too much customer contact. You can see the visitors coming through the site and what they stop to look at or in our case listen to. Even when they progress from visitor to customer the flow of funds and goods are achieved automatically and there is little human contact.

So it is quite nice from time to time to get those little e-mail challenges like the one yesterday who couldn't find his downloaded files. It turns out that he had fallen victim to Microsoft's help in the way of hidden files on XP. Those of us who grew up on 2000 are used to being able to thread our way all round our directory structures - even unto the depths of our temp files with all their wondrous collections of cookies. In XP by default users, including those with admin priviliges, are not trusted to see these nether regions or even be aware that they are there but when IE is also configured to automatically put downloaded files there we have a problem.

Of cours…

Efficient Blogging

It's a bit of a slow news day for us today although we did see our first volume discount earner come through our Contemporary Online Music Store. So here's a short article with some fresh thoughts for tired bloggers:

Efficient Blogging

One of the challenges of blogging is to come up with good posts
that interest readers and keep them coming back. Sometimes I do
not feel like I have good original wisdom. It is presumptuous
to think I can have top quality original material all the time.


A second challenge is the time to blog. I run a $1 Billion
dollar company so when I decided to blog I knew I needed to
figure out how to do it efficiently. My blog is mostly about
efficiency and time management; these are topics I study.

These two challenges can be solved with a simple concept. Copy.


Ideas to use when copying are:

1.– Attribution. Give the credit together with the link to the
original author.

2. Look for something you can add to. Blogs can be
synergistic. Take a concept or part of a blog post …

Visitor volumes off the boil

The trend since Christmas has been gently downwards for no obvious reason. The enquiries related to new iPods and iTunes have calmed down a bit but not enough to explain the shift so we are a little puzzled.

Still waiting for a response on our sub menu trouble ticket so still no progress on that front - a bit frustrating really.

However we are making some progress on the music production front and should be adding a few Bach and Beethoven pieces soon.

Introducing Children To Music… Strategies For Success

While we struggle to restore full menu fuctionality We thought you'd like to hear about a more uplifting topic:

Introducing Children To Music - Strategies For Success

I've heard a million parents lament the fact that they didn'’t get their children interested in music sooner.

There are also hundreds of adults out there that wish they had learned how to play an instrument when they were younger.

Studies actually support the idea that music stimulates certain brain connections and can actually help children grow smarter!

Music also provides an invaluable outlet for safe expression of feelings and emotions, and can also serve as an important learning tool throughout your children's lives!

Music helps educate in many ways, by developing children'’s memory skills and nourishing their spirit.

Now, some children are a bit resistant to music at first, but you can easily find ways to encourage them to enjoy music in many different forms early in life.

You need to simply adopt some …

False Alarm and other Excursions

At the risk of appearing really stupid we have decided to come clean about Friday's panic.

What we had forgotten was the move to play Widor's Toccata on the iTunes/iPod pages to make sure that those visitors heard at least one example of our music. What we overlooked was that the volume of hits on those pages was so high that it created a very noticeable discrepancy with the expected number of hits from the product page - doh!

Still the fix has worked and visitors will be none the wiser - apart from a few who were caught out by the effect of our changes - it was their problems which caused the penny to drop.

Even more irritating is the return of our menu problem. The integration between Webstyle 4 and Dreamweaver seems to have broken and they are out of step with each other and we think that is why the JavaScript is currently not working for the pull down menus - more testing and checking today.

A bonus from the new stats provided by our ISP was the hint this morning that Feedbu…

Security Breach?

We have just noticed that our LoFi Sample of Charles-Marie Widor's famous Toccata from his 5th Symphony composed for organ and arranged by us on percussion has become exceptionally popular in the last few days. The exceptional volume is also being accessed directly rather than via the streaming software so we have to put a stop to it.

The location information isn't to be found in Google so I assume that it is either one user or it is being distributed by e-mail.

Obviously we were in two minds about disclosing this but we take the view that one of the key values of this blog is the policy of openness. It is possible that a competitor might gain advantage from this but we see our opportunities in terms of attracting customers rather than carving up our competitors. So we'll let you know how we get on.

Blog and Ping Experiment

I like the experimental approach outlined in this article and it certainly reflects our experience of this aspect of blogging. Each of these postings if followed by the Pingomatic ritual whether it needs it or not and we do see regular evidence of these postings being picked up and held on the major search engines - progressively boosting the size of our site.

Blog And Ping Does It Work?

I have been doing an experiment with blogging and pinging, one
of the ways which supposedly gets your site listed and ranked
higher quicker.

Firstly I'll explain what blogging and pinging is. Blog and
ping is a technique you can use to get your site listed in
search engines. The idea is that search engines like blogs
because of the ever updating content, so they keep going back.
By writing a blog and placing some site links in the posts, the
search engines will spider the links, and pages shortly after
you blog.

Pinging is when you send a "ping" to let the directories, which
keep lists of blogs, and …

International Visitors

For a little while now Hitslink has been producing a map showing the locations from which visitors to our site have been arriving. This feature is limited to 200 visitors and so it covers between a half and two thirds of a days worth. Here is today's map:



As you would expect North America and Europe are the predominant sources but it is delightful to see how we reach some of the more isolated parts of the globe.

Today also saw a new development. A merchant on e-bay has made a link from his Nut Cracker Suite Musical Box product picture to our streaming page for the March from the suite. I suppose that this can only be seen as an endorsement for us since our product is demonstrated and made available for purchase although it is a bit cheeky not to seek permission. We will watch this development with interest - perhaps a visible credit is going to far but some alt text to strengthen the value of the in bound link might be something to go for together with some advice about HTML to use …

Happy New Year

We are going to start the year by adding a few new recordings to our collection and work on this started yesterday.

We also got the monthly stats update on search engine shares and browsers.

Surprisingly our search engine share is reasonably close to the average now with a couple of noticeable exceptions. We get next to nothing from MSN where the average get about 9% and conversely our Google UK share is up a couple of points compared with the average probably because of where we are based. Our Yahoo share is right in line with the average. We do have a few good positions on MSN so it is really hard to understand why they perform so badly for us but we are not going to loose to much sleep over it.

On the browser front Firefox is continuing to make progress and in our case it has gone up two points in the month to 18% - we really are attracting visitors of taste and discernment. ( This blog is produced on Firefox - our browser of choice.)

Yesterday was a quiet day and yet again we were pro…