My Blogging Fears And Frustrations ~ I love blogging but there are a number of fearful and frustrating things a blogger has to deal with behind the scenes.
This post is a little bit different but I think you will find it an interesting read whether you are a blogger or a reader of blogs. In this post I share my fears and frustrations that I personally or other bloggers that I know have experienced.
This article is not meant to be a complaining blog about blogging. Rather the intent is to share some interesting things that bloggers deal with behind the scenes. When I started blogging a couple of years ago I did not really know a lot about blogging but I was keen to learn about how to run a blog. I had no idea when I got started that there was a whole other negative aspect about blogging that I also had to learn about.
There are both fearful and frustrating things that go on. They are things that as a blogger I have to be cautious, aware of and just use common sense with so I can focus on the main reason why I became a blogger…. and that is to enjoy creating quality content for my readers and followers.
I have listed my blogging fears and frustrations generally in the order I discovered this sort of thing happens or impacted me personally. When I refer to some of my blogging fears and frustrations I also reference other bloggers. Some of them I identify and some of them I keep anonymous to be respectful of their situation. But be rest assured that the fears and frustrations I share with you are very real for the bloggers who have been affected.
My Blogging Fears And Frustrations
Dealing with spam is a minor frustration for a blogger. It is like a constant pebble in your shoe. As long as a blogger has the right spam blockers in place and knows how to recognize what spam looks like it is a manageable frustration to deal with.
But I can speak from personal experience that a blog can be inundated with thousands of spam coming through the comment section. I used to write a blog through my work that was quite popular among educators. Somehow the spam blocker was not renewed and lifted on that blog. When I returned after summer vacation it was filled with thousands of spam. I had to shut that blog down because it would have taken me hours to clean it up. With ‘Time With Thea’ I have a strong spam block system in place so hardly any spam gets in. But I do keep a close eye on things.
#2 Cease And Desist Order
Yes… you read that correctly. I was hit with a cease and desist order. This one was definitely a fear.
I actually began blogging under another blog and a different name. Within a year it became quite popular and my readership grew quite rapidly. But it had become so popular that a big corporation with a similar name (let me emphasize similar not exact) did not like that my blog was the top hit above this company’s website.
I remember leaving the hospital after seeing my father who was quite ill on December 27th and checking my email before I drove home. There in big bold letters was a CEASE AND DESIST ORDER from a New York City law firm representing a big corporation ordering that I shut down my blog and accusing me of all kinds of things that just were not true. I had not even heard of this company before. When I started my first blog I had conducted an online search of the previous name and nobody else had it so I registered that domain thinking the name was unique and available. I did not think that a similar name would be a problem.
I have to admit I was a bit stunned and thought maybe it was a joke. Who sends a cease and desist letter on December 27th with all kinds of false accusations with an order to be shut down within a week and it is the Christmas holiday? But after contacting my lawyer it was confirmed it was the real deal. I was in no position to fight a giant and nor did I want to. So I complied and that is how ‘Time With Thea’ was born.
I chose a name with consultation with my lawyer that belonged to me because it is my real name. But it was a lot of work in a short time frame to make the change. I had to shut down a previously successful blog and start all over again. That was just over two years ago. So if you ask me how long I have been blogging my answer is for about two years. I call that first blog that no longer exists my practice blog.
#3 Stolen Images
All bloggers deal with this issue. It is quite remarkable how some online individuals take other people’s images and use them on their sites without giving any credit to the creator and owner of the image. I find it quite frustrating to see images of my front lawn, bed sheets and wreaths on other sites with no link back my blog.
Apparently landscaping companies like the look of my grass in the front yard because multiple companies have used that image on their website. I even found my bed sheets that I sleep in every night on a mattress company’s website. It is frustrating because they are promoting their business using my photography.
My images are also being used without my permission on what I call sneaky sites. They present themselves as a depository of images. But when you click the image it takes you to something completely different as in video games that you can purchase. It is super frustrating to see photographs of my pet dog, children and my front lawn with nice green grass growing yet again used in this manner. Who knew my green grass would be so popular?
Another concern with stolen images is that they can go viral but on someone else’s site and they get the credit. This happened to a blogging friend of mind where a photograph she took that was stolen ended up all over different forms of social media with no credit to her blog. Her watermark was even on the photograph. It had to be so frustrating for Jo-Anna from A Pretty Life In The Suburbs. But she has a sense of humour and calls it ‘that image’ which you can see here. Perhaps you recognize it? Jo-Anna has since placed a banner on the photograph. Fortunately because her blog is so amazing she has had numerous images and posts since then go viral.
#4 Blog Scraping
Some websites only steal images but there are some sites that steal the whole blog post. They just scrape the post and plop it on their site. I first learned about blog scraping from Karen the talented blogger behind Sew Many Ways. She is a very seasoned blogger and shares so many wonderful posts. Her sewing and craft room is amazing. She had a few of her blog posts scraped a couple of years ago and shared it with her readers in the article Truncating My Blog… I Hope You’ll Stay With Me.
Low and behold some of my blog posts have also been scraped. When I found out I emailed the blog owners and kindly but firmly asked them to take their posts down. One time I got a follow-up response saying how sorry they were and that they should know better because they were a web designer. This individual even went on to offer their services for a fee if I ever wanted some web design work done. I did not take her up on her offer.
I cannot totally stop my blog from being scraped but there are few things that I can do to make it more difficult. I truncate all of my posts, which means I build a break in the content. The other things I do is create internal and external links in each post so if my blog is scraped at least there is a chance it is going to link back to my blog.
Another way that blog scrapers work is to create blogs filled with stolen images of other people’s work and photography with no link or credit to the original source. They don’t scrape the content but scrape the image and present all of the ideas as belonging to them. Their whole site is literally full of stolen images. The problem then becomes they make an income through the advertising on their blog just by using other people’s work. It has happened to me and many other bloggers that I know. I often see these sights pinned on Pinterest. Very frustrating.
Here is an article discussing how to report scraper sites to Google as an option for how to deal with this frustrating problem: How To Report A Scraper Site To Google
#5 Blogging Trolls/Stalkers
I learned quite early when I became a blogger about blogging trolls. These are individuals who ‘troll’ websites and leave very mean spirited comments just for the purpose and intent to be nasty. I fortunately have not had it happen to me as a blogger and thankfully know how to use the delete button if it does happen.
But I did have a similar experience several years ago as an author of published books. I received a very nasty anonymous letter from a reader written in purple ink that had really crossed the line. The only difference was that the letter came in the mail and I had no idea who sent it. Instead of hitting the delete button it went into the trash. It was a very creepy and disturbing feeling to receive such a vindictive type of letter. It must be the same feeling to get the same type of email from trolls.
Hopefully trolls stop by a blog and do their negative thing and then move on to another blog never to return. But in some cases there are trolls who return to blogs repeatedly and become stalkers. They leave their mean spirited comments on all of the blogger’s forms of social media including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and through email. Luckily IP addresses and users can be blocked but it is all so unnecessary, frustrating and even fearful to have to deal with this.
I have a couple of bloggy friends who are very talented bloggers and are also mothers with children who have had to deal with trolls and stalkers. I also have another bloggy friendship that started when I first became a blogger. She was a frequent blogger posting several times a week and then one day she and her blog disappeared. Several months later she found me on Pinterest to let me know that she had to disappear for a while because of a stalker and is back with a new blog. She loves blogging so much she rebranded herself with a new name and a new online identity. It is a good thing because she is such a wonderful humorous writer sharing her daily adventures in the country that she lives.
#6 Blog Attack
A couple of months ago my blog was subject to a bot attack three times over a period of two weeks. One attack came from Malaysia, another from Russia and a third from Poland. A blog attack is when a significant overwhelming number of bots hit the blog in a short amount of time. For example 10 bots were hitting my blog every second. When you crunch the numbers on that rate that means that in a minute the blog got 600 hits and if that rate keeps up that is 36,000 hits in an hour. This gets scary because it causes real problems with the web host server and it ultimately shut my blog down. The bots also tried to hack into the backend of my blog. So you know how I have spam blockers built in…. well… I also have significant security built in to keep the blog protected.
Thankfully I have two tech people who provide support. iCampus21 hosts my blog and I really like the one-to-one support making sure the blog is running smoothly. I also like how issues like blog attacks are dealt with in a trouble shooting and timely manner. I also have a great web support technician who helps set the blog up so it is protected.
Almost done… are you still with me?
#7 Being Sued
Nope… that has not happened to me. But I do know bloggers who have been sued for using images that they thought were free and non-copyrighted or that they thought were credited appropriately. I have one bloggy friend who thought she was following the legal rules but was still hit with a lawsuit from a law firm about a particular image. She fought it only to find out that the original owner of the image had no idea that his image was involved in a lawsuit. Apparently this is a law firm that operates like ambulance chasers looking for blogs that appear to have a copyright infringement. My bloggy friend fought it and won.
Here is an excellent article about a blogger who was sued and she shares her story about that experience: Bloggers Beware You CAN Get Sued For Using Photos You Don’t Own On Your Blog.
As for me I only use my own photography 95% of the time. Any images that are not mine I have asked permission ahead of time in writing to use from the original owner as well as give credit and provided a link to the original source.
#8 Companies Expecting To Use My Blog For Free To Promote Their Business
A lot of bloggers deal with this frustration. As I previously mentioned I pay for the web host, tech support and other costs on this blog. My focus as a blogger is content creation so I outsource the areas that are out of my expertise but I still need help with. The advertising and posts where I have disclosed that I have received payment help to cover my expenses. I am very appreciative of the companies who value my work as a blogger. They are willing to work with me and respectfully pay for my work on the blog to help promote their products or services.
However, there are many companies who have an expectation of free promotion. In my case it comes in the form of an offer to be a guest blogger on my blog. I can choose from a list of topics but when you check out the topics carefully they are all connected to a company. The benefit for them is they get long-term free promotion and the benefit for me is nothing. I get several offers like this every week.
I like to think in metaphors to help explain and further understand a situation. In this case it is like I am being asked to be the host of a party in my home for a company. I have to supply the food, beverages, entertainment and decorations as well as maintain the costs for the electrical, heating and water bills in my home. I sort of do this with my blog except I pay for the costs of running the blog. When a company wants to use my blog for free promotion it is like I am the host of the party in my home. Live blog posts are online forever. So this guest blog promoting a company has free advertising forever and I am covering all of the costs on their behalf.
#9 Referral Spam
This type of spam is different compared to the first type of spam I referred to in #1. Referral spam has just showed up in the past six months and is a frustration. Google ranks your blog according to a number of criteria some of which are how many visits you get, how long a visitor stays on your blog and how many sites link to your blog. The more hits, longer times visiting and the more links are a good thing and a higher ranking on Google.
But referral spam sends links to your blog that totally mess up your ranking. They link to your blog without even visiting it. So Google devalues your blog ranking because of the referral spam. Malicious Google Analytics Referral Spam clarifies what it is and how to deal with it.
I do not open up anything that looks like it can be referral spam. This is also a case where yet more filters are built into my blog to protect it from this frustration. But as my fabulous tech person explained… there are so many referral spammers emerging that once you set up filters for one another one shows up. It is like hitting a mole on the head just to have another arrive in your garden. I even have porn sites linking to my blog. Is there a hashtag for #eeeewfactor?
So that is it. These are my blogging fears and frustrations. You may be asking why do I still blog? I have to admit I have asked that question many times. But I want to stress that the positives that come with blogging far outweigh the negatives. As I previously mentioned I have learned a lot the past couple of years. I now can approach blogging with a wiser and more cautious awareness. In a future blog I will be sharing the things that I love and enjoy most about blogging and why I stay in the game. Stay tuned!
If you are new to blogging or are considering becoming a blogger I highly encourage you to jump in despite what I have shared. I just wish I had known about these things before I got started so I was a little more prepared.
If you are an experienced blogger what are your blogging fears and frustrations? Do you have any advice or tips? I would love for you to join in the conversation.
Final Comments: Before I sign off I noticed that I have inserted a truncated break in the blog and several external links but I not included an internal link yet. Organized Priorities is the very first blog post I wrote about how I use a mind map to help me set goals and priorities to help me balance my busy life. It still has a steady stream of repins on Pinterest. I have learned so much since that first time I hit publish on Time With Thea.
What’s Coming Up: My next post is one of the many reasons why I love blogging. I along with several other talented crafty bloggers will be sharing gorgeous fall wreaths that we each made. I invite you to join us for this fun blog hop! See you then!