Posted 2 months ago • 7 notes • View comments
You probably already know that I’m a huge fan of SoundCloud, as it’s super-useful and relevant for music-makers and producers.
I use it to …
1. Find Awesome Music by Indie Producers
Music-makers tag their tracks with moods and genres - all of which are searchable. SoundCloud also features the ability to repost sounds; so, my favorite producers are sharing songs by their favorite producers. It’s really great!
2. Get Advice & Encouragement from its Friendly Music Community
SoundClouders add much value with encouraging comments and constructive criticism.
When a fellow producer likes one my tracks, I’ll check out their music and leave some feedback. And if their music is good, I’ll follow them back! It’s a great way to network and make friends …
3. Network with Friends, Music-Makers, & Producers
By following artists whose music I enjoy, I’ve made some great relationships. For example, I started following Vanilla, and we eventually became Facebook friends and released an EP together. Also, my funk band released a remix album featuring a bunch of artists I met through SoundCloud, including Big Groove, Nebulist, and Funkload.
4. Embed the Incredible HTML5 Audio Player
Sounds play beautifully on iPhone and Android and can be embedded on websites, blogs, and social media platforms.
Visitors to my website are greeted with my “best of Steve Chab” playlist …
For what more could I ask? Soundcloud rocks.
How are you using SoundCloud?
Posted 11 months ago • 3 notes • View comments
Today, I was featured as a guest blogger on my friend Shawn Graham’s website. In the post, I urge small businesses to ramp up their websites with modern technologies and best practices. If small business and web-nerdiness is your thing, please give it a read.
Image by Anthony Catalano.
Has your website gone wayward? What’s that? You don’t have time to renovate it? Below are three easy methods for rectification. I hope the examples below spark your imagination and give you ambition to pursue a better website.
1. Utilize free resources: plugins, players and widgets.
My pal Noah once said to me, “How do I add these photos to my website? Just use an img tag, right?” I replied, “Nah, upload them to Flickr. Then, embed a slideshow.”
Plugins, players, and widgets make it easy to add media, features, and sociality to your website.
Who would ever link to an mp3 file? That’s silly. Unfortunately, the new HTML5 options for adding audio to your website aren’t supported by some browsers yet. In the meantime, use SoundCloud!
If you must add sounds to your website, SoudCloud’s HTML5 player is the perfect solution. SoundCloud is a website and mobile app which allows you to upload sounds. Every sound is converted into a visual representation of its waveform. Listeners can then share, embed, or comment on sounds. SoundCloud’s embeddable HTML5 player even works on iPhone, iPad and Android browsers.
You’ve seen AddThis all over the place. AddThis makes it easy to add social share buttons (Like, Tweet, email, etc.) to your page. It even records how many times your content is shared and gives you metrics.
Speaking of metrics, Google Analytics is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to your website. It will answer questions like …
- How many people visit my website?
- How do people find my website?
- What pages get viewed the most?
To me, the most important of these questions is, “How do people find my website?”
By using Google Analytics, I discovered that SoundCloud is linking to my website as an example of their embeddable widget in action. I also saw that my friend mentioned me in a blog post about David Axelrod. Cool, huh?
2. Use meta data to your advantage.
Way back in the early 2000’s, meta data was one of the best ways to tell a search engine about your page. Despite what some folks say, meta tags are still important.
Users will see your meta description and page title in search engine results pages (SERPs) and decide if your page is worth a click.
Here are the search result for my music website. Nifty, aye?
The big bold link is in the list of search results is your page’s title.
Good page title example: “Spacely Sprockets: Cogs, Gears, and Chains for Interstellar Machinery”
Bad page title example: “Home Page”
The text underneath the title is your meta description. Use relevant words to create a compelling description of your website. If you don’t have a meta description, Google will use other random text from your page’s content. For more info, SEOmoz has a great best-practices article on meta descriptions.
Social Sharing & Open Graph
The Open Graph protocol enables any web page to look awesome when shared on social platforms. For instance, OG is used on Facebook to allow any web page to display a custom title, description, and image.
This is what displays on Facebook when someone shares their check-in at Carnegie Mellon University’s Commencement Ceremony.
Check out this Open Graph meta tag generator for your convenience. To see what your page looks like when shared on Facebook, use the Facebook debugger.
3. Cut the clutter! Be clear.
Think to yourself, “Why do people come to my website?”
If you’re still stumped, do some user testing. Let someone who is vaguely familiar with your business/service/product go to your site and do whatever it is people come to your site to do.
Did they stumble? Let someone else try the same task on a phone. Was it a yucky experience?
Achieve Maximum Clarity
- Remove fluff language, and get to the point. When a visitor comes to your page, they should know almost immediately what service you offer. If it’s unclear or takes two paragraphs to explain, you should revisit your content.
- Organize content by using small paragraphs with headings (like this article). Do you cringe when visiting a text heavy website? Me too.
- Are your images 2000x2000 at 300dpi? Why? Please resize and optimize your gigunda images. You don’t need to be a Photoshop wizard; there are free image optimizers on the web which you can use for free.
Can you think of other easy ways to refine a wayward website? If so, leave your suggestions in a comment.
Posted 11 months ago • 3 notes • View comments
Photo by Kymberly Janisch.
When I browse for new music on the web, this often happens:
“Hey, this is a talented and creative band. Let me Google them. Hmm, I don’t see a link to SoundCloud or Bandcamp. Here’s their website: click. Oh, a music section: click. ‘Buy our music on iTunes: link.’ What? No media player? And you only have music for sale on iTunes? Let me go to Grooveshark to see if I can listen to a few songs. Nope; no one has added their music to Grooveshark. Bummer. Goodbye, new band which I might have loved.”
Don’t make me buy your music on iTunes. Not everyone uses iTunes. Please give me options!
Why would you limit your songs to 30 second snippets? People have to hear music before they grow to like it. Andrew Dubber has a great article which urges bands and artists to let potential fans hear full songs.
There are a variety of services for artists to sell their music these days: DIY, Bandcamp, Spotify, etc. My favorite is Bandcamp. With Bandcamp, artists and independent record labels can sell music and merchandise directly to fans. Fans can listen to full albums, discover new music, and directly support the artists. Everyone wins.
In fact, many popular artist are selling music through Bandcamp. Hop on the bus, Gus. Let me hear your music before I buy it somewhere other than iTunes!
Through what hurdles must you jump when listening to new music?