You might have heard me said that blogging is not a source of passive income, and I still believe that is true. Traditional blogging is not a source of passive income, it’s a way of self-employment which can be profitable, sometimes even very profitable, but requires the blogger to be active, posting regularly, etc. to keep generating this revenue. So yes it’s a way of serf-employment which will give your schedule a lot of flexibility, you can even travel the world while you blog, but it’s not a source of passive income according to my definition.
Now that being said there might be a way around this, there might be a way to turn a blog into a passive source of income, or at least a semi-passive source of income.
By definition a blog is a website were a blogger posts original content that he or she writes, photographs, records, etc. That by nature is very time consuming, but what if the blogger didn’t necessarily have to create the content that gets posted? That will reduce the workload to the regular maintenance work of a webmaster which is much more attractive form a passive income point of view.
An auto-blog is a blog that does not post original content but instead grabs pieces of information from around the web following some criteria defined by the webmaster and publishes those bits of information into a blog. The blog will continuously be searching the web for new articles that fit the given criteria and he finds one he will automatically publish it on our blog, therefor the name; auto blogging.
Just to be clear I’m completely against using auto blogging to generate straight forward rip-offs of other websites which do generate original content. That would not create any value for anyone (plus its bad karma!). There might be a few occasion though were building an auto-blog might actually make sense.
Imagine for instance you want to bring awareness to a particular issue that might concern a lot of people, like the number of ships that sink every year containing chemical products that might harm fish and other forms of underwater life. Every time a ship sinks the news will probably be covered by plenty of news channels together with other relevant news at that time, but there isn’t a place online were you can go an read news only about this subject. In this case you could create an auto blog that continuously scans news sites for any news containing certain keywords such as (oil spill, ship sinks, etc.) and have it auto publish them on your blog generating a collection of news from different sources that cover that particular issue, generating an archive of information that might actually be useful for someone who is interested in the topic.
Another approach to auto blogging is curated blogging. You might also know these sites as “inspirational sites”. The idea is similar to the full blown auto blogging approach described above, you will still be re-publishing content generated elsewhere, only this time instead of having a set of rules that a computer can follow to decide what gets published and what doesn’t it will be your own human criteria which decides what is worth re-publishing and what isn’t.
If you think about it this is no different from building a pinterest board. You set a topic and then decide whether an image is worth including in that board when you stumble upon it. The difference is a curated blog can not only re-publish images but also videos, texts, etc. Plus you have full control over it which might be really useful when it comes to monetizing it.
This is a great opportunity for those of you who consider yourselves or would like to become influencers in a certain niche. If a group of people respect your opinion, your style, your sense of aesthetics, etc. then it makes sense that these same group of people might enjoy browsing content which has already been filtered and curated by you.
A note for good karma
Like I said before there are times when auto blogging can make sense, but it’s also true this strategy can very easily be used in the wrong way. Before you start auto blogging make sure that what you are doing doesn’t exist already and that you’ll be adding some sort of value to the web. And if you find that there is another website which already covers that topic you were thinking of auto blogging about then try to give your idea a spin and come up with a twist that makes yours better that what’s already out there.
Once you are set on the topic for your auto blog make sure you feed your blog with content from as many sources as possible. The more sources you scrape for new content the more value you’ll be adding to the web. If you only get your information from two or three different sources your blog will be much closer to a copycat than if you feed from twenty different sources. Makes sense right?
Also remember to always link back to the original source of the content. Not only will it give your site more credibility but you will also be helping the people who generated that content by sending some traffic their way.
If you would like to start a blog but think you might not be able to commit to generating original content regularly a curated blog can be a good entry point to the blogging sphere for you. Find a topic you like and that you think is not receiving the attention it deserves and set yourself to building a community around that topic. Maybe once you start seeing some traction that will motivate you to start throwing in some original content too, or not and you might become the next coolest trend hunder!