7 Frustrating Things About Blogging (and solutions for each one)

frustrating things about blogging
Blogging is a great thing. Blogging for a living (or for a partial income) is really great! however, it does come with frustrations. Here are some of the more common frustrations that happen while blogging. I’ve provided solutions for each frustration in an effort to make blogging less stressful for you!

Problem: explaining to your friends and family what it is that you do.
It can be tough sometimes explaining the fact that you earn an income from a blog. A lot of people simply don’t understand how that is possible and many don’t even know what a blog is. It really is tough to explain anything about the blogging world to anyone who is not in it themselves.
Solution: I like to keep it simple and just say that we own and operate a few websites. Usually people just nod and say something like, “cool”. If they start asking questions, I just say we make money via online advertising. That usually satisfies their curiosity.

Problem: websites that are down.

Doesn't this picture make you cringe??

Doesn’t this picture make you cringe??

Whether it is your own blog, or a social network that you frequent, websites being down can feel crippling to your blog and your business. The good news is that they tend to get back up quickly, although it certainly doesn’t feel quick at the time.
Solution: stay calm and try and find something else productive to do. If your blog is down, go to other blogs and leave comments, or interact on social media. If a social network is down, go to a different one for the time being or again, go blog commenting. Also, check DownforEveryoneOrJustMe to make sure it’s not something on your end that is causing the site to be down.

Problem: high resolution product photos
I used to hear several bloggers complain about this happening and didn’t think much of it. Then it started happening to us. PR companies send a great pitch and by the end of the email, we’re all excited to work with them only to find out the sole source of “compensation” being offered are hi-res photos of their products. Not only is this a ridiculous offer, but we like to take our own high-quality photos to use on our blogs to have a more personal feel. I truly hope these pitches don’t work very often.
Solution:  we respond to the ones that interest us telling them that we’d love to work with them, followed by our rates. We usually don’t hear back, but there have been a few cases where we have turned it into a nice business relationship.

drop by
Problem: surprise visits
Just because we work from home, doesn’t mean that we are available 24/7. I’ve talked with a lot of bloggers who say that this is their biggest frustration. It takes a TON of discipline to be self-employed and when your income relies on hard work, you can’t just go do this and that at the drop of a hat. Bloggers who earn a full-time income spend upwards of 60 hours a week working and it’s frustrating when others don’t realize this.
Solution: I feel like this is the toughest one, but you just have to keep reminding whoever needs it that even though you work from home, you give yourself a strict work schedule and you have to stick to it or your business will suffer.

Problem: bad lighting
A huge part of many blogs are high-quality photos. It’s tough to make that happen with bad lighting and photos in perfect daylight are not always possible.
Solution: if you can’t do everything during the daytime try and at least stock up on photos at that time. Now, when you go to write your post at night, you’ll have nice, well-lit photos to go with it. You could also invest in lighting systems, but that might not be in your budget. We have “daylight” light bulbs in many rooms in our house which provide a nice, natural-looking light.

Problem: changing affiliates
Companies have their own agendas, which is fine. That doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly frustrating getting an email saying “our company is moving from x affiliate network to y affiliate network”. For a blogger who uses their links, this means applying for their program with the new network, getting links and going back and changing out all of their old links. You see, the old links will no longer generate income once a company has moved on from the network, so it has to be addressed.
Solution: WordPress has a nice Find and Replace plugin to handle the changing of the links, but the rest doesn’t really come with a solution – it’s just annoying.

Problem: writer’s block
This one kinda speaks for itself. When your business is based on writing and you can’t think of things to write, it sucks.
Solution: don’t force the issue. Make sure to stick to your quality standards when it comes to content. This list of 101 blog post ideas should jog your brain a bit.

What is your biggest frustration when it comes to blogging?




Shareaholic WordPress Plugin Hijacking Affiliate Links

shareaholic hack
The Shareaholic WordPress plugin has recently begun hijacking affiliate links. On September 4th, 2014, without any update required, or any notification to the users of the plugin, Shareaholic began overriding links and placing Viglink affiliate links on sites that use their social sharing plugin.

PS. scroll toward the end of this post to learn how to delete this plugin and for similar plugin suggestions.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting…

According to Shareaholic, “Shareaholic is introducing an additional way for publishers to receive compensation for traffic they drive to e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay.”

LOL

Rightfully so, Shareaholic is getting blasted on the plugin page, on their blog post, and anywhere else that they can be reached. There are so many things wrong with this it’s not even funny. Let me first say that apparently you can go into your online account and turn off this “feature” if you want. To me, that changes nothing.

First, what they are really doing is preying on sites that do not know about this and don’t have a PayPal email listed in their account. Shareaholic can’t pay them, so where would the money go if this is the case? Charity? Doubt it.

Second, a lot of bloggers have contracts with companies that they have done sponsored posts for to either have no affiliate links in a single post, or to have specific direct links to the sponsor’s website in the post. Now, Viglink is “helping” by changing those links and effectively breaking the contractual agreement that the blogger has with the sponsor.
Example: we recently did a sponsored post where a company paid us and sent us clothing for a post. They wanted direct links to their website and product pages. We did that. (Nofollow of course!) Now those links are being run through VigLink and we get to explain to the advertiser why.

Third, it’s just slimy. Don’t change links on another website with your software, especially without notifying the users first. That’s hacking.

Fourth, it is overwriting existing links!! So if you have a relationship with a company and another affiliate network for a higher payout, too bad! Shareaholic will swap out that link with a VigLink affiliate link instead! Example: We use a personal referral link for my wife’s blog for ThredUp and get $10 for each referral. The plugin swapped out the link for a link that generates 30% of sales for new customers. This means that unless the customer places a $35+ order, we are losing money. We realize this fact and choose to use the referral link instead of the affiliate link. It’s a choice we made and some plugin should not change it.

Fifth, many people don’t have access to their online account because a designer set it up for them. I set my own up and found there was really no need for the online account, so I forgot my login info. For people like this, there is no way of turning off this “helpful” feature.

Sixth, without notification, bloggers are finding these links and thinking their sites have been hacked and spending hours trying to figure out the source. To that I say, your sites WERE hacked – it just happened to be by a hacked that you opened the door for when you installed Shareaholic on your site.

Seventh, many users who now have automatic affiliate links placed on their sites do not know what proper disclosure is. So, by placing links on their site in this “helpful” manner, Shareaholic is causing sites to violate the FTC guidelines for disclosure. My, how helpful Shareaholic is!

There is just so much wrong with what Shareaholic did by making this change. They have violated the trust of their users and have lost countless customers. One thing that every company should realize is that you don’t want to mess with people’s income. That is a very quick way to send your business into an avalanche.

Take a look at a response from Shareaholic regarding the concern of not making this an opt-in feature as opposed to forcing it on all users: “We went with convenience with easy opt-out, so you can benefit out of the gate.”
Come on! Shouldn’t it be the users’ choice!? What a joke.

Something like this really makes you wonder what else Shareaholic has up their sleeve with regard to “helping” its users out. Get out while you can.

On another note, I have reached out to VigLink to let them know what is going on. I mean, if this is happening to all Shareaholic users (which it is), that could be dangerous to VigLink’s relationship wit its partners. I’m sure some of the affected sites have a subject matter (like drugs, guns, porn, etc.) that many of VigLink’s partners would not want their affiliate links on.

The moral of this post is to make you realize that you need to deactivate and delete your Shareaholic plugin and stay far, far away from anything that they ever develop. These events have shown them to be shady, not at all transparent, and willing to make changes to your site without your consent to profit.

————————————————-
Want to delete the Shareaholic plugin? Me too! Here’s how:
Head to your plugins page and scroll until you find it. You’ll see it like this:
deavtivate shareaholic pluginClick “deactivate” and the screen will re-load. Scroll back down to the plugin to see this:

delete shareaholic wordpress pluginClick “delete”.
Then you’ll be brought to this screen:
delete shareaholic plugin
Click yes, delete all files and don’t look back!

Now, to find a comparable plugin. Here’s a few that I have used and currently use: Flare, ShareThis and Social Count Plus. Finding the right social sharing plugin can be a pain, so I recommend looking into these before you install. Read the reviews and make sure you install a plugin with a lot of high ratings. Also remember, you can always install and remove plugins pretty easily, so try a couple out if necessary.

How to Put Ads on Your Website

blogger layout

Note: this post is assuming you have access to ads to put on your site. You can either put ads that you sell directly, or ads that are part of an ad network. For more on ad networks and how to make money on your blog, join my email newsletter using the sign up box below and gain free access to my eBook How to Make Money from Your Blog. That'll get you started. Now let's talk about placing ads on you website. I'll break this post into 2 parts - WordPress and Blogger. Up first, How to put ads on your … Read More...

How to Cut Your Paypal Processing Fees in Half or Even Better!

paypal processing fees

I debated using a different title for this post, but I felt that it was appropriate and that it would draw more attention. In this post, you will learn how to cut your Paypal processing fees. There is a very easy way to reduce the fees that Paypal takes for accepting payments. This post will also be about FreshBooks small business accounting software. I debated titling the post something with FreshBooks, or "accounting software" in it but let's be honest, how many of you would have clicked to read that? I'm … Read More...

How to Make Your Website Load Faster

how to speed up your site

While you may not always be thinking about it, your website's load speed is quite important. Think about it - how long do you let a site try and load before getting annoyed? Maybe 5 seconds? If you're a really patient person, 10 seconds? The truth is, it's around 5 seconds for most people. How long does it take your site to fully load? Are you losing visitors because it's too slow? Since user experience is now a focus of Google, a site's load time is more important than ever. You want people to stay on … Read More...