≡ Menu




WP Robot Plugin for WordPress

A while back I wrote about using WP Robot for automatic content creation.  I was playing around with simple sites that create their own content, mostly using WP Robot and eBay affiliate feeds.  WP Robot is a WordPress plugin that is able to grab content from a variety of sources and post it to your blog.

I recently found a new use for WP Robot, so I wanted to mention that, in addition to giving an update on two years of WP Robot posts on a couple of sites.

Automated Content Creation

As I’d written about in the original post, I was trying WP Robot out on Outdoor Game Reviews & Outdoor Game Bargains.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve more or less left these two sites alone.  I’ll occasionally add games to the Review site, but the Bargains site is an eBay affiliate site, which indexes a few different Outdoor Games.

It didn’t take long to realize that Google was pretty adept at ignoring the posts created by WP Robot.  Whether for issues with duplicate content or some other reason, very few of these blog pages are indexed.  Both sites have continued to create posts, but neither one has seen increases in traffic due to the auto-created content.  In fact, I’d almost guess they’ve been indexed less because of it.  The Bargains site is virtually dead, and the OGR site only sees traffic to the pages I’ve created with reviews, but almost nothing goes to the blog portion.

Beyond the lack of additional traffic generated by the WP Robot posts, a lot of the posts that have been created have veered pretty far off topic.  You can set keywords, but it’s a unique challenge to try to pick keywords that don’t overlap in to other areas.  OGR has created posts at a pretty steady rate, but I think you eventually run out of good content for WP Robot to pull, so it pulls whatever else it can find… which isn’t much.

The end result of almost 2 years of WP Robot content?  Pretty little benefit.  In fact, I think I’ll be removing the posts from OGR to see if I can improve it’s standing in Google by removing the content that they aren’t indexing anyway.  I’ll dig in to OGB, but I may remove things there, too.

New Uses for WP Robot

Given my lack of benefit from WP Robot in the past, you might think I’d be sour on it.  Not at all, actually.  I’ve recently found a use for WP Robot that I’m very happy with.  It’s not the hands-off content creator I’d originally hoped for, but it is serving a purpose.

I’ve got a few sites where video content is a great benefit to the site.  I’ve recently started posting video content to 3 sites with the help of WP Robot.  Cornhole Game Builders, Outdoor Game Players, and Play Drinking Games now have video content.

I’ve found that WP Robot doesn’t do a great job of formatting content, or always picking the correct content, but it does do a heck of a job finding content.  WP Robot is able to create posts in Draft mode, which lets you review or revise them before they are posted.

In the case of the video feeds like I’m doing, I let WP Robot create a new YouTube Draft post about once a week.  Whenever I have time, I go to the site and browse through the Drafts.  I toss the videos that suck right away.  The videos I like, I’ll watch and write a few paragraphs of my own text.  This allows me to format the post I I’d like, and create some unique content to supplement the video.  It’s really easy to quickly describe a video, and the text gives Google something to reference with crawling the page.  I can quickly turn 4 or 5 drafts in to posts, then schedule them to publish over the next few weeks.  An hour of video watching provides me over a month of blog posts!

Another thing to mention is that I’m now using WP Robot on sites that were already working.  All 3 of these sites already had well indexed content, but I was using WordPress Pages, not Posts.  I had the blog portion of my website sitting unused.  WP Robot gives me an easy, semi-automated option for utilizing something that’s already built in to my site, but not being used.  While this content may not create a ton of additional traffic, there’s something it’s doing that can’t be directly measured.  It’s actually providing a better user experience!

For all three sites, I’m able to supplement the existing content with video examples.  People can see visual examples for the Drinking Games I’ve already written rules for, they can watch people play games I’ve featured on Outdoor Game Players, or people can see people actually building the boards they’re learning how to build on Cornhole Game Builders.  All 3 sites are better for the visitor because of the videos.  In the end, that may cause them to share the site with somebody else or create that coveted backlink on their blog or website.

So is WP Robot worth it?  All depends on how you plan to use it.  Customizing the content for your own needs is key.  Just setting it up and assuming it’ll create quality content for your website probably won’t work.  Use it to supplement your content, or gather content for you, and you might just be as happy as I am with it right now.

{ 0 comments }

WP Robot Autoblogging Plugin for WordPress

Over the last few years, I’ve accumulated a bunch of domain names.  Many of them are to protect some of my existing names.  Others are just names that I wanted to hold on to and use later.  Oddly enough, in the world of Cornhole there is a LOT of competition for domain names.  I might have come late to the party, but I feel like I’ve got a few that are decent.

I’d love to stick something on a bunch of these domains, especially the ones that I purchased to protect another domain.  It’s a heck of a lot more productive than a redirect, right?

I decided to purchase WP Robot to use for basic content creation on some of these sites.  I certainly don’t have the time or energy to product quality content, but I wanted to see how well WP Robot might be able to perform for me.

About WP Robot

WP Robot is an easy to use autoblogging plugin for WordPress that allows you to turn your blog on auto-pilot. Posts are created with fresh content in regular intervals that you specify. The posts created will be targeted to any keyword you enter and any topic you want. WP Robot can post content from many different sources, including Amazon, Clickbank, Youtube and eBay!

Using WP Robot to Create Content

I’ve been running WP Robot on a couple of sites now for about a month.  I wouldn’t say I’ve seen a huge increase in traffic, but I do feel like the content it’s finding is applicable to my website, and it looks like it should be good for me in the long run.

A good example is my “Outdoor Game Bargains” site.  It’s just a basic eBay affiliate site, so there’s not a lot of static content.  I figured WP Robot would be perfect to give this site a little bit more than just eBay feeds.  I wasn’t using the blog anyway, so it made sense.

Depending on the content of your site, I think WP Robot is a very versatile tool.  For my games sites, the YouTube module is great.  If your site has a topic that many people have written about, the Article module would help you create great content.  You can even have it change some of the language for you to avoid duplicate content penalties.  You get to set all of the keywords, remove certain keywords, and set percentages that the different modules are used.  I really like the Yahoo Answers and YouTube modules.

Like I said, I’ve only added this to a couple of my sites so far, but my results have been pretty good.  If you’ve got some extra domains, WP Robot might be a good way to create content and grab a few visitors.

I’m currently testing WP Robot on Outdoor Game Reviews & Outdoor Game Bargains.

Have you ever used anything similar?  Any experience with WP Robot?

{ 1 comment }

change-hosting

This week was another web ‘first’ for me.  I moved this site to a new host!  It really wasn’t very complicated, but I ran into a few speed-bumps.  I’ll run through a few things I had to do.

There were 2 major obstacles for me.  First off, I’m running WordPress for this blog, and needed to move my posts, etc. to the new host.  Second, I needed to make the URL point to the new host, and not this old one.

Moving WordPress

First off – before you do anything else – back up EVERYTHING.  Back up the files on your host, your databases, settings… anything you can think of.  It’ll save you later if anything goes foul.

I had done some online research for ways of moving WordPress.  Some would have you create the exact database names, tables, etc. on your new host, but that seemed like a lot more work than I was interested in.  I decided to try the ‘easy’ way, first.  The easy way was simply to do an export from the WordPress Admin panel that can then be imported into a new WordPress installation.  You can do that by clicking Export under the Tools menu in your sidebar.  Once you’ve performed the export, you have a file that you can import in to a fresh WordPress installation that will restore all of your post content.  That covers your content, but you’ll also need to copy the folder with all of your media over.  You can find that at root/wp-content/uploads/.

That covers most of your content, but there are a couple additional things that’ll help you get your new install to match your old one.  First is plugins.  Back up all of your plugins to your local drive, then upload them to your new host.  Once they’re uploaded, you’ll just need to activate them from the admin panel.  Some of them will of course need some additional configuring.  Once your plugins are good to go, you have one last thing you may choose to do.  If you’ve used any Text widgets, you might want to copy the code out of them so you’ll have it for your new install.  This might include things like AdSense, graphics, etc.  I forgot to do this when moving my site, and it was a pain to recreate what I’d done previously…

Now that you’ve got all of your goods ready to use on your new install, you’ll need to install WordPress at your new location.  I’m switching from GoDaddy to Host Gator.  One of the best things about Host Gator is Fantastico De Luxe.  It’s kind of like cheating, it makes installing WordPress REALLY easy.  It handles the creation of a My SQL database and the process takes about a minute.  Now for the catch… you can’t get to your admin panel.  It’ll redirect to your current WordPress install on the old host.  It’s time to change the nameservers.

Changing Nameservers

There are probably ways to do this seamlessly, but I couldn’t find any — and I had the luxury of changing over a site that doesn’t get a ton of traffic.  A little down time was fine by me.

When you change the nameservers, you’re pointing your URL to the place where your website is hosted.  In my case I needed to point them to my new Host Gator installation.  You’ll find the nameserver addresses on your Host Gator control panel.  Once you have that info, go in to the GoDaddy Domain Manager.  Click on the domain you’re changing, and click Manage for the Nameservers section.  Add your two new Nameservers in the fields.  You’re done!  Now you wait.  This process can be quick… or it can take a while, up to 72 hours.  Check your site often to see if the change has taken place ( probably an hour or two ).  This is a good time to upload your Uploads folder, Plugins, and Theme so they’ll be ready.

Once you’re rerouted, get into your WordPress install and Import the file you Exported earlier.  Then install your theme and activate your plugins. Next check your settings – permalinks, blog address, number of posts shown, etc.  Check your site, you should be good to go!

I’ve read this method isn’t foolproof.  You can run into issues with links changing, etc.  If it doesn’t work, you may have to opt for one of the more complicated methods.  Cross your fingers, maybe you’ll get lucky like I was.

I’ll hit on it in the future, but if you need cheap, reliable hosting check out Host Gator.

{ 0 comments }

Thesis Theme for WordPress:  Options Galore and a Helpful Support Community

6 months ago I would have thought the idea of purchasing a WordPress theme was pretty inane.  I’m by no means a great designer, but I’ve been able to toss together sites, or tweak existing themes to meet my needs.

I recently learned of the Thesis Theme.  Turns out there are a LOT of blogs that are using the theme, but it’s so easy to change to suit your needs that it’s not always that obvious.  There are a few reasons that people give Thesis rave reviews.  I don’t need to go into details here, but I’ll note a few of my highlights.

My favorite thing about Thesis is that it gives you a bare bones site and lets you add or subtract from there.  Changing fonts, columns, and a bunch of other layout elements is easy, using your WordPress dashboard.  You can use the same template across several websites, and they can all look completely different!  The number of easy options that you can change through the dashboard is GREAT.

The other major thing you’ll read all about when learning about the Thesis Theme is the SEO.  The thesis theme is a really clean runnin’ wordpress theme.  They’ve stripped it down to be really friendly to Google and the other search engines.  I can’t vouch for that, necessarily, but I recently had a blog I created end up indexed on Google in under a week, coming in at #6 for the top keyword.  Impressive to me, considering I wasn’t even done designing the site yet.

The downside…  there is a steep learning curve for Thesis.  The use of “hooks” for design elements is one that you’ll have to learn about before you’re able to change your header, or move parts of the layout around.  Luckily there are a ton of tutorials on the ‘net to help you out, and I’ve been able to do anything I’ve needed to do so far.

Just a heads up, I’ll be writing quite a bit about Thesis in the upcoming weeks.  Just little things as I tweak and figure things out!

**NOTE** When this post was written, I this blog was not yet running Thesis. However, it is now! Almost every site I work with runs Thesis on WordPress. Use the dropdown menu at the top right of my blog to view some of my other sites.

{ 2 comments }

wordpress logoI’ve only been using WordPress for a short time.  I’m constantly finding new plugins that add great options and features.  I think part of the fun of having a blog is constantly adding new Widgets and Plugins.

When I started this site, I instantly installed several plugins to get me up and running fast.  In case this could someday help somebody else… here they are!

In no particular order…

Great Starter Plugins for WordPress

Askimet.  This one is obvious, and now comes with the WordPress install.  You’ll just need to activate it.

All in One SEO Pack – This one is great!  It helps you give all of your posts the proper metadata that you’d put on a normal webpage, like a Title, Description, and Tags.  It also manages your the titles of all of your other pages.  It’s really nice to have.

Google XML Sitemaps – This one creates a Sitemap for your site.  This is really helpful to get your site indexed by the search engines.  It also notifies Ask.com, Google, MSN Live Search and YAHOO about any changes or new posts.

Sociable – There are several options for icons, etc. to let others Share or Subscribe to your content.  I’ve tried a few, and this is my favorite.  It puts little graphics for the many Social Media sites across the bottom of your posts.  You can pick from a huge list of popular sites, then you can even reorder those to your liking.

WordPress Database Backup – This one just does what it needs to do.  It helps you back up your content on a regular basis.  It even runs on a schedule, so that you don’t have to remember.  Because, really, who remembers to back up their databases?  I wish I could find a phpBB plugin like this!

**Update** I’ve added a list of 6 additional plugins that are great when getting started with WordPress. Be sure to check them out, too!

{ 0 comments }

I just created the favicon for this site!   If you don’t know what it is, the “favicon” is the tiny graphic that shows up to the left of the URL on your browser.  It is also used in your bookmarks, and it becomes a major part of the branding of a website.

Since I just did it, I’ll run through the quick and easy steps to get it done.  There are other ways to do it, but this has always worked for me, and it’s quick.

To create a favicon.ico graphic in Photoshop, you’ll need do download the plugin from Telegraphics.

Now it’s time to create your graphic.  The final product is only 16px square.  You have to be pretty basic, or your graphic ends up being a jumbled mess.  I like to crunch down my site’s logo, or use a letter or two.

To make the graphic live, just drop it into your root directory.  That’s it!

{ 0 comments }