Sometimes the sheer size of the tasks and activities involved in running a blog can simply be overwhelming. With tasks ranging from crafting and developing expert articles to monitoring traffic and tracking your earnings, blogging has come a long way since the early days. Today, many people still tackle lots of blogging tasks head-on, adopting what I call the “bull” approach, charging forward, while using the dexterity and skill to keep up to date. That is not to say that automation isn’t on its way in, in fact lots of bloggers automate tasks by breaking it down into smaller units and allocating a particular system or application the job of handling it.
For starters, we are only human and are prone to make mistakes due to the stress involved in creation and managing content on our sites. So one of the very obvious benefits of automation is that it helps you focus on what is important, allowing you to delegate content to various apps, software, applets and systems. It also increases productivity and since it is pretty neat, helps in keeping track of changes on our various platforms. That said, it is also worthy to note that automation could have a few disadvantages with a slight bug in a plugin or system resulting in loss of data, site failure as well as other unique problematic scenarios. But still, it is my honest belief that a blogger deserves some moments of respite and as such should be afforded a few moments free from the hassles of blog posting and updating, hence the need for automation.
How do I automate my blog?
Automation of blogs, involves breaking down the process into various step by step processes and distributing the workload to code driven platforms that can execute these processes as well as maintain quality and consistency. So how do you automate your blog so it is almost self-sufficient in most or all areas?
Many people underestimate the power of a proper back up, preferring to let their web hosting service provide back up for them. This is very problematic in so many ways. I for one never felt too comfortable having my site data as well as files backed up by same server hosting my blog or website. What if I were hacked? What if the server was hacked? What if it gets damaged? So many questions from that line of thought, so it is natural for you to want to safely protect your data as well as have control over it. So I will now explore some of the best ways to automatically back up your site as well as all its data.
Use of automated backup apps and plugin (For Word Press).
Backing up your site is really easy and most times dependent on your web hosting service. One of the easiest ways to automate backup, is via the use of backup plugins. From Backup Buddy, to Updraft Plus to VaultPress, there are lots of plugins to allow for backup of data on your site. I especially recommend using Updraft Plus as it provides most of the features necessary for an auto backup. You can schedule backups on anyone of these tools, so that your backup runs automatically on any of these at a scheduled time and without much directive and input from you. It also allows you to connect to multiple cloud services including drop box, Amazon S3 as well as Google drive, that way, you know your files are secure and safe on a different server from one that hosts your site.
How do I create an automatic back up system on my WordPress site?
1. Download and install the Updraft Plus plugin for your site.
2. Open your plugin menu and select “Installed plugins”.
3. Scroll down to and locate your UpdraftPlus Plugin, select “Install”.
4. After Install you can now select “Settings”
5. When the plugin interface opens you can now select the frequency you want for your backup.
6. Select the cloud service to host your site (I’m using drop box because it is really easy to use and accessible, as well as free).
7. Scroll down and save changes.
8. Your selected cloud service generates a link that can now be used to authenticate your account. Follow the link and you have your accounts automatically set up and ready to run without your input.
Use of Automated Third Party backup software(For Godaddy, wix e.t.c)
Since there is an internet outside WordPress (I had seriously forgotten that, since WordPress powers majority of the internet sites available), it is a joy to know that you can automate backup for your site. But it is best to engage your webhost customer care on the best applications on their platform for back-up automation.
Automate Social Media posting and Update:
Sometimes, creating great content alone isn’t enough to get you on the “bloggers map”, sometimes it is paramount to know that you have to create lots of content as well as find ways to share your work on social media. Automating social media is one of the easiest form of blog automation and has been done for a long time now. Yet it is hard to find that one tool that does it all for you. Personally, I prefer an app named IFTTT (Meaning If this then that). IFTTT allows the user run applets that allow you to trigger tasks provided a certain condition is met. I recently created a new applet that tweets my latest blogpost on my twitter account, then created another that shares my latest twitter link post on Facebook and so on. Using tiny applets that run simultaneously, I am able to update my social media pages with the latest info from my blog. Though IFTTT is limited in reach to other social media sites like Instagram and LinkedIn, it is a handy automation tool. If you want more flexibility and don’t mind splashing the cash to get some extra reach you could use Hootsuite which is capable of managing many social media applications from a single dashboard. Other really prominent automation tools for Updating Social Media include Zapier, Buffer and Feedly.
How do I automate my social media sharing with IFTTT?
1. Visit play store or any android as well as iOS store and install the IFTTT app.
2. Launch the app, and in the bottom bar, select the “My applets”.
3. Select the giant plus sign at the top, please select the blue “+” sign.
6. It takes you back to a screen where you have to select the blue “+” button, search and select the twitter applet.
7. Select a suitable action from the options listed below.
8. Select “Finish” in the app preview that launches and you have created an automatic applet for updating your twitter account with information about your latest post.
It is worthy to note that the process can be repeated on any number of social networking site connected to the IFTTT site and therefore creating room for automation of social media posting.
Automate content creation:
In recent years, Natural Language Generation (NLG) has taken centre stage, with lots of tools today allowing content creators to automatically create content with pre designed templates. All you have to do is work in the data. Though not effective in every niche, but a handy tool nonetheless for those that use it.
- Automating Content Creation with NLG:
So how do you automate content creation for niches that need it? Well, first off you need a very good Natural Language Generator, there are quite a few NLGs available in the market and many of them like Yseop, Arria, Quill and the like allowing users to automatically develop content by just feeding in a data set which is analysed and displayed in a pre-set template allowing bloggers to automatically create and manage web-content with ease. Then you need a data set that is run in through the system allowing it to create and tell stories from it using custom templates. To understand how this works, you can visit the Articulator-Lite website (This is a site that allows you to create and run your own NLG applets).
- Automating content creation with Auto blogging tools:
Technically, this is not a way of creating content but it is a great way of making already existing content available to new audiences. With the use of multiple auto blogging tools, content from another site’s RSS feeds is made available on a different site. This is also assuming that the license for that particular content is yours or maybe even covered under creative commons treatise, allowing you access to its content. So another great way of automating content creation on your blog is via the use of auto blogging tools.
Marketing of ones content and products is crucial to the success of any blog. That’s why there are a variety of automation tools that you could use for marketing purposes. These tools, each with its own features fit various marketing plans and scenarios. However I would recommend Customer.io as it is made to send out emails based on certain events taking place. It allows you to utilize real time behavioural data to create automated marketing campaigns. Instructions on how to setup and use Customer.io is available on their website. Marketo and Eloqua are two more marketing tools that work on automated settings allowing bloggers to focus on other tasks while creating a fully automated marketing system. For a more thorough way to set up and use tools for Automating marketing click here.
Automate SEO for your site:
SEO automation can be done for your site in variety of ways. One way of automating it is through outsourcing. Having a dedicated team of experts or people more knowledgeable in SEO than you handle the job (This isn’t technically automating). In some cases plugins like WordLift which uses AI, are used to totally optimize the SEO process, taking out the need for experts and human input altogether.
It is no secret that google analytics is one of the most important and robust tools for bloggers today, allowing you to track your return on investment (ROI). It also allows you track activities on social networking sites as well as monitor general stats like visitors or subscribers for your site and blog. Various features allow you automate your emailing schedule as well as control how data on your site is reported and used. Though Google analytics is good, it has some few kinks that need to be worked out though. But have no fear, this is not to say that there aren’t other automated analytics tools available for you. You could go big and try out some other analytics software like Bitly and Piwik, which could offer you various levels of automation.
In general automation is easy, but has to be considered carefully and diligently. Automation can take a great deal of stress off your shoulders and provide you with lots of opportunities to setup your blog on autopilot, while you worry about expansion and management of the business. Found anything new? Or have an idea on a really cool automation practice I must have missed? Please feel free to comment below.
Guest article written by: Kwanga Akura, about.me/kwanga.robert