How to Produce a Chart-Topping Music Blog

Remember how hard it was to find great new music before blogs and the Internet?

Local music stores could be great, if they stocked the kind of music you liked. And good luck finding anyone in your area who shared your specific musical tastes and interests.

But the web has completely revolutionized the music scene. It’s easier than ever to discover new songs and new artists, and find whole online communities who share your love for any obscure subgenre in existence.

Blogging began as a great way to share your interests with a global audience, and virtually meet other people who shared your taste in music. But since the birth of the blogosphere, it’s become a much more powerful tool than just a public journal.

You know there are plenty of pro bloggers who earn a full-time income from their blogs. Maybe in the early days of the Internet, a small hobby blog would have been a great accomplishment. But now you know you can do so much more.

Is it your dream to build a chart-topping, award-winning music blog? One with a rabid fanbase that comments, shares, and likes every post? One that all the other famous music blogs are linking to?

Blogging about music is a crowded niche, it’s true. There are thousands and thousands of bloggers out there sharing their favorite songs and artists in obscurity, never earning a dime from their work.

But it’s possible to get a return on the time and effort you invest in your music blog — if you know what you’re doing.

Want to learn how to create a successful music blog? It can be a complicated and overwhelming endeavor with plenty of decisions to make, from choosing a blog name, to what software you’ll use for your website, to what kinds of topics you’ll blog about.

If you want a truly successful music blog, start by following the guide below, and you’ll be topping the charts before you know it.

How to Start an MP3 Blog1

How to Produce a Chart-Topping Music Blog

Music has captured the imagination for as long as time, and today’s blogs can help meet the need for music lovers. Are you ready to start the next big music blog?

Basics of Building a Killer Music Blog

  • Find a niche.
    • What kind of music blog is missing or poorly represented?
    • What kind of music are you an expert in?
    • Unique music blog niches
      • Largehearted Boy
        • largeheartedboy.com
        • Mixes music and literature
        • Free and legal MP3 downloads
        • Book reviews
        • Musician and author interviews
      • Cruel Rhythm
        • tumblr.com
        • Features curated music selections
        • Almost no text
      • Weird Canada
        • com
        • Proves that Canadians have great musical taste
        • Promotes experimental music and art
  • What’s in a name?
    • Once niche has been chosen, start thinking of the blog’s name.
    • It should be short, catchy and memorable.
    • Be creative, use these ideas to create a unique blog name:
      • Make a list of keywords related to the blog then look for synonyms and etymologies of those words.
      • Compound two words (Facebook)
      • Add a prefix or suffix to a word (Friendster)
      • Tweak a word (Travelocity)
      • Blend parts of two words together (Netscape, Microsoft)
      • Make up something completely new and unique (Squidoo, Etsy)
      • Use a phrase (Flickr, StumbleUpon)
      • Misspell a word (Digg, Topix)
    • Make sure no one else has a similar blog name.
      • Check social media networks to make sure the name is available there as well.
      • Use knowem.com to check hundreds of social media sites.
    • Avoid hyphens, they can diminish credibility.
    • They can indicate spam and make it more difficult to earn links.
Brainstorm Content Ideas
  • Choosing topics
    • Identify needs of readers.
      • Questions
      • Challenges
      • Interests
      • Conversations on social media
    • Four pillars of content
      • Useful to readers
      • Approachable
      • Scannable
        • Use headings, images, and music clips
      • Simple
        • Clear writing
        • Conversational
    • Be original.
      • Content needs to be new and original to the blog.
  • Posts might include:
    • New music
    • New discoveries of other musicians
    • Studio session updates
    • Fan engagement and stories
    • Curated content
      • Add your own spin, review, and perspective
    • Top 10 lists by:
      • Genre
      • Artist
      • Region
      • Era
      • Mood
      • Activity
        • Exercising
        • Studying
        • Relaxing
    • Guest music bloggers
    • Guest musicians
    • Concert reviews
    • Instrument how-tos
Create the Full Package
  • Build a user-friendly, attractive blog site.
    • Find easy-to-use blog themes in WordPress’s collections or sites like Themes Forest.
      • WordPress themes for music blogs:
        • Sing!
        • Tuned Balloon
        • Soundcheck
      • Themes Forest themes with responsive design capabilities for music blogs:
        • Eprom
        • Jam Session
        • Flycase
  • What about hosting?
    • Free hosting
      • Make a free blog quickly at hosts like WordPress.com
      • Domains look like: mycoolblog.wordpress.com
    • Paid hosting
      • Your own domain: mycoolblog.com
      • Additional bandwidth and storage for music files and photos
      • Customer support
    • Choosing a hosting company
      • A variety of hosts offer their services for less than $5 a month (some as low as $1.99).
      • Before making your decision, do some research.
        • Who do your favorite blogs use?
          • Use WhoIsHostingThis.com to check
        • Read review for your top choices
          • WhoIsHostingThis has thousands of reviews from real customers.
Dress Up the Blog with Useful Plug-Ins
Plug-ins essential for music blogs:

  • Streampad
    • Automatically plays posted .MP3 files on the current page
    • Allows for individual files or a list of .MP3 files to become a playlist
  • WPaudio MP3 Player
    • Puts .MP3 files into a small MP3 player
    • Customizable look without editing the computer code
  • Chords and Lyrics
    • Create chord sheets
    • Easily create and share for fans to learn music
  • GigPress
    • Event planning for fans to know upcoming performances
    • Used by bands like Drop Kick Murphys and Silverstein
    • Customizable with HTML and CSS code
  • Gigs Calendar
    • Publish events calendar
    • Includes ticketing options
    • Show locations with a Google map
  • HTML5 MP3 Player with Folder Feedburner Playlist
    • Converts a folder titled “MP3” into an .MP3 playlist
    • Includes navigation buttons
  • HTML5 jQuery Audio Player
    • Can play a single track or a playlist
    • Can auto play
    • Works with common browsers and mobile browsers
  • Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting Plugin
    • Useful for regular podcast posts
    • Includes iTunes support
    • Includes media player for audio and video
    • Allows for many audio and video file formats, including YouTube and Ustream
  • Easy Digital Downloads
    • Sell original music in a zip file directly from site
    • Allows for common payment options, including PayPal
    • Includes information on payment history, re-downloads, and data export

Be social and create a community where your audience wants to spend time.

  • Disqus Comment System
    • Moderate comments within the WordPress comment interface
    • Commentators can create profiles with photos
    • Creates RSS feeds for blog post comments
    • Track where posts are being discussed in social media with BackType
  • WP-Polls
    • Website poll widget
    • Post and track multiple questions across site
      • Ask about genre preferences
      • Vote for new favorite musicians
      • Quiz music knowledge
  • Facebook and Twitter Buttons
    • Link blog site directly with social media profiles to build followers
    • Readers can share posts through their own social media
  • ShareThis
    • Allow readers to share your music via email and other social media
Be a Master Blogger
  • Engage.
    • Post on a schedule: consistent number of posts on consistent days.
    • Network with other music bloggers.
    • Create a team of bloggers to help with great content.
    • Engage with social media to network and build an audience.
    • Consistently engage in conversations with the audience.
    • Maintain journalistic integrity through original and honest content, and give credit when credit is due.
  • Take risks.
    • Find a new angle for content.
    • Try a new approach to audience engagement through social media, blog comments, and product purchases.
  • Be patient.
    • Building a successful blog takes time and effort.
Music Blogs and Copyright
  • Work within copyright laws for the music you use.
    • Don’t
      • Use copyrighted music without permission
      • Copy, share, and/or sell copyrighted music
    • Do
      • Get permission
        • Credit does not equal permission to use protected music
        • Even background music still needs permission
      • Pay royalties
      • Make use of Creative Commons.
        • Create and/or share free music and digital content legally
        • Reserves some copyright restrictions
          • Often allows for non-commercial use
          • Licenses
            • Clearly outlines legal uses for each piece of content
            • Helps ensure creators get credit
        • Creative Commons licenses can also help protect your own content
          • Protect posts, podcasts, and original music
        • Music communities help discover new creative commons music
          • Soundcloud
          • Free Music Archive
          • ccMixter
          • Tribe of Noise
          • AirBorne
      • Consider public domain music
        • Music, including lyrics, published prior to 1922 is considered public domain
        • Can be used by anyone for free
        • Recordings of the music are not public domain
          • Create your own recordings
            or
          • Get a license for royalty-free music recordings

The universal attraction of music plus a well-structured and engaging site might make you one of the biggest music bloggers of tomorrow!

Sources

KeriLynn Engel

About KeriLynn Engel

KeriLynn has worked as a freelance writer for various websites. She is an advocate for domestic abuse victims and has way too many hobbies.

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