I woke up today with nothing to write. That usually happens when I am in research or programming mode. These modes are necessary evils but they can throw me for a loop if I stay in either one too long.
I have also seen a tiny slump in my affiliate sales in the last few weeks. It has happened before at this time of the year. Not sure if the time of the year is the reason or what, but this also throws me for a loop. Panic mode. But sales are still better than any month last year so I need to quit my whining.
So with my head brewing 50 methods a second to catch this dip in sales, I ended up chasing my own tail for a day or so and not doing anything that would. So I took a breath and went back to the plan.
The plan was that this blog was going to be an extension of what I do to make money online. It would make my thoughts clearer on the subject, allowing me to work more efficiently. It would also expose those hidden elements of making money online that involve more than selling something and cashing the check for people out there now hitting the stumbling blocks I have already run into or am currently attacking. While others were exposing the easy parts, the cut and dried, I wanted to take on the hidden land mines.
How to Add Related Content?
I have been hunting for a way to put information related to a post in it automatically. That is the basic concept. In an effort to find something that would do this for me, I had to get more specific. I ran into reblogging and the semantic web. Somewhere along the way, I forgot my original concept and started chasing the details.
I have built some internet Rube Goldberg machines in my time chasing ideas like this, hacking a few scripts together to accomplish my goal. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it crashed servers. This time I wanted to do it right and I have been on this trail for a few weeks now.
So yesterday I posted a job at a freelance board. I figured I'd let someone else chase the issue. And today I returned to my cheapskate roots and started searching.
Old School Searching
Knowing that the problem was chasing details, I started an "old school" search process. Let me explain.
If you know what you are looking for, you can use precise terms. If you are still vague about your idea, terms you can barely define will only send you in the wrong direction. So I took the terms I used as general as I could, "wordpress rss plugin" and starting wading through Google results pages. I stopped about page 27 where the results started to get further off topic. This is what I mean by "old school" searching. Before Google, I used software called Webferret to pull results from multiple search engines 500 links at a time and then started clicking links.
Of course when you do this, you can come back with more than you started looking for. But at least I found what I was looking for, a few times. I promptly went back and canceled my freelance request, which got me thinking about a quick way to make some cash if you are good at searching. The lowest bid on my project was $90. I will let you figure out the rest.
The Content Related RSS Plugin - This is a very simple plugin to add feeds to your Wordpress posts. But it uses a plugin that is no longer supported to extract terms from your post to add to the feed url. This was obviously written before tags became so widespread
Carp/WP - This one uses a separate installation of Carp to add feed items anywhere on your blog. The separate installation of Carp was an issue. I could do it, but why. Though visiting the Carp website and signing up for details was worth it. You get two free ebooks including one on using feeds to make money. This is on the list of possibles, but I kept looking.
Simple Pie Plugin for Wordpress - For this one, you have to install the Simple Pie Core plugin first, but that is better than installing a whole new piece of software. This one is so customizable I stopped there. I think it will work for me. Won't be up and running today, but I will be adding a special post just about that.
The Extra Bonuses
Part of the benefits of beating your head against the wall by searching very generally is finding things you never knew existed and can't live without. Well, I can live without them but these are some nice plugins for the right type of site:
ContentGen+ - Automated reblogging through a plugin with feeds.
Scheduled Post Shift - Great concept. Automatically change the dates on your posts to republish them as new ones. Have your blog look like it is still active. Not that I would use it, but the ideas people come up with.
WP-o-Matic - A more complex way to republish feeds on your Wordpress blogs.
Optimal OPML Browser - Turn your OPML file into a browsable tree on your blog.
Why All the Searching?
- With matched feeds, I can put matched delicious bookmarks in my posts.
- I can use Ebay feeds and their affiliate program to added related products.
- I can do the same with Amazon.
- Everything has feeds.
- For those that don't, there's Dapper and Feedity.
- To mix them, there's Pipes.
- And for other things, there is a MySql Database and Triplify.
So weird wasted searches do pay off and off I go on another Rube Goldberg machine.