How to Post to Multiple Blogs: Free Tool
If you have been into niche marketing for awhile, you probably have several web sites up and running. Everyone has a different strategy for content for their sites.
Do it and be done: You can plan out content in advance: three months, six months, maybe even a year. You preload all the content into WordPress posts, schedule them to publish on a future day, set it and forget it. I do this for a number of my niche sites.
If you have a lot of content and a lot of sites, you may want to use a tool to speed this process up. While creating posts in WordPress is easy, it does take some time. There are several programs that will bulk import posts from Word or text files in a folder and automatically schedule them to publish at intervals that you specify.
One of those programs that I’ve used is Blogsense. It does a lot more than just that, but the “drop posting” is just one feature of of the program. This is a script that you install on your own hosting and it integrates with WordPress sites, both single domain installations as well as those using the WordPress Multi Site feature.
Posting to Multiple WordPress Blogs
But let’s say that the thought of creating content for a year is too overwhelming and you have several sites on WordPress and you want to be able to easily post to them rather than logging in online to the backend of each of them.
If you’ve dug around the backend of your WordPress site, you have very likely seen the option to post by email. That is one option, but there is also another way to post from a desktop program to multiple blogs and that is by using a program that utilizes XML-RPC.
What is XML-RPC?
The definition from XML-RPC.com is:
It’s a spec and a set of implementations that allow software running on disparate operating systems, running in different environments to make procedure calls over the Internet.
It’s remote procedure calling using HTTP as the transport and XML as the encoding. XML-RPC is designed to be as simple as possible, while allowing complex data structures to be transmitted, processed and returned.
The nontechy answer is that it lets you send information from one platform to another.
Have you ever wondered how services like Ping.FM, Amplify, Posterous, and plugins like WordPress Syndicator and Backlink Energizer work their magic? It is by using the XML-RPC protocol.
Unless if you are planning on creating programs or plugins yourself, you don’t really need to know “how” it works. You just need to know how to enable the protocol on your web sites.
Enabling XML-RPC on WordPress
Enabling XML-RPC on WordPress to allow remote posting couldn’t be simpler.
- Just log into your back end.
- Go to Settings
- Click on “Writing”
- Under “Remote Publishing” on the Writing tag, check the boxes by “Atom Publishing” and “XML-RPC.”
You are all set for remote publishing on your site.
If you are using a different platform, such as Joomla, the procedure is a little different, and it depends on which version you are using: 1.0, 1.5 or 1.6. Installations using 1.0 or 1.5 will have to enable a plugin to use XML-RPC posting. According to the 1.6 documentation, XML-RPC is native if it is enabled for the individual components.
Free Tool for Posting to Multiple Blogs
Windows Live Writer is a free (yes, a free program from Microsoft . . . imagine that!) desktop application that allows you to write articles/posts in the program and post to a web site online that has the XML-RPC protocol enabled.
The program makes composing as easy as writing in MS Word, but unlike Word, it doesn’t insert miles of crap code in your HTML files.
The other cool thing about the program is that once you set up the program to access your blog, it will pull your CSS and design files so that what you see while you are typing is the way it will actually look on your site. (See the screenshot below of this post as I wrote it in Live Writer.)
Now for a lot of my niche sites, I plan out a content strategy and how it is going to be themed, create the content in bulk, and then schedule out the posts. Most of the time I do this in the backend of the site, although I could do this with Live Writer as well as it will let you set the category, post date, tags, etc.
But I’m usually doing some other work in the back end at the same time, so I just add the posts while I’m there.
What I do use Live Writer a lot for are my sites that are more contemporaneous. For example, this site, my business and family blogs, and a couple of other sites I publish with friends. While I may have posts scheduled out, I also want to be able to easily publish posts on the fly, and Live Writer makes that really easy.
How easy you ask? Well, my third grader actually published a post on my business blog about our family Christmas . . . horrible pictures and all (you know the ones where you just woke up taken by an 8 year old.)
She told me she was writing a story about our family. (They do that at her school. They start them journaling the first day of kindergarten.)
I said, “Awesome!”
I thought she was just writing it in Word.
Oh no, somehow she opened Live Writer. The last post I had written was to my business blog. She finished and hit “publish” and off it went.
And since I have my sites set up to automatically push to a ton of other sites (RSS directories, blog directories, 2.0 and social media sites, Facebook, LinkedIn . . . ) it was off and spread to the four corners of the internet before I even realized it.
The two moral’s to this story are:
- Yes, Live Writer really is so easy that even a third grader can use it.
- I will never again leave a picture on my computer that I wouldn’t want slapped up on the internet equivalent of a billboard. If it’s unflattering . . . it gets deleted. Otherwise, you never know where it may end up.
Back to Using Live Writer
Enough of the story.
Configuring Live Writer to post to your blog is actually pretty straightforward.
First, you have to enable the XML-RPC protocol as explained previously in this post.
Then it will ask you what type of platform your blog is on.
Then enter the url of your blog along with the user name and password for your WordPress user account.
Once you enter in the blog information, Life Writer will “talk” with your blog and get the information.
Once it has successfully connected to the blog, it will ask you if you want to publish a temporary post to the site so that it can download the theme information. If you want to be able to see how your post will look while you are writing, click yes.
Once that is completed, you have the option to save the information and switch to that blog.
Now the basic program right out of the box is pretty cool; however, there are a ton of plugins for the Live Writer program that can really extend the functionality. You can browse through the directory to get some ideas, but I did one to point out one that relates to this post topic.
How to Post to Multiple Blogs Simultaneously
One of the other questions that is frequently asked is “how to post to multiple blog simultaneously.”
Now there are a ton of ways to do this. Ping.FM, Hello.txt, Posterous, and Amplify are all designed to allow you to publish once and post across many accounts.
WP Syndicator is a WordPress plugin that will auto post content from your site across multiple 2.0 accounts.
There is even a Facebook application called BlogIt that allows you to update multiple accounts like TypePad, Vox, Movable Type, LiveJournal, Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress.com or WordPress.org, Pounce, Twitter, et al from Facebook. (Why you would do something like this with Facebook, I have no idea . . . but whatever floats your boat.)
However, since this post is primarily about Live Writer, there is also a plugin called vCrossPost that will allow you to create your content in Live Writer and then post to multiple blogs via Ping.FM.
Now if you need to spin content or anchor text, it would probably be better to go with something like Sick Submitter or Article Marketing Robot. But if not and you are looking for something easy and free, Windows Live Writer might be your best bet.