How To Update Your Blog Like a Lazy Ass

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This post was guest blogged by Richard Adams is the author of the definitive guide to finding a profitable niche online. Find out more at http://www.NicheMarketingWizard.com.

There has been much debate over the last few years about whether regularly updated websites actually rank higher in Google than others. The bloggers will try to convince you that because they are always adding new articles, Google gives them preference. Equally, some hardcore search engine marketing professionals point out that with constantly changing text on the homepage or your site, your rankings will also likely jump up and down depending on the content of the articles currently displayed?

So Who Is Right?

Well, while I think it’s impossible to give a definitive answer (and I have some websites with great rankings using both models) I do have a startling discovery to tell you about.

In December 2008 I was so busy running another business of mine that I completely forgot to update one of my blogs for a four week period. While others were auto-updating with content I had written in advance to go out during the month, I completely forgot this one site.

It is a small niche blog which receives around 100-150 visitors a day on average, 90% of which come from Google, and it is normally updated two or three times a week. Then of course I broke this cycle and I let it lay dormant for a four week period.

What happened really intrigued me. The graph, shown below, illustrates perfectly how the traffic numbers slowly dropped bit by bit until they were less than half of their original peak just weeks before.

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It’s important to note that everything else stayed pretty much constant. I lost no particularly important links, I didn’t do any link building etc. The only changes were the lack of posting (and of course the possibility of a small change to Google’s algorithm). None of my other dozens of niche blogs showed this pattern at all, suggesting the lack of updates was responsible for the drop.

Indeed, we can clearly see that visitor numbers started to drop significantly after about 2 weeks, dropping down to just 39 visitors by the end of December from an initial high of over 100. That’s over a 50% drop in traffic which I regard as sizable.

But even more interestingly, look what happened in early January when I started to post regularly to the blog again:

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Pretty amazing, wouldn’t you say? Not just a recovery, but we actually came back to an even higher level than before, and in a far shorter space of time!

To me, this beautifully illustrates the importance of updating and adding content to your website on a regular basis to help you achieve the most traffic possible from the search engines.

But How Can We Actually Implement That?

Of course the first technique is to set up your own blog. You can do this in a subdirectory of your main site so you would have www.yourdomain.com/blog or similar.

But if you’d rather not go to the trouble of creating your own blog there is something else you can do. And that is to add other people’s regularly updating content to your otherwise static site.

Many regularly updated websites – such as the popular news sites – publish their own RSS feed which you can add easily to a static website with minimal technical knowledge.

Here’s How To Do It

The first thing we need is some content that is going to be regularly updated. Yahoo News is a great source of such content. All we do is to type in the keyword that our website is targeting to gather all the latest news on that topic. On the results page, click the orange RSS button on the right-hand side and take note of the website address of the page.

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From there, we can go over to one of the free RSS-to-javascript services available online. Here are just a few options:

Possibly the simplest of these is RSS-Info.com. All we need to do is to paste the website address of your special Yahoo RSS news feed into the box, decide on a couple of basic options and then paste the HTML code we are given straight into our webpage.

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From then on, you will have constantly updated content on your site with none of the hassles and all the benefits. Enjoy!

*Editor’s CommentsWhile most blogs will not have a problems with you taking their headline and an except to display on your blog with a link back to the original post, they will have a major problem if you post their entire article on your blog, with a link or no link. I only recommend this method as nothing more than filler to round out your blog. Unique content is what drives traffic and the best unique content comes from you. – John Chow


49 thoughts on “How To Update Your Blog Like a Lazy Ass”

  1. If you decided to do that last part… you know… where your stealing other peoples content and putting it on your website.

    That goes against everything us bloggers believe in. In this scenario you become one of those hated content scrapers.

    I suggest you stick to writing your own content or none at all.

    1. Jake Stone says:

      Yes, that would be a good call. However, if you want to simulate being a businessman then you might be tempted to hoard up many low yielding blogs in attempt to make it up with the sheer scale of the automated operation.

    2. Tushar says:

      That’s what I was just going to say.

      Way to encourage scraping.

  2. I see sites that are not updated to often and still rank high. If your lazy maybe you better not be blogging. If you don’t have anything to say why blog?

    1. Sebastien says:

      Richard, one important thing missing from your analysis is the effect of a Seasonal Trend. The data used to justify your point was from December.

      This is typically when most traffic drops during the holiday season and then picks up again during January when people go back to work and search more.

      As 90% of your traffic comes from Google this is more likely to affect your stats not just a lack of posting.

      As you have very little data (about 100 visits a day) I wouldn’t say the drop in traffic was solely due to a lack of postings. Google’s algorithm and other external factors could also play a part.

      That being said I think a regularly updated blog is important turn organic traffic into direct traffic which will grow a blog.

      1. I agree December is not the best month to use as a benchmark.

    2. Tushar says:

      Wow.

      If all bloggers followed this philosophy, there would be 99.9% less blogs in the world.

      1. It would make it easier for the rest of us, right? πŸ˜›

  3. John Lynn says:

    I like this technique. I’ll have to look at how many of them have options about how often to post from the RSS feed to see if I can have it look like regular posting between uniquely created content.

    I also love your analysis about posting regularly. I’ve seen the same drop you talk about dozens of times. The only thing I’m surprised you didn’t mention was that taking a break and coming back increases your traffic. I don’t think this is coincidence. Don’t ask me why it happens, but I’ve stopped posting on a blog for a little while and then when I come back the traffic far surpasses where it was before. Again, it doesn’t make much sense, but I’ve seen the same trend happen a number of times.

    Maybe it’s our blog telling us to have a good blog life balance and to take some time off occassionaly.

    1. Jake Stone says:

      If it looks like a blog and updates like a blog then it is a blog. Stop updating and it turns into a bad blog. However if you have a content site with static information you will never run out of traffic. It might be wise for bloggers to divide their blogs into constantly updating blog part and more static website part (wordpress pages extended) that would provide clear blueprint of evergreen information.

  4. Carl says:

    If you decide to do this, you’re nothing more than a parasite. The internet doesn’t need you.

    1. I agree! But doing this is not bad if your making money πŸ˜‰

  5. Uh, I’m surprised this post was published on this blog. Scraping other peoples content is wrong and any “success” you have will be short lived and no one will actually ever care about you or your site.

    There’s no way to be lazy and publish content to a blog regularly. Just write when you’re feeling good and don’t write when you’re feeling not as good.

    If you write in your peak, feel good times you can easily write the first drafts for a couple of posts (or just a really long post) and then just go over them again before you actually publish the post.

    Also, before you start a blog write as much as you can. I wrote 20,000+ words before I started my blog so I have enough content to last till May – doing this really takes the pressure off of writing which makes everything significantly easier.

    1. Jake Stone says:

      Dear David,

      Most current publishers don’t care if anyone actually cares. Even traffic is not the issue here, but whether they get their numbers work or not.

      By the way, most writers write every day to capture authentic feelings. Feelings are the thing people look for, the most important part of any content. Is it so that bloggers are as far from writers as they are from businessmen?

      1. If publishers don’t care then they are aiming far too low. You can make a few quick bucks scraping RSS feeds, but creating something of value that people actually like is so much more rewarding.

        In my comment I don’t think I said anything against adding feeling within a post, but if you’re having an off day, trying to force yourself to write is going to lower the quality of the post and make you resent writing.

        1. Jake Stone says:

          Sorry, my mistake “don’t write when you’re feeling not as good” was about physical condition then.

          Anyway, writing shitty stuff is very healthy and gives more mileage to your blog. Everybody just loves contrast.

          1. Ah, okay – sorry for the misunderstanding. πŸ™‚

            Do people really love contrast? Most people hate things to change because it scares them. Maybe I’m fickle, but I’ll rarely subscribe to a blog that doesn’t give me at least some value in every post.

          2. Tushar says:

            Apparently some people do.

  6. John Lynn says:

    If you do this, you’re not really a blogger. However, I can see a number of times when an aggregator of news about a certain content posted to a blog could be really useful to a community.

    1. Tushar says:

      Yea, but then it’s a news site. Not a blog, a news site.

  7. Mr. I says:

    Insteresting Tip! But like John Lynn, I too feel that doing this is not Blogging!

  8. Paul U says:

    I just test what you are saying here but I don’t find any subscription button for me to subscribe to that search.

  9. Yes I like 2 this technique . But anyway if you want traffic you mustn’t be lazy πŸ˜€

  10. Paul U says:

    Are you sure that this is working?
    Paul UΒ΄s last blog post..” How to choose an affiliate program

    1. Jake Stone says:

      Works like a charm.

  11. Paul B says:

    John, why are you linking to this guy? He’s got one of those “can’t get rid of it” popups on the landing page. Complete and utter toss.

  12. Splendid Kid says:

    Creating your own content will still be better.

  13. Melody says:

    I remember on my old business site–if I changed the main page layout around my ranking on the first page for my keyword would go to slightly, I think overall consistently adding quality self made content will optimize not only the search engines but your reach for viewers..

  14. I think it depends. If you’re just doing this from some regular blog, than that’s questionable. However, if you have permission to do this from any blog you want to do this from, then I don’t see the big deal.

    However, one shouldn’t just have this on their blog & nothing else. The MAJORITY of your blog should have unique content.

  15. SEO Tips says:

    Thank you for this I have been looking at doing this for a while for one of my blogs I have now just gone ahead and done it, hopefully it will help.

  16. Agent 001 says:

    I have read about it before. I once though of doing it too but then stepped back.

    You have induced some interest about this. I will try it surely not with my main blog.

  17. Johannes says:

    It should be mentioned though, that the technique pictured above (featuring javascripts) doen’t impress Google at all. For Google to notice updated content you’d have to use a server-side method (rss-parsing via PHP or similar).

  18. I would expect a drop in traffic from your regular reader base when you stop posting for an extended period, but not from search engine traffic. As you say, there are sites that don’t update at all that do well over the long term.

    Strange indeed.

  19. Pahn says:

    I guess it is what you call automated blog,, I am not sure it can make your site have a personal quality touch,, but thanks for informing how to do it,, I just want to make one site like this soon

  20. Ben Pei says:

    Man the mini paragraph from John himself is really enriching. I love this quote, “the best unique content comes from you”. Can’t be more true than that..

  21. Interestingly I’ve read from someone who has been away from blogging for 2 months who says his traffic never suffered any significant drop, only about 5%.

    Peter Lee

    1. Ben Pei says:

      Ahh? How is that possible? Probably most people come back checking whether he has updated or not.

      1. Tushar says:

        Or he had no traffic in the first place.

  22. I have seen an increase in traffic as well as an improvement when I am posting regularly and when I just do not follow the saem posting I had a drop in my traffic rank.

    1. Ben Pei says:

      Thats for sure Luis. I experience that on my own blog as well.

  23. domz says:

    I used something similar but with SeNuke, it did a couple of RSS in minutes.

  24. I think writing your own unique and interesting content is much better

  25. Richard says:

    Mmm, lots of negative comments here calling me a “parasite” which I find very strange.

    I am not in any way condoning “scraping” – but just displaying relevant news headlines on your site that will be of interest to your visitors and also link back legitimately to the Yahoo news service for your readers to gain any more information they want.

    I think too many people have jumped on this technique without understanding that this is intended purely as a 100% white-hat technique.

    You’re not attempting to scam anyone with it, just provide a win-win situation for everyone. Your visitor gets the latest on-topic news, you get more traffic and Yahoo also benefits from clickthroughs.

    1. Tushar says:

      Richard, while I’m sure you didn’t mean any harm with your post, and that this trick can probably be used legitimately by most people, the fact that this is auto-grabbing content from other sites hits home with many bloggers who visit here.

      We get our content stolen all the time, often by the very people who will be using your tips. You may not be intending that, but the fact that you are promoting this knowledge itself makes many of us upset.

      Hope you understand.

  26. Jake Stone says:

    that you schitaesh that for google it is necessary to do everything systematic and constantly, chto-by your site went out in a top for deliveries

  27. Chris Monty says:

    Couldn’t you just use the new Google News widgets? It seems like the same basic thing and much easier than messing with those other RSS sites.

  28. You have to account for how many of the visitors are just bots and spiders crawling for information and to copy information.

    -Mike

  29. Ash Waechter says:

    I agree with the original post and one of the comments about December and other factors to be considered. Back before when blogging was big, I would update my homepage on my website with news on a regular basis and I definitely noticed that it kept me high in the rankings. In regards to December being a slow month, I agree with that and also will say that there are many other factors that could have low traffic.

  30. Great content John.I had completely forgotten about this.
    Cheers.
    Kevin Njoroge
    P.S
    Download your free internet wealth report at http://www.internetwealthlab.com

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