Of the many projects I have tried to get off the ground in the last 12 months Cover Art Review was one I was quite excited about.
The idea of the site was simple. I would open up a submittable form where users could come along, upload pretty album covers and then spend there days commenting and rating on the content to there hearts content.
Quick to market, quick to the grave
It didn’t take much work either. Built on WordPress (of course) with a modified free theme from the guys at WooThemes coupled with the TDO Mini Forms plugin meant I got things off the ground after about 2 days work (it also took about 3 hours to grab a few decent ‘starter’ album covers and upload them of course, but this could be considered testing).
Once finished I ‘launched’ the site with a few tweets and word of mouth to some of my friends.
I also hoped that Google would do most of the legwork and send users trying to find album covers (for downloaded music) as I had stuck to all the recommended SEO tips for each item.
I hoped that building a small community would be easy, I thought.
The site would pretty much manage itself! I thought.
I could earn money from affiliate sales on iTunes and Amazon! I thought….
Hope is not a marketing tool
I was wrong, oh how embarrassing. Since its launch in June Cover Art Review has faltered.
In fact, it was pretty much DOA. There hasn’t been a single upload from a site visitor in months. The Google Analytics are frankly too embarrassing to bring up and the only comments are from a couple of friends who I asked to test the site for me!
The lesson here is simple. Community sites such as Digg, Reddit and smaller neich varients like Share A Logo! and DesignBump require a lot of care and attention. You can’t simply wash your hands of them once the coding is done and hope people will take up the responsibility of making the site work, you need to make sure they come back for more.
I treated Cover Art Review like it was a client project. I did the work then walked away only to come back months later and see I’d wasted my time.
Its not all bad. I still feel the site has merit and should be updated and re-marketed at some point. I’m just too busy to take it on right now.
And after a 2nd look at the market I doubt this site will ever reach the visitorship levels I hoped for, I just need to scale back my ambition before wasting more time on this.
Besides the site costs me nothing to run so I won’t be taking it down any time soon.
If anyone would like to know more or get invovled in the Cover Art Review site feel free to leave a comment… 🙂
So I checked out your site as reading from your description it sounded exactly like the sort of thing I’d be interested in subscribing to.
So a few of my observations:
The site is very clean and easy to use, however when I wanted to do something or feel apart of the ‘Cover Art’ community that you are potentially creating I felt closed off. Its very ‘gallery-like’ and great for observing the fantastic work of various album covers but it doesn’t greatly involve the user.
A possible addition may be to add user pages (with log-in of course) so that users can save their favorite albums, create discussions about them thereby creating a personalized Cover Art user section. It can give the user a sense of belonging, so that they have their own platform to discuss what you’ve set up for them.
Especially as its a community feel you were going for with this site it seems right to give the user slightly more control within their environment. As a result of this I believe users will return to respond to their discussions and to see if other members like the cover art selected.
I think there is vast potential in this site and as much time as you say it will take, in a world where we no longer really purchase ‘physical’ items such as LPs, CDs it would be an effective way of collecting for the digital age.
A fantastic idea that I’d love to see created!
Hey Jason, thanks for digging up an old post and reminding me about this site 🙂
I’d love to do ALL of the things you mentioned, perhaps using WPMU to really build a community but its hard to start following alone and of course fit the work into my shedule.
Maybe we could collaborate on this one? Drop me a direct tweet over at @mkjones or mail me via mkjones [at] mkjones.co.uk