Well my friends it’s almost a wrap on the 2018 year and that means its time for my annual “State Of The Site” or “Year End Editorial” – you can run with whatever label that you prefer. For those who’ve seen these over the years I don’t need to repeat what it is, but the newbies should know that it’s my chance to share some of the insight about this website with those who are interested. It’s here that I offer up the scoop on some development changes and all of the other machinations on being a bit of a content manager, scribe, photographer and social media savant. As I did last year, I am aiming at keeping this a lot shorter than it used to be. Here we go.
The Website Changes:
Visually Speaking: The PiercingMetal site continues to use the theme “Twenty Fourteen” after moving on from the “Raindrops” theme back in late 2016. Though I’ve got an issue here and there with it the theme functions as I need it to, so it will remain in place. Perhaps I will give the Raindrops one another go around our 14th Anniversary in April because I did like it. Originally we changed said theme to the one you see now based on lack of updates and issues that messed up the reader experience. Failure to get any support help found me saying “Next”. Before the morph into WordPress, a special customized theme was being worked on, but when the Dev let go of the project said theme was never released to our Metal Media Command HQ. Tech happens.
Features: In the Features Grouping, the main topics of focus fall into the Upcoming Tours, Milestones, and Memorials and all of these have all picked up steam this past year. These three are aimed at keeping you aware, keeping you celebrating and alas even reflecting with respect about those who might have left us. There is also “PiercingMetal Says” which is a bit of a catch-all/ While I don’t anticipate any additional features being added to the mix at the time of this editorial I will say that I have made a couple of subtle changes. I’ve retitled “Upcoming Tours” to be “Tours and Festivals” with the mindset being to reach our readers outside of our immediate geographic region with stuff that is relevant to their interests. Several of our publicists handle a wide array of Festival events and it would be a missed opportunity to not showcase that to you. If a new feature comes to me in a dream, I will strongly consider adding it but for the most part I think that we cover sufficient bases with these. My suggestion box is open for those of you who might have a brainstorm but please be aware that no prize comes from you discussing something that will cause me more work at the end of the day.
Pop Culture: Regarding our Pop Culture side of the fence, some significant changes have happened in this area. Ardent readers will recall that Comics, Onscreen and Toybox were all unique categories on the main menu but at one point during 2018 I filed all three of them together under a brand-new Parent Category label of “Pop Culture”. Also, I decided to re-label “Onscreen” to “Films and Television” and “Toybox” to “Toys and Collectibles” because I felt that they were more professional when looked at on the menu. As the founder of this outlet, I attend quite a few conventions as a member of the press and among them are the massive NY Comic Con, Anime NYC, Liberty City Anime Con, American International Toy Fair and several others. Having the three angles that speak about the findings at these major events under one umbrella made the most sense to me. There are even some readers that love this stuff much more than the music reviews and have told me that they bookmark the section to see what is added easiest. The Pop Culture items content grew exponentially in 2018 and I will state that this coming 2019 year will find a lot more being called to your attention based on the press releases that come from the insiders at these massive events. Essentially this is the same stuff that was on my “PiercingMetal Musings Blog” but as many know, the blog was merged into the main website to make this one big media voice. As an avid reader of comics, attendee of films and collector of the occasional action figure, this side of the fence is very important to me, so I hope you are enjoying it as well. If not, just click on the other two groupings as they are 85% music related.
The Reviews: I’ve greatly preferred the grouping of all of the review content under the Parent Category of REVIEWS which was implemented at some point in 2017. As I had also pointed out back then, my doing this was to streamline your visibility of a whole lot more singles and music videos than ever before. I was not kidding about that becoming the case because the at one time “every so often” practice has become a bit of a standard that I don’t mind at all. Some creatives might think that this is a lot more unnecessary work, but I disagree. Case in point the new Judas Priest album that hit the streets some three months after a few singles were released. It was nice to have that momentum about the album well in advance of the apparently embargoed full album reviews. This next part is also cool, with singles I now offer a significant change to their presentation and that is the embedding of a Spotify player that lets readers hear the track that is being reviewed while they read it. My inclusion of Amazon.com codes remains in place for those who must purchase immediately. Nothing much has changed with the video reviews outside of the inclusion of a lot more “Behind the scenes” clips that some of the record labels share with us. This is solid and topical content that allows us to keep as current as possible. Much like the music reviews, there are codes to Amazon purchase points. Remember that any purchasing on Amazon care of one of our codes makes our Associates Program with them work and lets the lights remain on here at the Metal Media Command HQ.
Our Event Reviews have also gone up quite a bit based on all of the conventions that we attend each year. As I mentioned up in the Pop Culture section, there are a lot of events like this that I attend as a media outlet and with our Concert Reviews now a part of this section, offer readers a seamless view of all happenings. Shows, signings, lectures, conventions and special presentations all under one region. Wonderful.
The Content Base: I did my best to keep as busy as possible here and with so many different varieties of content to bring to your attention I think that I managed to do that. Initially I had wanted to reach 5.5K posts by the April 2018 13th Anniversary and I just managed to do that. Now as the book is closed on 2018 can say that the website archive features more than some 6K posts. Believe it or not I never got around to completing the Legacy Content based on the nature of how news flows into the mailbox. What was originally a mission became a “whenever possible” sort of thing. Continued tour announcements and single release or videos and new comic books and cool related toys to talk about keep us current so reflecting on our past not as paramount. I do add old things back in from time to time which you subscribers see as “new” but that is based on how WordPress software is programmed. 2018 closed with over 1.5 million pages viewed on the website and a breakdown of 2/3 music related and 1/3 pop culture entertainment.
Socially Speaking: The Social Networking world has become an active battlefield for attention with numerous “Official Pages” and related accounts on a wide variety of networks all fighting for the same seconds of time that a person can offer. I’ve noted this several times over the years and have listed a quick “what to do” so you can be a part of the community as well. Let’s review some basics.
Facebook: Interested parties need to take two steps. First “Like” the Official Page and then select “See First” from the drop-down. Leaving it as “Default” will likely find our posts buried under scores of political things you see each day. They also need to Engage the posts and content that gets shared by liking the updates and images as often as possible. By not doing this, Facebook moves the page to your back drawer in the filing cabinet as something you aren’t interested in. Lastly, inviting your like-minded friends to come aboard is paramount. Facebook is a numbers game and unless the amounts of supporters (i.e. “Likes” to go up, it’s almost not worth doing updates on said Official Page. The Pages also have a “Follow” mechanism in place, but I don’t think that helps as much at all. My two cents on this.
Instagram: Instagram is 100% owned by Facebook so a lot of their algorithms are now the same. Interested folks need to “Follow” the account and “like” its content. That’s a simple one right? You’d think so. Since the ability to comment on the content is there I encourage it and I always try to answer the relevant and topical stuff when I see it. Over the past few months I’ve heard commentary of “I love your Instagram, but I just look at the pics and don’t like any of them publicly”. For brand growth that is absolutely pointless and it’s not helping out at all. Much like Facebook, the Gram is now tabulating all of this at the end of the day so your liking the content helps it reach more and more potential fans. Please make that happen.
Twitter: The easiest one. Just “Follow” the account and “Retweet” the stuff you feel your friends would be interested in. I’d say add us to your “Follow Friday” initiatives but so few seem to do that nowadays, so I don’t know what to say about it,. If you are one who does this practice then please by all means do what you think helps out. I am still not good at being messaged via this medium so use conventional channels if you feel you must reach me for some reason.
Tumblr: The PiercingMetal Tumblr is a feed to anything new that gets posted on the website. I don’t engage anyone per se on this but am always feeding the stories and stuff we are involved in over there. They’ve recently done a purge of all the sexual content on their medium so it’s a lot safer for the younger or easily offended eyes to peruse. I discussed that bit of news over on “The Chronicles Of Piercing Ken” on THIS LINK. Following the PiercingMetal Tumblr will for sure keep you in the loop with the new posts and this is especially useful if you hate the likes of Facebook which I think many folks are in the space of. In addition to this, the medium of Google+ will be going away and I will discuss that next.
Google+: As noted up above, Google+ is going away in April and this doesn’t mean a brand-new G+ is coming down the pike shortly after. They screwed up and allowed a data breach and put millions of customers at risk by this oversight. The switch was supposed to flip in August, but they moved it up on the timetable and now it will be in April. I’ve been using it since it first became available and while the subscribers remained low, the traffic being directed to the dotcom from it was relatively high, so I will miss that. If you currently use Google+ I’d suggest you mark down the pages and people you follow and try to find them on something else. At the time of this editorial, I haven’t seen anything which outlines how one can download their content like they did with the also ended “Buzz”.
YouTube: I’m using YT a little more often than I used to but am still not a talking head to the masses on it. I know that I probably should have been for years now but oh well, there is only so much time in the day to be a part of everything. The occasional clip is what you get from me here and I hope you enjoy what you watch and click the “Subscribe” button because again, it’s a numbers game.
So, there you have it. Help me make those numbers sing in 2019 because without your help it isn’t going to be able to be accomplished. The phrase the more the merrier and there is strength in numbers have never been more relevant with our worldwide readership and our voices reach. Oh, and speaking of reach; here is where everyone was coming from.
Where You From? PiercingMetal’s largest traffic visitation numbers are from the USA since we are based here but our “Top Fifteen Countries” outside of our continent were – France, China, Great Britain, Russian Federation, Germany, Ukraine, Canada, India, Poland, Netherlands, Brazil, Malaysia, South Korea, Italy and Indonesia. I always love seeing that stuff light up the map in Google Analytics. If you don’t see your respective country in this Top 15, then you might want to tell your like-minded friends over there about the website, so they can start visiting. It’s also very acceptable if you should go abroad and feel like clicking around our website while you are waiting on something to do. It all adds up after all.
How To Help This Grow:: This is the easy part. If you are reading this editorial then you are already helping because its actual traffic to the dotcom and the longer you stay on that the better it is for the server logs. If you see posts that make you happy or raise the temper just a little bit, chime in with a comment. All topical stuff gets approved immediately but hate speech, negative pointless soapboxing and stuff of that nature goes right into the bin. I’ve already given the at length suggests in the social networking realm, so you are all well-armed in knowing what is needed and at the end of the day if you enjoy it, just keep on coming back to see what’s next. Conversely, if you are someone that dislikes the outlet for some reason, well, I would advise that you also keep on coming back just in case I manage to hit the mark and make you give us the two horns up at long last ?
So that is all I have to say this time around because there is still work to be done before the countdown to 2019 begins. I thank you for your interest and your support and your pushing me to keep this whole thing interesting. That’s about enough from me. I wish you and yours a safe ringing in of the New Year and will be back in short order to start 2019 off properly. There is no rest for the wicked they say and well, the same applies to online journalism.