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WP Snowball: Quickstart Guide

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This guide will help you set up Snowball for the first time - showing you exactly what you need to get Snowball running.

Downloading & Installing

You can use the logins (the ones you got by email) to log into this page:

Here you can download the plugin and install it like any other (through the WP dashboard or FTP)
Click here for more information on downloading/upgrading the plugin

You'll also need IonCube Loaders on your server. Your host can set this up for you (a quick email and they can set it up) - you can set it up for yourself (here's the instructions) if you want.
(there's also some easy-to follow videos on Youtube, just search Ioncube installation +{your_host})

Setting Up Sources

The first place you'll want to head to is the 'Sources' tab in the plugin.
Here you can set which sources that Snowball will use.


Each time Snowball makes a post - it'll choose from one of these activated sources to get the content. The more you check, the more content will be available, but you may want to uncheck some if you think they'll provide content that you would't want (Ie Yahoo answers).


Much like Content - choose the sources you want to appear in the post - Snowball will pick a random source to get media for the post - this will be displayed above the content in the post. Again relevancy should be taken into account - if you're setting up a serious finance blog (for example) you may not want 'Funny or Die' checked.


Here you can select the types of links you want to get. All sources (except stat links) requires you to add accounts for Snowball to use. To add accounts check the source so it's on - the click the cog on the right and a box will appear where you can enter logins for that source.


If you want WP Snowball to automatically monetize the blog - you can enter your affiliate details for the different programs here. WP Snowball will pick a random monetization source for each post - and display a relevant product.

For Clickbank and Amazon, you'll need to enter a category you want to use. It's easiest to pick a category then select random product.

Essential Settings

Next head over to the settings page. These are the things you'll want to set before letting Snowball loose...

Max Levels and Max New Posts

These 2 settings determine how big your Snowballs will be (Max Levels), and how fast they grow (Max New Posts).

Each post you make manually, or with another autoblgoging tool (i.e. every non-WPSB post), is called a "Level 0" post (also called "Seed Post").

When a new seed post is made, it's tagged by WPSB as being "queued". This means that's it's ready for content to be collected, and new posts to be made.
This process will start when human lands on the post for the first time.

When this happens, the "queued" status is removed, content will be found from several sources (This is the Max new Posts setting). For every successful piece of content collected, a new post will be made - each of which will also have the "queued" tag set. Each time a snowball grows, the "Level" of a post increases. So for the first time a user lands on a Level 0 post, the new posts created are called "Level 1".

This process will continue until you "Max Levels" setting is reached, then the Snowball will stop growing. To get more posts after this you need to make another post, or just increase the Max Levels setting then re-queue a few posts using the link shown in-post, on the debugging box.

When testing for the first time, set Max Levels to 3 and Max New Posts to 3 also. This will give you a good overview on the dashboard of what happens. be careful not to set either of these too high, or you might end up with exponential content growth and put a lot of load on your server (making 100's of new posts a minute tend to do that).

Max Links Per Post

Here You can set the maximum number of links to each post - WP Snowball will select a random number of links (between 0 and your limit) and schedule them to go live over time. As most of the sources are post-by-email, there's settings below this to limit the number of emails it sends per hour or per day. This is as some hosts limit the nummber you can send.

Core Keywords

You shouldn't think of these as Keywords - it's more of a relevancy backup. Snowball uses the keywords from the post that you made, then checks the content it's found against the core keywords. Enter 3 keywords into the box that would only appear in your niche if two of them were together. The example below shows what you might want to enter if you were in the forex niche.

Remember to click the green button 'Save Settings' once you're done.

Starting Your First Snowball

Now you're ready to make the seed post (this is the level 0 post). Create a post as you would normally using Wordpress. Make sure the post is reasonably long (300+ words would be good to test it) and hit publish. You can copy and paste an article in to do this - or even set a post to draft then republish.

The initial post may take a few extra seconds to publish, this is because Snowball is setting everything up and creating the first level of posts.

How To See What Happened

Now head over to the Snowball dashboard, and you should see your snowball with the post you've just made labelled as 'seed post'.
If you get this message, don't worry - just click the re-queue link which will take you to the post - click the requeue button in the debugging box (re-queueing the snowball).

When you're on the dashboard and it's showing your snowball - double click on a post to open the post in a new window. This will register as a visitor to the post and start the next level of the snowball. after a few seconds, click back to the dashboard and refresh. You'll see that the post you just clicked on has new posts linked from it.

Now every time a visitor clicks on a post, providing that it's not triggered any snowballs before, and if it's below the max number of levels - this will trigger new posts to be made.

Try clicking on another post to see the snowball grow even more. Then head over to the log - and you'll see the various entries it makes when it's posting.


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