I finally tipped the scales with my music blog yesterday. We’ve been edging toward 4,000 pageviews on Unreality Music over the last month and after coming close a few times, finally tipped the scales yesterday.

That’s a milestone for the blog and I’ll set my sights now on achieving 5,000 pageviews per day. Hopefully within the next month.

Competition

The music news niche is notoriously hard to crack – there are many big, established websites covering everything. Then there are innumerable smaller niche blogs and sites covering certain artists and genres. (I came across Brown Sista today BTW, which is a great name)

The music blog had a particularly hard time recently when it was unexpectedly (and inexplicably) penalised by Google. Referrals from Google fell away to nothing for a couple of months – we don’t do anything spammy, so it was a shock to lose traffic so drastically – especially when the rest of the site was still doing so well.

Writing Challenges

Unreality Music has been live for about 9 months, and one of the biggest challenges has been finding my voice on that blog.

I don’t like parroting the music news like other sites do, and I found that my taste for older rock and metal music were hampering what I was qualified to write about.

Having said that, I’m pretty much current with celebrity news and what’s going on in music, so I decided to work out what I wanted the blog to be by working out my goals.

Defining Goals

I wanted Unreality Music to be a fun place for people to discover music news and new songs. To that end, I try to cover current music news, and to let my readers know what new releases are on the horizon. Here are some of my defined goals:

  • Not just repeating the news: You can get music news anywhere – the unique selling point of my music blog is that you’ll always get an opinion, and I’ll try to make it funny.
  • I won’t write about everything: I’m just one guy, and I haven’t got unlimited time, so I’ll cherry pick stories, songs and bands that I want to write about.
  • I will link out wherever possible: I hate those walled garden sites where they only ever link to their own stuff. I’ll link you to the artist’s homepage and any other good writing I find. I will never link to walled gardens like Digital Spy or sites that ignore the rest of the Internet. Those old-media sites don’t deserve links if they won’t give links.
  • I will try to promote unsigned acts: I’m not a music mogul – yet. But if I can make a difference, I’ll write about musicians I find on MySpace and Virb.com where I can. There’s a lot of good music out there that never makes the charts, and I’d like to be helping people to find it!
  • Increasing readership: I love watching my RSS subscribers rise. It shows that people appreciate my writing and want to come back for more. I think as my confidence as a writer has grown (recently) there’s been a marked increase in subscribers.

Anyway, there’s a random post about blogging for you. I’ll be working on ways to increase readership over the next twelve months, and I think it’ll be interesting to see how various promotional techniques work out.

It’s early evening here and I’ve almost reached my 4,000 pageviews already, so I know I’m doing something right!

By my estimation I’ve been off work for a whopping 11 days over Christmas.

Increasingly over those 11 days, I’ve been dying to get back to work. Part boredom, part family and friends overdose and part terrifying freefall from having no real routine. It seems like I’m a creature of habit after all.

Surfing the web’s been a chore over Christmas – no real news out there, and no good opinion pieces. Everybody churns out lazy 2007 retrospectives and Top 10 lists of the year. I even caught the Chris Moyles ‘year in review’ on Radio 1 yesterday, which was irritating because it tops off a year where Moyle’s show has steadily gone downhill.

All the ProBlogging copycats churned through their monthly archives and regurgitated their ‘best’ posts. And all that proved was that all these dull metabloggers take their lead from 2 or 3 key players instead of charting their own course. Very sad. No style, no passion, no originality.

Anyway, so Christmas made me cranky.

January’s looking exciting though. Lots of interesting work on the horizon, some business and pleasure travel (a trip to Prague being most notable), and a new car to replace the ridiculous Nissan Serena that we bought a couple of years ago.

Most importantly, I’m feeling glad to be back at my desk. I’m finding that having my days structured again makes me more productive and focused. Focus will be important this year, as I’m juggling the day job with helping Lisa to grow Unreality into a bigger and better site. But we can talk about that later, can’t we?