I was pondering about writing this post for a little while. I don’t know how “helpful” I want to be, but since I haven’t posted any useful shit in forever, why the fuck not. I saw this post by Adhustler, and I think Nickycakes wrote some shit a few weeks ago too.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been messing around with some of this stuff, so I figure I’d report my findings.
Most of this shit will sound pretty lame to paid traffic people. But I know a lot of online marketers steady spam the SERPs, get big sites up, and enjoy the steady rev-stream. And a lot of people move back and forth between traffic types, so maybe this resource might help a few people out.
Keep in mind, messing with SEO and organic traffic is not a get rick quick scheme. It takes a lot of time, and a lot of resources (good domains, money to outsource link building) if you want to get anywhere.
Matter of fact, this isn’t actually easy either. You need to know HTML, at least some basic PHP, and general internet know-how. Some of these resources claim tat you can get shit done without knowing much of the above, but I tend not to believe that bullshit.
In addition, some of this info can actually be helpful to paid traffic people. For example, if I can populate a website with a ton of info for the top 250 cities. You show a customized lander based on IP or campaign, and Google will eat that shit up. Like a dating campaign that customizes landers for the city of the visitor. Shit like that.
Data and Datafeeds
First, let’s talk about getting this data into a website.
The de-facto CMS of choice is WordPress. You can use others, like Jamoo la, but I haven’t messed with any. There are two plugins that do a good job of importing data into WordPress.
MyReviewPlugin vs ReviewPluginforWordpress
Both of these plugins have very similar features, but one is better.
My Review Plugin wins, hands down. I started off with Review Plugin for WordPress, but the documentation on it is so bad that I had to look elsewhere after many wasted hours of trying to figure shit out.
The best part about My Review Plugin is the great support. The plugin is always updated and new shit is being added all the time.
This is not a tutorial on how to use either plugin – figure that shit out on your own you lazy git.
If you haven’t used on of these plugins before, then they will create [tags] from each column, that you can use when making your template for import. For example, your title for each post could be: “Product [product_id] [product_name].” Then you drop in the [tags] for the rest of the data within the post template.
MyReviewPlugin also supports spinning syntax, which leads to endless possibilities of mass, yet unique, content creation. Not to mention, it will create reviews for your posts automatically. And it lets visitors leave ratings. And a bunch of other shit.
Clean Data is Good Data
The most important thing to know before using any of these plugins for importing data, is that your CSV file has to be on point. Clean that shit up, because what you see in that CSV is how it will display on your website.
I use Excel for messing with the data before exporting it to a CSV. Excel offers a lot of functions, most of which I don’t even know exist, that let you make data easier on the eyes. If you don’t know how to do something in Excel then Google it bitch, because you’ll find an answer in minutes.
- Proper($cell) function – Capitalizes the first letter of every word in a cell. Useful if the data you have is all lower case.
- Combine cells – example =A1&” “&A2&” “&A3. If you have a CSV with a ton of listings, and one of the columns is the state, you can use this function to create a new column like $state + sex shops = “Florida Sex Shops” which you can use in your import (in this case, which Category the post will be in.)
- Fill – if you have a formula and you want to repeat for 10,000 more rows, use the Fill command for automation-ing.
These are just a few basic examples. If you’re an Excel pro you can probably hack some cool shit together.
The main benefit of using a spreadsheet program like Excel is the ability to combine a bunch of data from different sources, into a uniform format for your site. A visual GUI is much more fun than trying to do anything similar in mySQL / phpMyadmin (or other databases).
Where to Get Data?
That’s all fine and dandy, but where do you get this data?
The internet my friends. It’s on the internet.
Product Feeds – Most affiliate networks provide product feeds. ShareaSale, CJ, and a lot of others. Keep in mind that these aren’t like your typical CPA network types of offers. They are cost per sale, and suck ass compared a $20 leadgen. But if you can do it on a big scale (which is the point), then the pennies and dollars add up.
Public and Private Resources – There are a ton of data resources out there with all sorts of information available with a simple download. Census data is just on example. You can use this kind of public data to enhance your sites with more information for people to come back for, and search engines to index.
Scrape – My friend always said, “Scraping > Raping. Hugs > Drugs.” I disagree with the latter, but if you want someone’s data then scrape that shit. You can scrape Yellow Page listings, movie databases, and pretty much anything that is on a website.
An advanced knowledge of php / CURL, or RoR, is important here. If you don’t have that, of course you can use the Ubot to make it easier on you. Even if you know how to scrape with CURL, I’d still use Ubot to save time.
OK so you have a website with a bunch of data. Or you don’t really care about data. Now what?
Autoblogging is essentially using tools to keep a blog updated consistently, so you don’t have to maintain it all that much. The majority of these tools will scrape content from a variety of sources and publish automatically to your blog. There are literally a ton of plugins that do this, and it’s very hard to sort through the shit to find the things that work.
Fortunately for you, dear reader, is that I did most of this research already. The more I think about it, the more I lean towards selling this post a $97 e-book.
Auto Blog Blueprint
A few weeks ago I did not know a thing about autoblogs. After reading some good reviews on WF about Auto Blog Blueprint, I joined. Suffice it to say, this is one of the best, if not the best, resources on autoblogging out there. Just go through the course in a day and you’ll be up to speed on all the tools and shit out there. No fluff whatsoever.
As of writing this, it’s not open anymore until Mike releases version 2.0. If autoblogging is relevant to your interests, then hit up Auto Blog Blueprint when the new shit is out.
There are a ton of plugins you can use, but there’s one I really like called WPTweetBomb. This plugin does the auto-blog thing, but integrates a number of other features. One feature being that it will tweet your posts automatically. At this point in time, I’m not entirely sure how vital twitter is, but shit, everyones using it. It gets backlinks though.
WPTweetBomb comes in two flavors. One regular (for 1 site) and Pro (for 300 sites). You might as well buy Pro because you get 299 more site licenses for like $100 more.
In addition to grabbing content from static resources, good auto-blogging tools let you use RSS feeds for content as well. You can build entire sites automatically with a single feed like this Trends from Google feed. I know someone is doing it successfully because I get their comment spam here all the time.
What’s the End Goal?
Ideally, you want to build unique sites that pull in traffic that are very hands off. Setup takes time, but once it’s going then you move onto the next one. Or you can use datafeeds and autoblogging tools to spruce up a more mundane site. (Like adding financial news to some static business website.)
For example, you can build a base with a datafeed from a CJ program. You then use autoblogging software to keep that site updated with news and stuff within that niche. Your site would start out with 5,000 indexable pages of products, and you’re adding 30 posts a day automatically. You can also drip-feed the data into posts rather than publishing several thousand pages at once.
Using the default settings on these tools is not a good idea. Toss in a few keywords and pressing Go is not going to work.
You want to create something unique, even though the data is freely available. You want to mash-up content from here and there, so you have a site that looks rich and attracts traffic. You want to present content and information in a different way.
Of course, you can toss up a ton of generic automated sites and that will work on a large scale as well.
The point is that the ideas you can come up with for using these tools are limitless. The possibilities are endless, and I can fly like an eagle.
If you’re going to dive into datafeeds and autoblogging then your end goal should be a massive network of sites. Sites in every niche doing all sorts of things that bring hits. Scale is key, no fucking doubt.
There are a number of ways to monetize these kinds of sites. You have your Adcents, which is a common staple of internet money making. You can sell banner space too. But you need serious traffic, which could take weeks or months, to see any substantial revenue.
You can build a list, and hit them with those nice e-mail only offers.
An alternative to Adcents is Prosperent. I met these dudes a few weeks ago at a meetup, and they know their shit. Prosperent will bring up a series of ads based on referring keywords. You get paid on the sale of the product, rather than a click. No company I know of offers any type of similar service.
If you have traffic already then split-test to see if Prosperent gives you a better CPM. There are also a bunch of arbitrage opportunities with this network that will not be discussed here.
You have your Amazon and eBay of course. Most autoblogging tools include the ability to monetize your site with Amazon and eBay, as well as scrape their data (listings and reviews from Amazon, and listings from eBay). To be honest, I can’t see anyone making money with eBay these days, nor Amazon with their ridiculously low commission %. Stop me if I’m wrong, but eBay can suck a nut.
Last but not least, you can base your site around a CPA offer. For example, you know the teenage girls want to make Smileys with Smiley Central. You can build an auto-blog that should blow-up with Justin Bieber traffic. For good measure, scrape a Justin Bieber picture gallery and put it on your site (cloak image traffic to a CPALead offer so they have to fill it out to see the picture). Since it’s your site, you can plaster your ads all over it, and use an exit-pop when they leave.
Rinse and repeat for 10 more teeny-bopper stars until you’re getting 20,000 uniques a day. (Easier said than done, but doable.)
Seriously, fuck Justin Beiber.
Success depends on your niche too. If you want to jump into autoblogging with a dating resource site, you might fail. For one, it’s competitive with plenty of content sites already. Certain niches are better suited for display adverting, but many niches can be successful if the majority of traffic comes from searching (over socializing).
The most ancient example of successful websites using common data are lyrics sites. Everyone loves music and everyone wants to know the lyrics to their favorite songs. These lyrics sites generate an ass-ton of traffic and make a lot of money. It seems like a few of these sites were bought up by MTV networks, so the owners must have seen a nice pay-day.
I wouldn’t jump into a lyrics site either with all the professional competition, it’s just an example.
There are a million and one kinds of websites you can mash-up with these tools. The options are seriously endless. I don’t know what else to say (this posts is 2,200 words already)
Before I bid farefull, I want to give a shout out to PPV Playbook. I always wanted to mention PPV Playbook, but didn’t want to dedicate a post to it, lest I be called a sell-out.
Anyway, their forum is top-notch and David keeps it real with a ton of case studies. It’s been a few weeks since I visited, but I’m sure it’s only gotten better. If you’re looking for a place where people talk shop rather dickroll each other, check out PPV Playbook (it’s not all about PPV). Full disclosure I get a ‘review copy plz’ for the forum, dunno if i’d pay cash money personally, but a lot of people would and should.