WP Blog Rocket [review]

Today Im doing a review of a new Word Press plugin called WP Blog Rocket

 

Blog Rocket is a plugin that comes with a lot of hype and a lot of promises. The vendors claim that its going to do some really incredible stuff. In fact here are a couple of the things they claim:

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Now I will tell you from the door that the claim of “only ever available to the biggest sites” is total nonsense. What Blog Rocket does is nothing really new. When doing research for this article I have found plugins (both free and paid) from as far back as 6 years ago that do, at its core, just what Blog Rocket does. As for the other claims I’ll talk about them in a bit, first I want to explain exactly what it is that Blog Rocket does.

Ok so at its core, in it’s simplest terms Blog Rocket is a tool that allows you to split test your post titles. After installing the plugin it adds some additional buttons to your post / page editor in your WordPress site. Then instead of entering a post title that you write, you simply enter the subject of your post, press a button and Blog Rocket will generate a title for you at random, or you can select one from a drop down menu.

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The titles that you get from this software ar pre-written fill in the blanks. Sometimes the title you get will match the content of your article well, however most of the time you will have to edit it at least a little bit.

Now just suggesting titles is not all this does. The main functionality is the split testing. After you enter a few titles Blog Rocket will then rotate through the titles to see which one gets the most engagement. It will track the stats of each title, seeing which one people are viewing and clicking on most often and then after a preset amount of time it will ‘lock in’ the title that gets the best engagement.

Sounds great right? Will when you think about it, not really. let me explain.

The first thing I want to point out is that Google does not crawl your site every day. For a very popular site it might crawl it once a day or once every two days. For a less popular site it might crawl it every couple of days. Also when Google crawls your site it caches what it sees for its results page. The same thing goes for the major social networks. When someone shares your site the sites info (including the title) is cached.

What this means is that your title is not going to rotate on Google, or on the search engines. Well to be fair it might on Google, though very slowly (changing once every few days). But it wont on for social shares. In essence, from a functional standpoint its really only going to change for your site visitors.  On most blogs, when people come to your site, they see a summery of your posts, or if they are reading a post they see some links to your other posts. This is where the majority of the title rotation and split testing is going to happen.

Now on a very popular blog, which already gets a lot of traffic and which already ranks high in the search engine results split testing a title might make sense. It will help webmasters see if the title is engaging people and getting them to click on their other posts and stay on their site. However for a totally new blog, or one that does not get much traffic already, its going to be much less valuable.  Think about it. What good is an engaging title if you cant rank your posts on Google? What good is rotating your title, if no one is coming to your site and seeing the title anyway?

The sales page for this product has some great income ‘proof’ showing how Sean’s coaching students have been using this plugin with great results.

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Now honestly, things like this never really impress me to much. Anyone can make a screenshot graphic, so I asked Sean on Facebook if he would link me to one of his students sites that are using this.

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Sean declined saying that he has a NDA (non disclosure agreement) with his students that prevents him from speaking in public about any aspect of their business.

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Now I thought it was very strange that he could put his students web stats on his sales page (which is a private thing) but cant give me a link to his students website which is not a secret. I mean websites are not private or secret business info. They are public things and obviously his students want people to their site. So why is giving out a URL against the NDA but showing web stats is not? But I don’t know Seans agreement or his relationship with his students so I can, grudgingly, accept that he is just unable to give me the link. So instead I asked him to send me a link to some of his own blogs where he uses this plugin.

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I asked him for links to one of his own blogs that uses this because I have seen interviews that he did with other marketers where he says he originally created Blog Rocket for his own team and for his own sites. I actually asked him twice, and while I know he has seen this message on the Facebook chat, at the time of this writing he has not answered the request for a link to one of his own blogs that uses this plugin.

When you first install and activate your Blog Rocket plugin you are shown a settings page.

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The first thing I noticed about this plugin is that the is no help or tutorials built into the plugin. Now there is a members area where you can download the plugin and this members area has very well made tutorials as well as a support link but there is nothing built into the plugin itself. I could never understand why vendors of IM WordPress plugins refuse to put assistance in the plugin and instead insist on hiding it behind a members area. Its not like tutorial videos are some secret that need to be hidden. Really doing it this way is just a inconvenience for the end user in my opinion.

I also noticed that the plugin does not seem to be coded very well. I found a couple of issues that are likely the result of the plugin developers taking short cuts in the coding and not following standard accepted practices.

The first example of this can be seen in the screenshot above. Notice that there is a slider and an input field to enter the number of days for the campaign. The slider works well however the input field lacks basic sanitization.  This is a standard coding practice that insures that only the correct type of input is entered or accepted. For example you can enter letters in the input field that is expecting numbers, and you can save the settings with letters entered. Now this might seem like a petty thing, you might say, well just don’t enter letters, and while that would work, to me as a developer the lack of sanitization, which is a standard thing, shows me that the developers took shortcuts in the coding.

Another example of this is in the post titles themselves:

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Notice how there are backslashes before any single quotes in the post titles. As a developer I know what is happening here. Its standard practice to ‘escape’ single quotes in any text that is saved to a MYSQL database. This is because single quotes have special meaning in both PHP and MYSQL. WordPress does this automatically for a lot of the text in your sites database, ‘escaping’ the quotes by adding a backslash right before them. Now normally you don’t want these backslashes, so what you do as a developer is use the built in PHP stripslashes() function to remove the single quotes after reading the text from the database and before displaying it. However the developers of this plugin seem to have failed to do this. Again a very basic mistake caused by poor coding.

I thought that perhaps this might have been happening because of an error with my theme so I did a lot of testing and each time the single quotes only fail to escape when the plugin is activated. Also looking at the plugins reporting I can actually see this same issue inside of there as well.

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On the subject of reporting I also noticed that this seems to be a bit inaccurate. For example one of the reporting pages shows that one of the blog titles has never had a view even though I know for sure that it has, and even though the other reporting pages indicate that it has.

Ok so what do I think of WP Blog Rocket over all?

Well first off I want to say that I do think having a engaging title can be a good thing. However I don’t for one moment think that anyone is going to use this plugin and that magically get thousands of new site visitors. As I said Google and the social networks tend to cache your posts information, so its not like its going to rotate in Google or in Facebook. In reality this is just split testing and by definition split testing requires traffic in the first place (or else there is no one to test with).

If you have a lot of traffic already or if you can already rank in the search engines you might consider testing different titles. It cant hurt after all. However I don’t accept the implication that people are going to get this plugin, put it on a new, or low raking website, and suddenly get a ton of traffic. I don’t believe that for one second.

While there may be some value in the prewritten titles that are included with this plugin. Really they are just fill in the blank text that will likely often not match what your posting about and require editing to make sense anyway.

This plugin seems to be poorly written and full of a lot of hype intended to make you think that its going to magically solve all of your traffic problems. While I don’t hate it, and I think it might be ok for people who have traffic already and want to test different titles, this really is nothing new and there are other (free) solutions that basically do the same thing as this does. After giving it some thought I just don’t feel comfortable recommending people invest in this. I honestly believe that people are going to find its big on promises and low on delivery.

notapproved

 

 

 

 

 

Want to see how I rate products I review? Click the link below for a detailed description:

http://brettrutecky.com/how-i-rate-products-i-review/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review. However I make no promises to them regarding the results of my tests or what I will write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.
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  1. Sally Cevasco, 08 December, 2015

    Thanks for this review Brett.

    It really helps to hear your honest opinion about it.

    Sally

  2. holger, 08 December, 2015

    Again, great review with to the point evaluation.
    There is no magic tool, that does it all.
    Thanks for your diligent work

  3. Dave, 08 December, 2015

    Thanks Brett, you confirmed my gut feeling.

  4. Roman, 09 December, 2015

    And mine too

  5. Ken, 08 December, 2015

    Brett, thanks for confirming my gut reaction to this one.

    Sean’s a smart guy, but by the time I emerge from his (typically) endless oto cycles I usually feel more cynical than when I started. And that is an impressive “accomplishment” on his part.

  6. Egor, 08 December, 2015

    Thanks Brett! Honestly every Sean Donahoe product I bough I refunded so far for not delivering and not working as expected. And decided to not to buy anymore of his products.
    I guess this one is no different…

  7. Paul Sullivan, 08 December, 2015

    Ditto. And thx Brett

  8. Ben Yost, 08 December, 2015

    Thanks Brett, “You The Man” confirmed what I thought, plus it is pretty pricey with a a-lot of up-sells in the funnel.

  9. Edith Bunker, 08 December, 2015

    Brett Rutecky, harshing mellows again.

  10. Terry, 08 December, 2015

    I know this was gonna be a pile of poop thanks Brett

  11. David, 08 December, 2015

    Essentially another product distracting us from what’s important.

    Good review.

  12. Carlos, 08 December, 2015

    Thank you for your review!!

  13. David, 08 December, 2015

    Thanks Brett for telling it like it is!!
    Just saved me some dough.

  14. Matlon, 08 December, 2015

    Hello Brett,
    It really helps to hear your honest opinion about the products that coming out.
    You have saved me a lot of money.

    Thanks Brett.

  15. JMW, 08 December, 2015

    Thanks for saving me money and struggling with another silver bullet!

  16. Jesse, 08 December, 2015

    Thanks again for keeping myself from buying another low value shiny object…you’re a rare person in the IM biz.

  17. Joseph Blazej, 08 December, 2015

    Thank you Brett. I received so many
    amails on this already…Cheers ????

  18. Blaze, 09 December, 2015

    I’ll have to start paying more attention to WHO promotes this crap to us, and pay MORE attention to those who promote good stuff and reviews. No more lining “smarmy, promote-happy” marketers pockets with my hard earned cash!

  19. Dave Sweney, 08 December, 2015

    Hi Brett,

    This is one I rejected out of hand. I didn’t bother looking at the sales page even. Thanks for confirming my first take on this one!

    I have enough junk hanging around collecting dust on my hard drive, I do not need a rocket! I still ike the best bonus from your last review: Quit buying shiny objects (sic)!

    Thanks!

    Cheers!
    Dave : )

  20. John G, 08 December, 2015

    I addressed the same points regarding lack of traffic to a site and the how the rotation of titles works within google with the product creator. My concern was the time it would take to get any meaningful results. I did not get a direct response and was told it was “covered in the training” and “social media” is used to boost traffic. The concept is good but there is nothing groundbreaking that I can see. Combining tools into a streamlined system and interface is a good thing…..but first they have to work as purported to be of true value.

  21. Stefan, 08 December, 2015

    Just wanted to Thank You for doing this review. I nearly bought after listening to an interview review, but can now rest easy that I didn’t. Thanks Brett!

  22. Angelo, 08 December, 2015

    Thanks for this review Brett, I had similar thoughts about this too. A fantastic designed sales page, but I was expecting more from this plugin, for the price.

  23. Shawn S., 08 December, 2015

    Well Dang, from all the hype, I thought for sure this product was going provide foot rubs and make me coffee in the morning. Brett, yet again saves us all from spending $$ on :poop:.

  24. Shawn S., 08 December, 2015

    I’m totally scraping this page for later study. Whoo-hoo Evernote!

  25. Fred Ferguson, 08 December, 2015

    This was an excellent review Brett and another example of why you own the IM product review arena. Thank you for what you do!

  26. Sheldon, 08 December, 2015

    Brett I love your comments all the time. I have bought many products in the old days when I did not make money from Shawn Donahue and he did not help since. I would hate to think how many years I fell under his spell. You need 20 more services for his products to work normally which are conveniently after the sale and all affiliate offers.

    I love affiliate sales but they need to be honest like your site.

    I appreciate the fact you pushed back on a so called guru. I love what you do. If you can keep doing what you do will make my life easier.

    I just bought a product which you did not review called video cash console.

    They are still working out the bugs from day one. They sold it beta testing for years but day one nothing working.

    Great sales pitch. Todd Gross as the salesman. I don’t think that guy is involved much with production as I got 10 videos with him in it and all products don’t work.

    I am pretty sure I use to be able to hire him on fiverr

  27. Brett Rutecky, 08 December, 2015

    To clarify Todd is a spokes person and not a product vendor. His role in a launch is the video, he does not do the product creation.

  28. Egor, 09 December, 2015

    I don’t think Todd was on fiverr but he used to be a weather man and his name and personality was even mentioned in the movie Perfect Storm.

  29. Sergio, 08 December, 2015

    It’d seem to me that many sales page benefits are sprinkled with what only some of the OTOs could deliver if you buy them, without mentioning it of course.

    By the time you purchase the main product, you’re all excited and before you compare the sales page with the main offer and spot the differences, you’re hit with one or several OTO’s while trying to access/download the product.

    By then, you forget the hype on the sales page and end up buying the OTO, justifying your purchase with an “Oh well, I got all this for a good, launch price anyway!”

  30. kami, 08 December, 2015

    thank you Brett for another great review

  31. Ricardo, 08 December, 2015

    Thanks Brett….like slways saving the day… And saving me money…we need more knowledgeable people like you reviewing these products .. So maybe people start putting out higher quality products on the market…ty

  32. Phil, 08 December, 2015

    Great review Brett as ever…I usually rate Sean’s products but was doubting this one and your review saved me some money!!

  33. Rod, 08 December, 2015

    Thanks, Brett. I got shafted on a Donahoe product before, and several of my friends have had miserable experiences. A long time ago I decided I wouldn’t buy any more of his products. It looks like he hasn’t changed.

    To be honest, I usually unsubscribe from the list of anyone who pushes a Donahoe product.

    It’s great having someone like you who is honest and doesn’t hype products for the commission. Can we clone you somehow? 🙂

  34. Hamant, 08 December, 2015

    Hi Brett

    Glad there is someone who really cares and says it how it is.
    It’s quite amazing that every Tom Dick and Pooch out there is promoting this and quite frankly I don’t think any of them has tested it in any way.
    I did somewhere down the line come across details of one of the OTO’s and it seems that there is an upsell for something that will curate content.
    Seriously though – can you just imagine a blog that has titles automated and content automated from curation – there is going to be a whole lot of content that is not going to make sense.
    What is the point of automation if you’re only going to get one visit from a reader who most likely will probably to come again to read the morass of curated content that does not make sense , so what is the point of even ranking a blog if that were possible if people won;t come back.

    Thanks again Brett
    I was not even considering this as I had a feeling this is going to be hyped up to the hilt

  35. Rob, 09 December, 2015

    Great review! I like your honest reviews, you are providing real value to your subscribers, not just generic reviews!

  36. Amdad, 09 December, 2015

    Hi Brett, as always more than thanks to you. Wishing you a healthy / wealthy life as personally myself need your this kind of honest reviews and other stuffs and advice as well.

    Kinda selfish about this that I need you to run my IM business successfully 🙂

    Thanks again Mr. Brett.

  37. Steve, 09 December, 2015

    I smell a top business opportunity here…

    Why not create a” Rutecky Approved” this way the developers will be able to place on to there products a shield, proud badge or a sheriffs star… LOL

    Get the drift.. This way the developers will pay you a fee to pre check there products… and if it passes it will get the badge of honor…

    This will be a first for the industry… I will be one of the first to look for the Rutecky Approved stamp/badge/star. or whatever

    This will either get the Developers to get there A into G or risk not getting a Big tick from Rutecky..

    This move would change the poor quality developments particularly among newbies..who do not know where to turn for advise..

    Plus … I would be more then willing to pay a fee for you to test my products…and give me time to improve before release..or face a NOT approved Star from the Sheriff ..(Scary stuff go to IM jail)

    Love to see and hear feed back from other members..

    I so get frustrated with people like Sean who use fluff words and to look intelligent to the masses of people who do not know better..

    Finally a link from you Badge or whatever would show your ratings..

    Bring it on Brett.. Its long Long over due from What I can see..

    Cheers Steve

  38. Brett Rutecky, 09 December, 2015

    Not a bad idea 🙂

  39. Rob, 09 December, 2015

    Thanks Brett.

    Perhaps Sean should sell his expertise in Sales Pages, because that, he has in spades!

  40. Daniel, 10 December, 2015

    There are so many phony “review” sites out there that just try to make money from commissions by raving about plug-ins and getting people to buy them. I appreciate a site that can offer honest reviews. Thank you.

    Just curious, though: do you have to buy all these plug-ins that you review or do the publishers send them to you?

  41. Brett Rutecky, 10 December, 2015

    I dont have to buy them, people give me them for free since I have a popular review site. Though some dont let me keep them after Im done the review (most do however).

  42. Ainsley, 10 December, 2015

    Great stuff Brett!

  43. Hartmut Peter Grün, 12 January, 2016

    thank you Brett… for your extensive engagement in trying and testing this tool with useful issues. There is a need of good reviewers like you.

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