Auto-blogging For Beginner's Is It Worth It?

mercury

New member
I'm starting this thread to guide beginners and let others know that autoblogging can be a success (how small it may be), it might even be your next first income if you do it on a large scale. This thread is for BHW only and I haven't pulled it off any website, it's just my own two to three weeks experience.

Secondly I really advice DeathRequest's stickied thread for all the resources you need for autoblogging:


Seriously you don't need to buy any eBook whatsoever; all the information is already given on the internet and here on BHW. (no pun intended to those selling eBooks, just pointing that out for beginners before they waste their money and give up before even starting). The only thing you should know before starting is how to use FTP and a bit of html/css.

A tip: make friends online and learn from them as they can learn from you.

Table of contents:

Introduction

My earnings/traffic the first two weeks Hosting/Servers
Discovering Niches
Domain Names
Step by step installation of autoblogs Installing Wordpress
Uploading Theme(s) + settings Plugins I use and Recommend Getting Feeds/RSS
Building backlinks
All about Google and autoblogs
Conclusion
Coming results for november and onwards (pending)
(use control+f cmd+f to find the content)

Introduction

I'd rather stay half-anonymous or I might get flooded with spam so I'll just use my first name, Mark (if you need to know anything specific - then PM me and we can talk/chat over skype). As I'm a student on a college in Rotterdam in the Netherlands I have loads of free time to spend on my blogs. I currently have 8 autoblogs up and running. From which 2 of them have AdSense on them and 6 are in the process of "I-don't-want-to-let-Google-know-that-those-sites-are-just- for-making-money". NEVER EVER add AdSense on the first day of your autoblog. Add AdSense once your blog reaches at least 100 visitors per day. Your blog gets devalued to the ground if you have 0 visitors and if you're unlucky you will disappear from the search result pages (serp's). Google isn't very fond of websites putting AdSense on the very first day with zero traffic. The funny thing was that I didn't even knew what an autoblog was before I arrived at this forum via a google search.

Known tip: to see if your site is indexed use this command in the google search bar:

Code: site:http://yourwebsite.com
I'm never worried about not getting indexed and i'll tell you why. All my autoblogs got indexed within a few hours and to be honest I always make about 3 to 4 'dummy' posts (200 words including a YouTube video) which are original and not duplicated. This will not only get you indexed faster (depending on your backlink building) but will also not alert Google immediately that your blog is an autoblog. If you think - that takes too long - then try it without making some original posts. From what I've read here on BHW is that some people are having trouble getting indexed in Google with just dupe content. Know this: get indexed before you activate and start your autoblog plugins to pull content. That saves a lot of trouble in the long run plus you can already enjoy seeing some stats appear in Google Analytics
I have about 30 blogs, from which a couple are Wordpress and the rest are Blogger blogs. Across 2 hosting companies. All of the 22 blogs are whitehat and 8 of them as mentioned above are autoblogs. The plan is to turn 90% of my blogs to autoblogs which will reduce my own work to about 1 hour per day. Yay for automation!

My earnings/traffic the first two weeks

So after a week of reading and doing some research on BHW I finally started my first autoblog. I got inspired by some of the big threads here and decided my first blog should be in the tech niche (yes I know how general - but at least it's a simple niche). After I made some dummy posts and got indexed in Google I activated Autoblogged plugin to pull content from other websites.
I mentioned earlier I had loads of free time so my website looks prof designed and for some odd reason I'm getting emails from people I don't even know that they like my website. Talking about irony... I'm trying to monetize my traffic, yet instead they love the website lol.
Below is a screenshot of my analytics stats for about 10 days. Traffic spiked one day to 400 because I'm actually outranking the original article from the real website More about that later. I'm not sure if it's smart but I should give an example, so search for "hp tilt shift" and you'll know that I'm talking about.
Click to enlarge (reply if image is down)
Steadily making money from about 200 visits a day within the first 2 weeks with just 1 blog. Below are the results once I added Google AdSense to my blog. It's not a lot but the blog is young and it already covered my hosting costs for the month so that isn't too shabby.
Click to enlarge
At this point I'm wondering how it will look like in 2 years... will I give up on autoblogging or do the stats like this skyrocket in the future? All the things to worry about, yet I strongly believe that making an real income from autoblogs could be real.
Hosting/Servers
Ok here I might have an advantage above others, a friend of mine has a huge game forum getting 30k visitors every single day and luckily he allows me to have unlimited autoblogs on his $100 per month rackspace cloud server
As you might know you shouldn't have more than 5-10 autoblogs on 1 server so that is why I'm paying my own server too. My knowledge about servers and IP's doesn't go far but I know you need several different IP's or Google kicks your ass and I know how much that hurts :p
My own server is hosted on HostGator with a baby package. Only 10 bucks per month which is practially nothing. You can earn that back within a single day. So my advice for all starters is to have at least $30 ready in your bank account to get the required hosting etc. You actually don't have to spend money on plugins, they can be found on this forum.
I don't want to link to Hostgator else you might think it's an affiliate link, so just Google it or type it in directly. (I'm not selling anything - just teaching).
Discovering Niches
When you have your hosting setup and rolling it's time to think about which niches you are going to target. (niche is another word for subject). Let's look at some examples:
World of Warcraft is one (game) example. Now you need to know some niches in it.(I've played the game so that gives me a small advantage - oh and if you ever played warcraft 3 then you should know now that Dota, Defense of the Ancients, is one heck of a popular custom map)
-Jewelcrafting/Herbalism -Character classes etc. -Talent/Level Guides
Hoodia (a plant used with diets)
-High blood pressure -Results
-Where to buy them -Gels
etc.
So find a subject in any topic (health, gaming, technology, news) and choose a sub-topic. SEO is not a niche, it might be but it's way too competitive - you should rather focus on the keywords "SEO for beginners" or something. Keywords are important as that will let Google know what your website is all about.
Lastly I'd say use either Google AdWord's Keyword Tools or Market Samurai, which can be found here for free if you do a search.

Domain Names

Getting ranked in Google is one thing, another thing is being able to rank WELL in google. Google determines your position for your pages in the serp's by at least 100 to 200 factors. Be it backlinks, website coding, keywords, meta description, title, heading tags, css validation, your website exposure, website loading time, verified in Google webmasters?, is website in DMOZ or Yahoo's Directory? Several on-page factors but most are off-page factors. In the early years of the internet you could stuff your website full with meta tags with just about anything and rank with an health site for gaming keywords (haha). Google's new algorithem destroyed that and after a while became clear that backlinks are the new kings and on-page SEO is slowly dying.

Now I said keywords earlier. Google also takes in conjunction your domain name as a factor to rank your blog. So it is important to have your main keywords for your niche in your domain name. Take the hoodia example, you will rank better in Google with hoodia in your domain name than if you don't have one in it. (www,hoodiaguides,com - or something) This means you will rank well if your Title of the blog is Hoodia Guides.

Now here comes a question noone can really answer:

Should I take .info domains or .com for my autoblogs?

.info domains are cheap as they come as low as $0.90 to $2, whereas .com domains are always above $10 without coupons.
A logical answer to this question would be: "Take a .com domain because it's more expensive than a .info domain which marks your website as spam". If that was true then all the spammers would immediately get a .com domain and continue the spamming with better results because they won't get marked as spam.
To be honest, I don't know the definite answer to that question. What I do know is that my main .info autoblog, two weeks old, is doing as good as my .com domains.
Where should I buy my domain names?

I got all mine from godaddy.com. But there are more like Yahoo, Registar, Namecheap, 1and1, Enom etc.
 

mercury

New member
Step by step installation of autoblogs

(sorry I thought I could make it into a step-by-step but it turned more into a wall of text :p)
You need a...

1) host
2) domain name
3) ftp client (firezilla is what I'm using) to work with your autoblog.


--------- I do hope you know how to set up a domain name's nameservers to your hosting provider. If you don't then below you can find a link to hostgator's DNS changing webpage. Just choose your domain registar and change the name servers to your host's provided name servers.

Code: http://www.hostgator.com/dns.shtml
You have to wait quite a few hours because the routers on the internet need to reset their cache in order for you to see any effects.---------
At this point I'm about to install another blog myself, so you can read along and see what I am doing. First thing of course is...

Installing Wordpress

This is probably the easiest part, however you have to think about if you add sub domains to your autoblog project or not. I personally do it because you can make it more 'niche' related. In this example I'll be making a blog about Mac. It's one of the more easier autoblogs to create because of the amount of feeds available on the net.

I made a few sub domains using the control panel on Hostgator (man that goes so smoothly) and named them:
news.mac.com -> latest news for mac

computers.mac.com -> latest updates on the computer apple produces and sells software.mac.com -> talking about latest software for mac
guides.mac.com -> how to guides for software and stuff

It's a bit general but should give you an idea on how to name your sub domains. Now a little note on the Wordpress versions...
Be aware that some versions of Autoblogged and WP o Matic / WProbot and all the other plugins might not work on Wordpress 2.8.6+ for everybody. I'm always installing 2.8.4. Why? Simply because I know every single thing will work. I don't give a shit about hackers. If one guy hacks my blog (god knows how), sure, I'll just grab a backup and start another autoblog.

Once you uploaded Wordpress to your server you can begin the installation procedure of the WP-config.php file. Takes less then 1 minute if you know where to look and if you just made the database. Personally when I started using Wordpress I had difficulties figuring out the database password and such as I had zero experience in server management. A friend made the database for me and just gave me the info, which is why I had trouble finding it .

Lucky you if your host has Fantastico, that little script installs Wordpress automatically with the correct settings. The latest version though...
Note: if you are going to use sub domains, make sure to install Wordpress on all the subdomains, not just the main domain. Kinda straight forward lol. You could instead use Wordpress MU, which allows easy control over sub domains.
Code:
Uploading Theme(s) + settings

Ah.. everybody's favorite part. Don't forget that the theme you are going to be using, plays a big roll in how your advertisements are going to convert into sales. Position of the ads and the amount of text + colors comes second.

For this mac blog I am using the free theme 'shadowbox' because of it's rich features and it's unique theme options layout. I'm also a big coders now that I have a lot of experience with blogs so I can make it look like an Apple blog.

If you are not sure what to use, then see this thread:
Code:
http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/blogging/113617-whats-your-favorite-wp- theme.html
Mimbo seems to be a popular one. Download the theme (or install it directly inside Wordpress using the feature 'add new theme' under 'appearance' - note that premium Wordpress themes are to be paid for and you won't find them in the Wordpress.org database) and upload it to 'wp-content/themes'. Once it's uploaded activate it in 'appearance -> themes'
After that go to the options of the theme and customize as you need.
A few settings I recommend you to do: 1) General Settings:
-Type in your Blog Title and Tagline (like 5 words only, because we are going to use a SEO plugin)
-Change timezone to UTC (+0)

2) Writing Settings:

-Change default category (you need to make a new category first which can be done under 'posts')

3) Reading:

-Maybe change the amount of posts on a page, but can be overridden with a plugin

4) Discussion:

-Tick: An administrator must always approve the comment
-Tick: Enable threaded (nested) comments levels deep (yes I know, but to some surprise my tech blog got a lot of happy readers)

5) Media:

-Nothing for now (if you use the autoblogged plugin - these settings are used)

6) Permalinks:

-Change the structure to /%postname% I wouldn't recommend using the category name as well because then you could be using too many keywords.

After that, add Google Analytics to the footer (before the closing body tag) Go and add Yahoo site explorer (google it) + Google webmasters site verification code to your header.php file. (that should be inserted before the closing head tag)

From here on it's really up to you how you design your blog with which fonts and colors.
Robots.txt + .htaccess + favicon files

It's important to have those 2 files in your root folder, simply because you don't want Google to find out that you are using autoblog plugins. Make a text file and insert the following text into it:

Sitemap: /sitemap.xml
User-agent: *
Disallow: /wp-content/cache/ Disallow: /wp-content/themes/ Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/ Disallow: /wp-admin/
Disallow: /wp-includes/ Disallow: /wp-login.php
Rename it to: Robot.txt and place it in the root WP folder together with all the wp-content, wp- admin and wp-includes folders.
Next up is .htaccess, which should be there. If you can't see it with your FTP client then check for an option which allows you to see invisible files. Should be located in the root folder too.

Add this to it:

# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>
# END WordPress
If you still can't find it, then simply upload a regular text file and name it exactly .htaccess with no extentions like .txt or .php!
To make your blog look more natural you need to have an favicon, period.
This can be done by either uploading a 16 by 16 pixel .ico file to your WP root folder, or add an snippet of html to your header.php file. This is what you should add: (most browsers of today already look for an ico file, but it's better to add it anyway)
Code:
<link rel="icon" type="image/x-icon" href="favicon.ico"> Widgets
This really depends on what plugins you are using. Some plugins allow you to insert extra widgets into your sidebars. Widgets like next gen gallery, recent posts, recent comments, pages, categories really make an autoblog look like a normal blog, which is what we want.
Alternatively you could add some clickbank products on the sidebar in a text widget together with a feedburner count to make it look natural.

Plugins I use and Recommend

One of the biggest issues with autoblogs are the plugins. Can't count the number of thread about plugins and which one the best one is... To sum it all up from other threads (and it's been told a lot), every plugin has it's advantages and disadvantages.

Plugins for a text website (text oriented with images, any autoblog plugin will do)

Plugins for a video website (uses videos mostly pulled from YouTube but requires much more work than text oriented blogs - see below - if you want image only, then get Autoblogged plugin and don't let it pull any excerpt, just images/thumbnails - I have yet to try it but seems like a funny idea - you can also make use of the "custom field" and "custom values" to insert the images automatically as a thumbnail for the homepage etc. - that is why I love autoblogged - feature rich )

I'll brake this down to a few lists which include basic plugins, content generating plugins and monetization plugins. There is one special plugin which I want to discuss afterwards. Because a lot of people are trying to build backlinks for their website but fail because it's too much work, there is a plugin that automatically does that and submits your content to 20+ social websites.
 
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