Automation Software: When to Use it and When to Avoid It
Automation software for Internet marketing purposes: It’s all the rage right now, and has been for quite a while. There are numerous offers for programs that will automate all kinds of tasks from distributing articles, videos or bookmarks to completely creating or re-writing content (shudder). Look at a few discussion threads about automation software in a forum and you’ll quickly realize that bots are at the centre of many a heated debate. Some say that automation is all rubbish and never really works like it should and others swear by it.
In this article, I introduce three concepts that are essential to understanding the use and misuse of automation bots.
- I am an automation software user.
I just want to make that clear since it might mean that I’m biased towards bots. I have to also mention that I only use bots for a couple of tasks; others I do manually. More on this in the article.
- Redundancy warning.
I decided to try making a video and written post. The written post says the same as the videos do. If you prefer watching, check out the videos. If you prefer reading, read the article below the videos.
Here are the three things you need to know about automation software:
There Is Always a Failure Rate
This is just something you need to be aware of, when you are using automatic submission software.
I bring this up because every so often, you’ll encounter someone in a forum complaining that the software “doesn’t work half the time” or something along those lines.
One part of the equation is how well you set the automation software up, one part is how well it’s programmed and another part is simply how many of the sites the bot goes to have changed.
Every time a website changes something in their layout or login/submission process or whatever, there’s a significant chance that the bot will get stuck on that site, somewhere. If you’re using a well-supported program, the next update will fix the problem… until the site changes something again.
This doesn’t mean that the software “isn’t working”. Automation isn’t about hitting it right 100% of the time. It’s about hitting way more and way more often than you could manually.
Value Output versus Effort Input
The value you get back from any kind of SEO or website promotion always needs to be looked at in relation to the effort you have to put into it.
If you can get a backlink from a really high-PR authority site in your niche, then that’s great. But if it takes you hours upon hours of work, spread out over several days or even weeks to get that one backlink, it might not be worth it at all.
The question is: What else could you have accomplished in that time? Maybe you could have added value to your website, built a free giveaway product to start building a list, done some personal branding or obtained half a dozen slightly lower-quality links in that same time?
On the other hand, you could spend days submitting an article to all of the hundreds of article directories out there, logging into twenty different social bookmarking sites and submitting your bookmarks, going to link-directories and submitting your URL etc. etc.
Here, the situation is reversed: You’re spending all this time for something that has very little value (e.g. nofollow links from a PR1 bookmarking site). If you could spend that same time to get just one really good link…
You get the idea.
Automation software can be used to shift this balance between the value of your promotional work and the effort you put into in your favour.
A bot can do low- to mid-value website promotion in bulk, running in the background. This way, obtaining 100 low-value backlinks from directories takes the same amount of time as obtaining just one such link (fill the forms once, then start the bot).
If used correctly, what automation software does is leverage your time. You take a certain amount of time to set everything up initially. Then you take a bit of time to get things started and once the bot is up and running, you can get exponential returns on that initial time spent.
You’re Still the One With the Brain
The more automatic a software tool is, the more easily and moronically it can be abused. Despite what countless sales-pages would have you believe, automatic software is not the solution to all your Internet marketing problems and it most certainly doesn’t do all the work for you.
These programs are simply tools that make your job easier. The quality you get out of them depends greatly on how you wield these tools.
If I give you a chainsaw, you won’t suddenly have lots of firewood readily available and trees won’t fall as soon as you approach them. But turning a tree into usable firewood will be a lot easier with the chainsaw than if you had only your bare hands or an axe to use. You still have to know what you’re doing with that chainsaw to get results, though.
Admittedly, the ridiculous overpromises littering sales-pages for automation software are at least partially to blame for the fact that in the online marketing landscape, there are quite a few people standing next to trees, complaining that they aren’t falling by themselves even though they have all those shiny new chainsaws at home.
As you can imagine, I have some reviews of automation software coming up in the near future. I’ve been experimenting with several programs for quite a while now and I’ve been seeing some very interesting results (and non-results).