Autoblogging

I’ve known about autoblogging for quite a while now, about 2-3 years I guess, but I’ve never done anything about it while spending a considerable amount of time learning a lot about it. Learning new stuff is great, but it’s not a good use of your time unless you put the learning into action.

That’s changing now as I started the first run of an “experiment” yesterday.

I took out a brand new .info domain in the baby niche for a term that suddenly seems to be getting a lot of search. My wife has earlier this week taken out a .co.uk domain for the same term, and is building a site similar to the one she built a couple of weeks ago that resulted in a payout from Amazon yesterday.

So she’s building a regular “hand made” site using Price Comparisons, and I’m building an automated site using autoblogging techniques. We’re going to directly compare to see if there are any SEO or monetary benefits to doing it by hand over having a site built automatically.

In case you’ve never heard of the term autoblogging, it refers to a method of where a blog site is built automatically or semi-automatically over time. It’s populated with freely available material you can get from article directories, and is (usually) 100% white hat.

If you think about it, by gathering together a series of articles and other material on one particular topic from multiple sources, you’re creating a useful resource for anyone interested in that subject.

In the bricks and mortar world you might think of it as a specialist store such as (for instance) scuba diving. There the store owner has pulled together lots of different products all about scuba diving and it’s a one-stop-shop in that niche.

Autoblogs are no different from manually created blogs, but take a lot less effort. And they come in different guises and are used for different purposes, but the ultimate goal is to use them to make money with.

So in my case, I’m using a self-hosted WordPress blog and building it with a set of (as I’ve said) freely available articles from an article directory. I’m monetising it using the Amazon self-optimising widget (like Google AdSense, but pays a lot more), and also eventually with an eBay feed, and of course AdSpurt.

Rather than monetise it directly as above, I could have just set the blog up to grow and rank well in the search engines with no direct monetisation. I could then either monetise it by persuading people to sign up to a mailing list and then having an autoresponder send them a series of offers every week, or I could use it to send traffic to my wife’s site.

Also, instead of using a self-hosted blog, I could have used for instance a free blogger blog, and again monetise it indirectly.

And there are umpteen other methods of building and monetising autoblogs.

Now I know that any non-marketer who is more of a techy geek would likely get very agitated at this and start making false accusations like “spammer” and “splogger”, and “ruining the blogging community”. I’ve seen that talk in various places, but this is total nonsense and in most cases the same people are running AdSense on their sites.

There’s nothing wrong with monetising a blog, and if you decide to do it the easy way via autoblogging, there’s also nothing wrong with doing that either. But some people just don’t seem to get it, and I get the distinct impression that they think that’s it’s somehow cheating to do things more effectively.

After all, what’s the difference between running a generalised article directory full of other people’s articles, and running a niche blog full of other people’s articles? It’s a different platform, but the net effect is the same.

So, just to be clear, there’s a distinct difference between a splog (spam blog) and and an autoblog.

Splogs are by their nature typically black hat, and sploggers are responsible for all the junk sites out there that are filled with AdSense and non-sensical scraped and gibberised wrangled content from other blogs, where all references to the original author of the material has been removed.

Splogs will just appear on the web fully formed often with several hundred pages of junk, thrown together in a couple of hours max and are never touched again. The life expectancy of a splog is about 2-3 months (often less) before de-indexing happens, so the creator isn’t going to spend much time on them and knows beforehand they’ll only get a limited life out of them.

Autoblogs are typically white hat and centre on a niche using a range of legitimately obtained material that gives credit to the original author and the all-important backlink to their site. It’s the back link which is what spurred them to write and publically make available the original material in the first place. The material itself is often genuinely useful and well written articles, but of course not always.

Autoblogs will start small and grow slowly and naturally like a regular site would, with new material being published every day or so. Anyone that finds them would be inclined to believe that they’re maintained by hand, whereas in fact the posts are automated. Your visitors benefit by finding their one-stop-shop on the topic they’re interested in, and you benefit by not having to have done any real work while also being able to monetise your site.

It’s a win-win, and that’s always important to me in anything I do. I provide value, and I take my cut.

Here’s the learning point.

If you provide genuinely useful material on a topic, and the site conforms to what Google expects to see on any quality site – privacy policy, terms, etc – and it stands up to human inspection, then you have nothing to worry about. Over time it will become a force to be reckoned with.

I’ve seen countless what I would call black hatters make comments in forums and on blogs that go something like:-

“I make my splogs so ugly that people want to immediately click on something to get away from them. So I put a big fat AdSense block in their way. Muhahaha!”

*sigh*

There’s just no need to do that. Comply with what real people want and what Google want and everything will be fine. You’ll have a long term useful resource that will bring you in a nice little extra income.

-Frank Haywood


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9 Comments

  1. Valda says:

    Hi there Frank, hope you are well.
    Once again Frank a very informative topic. In between working on the IPK project graphics, I have been setting up a new website and blog. All will be revealed soon (-:
    Frank tell me, is it advisable to have a privacy policy and/or tems page on a blog.
    I have seen a couple of blogs around with these pages of them, but there aren’t that many. So I was just wondering if not having these pages on a blog would make a difference with regards to Google and other search engines etc. Do they look out for things like this?

    Take care
    Val

  2. Mike Gates says:

    Hi Frank,

    I agree with you, there is nothing wrong with autoblogging, as long as it’s done the right way. Creating a blog with a compilation of niche related info in one spot, even if it’s other peoples content, provides a service.

    But, if you are pulling that content from article directories, you owe it the author to include their resource box with clickable links. What really makes me mad is when people scrape articles but just pull the first 300 words or so and don’t pull the resource box, or don’t make the resource links clickable. Unfortunately, there are a number of autoblogs that do this, and the author gets no benefit.

    If you do include the resource box, with clickable links, you get content and the article author gets backlinks, and some click throughs, a win-win.

    Mike

  3. In my book, as long as you agree and stand by the article, that is no different than linking to another website or blog. It always comes back to the quality of the content, if it is no good, the visitors will not come back.

    The only trouble in Seo terms is if the Search engines pick up to much duplicated content, but what is to much?. I personally love those blogs that pull in views from dozens of different websites. Most of these type of blogs do a good job in filtering the information on a particular niche and it is handy to have it all in one place.It saves a lot of surfing time.

    Are you going to give a link to the website went it is up, Frank?

    best wishes to your success
    Gareth Hogan

  4. Richard Barr says:

    Hi Frank

    I love your article on this type of blog (Auto) – I am in the set up stages ( Watch This Space He He ) of Re Vamping my Site at this very moment ( As I am about to brake into the Internet Marketing field as a newbe)and a BLOG is one of my priorities for this site – you gave a good outline to how you are doing this on Auto Pilot – I have an Idea ( well to put it bluntly a proposition )for you — As you did with smart D D why not give us less Tecky People a set of Vids we can watch on how you did it and I will willingly BETA test them for you ( for a consideration He He – T B A) – Why should I ?? you may ask ? — WELL you will be getting my feed back as a less Tecky Person — and this will then make them open to everyone Tec minded or not as the case may be — when you have tweaked the vids with some input – Then why not if you can do it ?? — follow this up with a software program like Smart DD ( BUT FOR BLOGS ) to use — We as your Loyal Fans would love your help AND who knows we could also sell this for you and we both benefit — Think it over and drop me an e-mail.

    In the mean time keep the quality blogs coming

    Regards

    Richard ( U H S Leeds ) and O J B. org

  5. Dale Calder says:

    Hi there Frank ..

    Thanks for always keeping us posted with useful, timely, information.

    I have about 20 odd autoblogs set up, but in truth should have limited myself to no more than 10. A case of me never completing the finishing touches to any one blog, so as you can imagine they have never performed particularly well. Occasionally autoposts were sprinkled with content manually inserted and most monetisation was by way of either a-links (using the a-links plugin) or manually inserted links and banners. At one point I had them monetised with Adsense but was warned to pull the ads because of the ‘duplicate content’ which could be seen to be in contravention of Google’s policies. I am working my way through now updating with the new Clickbank ads and in light of what you’ve said before will also take a look at the Amazon widget.

    I thought to share with you some of the hurdles I have encountered with them, and would be pleased to receive your comments.

    1. When I first set these up, this was before I wised up to focusing on micro-niches. So, much of the content ex RSS feeds is broad. For example, one of my blogs was set up to provide information on stopping aggressive dog behaviour .. but to find feeds with such a narrow focus is all but impossible. The feed introduced might be on ‘caring for dogs’ and then one is left to weed out the inappropriate posts introduced which may relate to walking one’s dog, feeding etc etc. Quite a time consuming task over so many blogs and inevitably there is still a lot of content left in, which really has little to do with stopping aggressive dog behaviour.

    2. Many of the posts introduced are very brief (perhaps just 3-4 lines) before the link shows up through to the writer’s site. This can make keyword selection rather difficult, unless one inserts one’s own content. But, this somewhat defeats why one sets up an autoblog in the first place.

    3. Because the content in the feed is so wide ranging, it is often not easy to find keywords suited to one’s microniche. And then when one does, these are infrequently dispersed through the copious content which is there.

    4. For certain niches it can be challenging finding good, consistent feeds which will regularly update. Despite its popularity, paintball is not an easy niche to find RSS content for. Also, I find many of my feeds dry up or ‘break’ and then off I have to go to scramble around for some new ones.

    5. A lot of the content feeding in has absolutely nothing to do with one’s niche whatsoever .. for example in a feed on ‘Camping’ you may find a breed of violin being commented on. Again .. regular editing.

    I know this all sounds pretty negative, but in fact I’ve found them pretty high maintenance, despite the odd sale resulting.

    I would be really keen to know how the autoblog compares with your wife’s manual blog. Perhaps, part of my problem has been in me trying to get too many up too quickly – although my mentor felt I should have put up a 100 – not 20. Any thoughts you have about addressing some of the things I’ve mentioned above would be appreciated. Please also advise whether you will be fronting the blog with a ‘sticky’ post or a static page with the feeds running on in behind. Although I have not really worked at it, how easy do you think it will be getting quality inwards links to an autoblog?

    Thanks for the chance to comment ..

    Kind regards

    Dale Calder

  6. This has been some useful info on blogging for money. You’ve sparked my interest in Amazon if you say they pay better? Can you use Adsense and Amazon on same blog? Im trying to do the “make many blogs” for backlinks and whatnot but I’m not sure if I’m doing it right. My goal is to be established in 6 months by seeing some staeady monies coming in. Ill be checking back to see your process!

  7. Hey Frank,

    The only thing I would watch out for is how search engines and others view your blog.

    You may see autoblogs as being different from splogs but others may not be able to differentiate. This is especially the case if you intend to monetize it with Adsense.

    Interestingly, I have a few blogs that are simply RSS fed free-hosted autoblogs in the adult and sports niches and both get a trickle of traffic from Google despite being totally unoriginal!

    Good luck with it and please post your traffic and monetization results.

    Chris
    http://www.ProductCreationGlory.com

  8. Hello,
    New reader here, having just purchased SmartDD and loving it, btw! I;m extremely glad to have found your blog, as well. Lots of great info here!

    I’ve got a resource to offer, in regards to autoblogging… there’s a service out there, called Syndicate Kahuna that will auto-post relevant articles to your blog, once you get everything set up with them (it’s not difficult) and it’s free. http://www.syndicatekahuna.com/bloggers/

    Of course, the other side of that coin–writing articles for syndication–is a fee-based service from them. That’s how they can make the auto-post side free for us bloggers. Writers pay them $67.00/mo. to have their articles posted in as many relevant blogs as SK has signed up for the service.
    http://www.syndicatekahuna.com/

    All in all, I’ve been very happy with the posts I’ve received.
    Just an FYI, for everyone. :-)
    ~cj

  9. hats shop for you says:

    Of course, the other side of that coin–writing articles for syndication–is a fee-based service from them. That’s how they can make the auto-post side free for us bloggers. Writers pay them $67.00/mo. to have their articles posted in as many relevant blogs as SK has signed up for the service.

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