The Run-Up to Auto Blog Blueprint
I first came across the concept of autoblogging back in November 2009. Basically, all it means is that your blog runs on autopilot, pulling content from different sources and publishing it on a schedule you set up. Most such systems run on WordPress, utilizing a range of different commercial plugins. Some of these plugins pull and publish content on a schedule; others create a number of future-dated posts, based on keyword lists, that WordPress publishes when that post’s future date becomes “today”.
The system I came across late last year was WordPress Mage. This is a full autoblogging system based on WordPress. It also comes as a set of WordPress plugins for those who prefer to install their own WordPress blogs. Training is provided on how to build and market blogs using the system. Blogs can be monetized in a number of ways (Adsense, Clickbank, eBay, Overstock, Amazon and LinkShare) and you can always add other affiliate image ads and links to blogs as well.
I built a few blogs with it and decided to buy a couple of plugins to better display eBay listings (phpBay Pro and Auction2Post) and a plugin to turn Amazon product listings (along with customer reviews) into blog posts (ReviewAZON – this plugin is no longer available). Becoming more familiar with the software, I was able to make my sites look better. The WordPress Mage ethos is to build sites quickly, keep building and hope that some of them “stick” and take off. The training also advocates putting 50+ eBay listings on a page above any content.
What I didn’t know at the time is that WordPress Mage is very resource intensive and having more than a couple of such blogs on a standard webhosting account (e.g. on Hostgator), results in more than your fair share of server resources being used. In my case, Hostgator suspended my account for overuse of resources, which meant I had to find another webhost who could meets the blogs’ needs. I kept two blogs on Hostgator and moved the rest to Webhost4SEO. It was then that another problem raised its ugly head – the WordPress Missed Schedule Posts problem.
I wasn’t heavily promoting the blogs and the upshot was that they weren’t making money. Indeed, they were costing money due to the amount of time being put into them. I also had a lot of hosting issues that have meant that the blogs were offline for periods at a time. So that’s where the Autoblog Blueprint comes in…
Discovering The AutoBlog Blueprint
AutoBlog Blueprint first launched in V1.0 early this year (2010). Since the techniques I’d been using on my existing autoblogs weren’t working, I figured I needed a different approach. At launch, ABB was just $27. It’s author, Mike Johnson, was testing the waters and gauging reaction from members as he continued to hone the course. Johnson has built a business on autoblogging so he knows the pitfalls as well as the right way to do things. And what he taught was contrary to the teachings for WordPress Mage.
The basic premise is that autoblogs should be about quality content, not about throwing ads at readers. While ads are important for earning from your blogs, they should be used in moderation and its best to use only a couple of advertisers on a site rather than every one you can find. For example, mixing Adsense and eBay is not the best idea. Adsense is best for informational sites. eBay is best for product based sites. And promoting sites, and doing it in the right way, is key to a site’s success. The build it and see if it sticks philosophy is all wrong, he says.
The course consisted of many pages of information and techniques (think: online ebook) interspersed with videos that demonstrated concepts and procedures. It was a very comprehensive package. One great feature is that Johnson continually updates the content. As we all know, things change rapidly in the online marketing world and Johnson keeps abreast of changing trends and techniques and incorporates them in the course at no extra cost. I went through the course twice and was impressed with the overall thrust of the course and the direction it was pointing me in. However, I didn’t get around to putting what I’d learned into action as I had joined Alex Jeffreys Marketing With Alex course and I was spending most of my time on that. Now that I have some more time, I’m returning to the AutoBlog Blueprint.
The reason I’m not going into much detail about ABB V1.0 is because AutoBlog Blueprint V2.0 was released a few weeks back. All original V1.0 members were automatically grandfathered into V2.0. The course was reworked to take account of changes in the blogging world, updates to various plugins, and it also takes account of Google’s MayDay update and what it means to how sites will now rank in Google. Additional video training has been added and some original videos have been completely reworked. The course is now substantially dearer at $147, but that is a one time fee. You do join a membership site but there are no extra or other monthly membership fees.
So What’s In The Course?
The AutoBlog Blueprint is broken into several sections:
- Getting Started: gives you an overview of the membership site and the course as a whole.
- Module 1:
- Planning Your Strategy (you should set yourself achievable goals for building your autoblogs and a strategy is suggested)
- Niche Research (how to research a niche to see if it’s worth spending your time building a site for it; researching keywords and how to determine if the people looking for information about that niche are buyers or not; determining the profitability of a niche by the affiliate programs on offer).
- Domains: how to find good domains names for your niches and the best places to register those domain names; buying and using aged domain names; whether to use domain privacy or not.
- Hosting: how to find a webhost suitable for autoblogging; shared vs VPS vs dedicated hosting; shared hosting limitations
- Module 2:
- Autoblog SEO overview (a look at what SEO should be applied to blogs but, more importantly, why that SEO should be done)
- Installing and setting up WordPress (Johnson provides a base install of WordPress 3.0 with some essential plugins and walks you through the installation and setup of an optimised blog; some automation and blog management tools are also reviewed)
- Base Settings (some settings can’t be included in the base install package and these will need to be manually configured. Johnson explains how and why these settings are used)
- Base Plugins (a number of plugins are included with the base install, and why these plugins are used is explained here; there’s also a list of additional, non-essential plugins provided and their use explained)
- Themes (how to pick a theme to use ; where to find free and commercial themes)
- Essential Pages (pages that must be added to sites to conform with Google and FTC requirements; most pages are created by plugins so they’re simple to add to a site)
- Module 3:
- Content & Monetization Plan (how to plan your blog from its creation to how you should monetize it; all this should be done before you build a blog)
- Indexing & Classification (how to get your site indexed in the search engines, and classed in Google; how to season a domain before monetizing it)
- Tagging (explains tags and how to use them in the correct way)
- Advanced Plugins (details additional commercial plugins you can use on your sites to add content or ads – this is quite a big section)
- Advanced Monetization (how to add header and sidebar advertising; using CPA ad networks; adding banner advertising using an easily managed solution; in-content links companies and how to add their links; how to add data feeds to your sites)
- Auto Blogging Techniques (explains the various ways you can create an autoblog from shopping comparison sites to classified ad sites with eBay listings to informational sites; in all, 7 types of autoblog are discussed)
- Module 4:
- Beginning Backlinking (the importance of backlinking to a site’s success and the best way to go about getting quality backlinks including using Press Release sites, social networking sites, directory and rss submissions)
- The Backlink Bluepint (a strategy for building a specific kind of link tree; additional ways of getting backlinks)
- Social Media Maximized (the best social media sites to use to promote your blogs and why they should be used)
- Execute! (putting it all together and building your blogs)
- Forum (an active community of AutoBlog Blueprint members)
All sections consist of a mixture of reading material and videos. As you can see, this is a very comprehensive course and it’s one that needs a couple of run-throughs given the huge amount of information provided and that you need to digest. What’s great is that Johnson provides a base WordPress 3.0 install, including all the basic recommended plugins that can be easily installed. All that’s required after that is to set a few WordPress settings and the blog is then ready for you to add content using your preferred additional plugins.
Remember that my autoblogs were built using WordPress Mage, so they don’t conform to the Autoblog Blueprint recommendations as yet. I have to rework them. But, more than that, I need to promote them in the way that ABB suggests.
Here’s one of my earlier WordPress Mage autoblogs: Classic Comic Book. You’ll see it’s a bit slow to load and pages have a huge number of eBay listings. All wrong, according to ABB.
Unlocked HTC Phones and TV DVD Releases are also Mage blogs but have been configured somewhat to use the Autoblog Blueprint philosophy. But the bottom line, I think, is that I need to create new autoblogs from the ground up using the ABB techniques; that means planning them from start to finish. Mage can be used with ABB blogs but it should be used as an addition to a blog, not as its foundation.
So watch this space for news on new autoblogs I build. I might do a case study on one of the new blogs I create.
Having tried some other blogging and autoblogging courses such as Expert WordPress and Auto Content Cash, I am firmly of the conclusion that AutoBlog Blueprint is the best blogging course available. It’s future-proofed through Mike Johnson’s constant updating of course material and videos and recommended plugins. The forum is a sounding board for members looking for additional advice and techniques. Johnson has also managed to get two great hosting deals for members with CoolHandle and Heroehost (you can read about my experiences with the latter here).
Finally, if you’re of a mind to pick up the AutoBlog Blueprint course, you can save $50 (33%) by using this coupon code when you order: BEC006C89A
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