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The Dark Side Of Blogging: Lessons From Expert Bloggers [Expert Speak 2]

The dark Side Of Blogging - Expert Speak.
The Dark Side Of Blogging

Dozens of new blogs just went online at this very moment and countless bloggers left blogging just today. With blogosphere expanding rapidly every minute, it is attracting more eyeballs than ever before.

A survey of 1500 ProBlogger readers in 2012 found that most bloggers don't make a full-time living from blogging. Many enter into blogging by realizing about its money making potential while others start a blog to gain professional recognition and more clients.

Let me show you the dark sides of blogging which is hardly talked about. Blogosphere isn't that glamorous as you think. It has been seven months since I have started blogging. Initially everything seems to be nice and right but as you gain some experience, you might have a tough time dealing with the harsh realities of blogging.

With the mass adoption of blogging come some dark sides too that might surprise you.

The Dark Side Of Blogging

By writing this post, I am not trying to scare the new bloggers that have just entered into blogging nor I wish to convey that there are no advantages of blogging. In fact, the pros of blogging are more than its cons.

Following are some negatives of blogging. I am thankful to some of the well established bloggers who made this post more insightful by sharing their experiences.

1. Be Ready To Receive Ton Of Notifications 

Initially when you start blogging you might be getting less mentions but as your blog grows and becomes popular, you start getting a ton of notifications and emails.

I am not that famous nor I get tons of e-mails. But I do get a lot of notifications on social media and messages via my contact page.

Let me share my todays stats -

E-mails: 59 (4 spams + 7 messages via my contact form + 1 Disqus notification + 2 WordPress comment reply notifications + 13 updates from blogs I have subscribed + 23 updates from groups, communities and forums + 9 replies to my sent e-mails).

Twitter: I have two accounts - @Techbluemoon and @Rohanlicious 

Techbluemoon had only 23 notifications and Rohanlicious had 38. This is far less as it was a normal day. But when new posts are published a little more mentions are notified. (I check my twitter accounts too frequently so these notifications accumulated within 7 hours when I was sleeping). 

Facebook: I received 21 notifications and 3 messages. I waste 1.5 hours checking my Facebook home feed. (I check FB 5 times a day so I don't get notifications all at once). 

LinkedIn: I am not much active there so only 7.

Google+: Received only 87 notifications today otherwise most of the days there are 100+.

There are lots of bloggers out there who get 1000x more notifications. I can't even imagine how their social media profiles look like with notifications popping up from everywhere.

To learn how to effectively handle notifications on social media, I had sent the following question to the commenting superstar Harleena Singh -

Do you get exhausted responding to the notifications on various social networking sites? How do you effectively handle them to avoid wasting your productive time? 

She says -

Harleena Singh - Founder of Aha!NOW
Harleena Singh - Aha-now.com
Yes, it becomes overwhelming to respond to the several notifications on the various social networking sites, but I think it must be the case with most bloggers who are out there making connections with people.

However, you can manage your time by dividing the number of hours you want to spend on the social networking sites.

My tips to effectively handle the social media notifications are:

Allocate a little time daily to the main social networking site in your schedule.
Use your non-productive hours for the social networking tasks (leave the productive time to write posts and comments etc.)
Engage in these tasks 2 or 3 times a day, or even once if your social engagement is less, or work is more.
Do not spend more than a few minutes attending to notifications each time you check them, and close those tabs once you are through!

You can change the frequency of checking the notifications and the duration you spend on them as per your needs and convenience.
In this manner, you fix up your time to attend the notifications, limit the time as well so you do not go overboard, and make use of your non-productive hours.

For example, I prefer to check into Facebook thrice a day only, for a few minutes each time. That is because on days I don’t, or if I check-in once a day, I have more than a hundred notifications piled up, and it takes a lot of my time replying to them.

Coming to Twitter, I take up all the notifications just once a day, which is usually during my winding up time at night! The last few hours of the day I spend with my family, and taking up work that doesn’t need much of my attention!

So, I usually take up Twitter, Pinterest and Triberr together – and I schedule my posts alongside on HootSuite and Buffer too. Oh yes...I multi-task that time and only manage to ‘listen’ to the television...lol...and I think that is alright. :)

For Google Plus too, I usually put up my updates or share the posts as they come in, as I am usually logged into Gmail when I am not writing or working, which is again twice or thrice a day. Sharing my own posts on the communities etc. is another task that takes time, but once done, it’s worth the while.

The notifications of Google Plus are taken up whenever I am logged into my Gmail account, altogether, and I handle those from my email account itself.

These are the main social networking sites that I pay attention to daily, and I think I can manage them well at present. 
Wow! Harleena ma'am sounds like a wonder women.

BIO: Harleena Singh is a positive thinker and a freelance writer. She loves to write inspiring and thought provoking posts on self-improvement, family, relationships, health, and other aspects of life. She's not another personal development guru, but just an average person with great life experiences. She's also a blogger, who loves to share her blogging knowledge and experiences. Visit her blog to learn more about her. 

2. The Microscope Effect

If you want to be influential you need to be opinionated and have a voice. Because voice often gets echoed. But echoes have to die after some time.

Similarly in blogging, if you are providing value you will become more and more influential. Your actions will be watched closely and will be copied by others.

When Niel Patel talked about writing long posts, some of my blogger friends tried it on their blogs too. So popular bloggers also influence the trends which people follow blindly.

Here is what Pat Flynn says about the Microscope effect -
Pat Flynn
Pat Flynn - smartpassiveincome.com
The microscope effect is simply this: the more influential and popular you become, the more people will analyze you.

When you start to see success, people are quick to watch every move that you make and analyze everything that you say. 

I don't really need to mention how influential Pat Flynn is. He is a successful blogger who supports his family with passive income from online businesses. (Pat was simply quoted here). 

I recently read an article of John Rampthon on Forbes, and later thought of connecting him on twitter and other social networking sites. Since I enjoyed reading his post, I thought he would be a cool writer to connect with. I checked his twitter account and was stunned to know he gets mentioned thousands of times a day.

I sent an e-mail asking him a question about the microscope effect - "Do you feel the microscope effect? As you are being mentioned and recognized at so many places online, does it makes you conscious about everything you post online as it might be analyzed and followed by many or might even be criticized." 

He replied saying -
John Rampthon
John Rampthon
 I get mentioned on Twitter at least 1000x a day. So many times that I really have stopped paying attention. Not because I don’t want to talk with you or care, but you get lost with everyone else and I don’t see it. Nothing to do with having my views under a microscope but everything to do with how many times I get mentioned. I feel it’s much more so with celebrities. I can’t even imagine getting 100k RT’s on a Tweet. You couldn’t even have it on your phone as it would always be notifying you.
BIO: John is best known as an Entrepreneur and Connector. He was recently named #3 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine as well as a blogging expert by Forbes. Awarded Top 10 Most Influential PPC Experts in the World for the past 3 years. He currently advises several companies in the bay area. Know more about him by visiting his blog

3. Criticism Is The price Of Success

I recently started a series post on my blog "Ask Rohan". I was happy with the questions people were sending and the response I got in the comments and on social media. But sadly a person could not digest the positive comments I was receiving.

He ranted about me on a popular LinkedIn group. My Post was later deleted by the Admin maybe because of the offensive remarks that person commented under it. I tried tracing him on the internet and found that he was tagged as "Criminal" by more than one website. That brought some relief because I was really bothered by his nasty comments.

I have now decided to follow this principle while handling criticism:

"Hug your haters and kill them with your kindness".

One of my friend +Sasidhar Kareti too faced some ugly criticism and here is what I asked him along with his answers to my questions -

Me: Do you think being a blogger you are easily vulnerable to be awarded with trolls?

Sasidhar: Blogging, if networked properly will give you an identity and a celebrity status on the web. If you are popular some way, you will get fans as well as haters. Yes, of course haters gonna hate, with so many trolls. All we have to do is just enjoy them and move on.

Me: Has anyone ever tried to disrupt your community and get an emotional response out of you or tried to spoil your reputation online?

Sasidhar: Someone, whom we call with a name 'spammer' have targeted me a few weeks ago speaking with bottle neck of hatefulness. It hurt me badly and I went emotionally imbalance for a few days. But the support I got from the network that I have built so far backed me up and my whole blogosphere stood for me. It gave me strength and here I am with full fueled spirit. I don't think bloggers are helpless and vulnerable in this regard.

Me: Do you think bloggers who are too sensitive cannot survive and must be thick-skinned?

Sasidhar: Blogging, of course is a part of life activity. Even the too-sensitive blogger would learn their ways around through consistent hard work. There is no need to adapt the thick-skin-ness here. Are the people who are too sensitive and doing other jobs not learning how to survive? It is the human nature to adapt to the life skills and the point we are talking about is a part of it.

Sasidhar was a part of Expert Speak 1 as well and I am glad that he agreed to be with us on another one too. He is a tech guy and when things go out of my hands on my blog he is the one who comes to my rescue. Visit his blog to know more about him.

I asked Ahmad Imran - Another good friend of mine who was also a part of the Expert Speak 1 about how he deals with the non-believers.

I was so impressed with his reply, he says -

Ahamad Imran
Ahmad Imran - REASONTOUSE.com
Your blog is not Wikipedia.

It is your personal voice and opinion. Make it that way and make sure that you stand by your opinion and voice based on your experience, sound judgements and facts. But once you have made that opinion and you have published it on your blog, stick to it. 

You will definitely find people who will disagree with your opinion. 

Don’t take it personally, some people will say it loud that they disagree with you. It is very possible that they are rude too.

It does not matter. 

Deal with it professionally. Don’t make a big drama out of it. Once you see that it is turning into a heated debate, manage it, calm down the situation and move on.

It is your blog so take control of these situations.

And finally, don’t take it on heart. You have a bigger fish to fry.
BIO: Ahmad Imran is the founder of REASONTOUSE.COM. A personal technology review site which covers high-end Android smartphones, Chromebooks and WordPress blogging. REASONTOUSE is not another typical tech-review site. It is a personal diary of his tech-experience shared with the wider world. 

Some suggest to hire a reputation management or PR to handle negative stories and build good reputation online.

John Michel - TED Speaker
I contacted one of my favorite TED speaker John Michel on Twitter. I tweeted -

"Hi John, Do reputation management management services work? What would you advice?"

John Tweeted saying -
Handle the current issues yourself. Later find and hire a good reputation management company.
BIO: John E. Michel is a Brigadier General serving the United States Air Force. He is a TED speaker, Author, twitter celebrity and columnist.

4. Free Gets Ugly? 

I would have never thought that the free gifts which bloggers offer to their readers can have a dark side too unless I read this post. The writer of that post says - "If your online business model is centered around free, then you are training your audience to devalue you."

Mi Muba is one of the most creative money blogger I have ever known. Read what he says about "Free Gifts" and learn how to use them to lessen the negatives of free gifts -

Mi Muba
Mi Muba - Money and Green Blogger
Anyone related to the field of online marketing is fully aware of the fact that the word FREE is one of the highly searched words on internet. It works so well to attract the attention of web searchers. It means it does have huge demand so its usage can’t be questioned. Yes the nature of its usage can be challenged in multiple ways.

If you give a gift for free without any objective it means you are either:

  • Devaluing yourself
  • Lowering the value of the thing as your gift 
  • Or looking down upon the receiver of the gift
A  gift for free to achieve another higher objective can be its best usage. This kind of objective can be:

  • To make your readers your regular readers by offering them email subscription
  • To give the readers an incentive to buy another product at a price
  • To reward the readers for their loyalty to your blog and influencing others to follow them
  • To book the orders for a product that you are going to launch in near future
  • In short to tie your readers in a relationship with you as your would-be customers
So we can say that a purposeless gift of even highest monetary value if given for free will surely either hurt the visitors of your blog or devalue your professional worth. 

Just one more point. If a gift is already available for free and you also distribute it for free means you are underestimating your readers. So never offer a free gift that or something like that is already available in the market for free. 

Also try to avoid repeating that you are doing a great job by offering a free gift to your readers. Take it just as a way of expression that how much valuable they are for you that is why you are offering a valuable product or service as a free gift to them. 
Read more About Mi Muba here.

5. Online Community Management Is Not That Easy. 

Every blog attracts an audience. Online community management deals with building, growing, and managing online communities.

Building a community isn't that easy as you think. I have seen many friends of mine who quit blogging because they were not able to gather an audience around their brand.

One of the most caring community I know is founded by my blogging mentor Harleena ma'am.

The way she handles her Aha!NOW ABC blog community is mind blowing.

Me: "Creating a community of active members can be so much rewarding. Managing a community is a difficult job. You need to always be there playing the main role and you might not even get many off days. Do you sometimes feel to just leave everything when things get out of hand or difficult to handle? Do you feel pressured? If yes, How do you tackle it?"

Harleena ma'am replied saying:
"First, having a blog community is very important – it’s the engine that drives your blog! So the more the active members, the more successful your blog can become.
You bet it becomes rewarding to have active community members like you. :) 

For most blogs, the only opportunity and way to communicate with the blog community is through the blog posts and newsletters. The active participation of the members may be reflected by the number of comments on the posts and/or the active subscribers. 

Managing a community tends to become difficult as it grows because you find it tough to take out time to respond to the comments of the members or visit everyone’s posts. 

More so, this happens when you are doing all the blogging tasks yourself, have day jobs or other business to attend to, or have other responsibilities and tasks that need your attention on a daily basis.
In such cases, the blogger needs to chalk out the priorities and act as per them. It is okay to be flexible and do what is necessary without getting pressurized. 

In my case, I’ve an activity and forum based community called the ABC (The Aha!NOW Blog Community), as you already know, being a wonderful Ahaian. And yes – managing a community IS a difficult job. :) 

It is quite a demanding job and you need to remain active yourself or as you say, play the main role all the time. It becomes difficult when you’ve other business or responsibilities that need priority.
For us at the ABC, it’s a non-profit job. It is mainly a platform to help and thank our blog community members. But thankfully, we are a two-member team presently, so we are able to divide our time and tasks. 
Even then the job becomes tedious and that is where the loyal community members are precious, if they agree to help moderate the community. 

Oh yes! I’ve had that feeling of leaving it all when it gets too much to handle everything. I guess being a blogger you have lots of responsibilities like writing your posts, scheduling and promoting them. 

Not to mention the return visits and commenting on other blogs that follows. More so, being active on the social networking sites is also a must. So, the ABC becomes additional for me, and that at times becomes overwhelming. 

To handle the pressures – take up one thing at a time and manage your time well enough. That’s what I’ve implemented and it’s worked for me. 

Besides, I’ve become more particular about my health now to take up such pressures and stresses of life. This also includes taking out a fixed time for my morning walks, meditation, and other exercises. Believe me, it helps!
Know more about the Aha!NOW ABC community here.

6. Constant Pressure To Produce Great Content. 

Bloggers need to be creative and come up with new topics consistently. Out of all the questions I have received so far as a part of "Ask Rohan" series, "How to come up with great post topics consistently?" was the common question from my readers. I will be soon writing a post on this. 

Following are some tips from my friend +Ahmad Imran to come up with awesome content always.

I have set myself a minimum 2 to maximum 3 blog posts every week. 6 months of blogging, and I have not missed this target once.

It is not easy to achieve though.

Avoid “running out of the steam” or “blogging blues”.

Anticipate it, plan it, engineer it, go through it and come out victorious - with a brand new post each time for your readers and your big boss, Google.

There are three things which keep me on track in order of priority:

  • Hunger and desire to succeed - make sure don’t underestimate this one. Stronger they are, further they will take you.
  • A niche which I like and use on a daily basis - it will help you write relatively easily. Don’t make a wrong decision on this one, choose something which you really feel about.
  • Read more, see more and listen more - never stop your own learning, if you don’t know your niche, you are not helping your readers either.

7. Content Steal 

If you have a good experience in blogging or have spend at least 6 months in the blogosphere, you already know content stealing is such a bothersome thing for bloggers.

One of my post was stolen by a Pak based website. After sending them a couple of polite e-mails they took it down.

Stealing content from other sites can be the worst mistake a newbie blogger can ever make. There are thousands of websites earning by doing nothing other that just copying others quality content.

My blogger friend Swadhin Agarwal has written a helpful post on his blog which might help you to protect your content from content scrappers. Read it here.

Also a pro blogger from India, Harsh Agarwal has written a nice post to deal with copy cats. Read it here.

8. The Want To Shut Down And Quit

There might be times when you get frustrated with blogging. There are many factors which can bother you like not getting enough traffic, getting no engagement, failure to retain readers, etc.

To be brutally honest, Blogging can even takeover your life!

One of my dearest friend Swadhin from DigitalGYD.com explains how to bring back your blogging mojo -

Swadhin Agarwal
Swadhin Agarwal - DigitalGYD.com
Blogging is absolutely time consuming and demands loads of patience. Most of the times we need to be on the tablet or with the laptop while our friends enjoying the idle evening gossips. But, that’s what you are expected to do when you take up a task to provide value to your readers.

Finding the right topic, researching about the solutions to our readers’ problems and then presenting them in an easily digestible blog post requires time for sure.

I would be lying when I say I don’t get a writer’s block or an “Oh Shit” moment. I do get them but here’s what I commonly do to turn those “Oh Shit moments to “Oh wow” moments.

1) Take a complete break from blogging. I don’t even open my dashboard and spend some time with my family instead.

2) If it was an upcoming post that is leading nowhere and causing frustration I take that topic to social media and hear what my friends have to say about it. Usually, the variety of answers I get on that status leads to a complete new perspective on the subject.

3) I am a blog hopping addict and I recommend your readers too to at least read 5 other blogs every day. This will help them to stay fresh with the trends and keep their competitive spirits high.

4) I have a post on my blog that defines 41 ways to rekindle your blogging mojo. Your readers might find it useful. 
I never felt that my blog has taken over my life because I blog only once a week. But yes, I have always felt writing taking over my life because I write a LOT for my clients.

This is definitely not good for me as well as my valued clients. Moreover, unplugging is very essential for maintaining our social lives (Family and friends). So, I take the following steps to occasionally unplug from the digital world.

1) I mostly don’t blog at the weekends. By weekends I mean Saturday and Sunday.

2) I try not to indulge in the social media platforms also as I have a lot of friends in the blogging world and I can’t help opening up a blog post to read after seeing a status from them.

A break is a break no matter how tempting the post might be. If you have ideas flowing in you can use evernote or even simple pen and paper to jot down the ideas so that you can work on them on Monday.

3) I try to spend that time with nature as it is the best healer and absorbs all my work tensions. 


Here are some points to remember, make sure you tweet them and share the word. It would mean a lot to me and can help many.

1. When you start to see success, people are quick to watch every move that you make and analyze everything that you say. - Pat Flynn. 

2. Unplug yourself from the digital world and spend time with the nature as it is the best healer. - Swadhin Agarwal. 

3. Stronger the hunger and desire to succeed,further they will take you. - Ahmad Imran. 

5. Your blog is not Wikipedia. It is your personal voice and opinion. - Ahmad Imran. 

6. Hug your haters and kill them with your kindness. - Rohan Chaubey. 

7. Use your non-productive hours for the social networking tasks (leave the productive time to write posts and comments etc.) - Harleena Singh. 

8. Blogging is not as glamorous as you think. 

Over to you! 

Enjoyed reading the post? Do you have something to add to the list? You have some experience to share with me? Drop your thoughts below in the comments box, I would love to hear from you. 

If you think this post can help someone, please do share. 

Thank you for reading. Be Rohanlicious. 

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ABOUTRohan Chaubey

Rohan Chaubey is the founder of “Be Rohanlicious” – a blog that teaches you to be smart with social media, blogging and programming.

Rohan is on a mission to help all the enthusiastic souls like you, who want to “make it to the next level” and stand out of the crowd.

His e-book “Make People Want You” is releasing soon. Allow him to inject awesomeness in your life by signing up to his list here.