WordPress Help! Automating Blog Creation...

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#automating #blog #creation #wordpress
  • Profile picture of the author SebastianJ
    Hey Mike!

    I was in the exact same situation as you were. I'm pretty new to Internet Marketing, but I'm one heck of a programmer (or well, at least that's what my ego's telling me ;D). To try to make some cash on the interwebs I decided to go the auto-blogging route using wordpress. I wrote my own auto-blogging plugin from scratch (if you know a thing or two about programming, you'll see that WPRobot is extremely poorly programmed) and I also created a custom Wordpress theme optimized for promoting amazon, commission junction and ebay products. So far, all well.

    When I started to actually create these auto blog-sites, I pretty much instantly came to grips with that it took ages to actually set them up. Like you, among other things I had to:
    - Activate my theme and set theme settings
    - Set up a lot of pages (privacy policy, terms and conditions, contact etc. etc.)
    - Create the navigation menus (Wp 3.0 menus)
    - Create the categories I usually use
    - Activate loads of plugins and set their settings (according to my needs)
    - Set amazon public/private keys, ebay api keys etc. for my auto-blogging plugin
    - and a bunch of other stuff.

    In essence, it took me 1-2 hours just to set this basic stuff up (no article writing, no header design, nada, null, zero). After doing 3 blogs I realized that I had to do something to speed everything up (My goal is to make 500 of these blogs, so everything I can optimize is golden...). What I did was to create yet another plugin, that does the following for me:
    - Activates my theme and sets the relevant settings for it
    - Generates all of the pages for me (creating privacy policy, terms and conditions etc. pages from templates, as well as setting the page template for pages that uses page templates)
    - Creates two WP 3.0 navigation menus with the pages it created in the step before
    - Activates all the plugins I use for my auto-blog and update the plugins settings according to my needs
    - Sets the correct amazon keys, ebay api keys etc. for my auto-blog plugin so that it can auto-post stuff to my blog.
    - + a bunch of other cool stuff.

    To set up a new auto-blog, everything I do right now is just to upload everything to my hostgator account, perform the initial wordpress-setup and then activate my "Auto Blog Initializer"-plugin - and I'm all set!

    Now it takes me roughly 1 hour to set up an entire auto-blog with privacy policy, terms & conditions etc. pages, 30-50 blog posts, a custom header and a 300-500 word unique article for the front page (that I actually write myself). As soon as I've got my first batch of these blogs making substantial cash, I'll also outsource article writing so that I hopefully can set up an entire auto blog with all the content in 10-15 minutes. That would be awesome
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    There several ways to do this.

    One - create a skeleton install in your hosting and use it for new sites (that means no more FTPing required, all files already there as soon as you create the new hosting plan.

    Use a tool like Firepow and give it your ftp details then tick a few boxes. (there are other tools that do this, I'm testing on for a fellow warrior right now).

    Outsource it.

    Make a little video and then just have a VA that does this for you. You can get it done for $5 or less.
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  • Profile picture of the author niffybranco
    Have a look at WP ManagerDX - WordPress Blog Installer and Manager with Multiple Blogs Install it's not free but the time it will save you is well worth it.
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  • Profile picture of the author tecHead
    I've done this for myself; as well as set up a situation like Andy mentioned. Without getting too technical, (and giving away some trade secrets heh); the majority of WP is housed in the DB.

    So, one of the biggest time savers you can employ is to get your default config straight; including plug-ins and their settings and then do a DB dump. Then take that SQL file and drop it in each new WP installation.

    Some plug-ins don't like being handled like this, so you might have to do some tweaking; usually minor. I tend to find alternatives to the sensitive ones.

    OK, that's it. That's all I'm givin' up.

    HTH
    PLP,
    tecHead
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    • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
      Originally Posted by tecHead View Post

      I've done this for myself; as well as set up a situation like Andy mentioned. Without getting too technical, (and giving away some trade secrets heh); the majority of WP is housed in the DB.

      So, one of the biggest time savers you can employ is to get your default config straight; including plug-ins and their settings and then do a DB dump. Then take that SQL file and drop it in each new WP installation.

      Some plug-ins don't like being handled like this, so you might have to do some tweaking; usually minor. I tend to find alternatives to the sensitive ones.

      OK, that's it. That's all I'm givin' up.

      HTH
      PLP,
      tecHead
      Yes - I would do this - a default vanilla config. Get a database backup plugin, and there's also a plugin that will package up your themes and plugins as a zip and save it on your server or email it. Get that too. Once you have the standard setup done, backup and export the database info. Grab the theme/plugin files.

      Then, when you have a base WP install, you can drop in the themes/plugins, copy over the database into the new site, and be good to go. As tec said, double check the plugins for config and activation issues - it'll depend on each plugin.

      But if you do it that way, you should get all the settings and configurations and everything in one swoop.

      If you wanted a plugin to maybe usefully reverse engineer if you were going to hire a coder, there's one called SEO Tweaks that basically configures wordpress itself for SEO and then installs its own plugins as well.

      Possibly you could get your own plugin made like this and make it just a single activation that will configure everything in one shot. If you do get that made, let me know, because I want one.
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    • Profile picture of the author tht222
      Originally Posted by tecHead View Post

      I've done this for myself; as well as set up a situation like Andy mentioned. Without getting too technical, (and giving away some trade secrets heh); the majority of WP is housed in the DB.

      So, one of the biggest time savers you can employ is to get your default config straight; including plug-ins and their settings and then do a DB dump. Then take that SQL file and drop it in each new WP installation.

      Some plug-ins don't like being handled like this, so you might have to do some tweaking; usually minor. I tend to find alternatives to the sensitive ones.

      OK, that's it. That's all I'm givin' up.

      HTH
      PLP,
      tecHead

      Bingo - I have a few hundred websites and the majority of them are created on my computer - I never log into WP in order to add a post, etc. All you have to do is upload the WP files, edit the sql file on your HD, and then import the database. And if you have a super-large database that you need to import, use bigdump and you are golden - you can add thousands of posts all at once, schedule them, rotate them, you name it...

      Typically I use 2-3 plugins though, one for caching (if the site is large), one for post shifting (when I need that), and then one or two more for whatever else I need.
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      • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
        Originally Posted by tht222 View Post

        Bingo - I have a few hundred websites and the majority of them are created on my computer - I never log into WP in order to add a post, etc. All you have to do is upload the WP files, edit the sql file on your HD, and then import the database. And if you have a super-large database that you need to import, use bigdump and you are golden - you can add thousands of posts all at once, schedule them, rotate them, you name it...

        Typically I use 2-3 plugins though, one for caching (if the site is large), one for post shifting (when I need that), and then one or two more for whatever else I need.
        You know, it's funny - I hadn't thought about it that way until now but a lot of people (myself included) just totally forget that Wordpress is a database driven site, and you can just get right in there if you know what you're doing. I tend to think I need a gui in the admin for some stuff when it's really not necessary.
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        • Profile picture of the author tecHead
          Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

          You know, it's funny - I hadn't thought about it that way until now but a lot of people (myself included) just totally forget that Wordpress is a database driven site, and you can just get right in there if you know what you're doing. I tend to think I need a gui in the admin for some stuff when it's really not necessary.
          I used to argue that there's nothing special about WP except for their ability to position themselves better than other blog platforms. WP actually has a very interesting; (kinda Bill Gates-DOS-stolen-IBM-ish); history if you care to do the research.

          Anyway... yeah, its just a database at the core. Its why sites based on Joomla do just as well, (if not better), than WP sites. The tool is only as good as the carpenter. The thing that scares people is MySQL on top of the scary database structure.

          Lotta people get intimidated by just the word database, alone. Add words like dynamic and MySQL and you see them running for the hills arms flaying about and screaming bloody massacre.
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          • Profile picture of the author Mike Burngasser
            Thanks for all the replies so far.

            It seems I'm at the beginning of a long road that many of you have already been down...

            Anyhow, I'm leaning toward making a new blog with all the general (non-niche-specific) plugin settings in place. Then, I'll just download the database to my hard drive and upload this database to each new blog.

            I'm hoping this should cut down on at least 1/2 the work immediately. I'll just outsource the mindless site-specific settings for $2-$5 per site.

            (boring stuff like getting LSI keywords from the Google keyword tool and pasting them into Platinum SEO as site keywords)

            Or, I might actually consider WPmage or CB Predators as a full on automation tool. Mage looks pretty nice, but I'll have to pull $1000 out of thin air... (or thin wallet as it would be)

            For now, it looks like I will just have to copy my databases and manually fill in the details.

            If anyone has any tips for doing this database upload, please let me know. I'm fairly n00b-o-rific when it comes to any type of coding or database work...
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            • Profile picture of the author tecHead
              Originally Posted by Mike Burngasser View Post

              Thanks for all the replies so far.

              It seems I'm at the beginning of a long road that many of you have already been down...

              Anyhow, I'm leaning toward making a new blog with all the general (non-niche-specific) plugin settings in place. Then, I'll just download the database to my hard drive and upload this database to each new blog.

              I'm hoping this should cut down on at least 1/2 the work immediately. I'll just outsource the mindless site-specific settings for $2-$5 per site.

              (boring stuff like getting LSI keywords from the Google keyword tool and pasting them into Platinum SEO as site keywords)

              Or, I might actually consider WPmage or CB Predators as a full on automation tool. Mage looks pretty nice, but I'll have to pull $1000 out of thin air... (or thin wallet as it would be)

              For now, it looks like I will just have to copy my databases and manually fill in the details.

              If anyone has any tips for doing this database upload, please let me know. I'm fairly n00b-o-rific when it comes to any type of coding or database work...
              WPmage is cool; works better when you tweak it, though. All in all, I'd say its worth the price tag; (and I don't say that about much).

              You can make the whole database migration thing easier by purchasing a software called Navicat; (its about $100). Its a MySQL DB manager that will allow you to connect to multiple DBs on multiple hosts in one central desktop application. I use it all the time and love it.

              HTH
              PLP,
              tecHead
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  • Profile picture of the author Greg Jacobs
    lol. that looks like the list I used to have....
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    • Profile picture of the author Softlan
      Originally Posted by Greg Jacobs View Post

      lol. that looks like the list I used to have....
      Why did you quit with all the plugins ? Isnt it true that if you too many plugins the wordpress will go slower ?

      Thanks

      Kim
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  • Profile picture of the author Innercore
    I think some of the tools can do the above with a price tag.
    1. NiffyBranco has already mentioned one: WP Manager DX
    2.iThemes has released one plugin: BackupBuddy - This plugin clones the settings and the theme.

    Thanks
    Jay
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  • Profile picture of the author Cataclysm1987
    Woah. Was that...WP Mage guy? Really? Shouldn't he be on a yacht somewhere?
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  • Profile picture of the author khay
    That's an insane amount of plugins!

    Though with WP3.0 you can easily add sub-blogs and use a domain management tool to point all domains to one install each using their own blogs. Then you're just adding a domain and configuring plugins. Should cut your setup time down a fair bit.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ian Malone
    ive just bought wpmage last week id rather go with the easier option for creating new sites and need it as automated as possible so fingers crossed that wpmage works out for me im in the process of getting a site built for EPN approval and if anyone seen Greg Jacobs speaking at the clickbank seminar last week he mentioned what top marketers were using his system and there was a lot so that gives me the confidence that wpmage is a mega system
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  • Profile picture of the author mktbiz
    not sure about the restore capabilities of the BackWPup plugin but the ithemes.com backup buddy backs up database and files and allows you to recover to another site without installing wordpress (just restores the one you backed up). If you built a model one and just did the restore to the new site then you would just need to tweak the site for the site specific stuff. It should retain all the settings according to what I read about it.

    Also I think someone mentioned WP managerDX which might do what you want. Also a bumped WSO on building a website in 2 min looks like it is moving in that direction but can't currently do what you want - price is low and includes lifetime upgrades if it looks like it might eventually have what you want might be worth picking up.

    Rick
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  • Profile picture of the author nvs74191
    There is a WSO on a product called the blog zapper.

    It helps you to completely clone a blog (backup and restore) in a matter of few minutes.

    Icreate an empty blog with all settings, plugins, the theme I want active. I configure the plugins the way I want, and then run this script. It prompts you to create backup or install backup.

    For your model blog, you choose create backup, and download the backup file this script gives. Next you upload this and the php file to your target blog, and click install backup. Viola! your new site is ready for you to post your content.

    The one thing it does not do is to automate the sub domain creation and database creation. If this can do these also, I would be able to create a blog every 5 minutes, fully ready for me to just post the content.
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    • Profile picture of the author Norma Rickman
      I make myself a "Super Plugin" to install that speeds things up when making a new blog. Instead of installing plugins individually, this really helps. And with as many plugins as you're installing it should help you too.

      Try this:

      1-Unzip all the files you want to compile into the super plugin on your machine

      2-place all the files you have from that task in a single file called "giant" or whatever you like

      3-right click >> send to zip (if you plan to use cpanel to upload-no need to zip if you plan to ftp)

      4-Upload and unzip to plugins folder in cpanel

      5-go to dash board and check for desired plugins

      6-If you are missing one go back to cpanel

      7-find plugin name and open that file

      8-select all files

      9-move to plugins folder

      10-back to dashboard, files should be there and ready to activate

      You just have to watch that you don't include plugins where you have to move files to other folders besides the plugins folder here.

      When you're done, mass activate them.

      I use this to make things easier, and I've just started using WP 3.0 multisite to streamline things even further. That way you can upload your plugins to a number of sites at the same time.

      Hope this helps,

      -N.
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  • Profile picture of the author CyberCoder
    Couple things I do to speed it up.

    1.) Use NameCheap.com for registrar, have DNS settings in default profile, never have to change those. When I register new site, DNS is ready to go.

    2.) I use Dreamhost so there is no CPanel, and I can copy a theme folder, and plugin folder from one site to another with a couple clicks. No need for FTP.

    Side note: after several years of testing, realized no need for all those plugins. Improved my theme to include anything that was really necessary.

    I can setup WP in about 15-30 minutes total, have indexed usually within a few hours.
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    • Profile picture of the author Softlan
      Originally Posted by CyberCoder View Post

      Couple things I do to speed it up.

      1.) Use NameCheap.com for registrar, have DNS settings in default profile, never have to change those. When I register new site, DNS is ready to go.

      2.) I use Dreamhost so there is no CPanel, and I can copy a theme folder, and plugin folder from one site to another with a couple clicks. No need for FTP.

      Side note: after several years of testing, realized no need for all those plugins. Improved my theme to include anything that was really necessary.

      I can setup WP in about 15-30 minutes total, have indexed usually within a few hours.
      For now iam using godaddy and hostgator reseller....But how do I get a godaddy account auction ? I see some, but it is limited....does anyone know if it cost extra ?

      Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author magicjg
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    All that stuff is pretty much possible now with WordPress 3.x - the capability is there, built-in...
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  • Profile picture of the author mnonline
    Seem to be a lot of work to be done. I rather outsource these too. Too much work and time involved.
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  • Profile picture of the author WPTotalBackup
    Holy cow that is A LOT of work. I would pay someone $10 and outsource it. That would free up your time to create more blogs and make up the difference.
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  • Profile picture of the author lefty359
    You can get Expert Wordpress for $17. You can install a WP site 1 click and a whole
    lot of plugins are there already activated. And it's supposed to be a more secure install than Fantastico. Easy as pie. I love it.
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  • Profile picture of the author M7D
    I am new here. First comment. Can anyone recommend a good inexpensive WP installer person/consultant/VA that they use in a PM to me? This would be someone who can put together a WP "stack" complete with plugins and theme and then dump it so that I can use it as a skeleton. I am a software engineer by training, but I just don't want to do it myself. Hopefully I am not hijacking this thread, I apologize if I am.
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