Hell. Society has given that word a powerful meaning. Some remember that word to search within their souls, while others use it to ridicule those who use that word for soul searching. In the online world, I have noticed many bloggers revolving their blogs, no matter what the topic is, around the offline concept of religion. In the online world, however, you do not need to have any offline religion in order to be subjected to a new form of hell: the Blog Hell.
The Blog Hell can be a really scary place, and there are various reasons you or your blog can be sent to the blog hell, whether permanently or temporarily. To give you a better understanding of what the Blog Hell is, I will show you 5 ways of getting there.
5 ways to get into Blog Hell
- Getting into arguments with other bloggers
Arguments in the offline world can result in married couples and best friends hating each other forever, so it is no surprise that even the smallest of online arguments can result in powerful grudges. Just like any argument, just because you argue logically or think you are right does not mean you will be appreciated for voicing your opinion. An argument itself should be avoided, since forcing someone to agree with you contradicts the idea of making someone believe in something voluntarily. Also, bloggers should try to disagree with arguments, not with people who argue.
If you argue online for business reasons, it is better to end the argument as soon as possible and to move on, since continuous arguments about something mean that either the issue should be ignored or the business deal should be reconsidered. Getting into an argument with someone, where the blogosphere sides with your “opponent“, can result in you and your blog being sent to the blog hell, resulting in you getting less attention, fewer blog comments, and even fewer ways to find inspiration to build back your affected reputation. Sometimes, it is very hard to improve a damaged reputation because of the way the online world looks at how or why you argue in arguments.
- Punished by search engines
Search engine optimization [SEO] is something that many bloggers, if not most, focus on. If you pay close attention to many prominent blogs and their bloggers, you will realize that they usually focus more on SEO than their readers or even their content. While such a thing may seem evil, consider this: if a blogger upsets one reader, that blogger can rebuild that relationship, or replace it with another relationship with some other reader; it happens regularly, even if that sounds evil too. However, if you upset a search engine like Google or Yahoo, you may end up losing most readers forever since it is hard to rebuild good relationships with search engines.
Some blogs get more than 90% of their readers and commentors through search engines, because many people find those blog through their search engine searches. If a search engine bans or punishes your for any reason, you may be in a blog hell because you will have to start depending on other sources to bring in more people to your blog. Imagine having a bookstore on a street where the only way you find new customers is through newspaper ads. Now imagine all newspapers not placing your ads anymore for some reason. You will probably worry that you might run out of business. That is how your blog can be if you upset search engines for various reasons.
- Being criticized by a famous blogger
For many bloggers, there is nothing more shocking than having a very famous blogger criticize them in public. If you are a blogger who is suffering the wrath of some prominent blogger’s anger, you may have said or done something on your blog that the other blogger may not like saying or doing themselves. Take the issue of MyBlogLog banning Jeremy Schoemaker, aka ShoeMoney, because he posted MyBlogLog security exploits in public. Arguing about something or having issues does create tensions, though when the entire blogosphere joins in, reputations can go either up or down really fast. Overall, MyBlogLog was criticized more heavily than Jeremy, and one of the reasons for that was because the criticism was started publicly by Jeremy first. One way for you to avoid such a scenario is to avoid telling someone that they are wrong.
If you get criticized by a famous blogger, you may feel the blog world crashing on you. Your reputation may be on the line, and you may feel the need to either accept all blame and apologize, or to go out fighting like an action hero or heroine. The way MyBlogLog tried to correct the situation was by Eric from MyBlogLog posting an apology to ShowMoney online, and by explaining briefly how his action was justified, and how he could have done some things differently. Sometimes, accepting a criticism after fighting it for a while can be a good thing also, if you feel that not giving up on something may be hurting other more important goals in the long run. If you are worried about a small criticizing comment left by someone, you may want to refer to the Art of Reacting to Criticizing Comments for further guidance.
- Technical issues resulting in loss of the site or readers
This is something that allows many people to regularly visit the blog hell for a few hours or even for a few days. Such technical issues can range from your domain name expiring to you accidentally deleting all your older posts and comments on your blog without having a backup. Sometimes, your host could also simply go down for even a few days, resulting in many frustrated readers and commentors of your blog to never come back.
Technical issues can also result from sites getting hacked due to exploits in software like WordPress. Whatever the reason, your site may be down and your blog readers may not be able to access or comment on your blog. It can be a nightmare for you, and the time you spend trying to worry or fix the problem is actually the time you are in a blog hell. You just feel the heat more mentally than physically, unless you have the heater on.
- Losing interest in your own blog
This is the point that allows most bloggers to be in denial that they are not in a blog hell. Many blogs that you see today will have their owners losing interest in blogging within a year. After a long time of staying away from blogs or even posting random stuff just to fulfill the obligation of blogging, they will start gaining interest in blogging again. Many other priorities in life result in many bloggers focusing less and less on blogging, and many bloggers could simply be having writer’s block for a long time, resulting in loss of interest in blogging or even writing. By the time a used-to-be-a-blogger wants to reclaim the blogging fame that he or she once had, it may be a hundred times harder to regain the same success as before.
It depends on each blogger whether they feel they are in a blog hell when they are losing interest in blogging, or if they feel like being in a blog hell when they try to bring their blog back up to its former glory and it just is not happening easily. Either way, the offline world plays a major role in deciding our interest in the online world, since even if we blog all day, we still sleep and eat in the offline world, thus giving some kind of an unconscious preference to the importance of the offline world compared to the online world.
That is my list of 5 of the many things that result in many bloggers getting a train ticket to Blog Hell. Some people are lucky and get a round trip ticket, though many people are not so lucky and get only a one way, first class train ticket to Blog Hell where it is hard to bring the blog out of some specific misery.
What is your opinion on this? Please let me know if you can think up of other things that result in people experiencing the scorching fires of the Blog Hell. Thank you for reading.