How to make money blogging is something a lot of people want to do, but few will ever achieve it. My last post How to Make Easy Money with SEO, went some way to explaining how it can be done, so I’m not going back over all that again. In this post I actually want to take a look at WordPress mu, or Multi-User host sites.
What are WordPress mu Blog Hosts?
WordPress mu blog hosts are similar to standard WordPress blog software with the added ability to “host” multiple blogs from a single domain, in the same way that free blog hosts such as wordpress.com do. It can be done one of two ways. With the add-on blogs acting like subdomains of the main domain like this:
or they can act like pages of the main domain like this:
The more popular method is the first example, which is the way it’s done by the big blog hosts such as wordpress.com, blogetery.com, blogdrive.com…etc. There are hundreds of free blog hosts using this software that are springing up all over the place, with more being added to the mix every day. This is good for bloggers who want to set up an easy to use free blog using the popular WordPress system and of course with access to their great themes.
So how does this tie in with how to make money blogging?
Well, anyone can set up a WordPress mu blog host. If you have a robust enough hosting package (a standard reseller is probably the minimum) you can set one up on a suitable domain and offer bloggers the ability to set up their blogs on your host. Of course you don’t go and do this for nothing, unless you’re feeling particularly benevolent and like working for nothing. You can turn it to your advantage and make money with it. How?
You can set up your own WPMU host with a revenue sharing system so that when bloggers create blogs and put up their own adsense, you take a small percentage of their earnings. Same with eBay affiliates, Kontera or anything else you care to include. If you get enough knowledgeable bloggers to set their blogs up on your host and they start making money for themselves, you get a percentage, which is only fair seeing as you are providing the platform fromwhich they are making their money. You are paying for hosting and some of your time is given over to maintaining the system.
Free blog hosts such as blogetery.com, blogdrive.com, blinkweb.com etc all allow you to place ads, or they plave their own ads and you provide your adsense id. You make money and they take a percentage. It’s a system that works very well and it would be a perfect world except for one nasty great big fly in the ointment.
These bastards get into every great idea and bugger it up for the rest of us. They’re not content to set up a few blogs here and there and make them legitimate with original, relevant content. No, they have to spam a crapload of blogs that are all crap with little or no useful content that has been scraped from other sites just for the quick killing. They don’t care what the search engines do because they get in, work fast and get out before anyone knows what has happened. Along the way, they create a bucketload of crap sites that Google takes one look at and, realising they are spam sites, gets tough and de-indexes them. And so they should.
Except that’s not the end of it.
Google have lately been going around and de-indexing many of the host domains that may harbour these spam blogs. Notice I said may harbour them.
This is certainly not good for all the legitimate blog owners who have worked hard on their real blogs on these hosts as it means their hard work is gone up in smoke along with the host domain, because when Google de-index a domain, all sub-domains are similarly de-indexed.
Just like the pompous, arrogant and sadistic schoolmasters of a bygone age that would thrash the living daylights out of a whole class of boys to “punish” one boy who did something wrong.
Google are punishing all the innocent bloggers just to get at the spammers who may or may not have created blogs on these WordPress mu hosts.
This is wrong and unjust and unfair.
Honest bloggers should not see their hard work penalized just because of a few bad apples in a barrel, such as spammers. I agree that Google should do all they can to stamp out spammers, because they are the bane of all honest bloggers and website owners who are trying to make a living from attracting honest, organic traffic from the SERPs. But it should be done intelligently and Google surely must house more intelligent heads under its umbrella than most places. So how about using that intelligence to beat these stupid spammers, rather than blanket tactics like de-indexing a whole domain?
In fact, if you take that logic and apply it to the real world, which is the domain that hosts more spam blogs than all the others put together?
I don’t see that being de-indexed anytime soon. If Google’s logic were to be followed to the letter, then to stamp out more spam blogs than any other tactic possibly could, they should de-index blogspot.com
Ok, now that we have that out in the open, how about applying some common sense intelligent reasoning here. We all know that Google’s index needs to be as relevant as possible to make people’s surfing experience the best that can be achieved. That means making sure that no crap spam blogs are allowed in there. We also know that is a huge task to undertake, as these bastards are everywhere and they are a real pain in the arse.
But Google employ a small army of people who regularly inspect websites and blogs for spam or for violations of their quality guidelines. The serps are forever being tweaked and are more fluid now than at any time in the past, with new site coming in every day. Spam sites get found out soon enough and are dealt with. But there is the ability for any person to report a site they believe is in violation of Google’s quality guidelines and these sites can be checked visually in order to either uphold the information given by the reporter, or to ascertain if the site in question is actually legitimate and the reporter was causing malicious damage to a competitor.
It seems that either way, the site gets de-indexed first, which means the person reporting a site steals a march over their competitor for a few weeks until the site owner can go through the annoying process of begging for a re-inclusion. Is the same thing happening to so many WPMU hosts as well?
No one really knows the real reason why so many WPMU host domains are being apparently randomly de-indexed with all their blogs being taken out with them. We can only conjecture and maybe make educated guesses based upon Google’s characteristic way of working. But whatever is the real reason, it is unfair to the honest bloggers that have built their legitimate blogs on these hosts to be penalized along with any spammers.
We don’t see blogspot.com, or blogetery.com or tumblr.com or any of the other bigger free blog hosts being de-indexed. There are planty of small WPMU hosts that are provided for university students that outsiders cannot join and they don’t get de-indexed. Likewise, there are plenty of small message boards and forums that also provide free blog hosts to their members, which outsiders are not allowed to join, but I have heard that these are some of the domains that are being targeted.
I have my own WPMU host that I run for a certain forum and so far it has been allowed to continue unmolested. All the blogs on it are legit and there is no way spammers can create blogs on it, because only forum members, who have first been vetted to ensure they are in fact real people can join. I hope, for this reason alone it is allowed to remain indexed and its blogs to flourish in the serps, because they are relevant, legit and comply with Google’s quality guidelines.
I also hope that Google sees sense and stops de-indexing these domains willy nilly and instead targets the individual spam blogs themselves. That way is better for everyone. It’s certainly fairer.
Then we honest online marketers can get on with growing our legitimate online businesses unhindered because this is how we make money blogging.