Head of Metal: The First 6 Months

Some of you remember my New Year's resolution and recent launch of Head of Metal, a side project I've been working on to create and accessible and passionate blog about heavy metal music. I'm grateful for the guidance I've received so far from Patrick, Eddie, and Social Triggers (which I really recommend you check out if you're at all interest in online marketing).

I get asked about it a lot, s I figured I'd give WSO an update on my progress and share some things I've realized during the first 6 months of running Head of Metal.

1. Gaining subscribers is HARD.

This is more of a function of overall traffic (which is still quite low and takes a long time to build up). It helps that I've taken some obvious steps like making "Email Required" visible on my black background (I can hear you laughing, @Wallstreetoasis.com) and adding an email signup form at the bottom of each post. Traffic has gone from literally zero to a few hundred unique views each month, but I've still got very few subscribers. I wonder if I'm doing all I can here.

2. Google Plus is REALLY Powerful.

Props to Eddie for encouraging me to get on board with this. With G+ I'm able to promote my content to communities of metal fans thousands of members strong and build a following even faster than Facebook or Twitter (almost 200 as of this time of writing).

3. Writing to metal bands is fun.

It's easier than ever to get in touch with artists I admire with offers to share my work praising their creativity. One group that I've had success talking to is a band from Taiwan called Chthonic (that's their bassist in the photo of this post). I've done write-ups of their work, and an interview is in the works.

And even if other bands don't respond, it's fun to be the gushing fanboy.

4. You have to be in it for the long haul.

As nice as it would be for me to have 10,000 subscribers and 100,000 followers by now, it's safe to say that's not realistic at this point. It's a good long-term endgame though, and eventually generating a ton of traffic. That being said, it takes a while to build up. I hope to get there eventually, but in the meantime it helps to just think about what I can do this week that'll help me get there--a lot like angling for your dream job!

Do have a look around HOM if you're interested, as I'm open to feedback. And if you see a writeup that you think any metal fans in your life would enjoy, send it their way! I'd love to hear their stories.

Comments (13)

Nov 6, 2013

Just visited your site and I really like it a lot. Looks good and is easy to navigate.

One thing, though -- To get to your site I google searched "head of metal" and "head of metal blog" and your site didn't come up on the first two pages. Doing something to get your site to show up closer to the top of google searches may increase your traffic. Just my unsolicited .02.

Again, I thought the site was great!

Nov 7, 2013
Simple As...:

Just visited your site and I really like it a lot. Looks good and is easy to navigate.

One thing, though -- To get to your site I google searched "head of metal" and "head of metal blog" and your site didn't come up on the first two pages. Doing something to get your site to show up closer to the top of google searches may increase your traffic. Just my unsolicited .02.

Again, I thought the site was great!

This is super key. Depending on your funds, you could get an SEO firm to help, or even just google some SEO tips.

Nov 7, 2013

This is definitely the ENTIRE point. Thank you!

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Nov 7, 2013

just curious, why is google plus so powerful? I actually don't know anyone who uses it and I'm interested in hearing how you can use it to market your website.

Nov 7, 2013

Congrats on starting your own blog and working hard at it. I started one back in March (or maybe it was April), gained the smallest amount of traffic, and a few subscribers...and then life got in the way. I can completely relate to how difficult it is to earn each and every bit of traffic you get, and how much you have to stay on it. Really, seriously cool that you're doing this.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Nov 7, 2013

In the process of starting an (off WSO) blog..nicely done, I'll follow your progress. A more specific post on what you've done that's worked and hasn't (rather than just how the first 6 months have gone) would be appreciated by many, I'm sure!

Best Response
Nov 7, 2013

I would strongly encourage everyone to sign up for HoM's email list. Great write ups and ITF really makes a point to span the whole history of metal in his emails. So, for those of you like me, who used to be into metal but have since gotten old and boring, you'll not only get to hear about all the cool new bands, but you'll get little blasts from the past as well.

Keep up the good work ITF!!

\m/

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

    • 3
Nov 7, 2013
In The Flesh:

2. Google Plus is REALLY Powerful.

Props to Eddie for encouraging me to get on board with this. With G+ I'm able to promote my content to communities of metal fans thousands of members strong and build a following even faster than Facebook or Twitter (almost 200 as of this time of writing).

great stuff ITF, starting my own personal blog project soon, we'll be in touch :)

can you elaborate more on how specifically you've used google+ ?

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 7, 2013

@mikesswimn : Thank you sir!

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Nov 7, 2013

Good stuff, so essentially to me it looks like you're going for a metal version of Pitchfork Media (although they do, for some reason, reason have the market cornered on black metal).

Just as a metal fan, my two scents:
1) One thing I like about punknews.org, is that a lot of their reviews are done by readers of the site (selected by staff). This could be a great way to expand your user base and increase your content pretty much for free

2) I'm not judging your preference in metal selections, as I do like many of those bands you go over, however there's a TON of shit going on in the extreme metal scene today and even more so in the crap mallcore stuff. Where's your article musing on the current state of Black Metal and if bands like Deafheaven, Wolf In the Throne Room, etc. are good for the controversial genre or hipster blasphemy to true BM bands like Mayhem, just as an example

3) Metal kids love drama and shit talking bands they don't like. Baiting kids with a strategically placed Emmure or Asking Alexandria post could get the people going and calling for van flips

4) A popular metal blog very similar to yours is Lambgoat(dot)com. What do you see as a differentiating factor between Head of Metal and them?

5) I know graphic design stuff is expensive, and often has low upfront ROI, but your design scheme comes off a bit dated looking. Just my opinion

Really don't mean to come off as a dick here, and think what you're doing is great. These are just my thoughts as someone who checks out these types of blogs every now and then and as a metal fan. Hails and horns and good luck.

Nov 7, 2013

Stringer, thanks so much for the in-depth feedback.

1. Having guest reviews would be cool, but I think something even better would be to collect stories from headbangers about the first time they heard their favorite band, how the music has gotten them through tough times, and things like that. I want to showcase the good side of metal and what it can do for people.

2. The easiest way to court controversy, in my opinion, is to just state your unapologetic opinion without reservation. For instance, I could REALLY rile up black metal fans just by mentioning the name Cradle of Filth! I also have some out-of-field posts, like one about metal owing almost its entire existence to The Who.

3. They're free to do that, but I probably won't participate in bashing; that's not something I do. Heck, just mentioning a band is good enough to set people's engines running.

4. I've had my eye on Lambgoat (I remember you brought it up last time). They're most focused on metal news, which is something I've really ignored as there's a ton of competition in that space. My differentation is in the accessibility of my message: Metal is beautiful. In fact, I rewrote my once-lame About page to help define that: http://www.headofmetal.com/2013/04/10/about/

Believe me, you're not coming off as a dick. These conversations are very valuable. Thank you! Any other thoughts?

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Nov 7, 2013

@AndyLouis : G+ has an Authorship link that you can take advantage of; if you maintain an external blog and link it to your G+ profile (with a code they give you), it'll give your blog priority in search (for those in your circles). That's a big one--indexing you to encourage quality writers.

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Nov 7, 2013
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WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin