Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"7" - Top Blog Posts

I've been blogging off and on for nearly five years. I thought it would be interesting to look back at my top seven blog posts. Hopefully, it will give me some insight into what works best for my audience.

Number Seven: "The Light of God" - Interview with Roy Bennett (371 views). This was one of my most valuable interviews for the Prince book. I shared some of the subjects that I covered with Bennett, who worked as Prince's lighting and set designer. 

Number Six"She's Always in My Hair" - Interview with Jill Jones (385 views). This was another extremely important interview. I have some Prince stories that no one has printed, thanks to Jones, who worked with and dated Prince. 

Number Five: "Do I Believe in God?" - Rolling Stone Journalists' Thoughts on Prince's Spirituality (424 views). I had the opportunity to discuss Prince with some music journalists whom I admire: Anthony DeCurtis, David Browne and Tom Moon. I summarized what I learned from those conversations.

Number Four: “Why Should You Wait Any Longer?”—Getting Back On Track (446 views). I wrote this blog to let people know what I was up to after taking a break for a few months. It's cool to see that so many people read it! I included a TON of links, so I'm sure that helped.

Number Three: “Gotta Tell the Truth Y'all” - Interview with Gayle Chapman (1,368 views). This post was about my very first interview! So many biographers have written about Prince's former band member without talking to her. I was able to get the truth straight from the source.

Number Two: "Interactive" - Prince Twitter Chat (1,912 views). This is a summary of the Prince Twitter chat that I did back in the day. How fun! I have to do another chat...

Number One: "Think About the Future!" - Upcoming Projects from Prince's Protégés" (2,071 views). I can't believe this is number one! I just wrote about a few performers who used to work with Prince. I must have done some really effective promotion for this post, but I can't remember my strategy. What a mystery!

Well, I'm inspired to top my number one post! Let's talk more about promotion next week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Do You Like What You See?" - Prince's Music Videos

For my book, I analyze Prince’s albums, performances and music videos. I think I’ve been doing a decent job keeping track of the latter, but I think I’ve missed some. As many Prince fans know, the artist has shot a ton of footage; some of it was released to TV networks or online, and some of it was released only on DVD or through special subscriptions. So, it takes a lot of effort to keep up.

On several occasions, I’ve listened to the Peach & Black Podcast (shout out to the fellas—I LOVE their reviews), and heard them reference a music video that I didn’t even know existed. So, I’m going to have to go back and revise my running list of Prince’s music videos.

While I’m on this topic, I thought it would be fun to share my favorite Prince music video. It took me a while to figure it out, not because there are so many that I love (sorry, P), but because I never really got into them. I prefer polished productions by artists like Michael Jackson (my favorite “short film” is "Smooth Criminal").

However, I do appreciate the “live” feel of Prince’s music videos; most of them show him performing in concert. This makes sense; he’s a superb instrumentalist, and that quality should be emphasized. My favorite is “Willing in Able,” from the "Diamonds and Pearls" era, circa 1991. I didn’t see the video until my mom bought me the "Prince and the New Power Generation Diamonds and Pearls Video Collection" on DVD for Christmas a few years ago.

"Prince and the N.P.G. Diamonds and Pearl Video Collection" DVD

I adore the album version of the song, but the video includes a slightly different arrangement. The live performance is electrifying! Prince’s vocals are incredible, and the NPG band and The Steeles are on fire! I also love Prince's dancing and his appearance (when I forced my boyfriend to watch it, his first words were, “What is he wearing?”). I would embed or link to the video, but I don’t want to get myself or anyone in trouble. You should be able to find it, though. ;)

What is your favorite Prince music video?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Work 'til the Morning Comes" - Improving the Blog

I mentioned that I wanted to improve my blog in a previous post. This week, I took steps to put my plan into action.

1) I used lynda.com to research search engine optimization (SEO). "Blogging Strategies for Musicians and Bands" is an extremely helpful course for all types of bloggers. One takeaway that I will implement right away: using alt and title text with my images in case they don't load for some readers.

2) I applied for a Google AdSense account, and I was approved! Now, I can monetize my blog by featuring ads on the site.

3) I started researching RSS feeds. I tried to put an Atom feed on the site, but I noticed that it is not compatible with the Chrome browser, Then, I tried Feedburner, but I'm still having issues. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

I still can't afford a new computer, but I did purchase a beautiful new printer!

An HP Officejet 4630 printer

Now, perhaps I can do some actual work on my book this week...

Do you have any advice regarding SEO, AdSense and/or RSS feeds?