Blog News : Scrapes, Fakes, And Remakes

If you’re a regular reader here you know I’m a big fan of integrating a trend or news blog into your website. I think it’s a great idea for keeping things from becoming old and stale, and a fun and educational way to play some of the “freshbot” games. I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of news blogs and I’ll share my opinions on how they worked for me.

Type:News Scraper Sites
Keyword Focus: Poor
Relevancy: Poor
Traffic: Poor to Moderate
Maintenance: Minimal to Moderate
Scalability: Excellent

Yes, we’ve all seen them and some of us have even tried them. In a nutshell you take RSS, XML, or ATOM feeds from news services and plop them onto your blog. If you can find some good feeds you can get good quality, however if you are using news feeds from search engines, relevancy is really a problem. I found I was spending too much time removing non-relevant posts and I was never able to get a refined query that gave me enough volume. Additionally since many other people are using the exact same feeds, the traffic you are going to get is minimal. You can experiment with ‘mad libs’ tools and ‘uniqueifiers’ but IMHO they always read like a badly translated karate movie. The real lure here is scalability. Once you have a working script you can easily crank out 5, 50, or 500 different websites, it just doesn’t get any easier. To be clear I’m not condoning stealing other people’s work, I’m just providing this information for education purposes only.

Type: News Remix Sites
Keyword Focus: Good to Excellent
Relevancy: Good to Excellent
Traffic: Poor to Moderate
Maintenance: Moderate
Scalability: Good

This is the upgraded version of a scraper site. It usually involves a customized script or program. Basically you suck in news feeds and pick and choose which items to republish. This really helps you as far as relevancy and keyword focus. You can change and refocus the headline, and write your own two or three sentence summary. If you like leave the original work in as a quote, and link back to the source. When I tried this I was disappointed by the results. The time spent writing summaries by hand wasn’t justified by a rise in traffic. To make this work as far as time and scalability go you are going to have to roll up your sleeves and get into the programming, tweak, push, prod and push everything to the limit. Promoting these sites anywhere other than automated directories is going to be real difficult, most people don’t like linking to non original material. The strangest thing about remixed sites was I get people subscribing to my feeds and they got moderately good reviews (see People Like Remixed Blogs).

Type: News Remake Sites
Keyword Focus: Excellent
Relevancy: Excellent
Traffic: Moderate to Excellent
Maintenance: Poor
Scalability: Poor

This is basically a hand written news summary blog. You subscribe to news feeds and pull them in with an aggregator. Using multiple sites as your research resources, provide your own summary and interpretation of the story or events. You can make these as keyword rich and focused as you want. If your commentary is insightful, contemptuous, radical, provocative or in some other way ‘outstanding’ you will get the link love. The blogosphere is not about being politically safe or correct, it’s all about having an opinion and giving it a voice. You may have to spend a bit of time promoting your news blog in order to get some link love. Find related blogs, get involved in the conversation, say or do things soley to get attention and be noticed. This type of site is labor intensive and scales really poorly. You can learn little tricks on the way to speed things up, but it is still a lot of work. Currently I can go through my news reader and update 8 to 10 blogs with a 1 paragraph posting, in about 60 to 90 minutes.

Part II Star Powered Traffic for Your News Blog

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