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How To Make Money With An Automated Blog & AutoStumble

Welcome to another “how to” post. If you follow the recipe here, you’ll be onto Stage 3 = Profit in no time. This ties quite nicely in with the Blackhat SEO Tools post and the AutoStumble post, for those who haven’t read them. It’s a little blackhat, but nothing to lose sleep over (hah, as if!) and this is really, really, reaaallyy easy stuff. Sitting comfortably? Let us begin..

What is the end goal?

The end-game of this post is to have a fully automated blog, which generates shitloads of traffic via StumbleUpon, referrals and Google Blogsearch. In the process, you’ll also gain loads of subscribers and generate some nice easy revenue. Once it’s built, the entire thing is just about hands free.

What you need before you begin…#
To complete this project you will need:

1) Nice clean installation of WordPress

2) The Digerati Blackhat SEO Tool Set

3) A registered copy of AutoStumble

Lets get started
I’m going assume you know the basics of setting up a WordPress blog. If not you can get more detail from Making Money With a Video Blog or if you’re totally new, check out the official WordPress documentation. So yea, if you’re that new, please RTFM.

Once you’ve got your WordPress blog installed and running, do the basics such as setting the permalinks to be the post title, so you get those little extra keywords in the URL. You’ll also need to find yourself a theme. As discussed in Making Money With a Video Blog, the layout is really, really important to get clicks on your ads. You could start with a template like ProSense, although I’ve found the click through ratio to be pretty low, but at least it’s quick. Ideally, have a hunt around so you meet the criteria of showing your content above the fold, centrally and having your ads nicely surrounded and blended in. The key here is to experiment and see what works well for you.

Plugins FTW
There’s a whole crapload of plugins that will make your life a lot easier. We’ll start off with the important one, FeedWordpress, which is part of the Digerati Blackhat SEO Tool Set if you don’t already have it.

Upload the feedwordpress folder, as usual to your wp-content/plugins directory. You’ll need to remove the 2 files from the feedwordpress “Magpie” subfolder, and put these into your “wp-includes” directory, which will overwrite some default WordPress files too. Don’t miss that step…

Once you’re installed and you’ve activated the plugin via your WordPress dashboard, you’ll have a new option on your main navigation.


Just like that. So give that a click and then go into the “Syndication Options” menu. From here you’ll be able to configure FeedWordpress to do your bidding.

You should get an option screen like this:

So lets run through these options.

1) The first thing you want to change is the “Check For New Posts” option. You’ll want to set this to “automatic”. This will go sniff your RSS feeds at an interval you specify to grab new content. You can leave it on every 10 minutes for now.

2) Make sure the next 3 boxes are checked, this will keep your feed information bang up to date.

3) You should set syndicated posts to be published immediately. This will allow you to get your content live ASAP, which is always a plus.

4) Pemalinks. This is basically when somebody clicks on the post, do they go to the original website that you er… Borrowed? The content from, or do they go so a scraped version on your site. For this example (which I’ll give the gonadless among you an ethical loophole for later), set it to “this website”.

5) I always set FeedWordpress to create new categories. I never display categories in the menu, but it gives the post a few more keywords and a bit more relevance for search. So, if someone else has gone to the effort of writing a tag, it would just be wasteful of you not to use it!

Okay, that’s set up… What exactly are we scraping?
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of people scraping content that people have sweated over. However, one thing I don’t mind doing is thieving from thieves.

You’re on the hunt for “disposable” content – generally not text based. Think along the lines of Flash games, funny videos, funny pictures, hypnomagical-optical-illusions – that kind of thing. The Internet is awash with blogs that showcase this stuff. Check out Google blogsearch and try a search like funny pictures blog. There’s hundreds of the leeching bastards showcasing other peoples pictures, videos, games and hypnomagical-optical-illusions for their website. They can hardly call it “their” content. With this ethical pebble tossed aside, we can go and grab some content.

There’s loads of ways you can hunt down potential content. You’re on the lookout for RSS feeds with this rich media. So you could try; Google Blogsearch, Technorati, MyBlogLog – basically any site that lets you search the blogosphere.

Once you’ve got the location of about a dozen or so RSS feeds, you can go to your Syndication menu again and “add a new syndicated site”. Simple matter, paste in the RSS feed location and hit syndicate. Once you’ve added them all, it “update”. Boom, shake the room, you’ve probably got a couple of hundred “new posts”.

New posts, no traffic
You want to of course, set up your WordPress RSS. Something like Feedburner is dead easy to set up and will get Google interested off the bat. Make sure you have a nice big RSS button and offer e-mail subscription (Feedburner does this) for those who don’t have a clue what the hell RSS is.

The cool thing about services like Google Blogsearch is that they’re pretty much chronologically sorted. So as long as you have a steady stream of posts, you’re guaranteed at least a trickle of traffic from long-tail searches.

Hot potato, grab and switch
If you really want to get some serious traffic, you’re going to need some “pillar” posts – content that you know for sure is strong. The easiest way to do this is to keep an eye on sites like Digg and Reddit. Check out on there what is going hot, what’s new and what’s viral. Probably the easiest thing to do is subscribe to the Digg Offbeat / Comedy RSS. This will give you constant updates on what’s upcoming.

Due to the differences in the types of people, there doesn’t tend to be as much overlap between hubs such as Digg, Reddit & StumbleUpon as you might first think. I’ve seen things go viral on Reddit and then take two or three days to make it onto the frontpage of Digg. So, you can grab content that’s going hot from one of these hubs; your proverbial “hot potato” and put in front of the nose of another audience.

Here’s where AutoStumble comes in
This is probably the easiest way to use AutoStumble. Grab your hot potato content from Digg and do a manual post on your blog. Submit this page to StumbleUpon.

AutoStumble costs £20 and is a desktop application, which allows you to automatically pool hundreds of StumbleUpon votes with other users. I.e., this is your quick way of getting your content to go viral on StumbleUpon. If you purchase and download AutoStumble, it is simple a matter of pasting in the URL you want to go viral on StumbleUpon and hitting “AutoStumble”.

A few hundred votes later. Voila. You have traffic.

The value of StumbleUpon traffic
1) The most I’ve had is just over 70,000 unique visitors over a 3 day spike from StumbleUpon. So firstly, you can generate a fairly decent bit of green from your initial CPM ad impressions and clicks on things like Adsense. (StumbleUpon users don’t tend to be as picky about clicking on ads as Diggers).

2) With this volume of traffic, you’ll likely find a few people who really like your content. You’ll get RSS / Email subscribers who will be a permanent addition to your monthly traffic (and revenue).

3) A lot of these social sites are populated with pretty tech savvy people. A lot of these people run their own blogs, forums, websites – or at least add content somewhere themselves on the web. If you get 10,000 visitors from StumbleUpon, you can expect a decent amount of lovely natural links from around the web. Links mean better website authority, better rankings, better traffic and better revenue. The value for me at least, is really long-term.

Making things easy for yourself
You’ll probably want to install some extra plugins such as:

  • WordPress Automatic Update – This will update your WordPress installation as well as plugins. Generally, it will save you a lot of time.
  • Clean Archives Reloaded – I use there on my archive page. It’s a nice way to layout all of your blog posts with clean anchortext to improve relevance with some internal linking.
  • Sitemap Generator – I don’t really bother with Sitemaps, but for those who do – saves you generating one from scratch.

Don’t forget, if you’re going to be switching content onto platforms like Digg or Reddit, make sure you have their native vote button included in the post! You want to make it as easy as possible to grab all of the votes you can. Again, personally – I don’t bother with the generic social bookmarking plugins for WordPress, as I find nobody actually seems to use them.

Oh, and before anyone chirps in trying to be clever saying “(sniffle) won’t duplicate content be an issue?” No! it won’t, fucktard! Get back in your hole. Aside from the dupe content filters being primarily built on shit, you’ll be posting mostly rich media. Google’s not too great at working out the exact content of pictures and videos… Yet. Yes, it will probably change one day in the future, and we’ll all look back on this post and laugh..At the moment, it’s not something they do well, so, well…. Ching..Ching.

Taking it one step further
This whole project should take you less than 30 minutes, from sitting down at your computer to having a fully automated blog posting and promotion system set up. If you like the idea, it would be an idea to package everything I’ve mentioned here together into your own custom install file, so you can deploy new sites in under 15minutes.

If you’re going to do this, you may as well make your cookie cutter solution as good as it can be. Hopefully, if you’re thinking down the right road you can come up with some of your own ideas to improve on these techniques (there are loads).

Why not look at only showing social voting buttons, from sites you know that your visitors actually use? Here’s some code.

Enjoy.

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33 responses to “How To Make Money With An Automated Blog & AutoStumble”

  • baddt says:

    I do whitehat seo for a livng and, and, well – I feel like christian bale in american psycho, during the day I€™m completely well behaved but this little plan is going to my version of the €˜its hip to be square€™ moment!!

    (posted this comment on another page by accident – doh!)

    Comment by baddt
    August 13th, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

  • Kondiment says:

    Man, it’s a lot of work!!! What means no time?

    Comment by Kondiment
    August 14th, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

  • Tony says:

    Awesome post as usual Mark. Im def gonna go cut some cookies now.

    Comment by Tony
    August 14th, 2008 @ 11:47 pm

  • Mark says:

    @Kondiment

    About an hour, a lot of time? There’s only 1 way I can think to earn money quicker than that… It happens to be illegal in this country… And would probably leave a bad after taste (:

    Comment by Mark
    August 15th, 2008 @ 12:28 am

  • Kondiment says:

    My question was related to your phrase: “you will see profit in no time”. How long it will take until you will see the results of implementing your blog? I am a serious person, I really work hard in this business. Your comment was not nice.

    Comment by Kondiment
    August 15th, 2008 @ 8:09 am

  • Mark says:

    @Kondiment

    It will take as long as it takes to get the blog and social promoting running. So you could see a return in 48 hours I guess?

    Serious person? Got offended? Try
    php include(“senseofhumour.php”)

    Comment by Mark
    August 15th, 2008 @ 9:15 am

  • Kondiment says:

    I have sense of humor, all my friends say that. I am an optimistic person and known for my humor. But… many people think bad about Romanians, and they think that we know to do only one thing… which is not true. Every country has bad people and good people and we should not categorize people after their country. Sorry if I was a little direct.

    Comment by Kondiment
    August 15th, 2008 @ 9:38 am

  • Mark says:

    I’m sorry, when did become a racial issue? It didn’t even cross my mind you’re Romanian That would have been my response if the Queen of England had left your comment.

    Comment by Mark
    August 15th, 2008 @ 10:11 am

  • Ryan Blakemore says:

    You missed a semi colon on that include.

    Comment by Ryan Blakemore
    August 15th, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  • Roman says:

    Kondiment: STFU
    Mark: excellent post 😀

    Comment by Roman
    August 16th, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

  • Luke says:

    Yeah, another great post Mark – I’ve been missing them! For us gonadlass grey hatters it would be nice to have a subtle link to the original site – particularly when the content we’re “re-purposing” is original. WP-o-matic used to do this well, but with the most recent upgrade … not so much.

    Comment by Luke
    August 18th, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

  • Torben says:

    Mark, nice post! I have a question though: are the ping-services that I added in the wordpress settings under “Write” pinged with the new posts the feedwordpress-script adds? I cant stop the impression that this is not the case because the adding of those new posts goes SO fast. When I write something manually and then post it, it takes about 30 seconds until all ping-services have been pinged.

    If the feedwordspress script does NOT ping the posts it makes to the services, is there a way to make it do that?

    Comment by Torben
    August 19th, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  • Mark says:

    @Ryan Blakemore

    So, when did you get your badge for the official pseudo-code police? (:

    Comment by Mark
    August 20th, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

  • Alles Klar says:

    I got AutoStumble a few months ago when it cost 10pounds. I did not run it for a while and upon trying a few days ago, it gives me the following message:
    ‘this version is no longer supported, download the new version.’
    Of course there is no way to download a new version without buying a new one.
    Is this a scam? what should I do?

    Comment by Alles Klar
    August 21st, 2008 @ 1:22 pm

  • Mark says:

    @Alles Klar

    Yeah, it’s a total scam. I got your money hahahahaha…. Or you can download the new version http://www.autostumble.net/autostumble.zip

    Comment by Mark
    August 21st, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

  • Alles Klar says:

    Thanks Mark. It works again.

    Comment by Alles Klar
    August 21st, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

  • Colin says:

    Does auto stumble discover the url for you as well as stumbling? Or do you have to do that part yourself?

    Comment by Colin
    August 27th, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

  • Mark says:

    The site must be discovered by you (or someone else) before it can be put into AutoStumble.

    SU uses reCAPTCHA, which is one of the hardest CAPTCHA systems to break. The best I’ve seen is around a 20% success rate, which isn’t really good enough.

    Comment by Mark
    August 27th, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

  • Chuck says:

    Mark,

    This is amazing stuff that you share with us. Thank you for being so generous and sharing.

    Chuck

    Comment by Chuck
    September 8th, 2008 @ 1:39 am

  • uncguy says:

    any recommendations on monetizing? i’m a little hesitant to use adsense. any good CPM options?

    Comment by uncguy
    September 9th, 2008 @ 9:05 pm

  • zack says:

    how much would anyone charge me to set-up or make a how-to video?

    Comment by zack
    September 15th, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

  • SEOserpent says:

    You got a script to strip out google ads from existing feeds or do I need to write that one myself? 😉

    Comment by SEOserpent
    October 10th, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

  • AskiKaOwnzYou says:

    I have over 20 websites & currently make around $100 per month maximum, then i started working with TV repair store and Adwords, boosted me to $700AUD per week with minimal efforts…

    Now with your blog here, I think you’ve set me free man… Once I’ve Finished with your site and make money thanks to your advice, I’m going to give you a BIG BIG donation :) You’re the best man…

    Comment by AskiKaOwnzYou
    October 12th, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

  • graham says:

    Does AutoStumble still work with the update to the stumble network?

    Comment by graham
    December 7th, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

  • admin says:

    @Graham

    Yes it still works great. I’m also looking at getting a new version with a raft of new features out in the new year!

    Comment by admin
    December 11th, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

  • Digerati Marketing CURL Page Scraping Script says:

    […] is one of the most important things I do when creating databases. I’m not just talking about scraping pages and reposting here, […]

    Comment by Digerati Marketing CURL Page Scraping Script
    December 16th, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

  • mperry says:

    The feeds return only summaries…do we care about that? Asking only cos adsense needs more keywords to send the right ads.

    Comment by mperry
    January 7th, 2009 @ 9:25 am

  • Mark says:

    @mperry

    That depends on the feed settings. if the blog owner only has snippets in RSS feeds, then snippets is all you’ll get. If it’s a full feed, you’ll get that.

    You could use this page scraping script:

    http://www.digeratimarketing.co.uk/2008/12/16/curl-page-scraping-script/

    To scrape the pages and put it into an RSS feed yourself (:

    Comment by Mark
    January 7th, 2009 @ 9:55 am

  • Federick says:

    Apart from feedwordpress there are many other automated tools which can also be used like WP-O-Matic which is free to use.

    Comment by Federick
    January 17th, 2009 @ 11:45 am

  • Leo says:

    Thanks Mark for the great post. I really like the idea but i didn’t understand this part of your article “If you?re going to do this, you may as well make your cookie cutter solution as good as it can be.”, could you explain please?Thank you

    Comment by Leo
    February 22nd, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

  • Andrew Smith says:

    Well looks like the autostumble tool no longer works. Shame as it was a great product. Anyone going to update it?

    Comment by Andrew Smith
    June 29th, 2009 @ 12:02 am

  • garrett says:

    Mark, followed this post to the T but where did autostumble go?

    Comment by garrett
    July 6th, 2009 @ 5:38 am

  • Mark says:

    Autostumble is down for the moment as SU changed how their voting process works and quite frankly I don’t have time to redo it.

    I’ll be relaunching in the future with some extras though, so there is some auto-hope of sorts.

    Comment by Mark
    July 16th, 2009 @ 9:41 pm