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How to Turn a WordPress Blog into an Article Directory in Under 30min

Lately we’ve been working on new ways to generate traffic to our blogs and are starting to try online services that can generate backlinks through placing articles on other sites. You’ve probably seen some of these sites or even tried them – sites like 1WayLinks, Unique Article Wizard, Free Traffic System and so on. We will do a blog post on the various backlinking services available at a later date..

As part of these services you can submit what is called a donor blog to the system. What this means is that you create a blog (or use one you already have), submit it to the backlinking site and once it has been approved, content is automatically submitted to your blog on a regular basis. In some cases you can receive up to 10 articles a day on your blog. The articles are just drip fed to your blog and you often don’t need to do anything but watch the content go up.

This was the case with us and we now, after a couple of months, already have a blog with close to 400 articles on all sorts of subjects ranging from dog training right through to insurance, ps3 gaming, crafts, hobbies and more…with more coming in on a regular basis. So what do you do with a blog like this with such a diverse range of topics? We could just as easily leave it as is since it’s not like we need to do anything to maintain it.

But then we had a thought that maybe we could turn it into an article directory. Nice idea in theory but in practice it really looked like a lot of hard work. I could just imagine the time it would take to find an article directory script and set it all up and then somehow transfer 400 articles over. It just seemed like too much to do on top of our already full schedule.

But then a thought came to me…I wonder if there is a WordPress plugin that can turn a WordPress blog into an article directory. It only took me a few minutes of searching and I came up with a couple of possibilities…and both of them free! And in fact, I never got around to trying the second one because the first one did the job beautifully….and by the time I was done, I had turned that blog into a professional looking article directory in well under 30 minutes.

So if you have a blog with lots of diverse topics then this might work for you too.

Steps to Creating Your Own Article Directory

Step 1: Download the following files – these are all free by the way:

1. Article Directory Plugin – More info for this plugin can be found here
2. Article Directory Theme – More info for this theme can be found here
3. Role Manager Plugin – More info for this plugin can be found here
4. Post Corrector WordPress Plugin – this one is optional – it allows you to add categories quickly and easily and this is the sample file of categories which you can use with this plugin. More info for this plugin can be found here

Step 2: Upload the Article Directory Plugin and Activate It

The plugin is easy to upload and activate and it includes various options which you can change in the WordPress dashboard such as excluding certain categories from displaying and whether or not to show empty categories.

Step 3: Upload the Article Directory Theme and Activate It

Note that you don’t have to use this theme. You can use your own but I can’t provide instructions on what to do if you use your own. I just know that when using their theme it all works perfectly and the theme is quite clean and ready to use. If you need more info on using the Article Directory plugin with your own theme then check out the creators website  – Articlesss.com

Step 4: Add Categories

If you already have an existing blog then you won’t need to add any categories as you will have most likely added categories in the past. But if your blog is new then you can either manually add categories or use the Post Corrector WordPress plugin from Step 1 above. This will allow you to quickly add categories and subcategories especially if you use it in conjunction with the sample file of categories. This will create categories similar to EzineArticles.com.

Step 5: Upload the Role Manager Plugin and Activate It

To be quite honest we never got around to uploading this one. The articles we receive come straight from 1WayLinks and are automatically added to the one user account in WordPress. I think however that if you are wanting to get serious with your Article Directory then you really need to use this type of plugin so that you can better manage users wanting to submit articles to your directory.

Step 6: Your Done!

Your Article Directory should be up and running at this point. Your only job now is to adjust the sidebar widgets, header and footer to make it suit your blog.


Google Wave: I Finally Got My Invite

I’ve been waiting what seems like forever for a Google invite and finally got one a couple of weeks ago. But you know what?…its only this week that I finally got around to logging in and checking it out properly. Pretty bad I know since there are thousands still dying to get in and try out Google Wave.

I’ve only had a quick play but have already integrated the ability to tweet from my Google Wave account and now I am trying to see how it integrates with WordPress. I have downloaded a WordPress plugin called Wavr which allows you to imbed Waves into a blog post.

So to see if this works and also how it works, I have created a Wave in Google Wave and imbedded it below. If nothing shows up then I obviously didn’t do it right but if it does I will be adding to the Wave to as it is supposed to automatically add each addition of content to this blog post. So let’s see…I am going to Publish this post right now…I’m excited!

Update: Well I can’t seem to get it working just yet. As you can see below there is a Page Not Found window. Too late for me to play around with it now so I will see if I can get it working tomorrow.

Another Update: Seems to work in Firefox but I can’t see it in Internet Explorer…and what’s with the green background.?

Latest Update: I’ve decided to remove the plugin because it really isn’t working consistently. Instead I have put in a screen print below of how it looks in Firefox.

Google Wave WAVR Plugin


We’ve Added the Comment Luv Plugin to Our Blog

CommentLuvJust recently, Wanda and I have been discussing our blogs and which ones we want to work on. We have over 20 blogs/websites and even with the two of us, it is way too many to work on at the one time. So we decided to concentrate on just a couple over the next few months one of which is the blog you are now reading.

In the past, we haven’t really promoted this blog all that much – in fact, hardly at all. I just enjoy writing posts for it so wasn’t all that concerned that we weren’t getting much traffic. So now that we have had a change of mindset we have started looking at ways to increase traffic and comments to this blog.

We already know of quite a few different methods to do this but we are always on the look out for new ideas. To really succeed in this business you have to be prepared to be a continual student and learn as much as possible in order to stay ahead of the pack. So with this in mind, I went scouring the net for any new tips on how to increase blog comments.

I didn’t have to look far as one of the blogs I like to regularly drop in on is Zebida.com and on this blog I found a post about a WordPress plugin called Comment Luv.  Comment Luv is a WordPress plugin that extracts the url of the last blog post of the person leaving the comment. This assumes that they have a blog of course. It then posts the title of that blog post with a link below the comment they have left on your blog. This encourages people to leave comments as in return for the comment they get a link back to their website.

Now I’ve heard about this plugin before and in fact I was recommended it sometime back as a result of a post I wrote on the Top 20 Plugins to Increase Traffic to Your Blog.

The only problem I had with this plugin was the fact that I felt it would just encourage spammers. I had used a dofollow plugin in the past and had a similar problem so removed it. But from what Hesham was saying, it looked like it made a big increase in the number of comments he started receiving on his blog and they didn’t look like spammers to me.

So I have decided to give Comment Luv a go. I installed it yesterday so will give it a couple of months to see how it develops. It will be interesting to see if it does in fact make a difference.


Maxblog Ninja Affiliate WordPress Plugin Review: I Bought it!

NinjaAffiliateLast week as I was leaving a comment on a blog I noticed a discussion between the owner and one of his readers about a WordPress plugin he was using that automatically turns predefined keywords on his blog into affiliate links.

My first thought was that this was one of those programs you have to join where you get paid for each click from links on your site…you might have seen those blogs where ever second keyword is underlined twice in blue and you hover over the keyword and an annoying pop-up appears. But from looking at his blog posts I soon realized this wasn’t the case – the links were regular blue text links – nothing fancy or spammy looking.

So since I was a bit intrigued I clicked on the link in his comment and made my way over to the sales page for the Ninja Affiliate plugin. Once there, it really didn’t take me long to realize that I definitely needed to buy it. I even made a call to Wanda to see what she thought and she definitely agreed that this would save us a lot of time.

So How Does it Work?

The best way to describe how the plugin works is to use an example. So let’s  say for instance you are an affiliate for Amazon and your blog is all about fishing. And one of the products you promote regularly on your blog is a fishing rod called “The Prestige Fishing Rod”.

Now at the moment, in order to link to Amazon using that keyword phrase (ie. The Prestige Fishing Rod) you would have to grab the affiliate code from Amazon and manually pop it in to anywhere in your blog posts where you use that keyword phrase. We all know it’s not difficult to do but it is time consuming….this is where the Ninja Affiliate plugin comes into play.

With this plugin you will only ever have to grab your Amazon affiliate code once, place it in the back end admin area and from then on it will automatically add that affiliate link whenever it sees that keyword or keyword phrase (ie. The Prestige Fishing Rod)  in blog posts on your blog. This includes posts that you have created in the past as well as new posts.

You can also specify multiple keyword variations that link will apply to. For example,  ‘The Prestige Fishing Rod’, ‘Prestige Fishing Rod’, ‘Fishing Rod’ and so on.  If the plugin sees any of those keywords it will automatically convert them to links.

What I really like about this plugin is that you can specify how many links per post. You can have 1 or more, or just choose unlimited if you like.  Just be aware that too many links can make you look like a spammer. (I like to keep it at two or three.) And you don’t have to worry about all those links leaching your pagerank as there is an option to add a nofollow tag to each link.

You also don’t need to use this to link to affiliate links. You can link to other pages on your site if you like. This is a great way of getting more traffic to a particular post or page on your site.

There are a host of other features that come with this great little plugin including:

  • the ability to cloak the links so instead of the reader seeing an affiliate link when they hover over the link they will instead see a keyword or whatever you choose to use.
  • the ability to overide global settings for each individual post. So say you have set up your global settings to add a nofollow tag to each link but for one particular post you want the nofollow tag to be removed then this feature allows you to do this.
  • the  facility to create groups so you can easily track the links you have created
  • stats so you can see the number of clicks on each of the links you have created
  • the ability to have each link open in a new window
  • the ability to change the formatting of each link ie. link color, underline, bold, italics, font size and family
  • the ability to exclude Pages from automatic linking
  • the ability to exclude specific Categories from automatic linking

Final Conclusion…

This is a brilliant tool and we wonder how we ever did without it. Today we spent less than an hour creating links in the back-end which  resulted in literally hundreds of links on one of our niche blogs.  If we were to do this ourselves if would have taken us hours, if not days to accomplish.

Plus if we ever get the problem of a merchant closing down their affiliate program or going out of business then we don’t have to spend hours changing hundreds of links – all we need to do is change it once in the admin area and all the links will  change automatically.

We give the Ninja Affiliate plugin a big thumbs up. Highly recommended.

Further Reading


How to Create Your Own Blog Voting Contest Using WP-Polls

We are going to be holding a contest on one of our blogs and have been looking for a WordPress plugin that will give our visitors the ability to vote for their favorite blog. My initial thought was that I would have no problem finding something suitable and I was even willing to pay for it! But unfortunately the options were limited and very disappointing.

However, I did end up finding a WordPress plugin called WP-Polls which as the name suggests provides the ability to add a poll to your blog. The only problem was that I was looking for something that would allow me to add an image of each blog so that our visitors could see exactly who they were voting for. My initial assumption was that this plugin wasn’t capable of doing that so I kept looking for something that did.

During my search I came along a blog post at the zebida.com website written by Hesham. It describes how to add thumbnails and links using the WP-Polls plugin.

YES!…now I had the answer I was looking for. So my initial assumption that I couldn’t add images was wrong but I didn’t care as I now had everything I needed to create the blog contest.

How to Use WP-Polls

If you want to create your own blog contest using WP-Polls then this is what you need to do:

Step 1: Upload the WP-Polls plugin to your blog and activate it.

Step 2: Click on the Polls option on the left hand menu on your blog Dashboard and select Manage Polls. It will most likely be at the very bottom of the screen.

Step 3: You should already see a Poll listed. This is just an example poll but you can use this one instead of creating a new one. So go ahead and click the Edit link next to that poll.

Step 4: On the Edit Poll screen you will be able to enter the details of your contest so just overtype the information in the Poll Question and Poll Answer sections and select the options that suit you in the remaining fields. In the Poll Answer fields you will be able to add html in order to add an image but we will get into that in a little more detail below. For the moment just enter text into these fields.

Step 5: Click Edit Poll to save the changes.

Step 6: Add a new post and in the html part of the post add the following code: [poll id="1"]where ‘1’ is your poll ID. You can find the poll id in the Polls list on the Manage Polls page.

Step 7: Now save your post and preview it and you should now see your poll on the page.

Now for the Good Stuff…

So if you are like me you are probably wanting to add some images to each option. The code  below is what I used for my blog competiton. It displays the radio button above the image, provides a link to the website and also includes a horizontal line under each image.

To use this code you just need to paste it into the ‘Poll Answer’ fields in the Manage Polls section. Obviously you will need to replace the links to correspond to the correct urls and image sources that you will be using. You can also play around with this if you know a bit of html – bold the text etc. I did notice that these fields were limited to only so many characters so you won’t be able to go too crazy here.

Title of Blog Here

You can see in the image below exactly where to insert this code. Once the html has been entered just click the Edit Poll link to save your changes.

Poll Answers WP-Polls Plugin1

So now  if you have done everything right you should see something like this on your blog post.

WP-Poll Plugin Results