I know, I know! The title is harsh, because Google literally hates blog networks, and any link scheme that is created for manipulating SERPs. We have seen many examples in the past, when complete networks, containing hundreds of blogs were deindexed by Google. Having a blog network cleared from SERPs can ruin many businesses.
First the PBN owner will lose its entire income coming from the blog network, because will not be able to monetize it. Second, all those businesses who relied on the network for ranking their websites will lose their rankings, traffic and revenue.
Buying links from a public blog network can be risky. However, there are options to use a blog network for helping your money site gain higher rankings. In this article, I will walk you through the steps on how to create a private blog network, which is fully owned and managed by you.
This isn’t a fast way to rank your website, and it won’t be cheap either, instead you should consider it as a long term investment in your business.
So, to start a private blog network that will stand for a long time, you will need to focus on three main things:
- Buy good and aged domain names
- Buy cheap but reliable web hosting
- Build your websites using a CMS
How to Buy the Best Domains for Your Blog Network?
Choosing and buying the right domains for your private blog network can take a long time. You can’t just buy any domain that comes by. When buying domains, you should focus on getting old, aged domains, which were used in the past for existing website. It is also important to choose domains that are related to your niche. The link profile of the domain is also a key aspect you should check before purchasing. A spammed domain won’t be good for your blog network, and you will waste your money. Try to choose domains, which have a clean link profile coming from trusted and authority websites.
Where to Buy Good Aged Domain Names?
There are many websites where you can purchase aged domains. Probably the most popular is the GoDaddy Auctions, where you can choose from hundreds of thousands of aged expiring or auction domains. You can also purchase expiring domains on NameJet, or Dynadot Auctions.
How to Check if a Domain is Right for Your Blog Network?
When buying domains for your private blog network is essential to buy niche related domains with clean history. To check the parameters of a domain you want to purchase, you can use multiple tools.
DomCop is an online tool which gathers domain information from different websites, such as domain age, Domain Authority (DA), Page Authority (PA), Citation Flow (CF), Trust Flow (TF), domain niche and other metrics. DomCop is a premium service, but you can have access to it with the free trial plan. The cost of DomCop starts at $39 per month. If you are going to buy only couple domains, probably does not worth buying a subscription, instead use free tools.
You can check domain metrics using free tools as well:
- At Archive.org you can see the complete history of the website that was built on a particular domain. Here you can clearly see, what content was uploaded and what niche was the domain used for.
- SeoMastering.com will give you a complete audit on a particular domain, including domain age, Google metrics (real and actual page rank), social media activity and some basic link information gathered from Majestic.com premium link checker tool.
- With BackLinkWatch you can find out the complete link profile of a particular website or domain. This tool is not very accurate, and some links might be missing from their database, but it is free to use. It is a great way to detect if a domain is spammed with unnatural links or not.
While DA, PA (metrics of Moz) CF, TF (metrics of Majestic.com) is very important when selecting domains for your blog network, you might need to purchase some of the premium services in order to check these. Experts say, that you can achieve good results with domains that have metric (DA, PA, CF, TF) above 15.
How Much Should You Pay for a Domain Name?
It is very hard to give you advice on how much should you spend on a good domain. The price varies from niche to niche and from domain to domain. There is not fix price and you can’t really estimate how much a domain name worth. Simply put it like this: a domain worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.
My suggestion is that you should not pay more than $100 for a domain that is going to be part of your blog network. Also, I recommend that you don’t buy too many domains at once.
Avoid Fake Contact Info – Use Domain Privacy!
Google can easily hunt down blog networks; especially those are in danger where domain’s whois information is not hidden. Many blog network owners use fake contact data to save some money on private registration fees. Most of the time, they will lose their domains because it is forbidden to use fake information. You should avoid at all cost using fake contact info on your domain names.
Instead register your domain with domain privacy. This costs around $10 per year, and will hide your personal contact info from the public, as well from Google. This way is impossible to detect who owns the domain. Certainly in some cases (if the domain is involved in illegal activates), the domain privacy will not protect the person who is behind the domain, but for a blog network, domain privacy is a must.
What Type of Hosting Should You Buy for Blog Network?
There are different hosting options you can use for your private blog network. You could use SEO hosting, different cheap shared hosting providers, VPS or dedicated servers with multiple dedicated IP addresses. Each type of hosting has its advantages and disadvantages. In the following, I will tell you what type of hosting is best for a private blog network.
When blog networks started to rise, SEO hosting was the best option. This type of service was designed to give webmasters a platform, where they can manage each and every website from one place, while having them spread over multiple IP addresses. SEO hosting was a great solution until Google started penalizing blog networks, based on the IP addresses where there were hosted. Basically Google started to blacklist all IP addresses that were associated with different SEO hosting providers.
I suggest avoiding any hosting provider that states it is SEO hosting company. Those times have passed when SEO hosting was good for a blog network.
VPS & Dedicated Hosting
Virtual or dedicated servers are great for hosting multiple websites. You can add multiple IP addresses to the same server, this way you can host multiple website on multiple IP addresses, while having them on the same server.
There are some downsides though. The maintenance of a VPS or dedicated server requires a certain level of knowledge in this filed. These servers are costly and you have to pay extra for additional IP addresses too. You won’t be able to use a dedicated server to its full potential hosting couple of websites, so it might not worth renting one. Also, there is limited amount of IP addresses you can add to a server, and many times, hosting providers will not give you C class IPs, which are the best for blog networks.
If you are just starting with your first private blog network, you should not bother renting a server; instead you should look for something more simple and cost effective.
At this moment, shared hosting is the way to go, if you are building a private blog network. Shared hosting is cost effective, easy to manage and maintain, and provides all the necessary tools that you might need for your blog network.
The cost of a shared hosting plan is around $4-$6 / month, if you pay in advance for a year or two. Most of hosting plans allow hosting more than one website, which is great, because you can build multiple blog networks using the same resources.
It is important to choose good and reliable hosting providers. Here is a list of best shared hosts that you can use for your private blog network:
Certainly there are several other hosting companies out there, but I suggest starting with these. There are affordable, have great uptime and good customer support. You should not host your websites on some random rubbish host. Go with good and reliable hosting providers only. There is no point in buying some expensive expired domain, invest time and money into content and creating your website and cheap out on server. It would be like owning a nice car, but don’t driving it at full speed because can’t afford fuel.
Creating Your Websites of Your Private Blog Network
I assume that you know how to point your domain names to a hosting account by changing name servers. I won’t go into details, but if you want to find out more about Name Servers and want to know how they work, please read our linked guide.
Once the DNS is updated and your domain is pointed to your hosting account, you can start building your website. To speed things up a bit, you can use the one-click installation tool that is offered by most of hosting companies. With this tool you can install WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or other CMS to your website with just few clicks. You should not spend too much time setting up the core of your website.
Choosing a CMS for Your Blog Network
Many say that you should not leave any footprint when building a blog network. Therefore experts recommend using different CMS for each of your website. From personal experience, I can tell you, that there is no difference between networks that are running on WordPress only and networks where each website is built on different system.
That said, I suggest choosing a simple CMS, because it is easier for you to manage. I prefer using WordPress, not only for blog networks, but also for every website I build. The beauty of using WordPress is, that you can customize each website of your network without leaving any footprint.
Building Your Websites without Leaving Footprints
Using only WordPress for your network, can be a footprint. However half of the web is built on WordPress, and often websites only have backlinks from WordPress blogs. Is this really a footprint? In my opinion it is not.
If you are using the same theme and plugins for each website you are build, well this is a huge footprint that you should avoid. You have to think of each website as a different project, which is not related to the other. The best way to avoid footprints while making your websites is:
- Custom Logo – create a logo for each and every website; if you are not good in Photoshop or don’t know anything about how to create a logo, you can seek for some cheap logo designers on Fiverr or forums.
- Different Theme – there are thousands of free themes; just use a different theme for each project
- Different Plugins – I know that Yoast is the most popular and probably the best SEO plugin, but you should not install it on each of your website. Find other plugins that do the same and mix them up.
- Unique Content – create unique content for each of your blog and do not publish on same day. With WordPress you can schedule posts, so you don’t need to come back to your website each time you want to add a new article. Also include images, videos and eventually other useful downloadable things to your posts. To speed up the process, you can hire a writer or two to help you out with content creation.
- Building Backlinks – it is a bad idea to interlink your blog network. This is the biggest mistake most people are committing. It is certain, that interlinking your websites can give a huge initial boost to your entire network and money site, but in the long run it is not beneficial. Try to acquire backlinks from different third party website through blog commenting, web 2.0 properties, forum posts, etc.
- Make it Natural – a website, which is updated regularly looks very natural, not only to users but to Google too. However linking to same sites over and over again looks very strange. When linking to your money site from your network, try to add other resources also, which are not your competitors but some high value informational websites.
Establish and Grow Your Network
Building your PBN requires a lot of time and effort. It will also consume a huge amount of money. That said, you should be doing as much as you can afford in terms of time and money. So there is no point of working on 30-50 websites consecutively while you don’t have enough time and budget for it.
You should focus on fewer websites, building them up from the ground. After the websites are established and receive some traffic, you can move on and start with new websites, but don’t forget to come back to your old ones and update them time-to-time.
Creating your own private blog network is the way to go if you want to rank niche websites. It is challenging and time consuming to create a good PBN, however the results are amazing. Having someone to help you out is a good plus, because some tasks can be outsourced such as content writing, website updating, link building, etc.
Finally, my personal recommendation: please don’t bother building a personal blog network if you are not persistent person, if you will give up after one or two months. Establishing a network of site is a long process and won’t get your results overnight. This is a long term investment and strategy, which will give you results only in the long run.
If you have questions or any observation regarding this article, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment bellow.
Good luck in building your PBN!