The Craft of Blogging: #9 Problems and more problems

I love the daily tasks of blogging: having ideas, drafting posts, researching images, making links, replying to comments and so on. I have been heard to say anyone who can access the internet can easily learn to blog. But recently I have come close to being defeated by some problems, and even thinking, shall I stop? I could stop.


A reader contacted me saying there was a rude message on the blog, a couple of months ago. Whatever they saw (“just below the picture of the books”) didn’t appear on my laptop so it was hard to know what they were referring to. I investigated a little but since the problem seemed limited and was invisible to me I first suggested that it was on their pc and then ignored it and hoped it would go away.

But two weeks ago the message appeared on my iPhone (although still not my laptop), and at the same time another reader emailed me to say that there was something strange on the title. This time I could see for myself that it was offensive, unwanted, sexual and very rude, and likely to put some readers off. It was spreading. Action was needed.

185 laptop macbookIt took some time to work out what to do. I am not naturally technical, or methodical. These two things may be related. I tried to find some source of assistance, a help line perhaps, but as I was away from home it seemed very risky to do anything more than tour the behind-the-screen mechanics of the blog.

Once I had returned home I installed more security, which identified the problem as a corruption of the theme (that is the appearance of the website). With much reluctance I changed it and so the blog looks different, but most importantly the rude message has disappeared.nice work badge DSC00129

And then the Analytics disappeared

No sooner had I solved the rude message problem than I had another problem. Google Analytics disappeared. It has been a useful tool (don’t ask me whether it’s a widget, plug-in or add-on) to monitor readership of Bookword. I have used it to see how many people land on the pages, which pages, how long they spend reading them, the proportion of readers who are first time visitors and where they come from. Since I have done a quick statistical analysis every Monday I can see trends and learn more about how Bookword is received.

138 google logo

For example, I know that book reviews are read as much as other posts but that they attract fewer comments. I know which posts are consistently read over months and months, which ones make a brief and popular appearance and then sink without trace, and how the readership is rising or falling.

Without the daily statistics I have to rely on feedback of a different kind: comments on posts, retweets on Twitter and the number of subscribers. These are useful in their way, but the continuous picture of the last eighteen months has been interrupted, and since I can’t seem to fix it, possibly permanently lost.

And then the bitly disappeared

An added irritation is that the short code, bitly, so useful for tweeting, no longer appears on the post. As a result it is harder to tweet from my iphone with a link, although with a little technical tweaking I could probably make it as easy as it from my laptop, frankly I’m fed up with trying to understand the technical language that explains (not) what to do.

And I don’t like the new theme as much

77 ipadI liked and was familiar with all aspects of the previous appearance of the blog and some aspects of this new one are not growing on me: the display of quotations, the presence of the sidebar on the posts, no bitly display. Again I’m fed up with trying to understand the technical language that explains (not) what to do. I may change the theme again in the near future.

I do like the fact that the rude, offensive and intrusive message has gone.

Continue blogging?

Waking early this morning, these problems and this post were doing unproductive loops in my head. I began to consider a break from blogging. I would be shot of all problems and the frustrations of the technicalities.

49 blog writingBut, dear reader, I like blogging and despite the distractions all stemming from the original hack, I will continue for now. Not only do I not like being beaten by the pointless and probably random activities of bot makers but I like blogging.

Any feedback would be welcome. And any advice


Some related posts in the Craft of Blogging series

#1 The craft of blogging … the medium

#4 The Liebster Award and the craft of blogging … Why do it?

#5 How I write my blog slowly

#7 Finding readers


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Filed under The Craft of Blogging, Writing

9 Responses to The Craft of Blogging: #9 Problems and more problems

  1. Caroline, I’m very disappointed to hear of the difficulties you have been having and am pleased to say that I didn’t see any of them, though I did receive an email from you a week or two ago alerting me to them. I understand how perturbed you would be about unpleasantness on your blog. I’m pleased you resolved that issue but disappointed that more numerous issues have resulted. I hope someone is able to help you sort them out soon, though, sadly, that someone won’t be me.
    However I would like you to continue blogging. I do enjoy reading your posts and you were one of my early supporters. Please do get these issues sorted and continue to grace us with your blogging presence. We would miss you if you went away. 🙂

  2. Helen Ashley

    So sorry to hear about all these problems you’re having. It’s so sad that there are people around who are intent on ruining other people’s enjoyment – what is wrong with them?
    Like Norah, I didn’t see any of the rude messages, and also like Norah, I’m afraid I can’t offer any help. I’ve thought about blogging, but never got around to it, and this all sounds a bit off-putting, so I can understand you considering a break from it. Although I don’t comment as much as I intend to, I do enjoy reading your blogs, so I wish you well with finding some blogging genius who can get you through all this.

    • Caroline

      Dear Helen and Norah,
      Such kind words of encouragement as yours are a part of what makes blogging so rewarding. Thank you Helen and Norah! I will perservere and try to resolve the remaining problems. It always happens at a very busy time doesn’t it?
      And I am so glad you were both spared the rude messages. I don’t understand the motivation for placing themon the blog (it didn’t lead anywhere when clicked on???) And after a while I decided that I needed to act rather than sounding off yet again about the destructive influences at play on the internet. All those pesky spam comments fall in the same category, but I have a lovely plugin that isolates them. But really ….

      Thank you both for being so supportive.

  3. Marion Reid

    I love your blogs. They are beautifully written and most often hit on subjects that interest me greatly. I hope you continue to blog.
    I have not seen any nasty bits while reading your blogs. Does it have a specialized audience? Good luck with solving the troubles of blogging.

    • Caroline

      Thank you Marion for this. It’s really heartening to have such support. And I’m really pleased that the rude messages were not widespread.

  4. Eileen

    Hi Caroline,
    I did have the rude messages – perhaps it was something to do with me as my email was hacked a while ago. But glad things are back to normal and pleased you have not given up. I can’t understand hacking – what is the point?

    • Caroline

      Hi Eileen. I agree about the hacking – such a mindless waste of time (mine if not the fools who invent the ways to do it).
      No it definitely wasn’t anything to do with your previous problems. Whoever messed with my blog used the theme (appearance) as a way in.

  5. Hi Caroline,
    My sympathies – one reason I gave up blogging a couple of years ago was unwanted comments from a blogger whose content I did not wish to be associated with. Rather pathetically I deleted the blog rather than deal with the problem – although I’m not sure how I could have blocked someone from following me. My partner is an IT developer (I think that’s the term) and would have been capable of sorting it out, but this was a blog I hadn’t told him about! He set up a new website for my work last year and I wanted a blog on that for occasional posts. Unfortunately it received so much spam that the comments had to be closed – and, just as doctor’s families are supposed to come last in line for medical attention, so is my website. When he has time…..
    Not much help here I’m afraid, just a rueful ‘I know how you feel’ comment.

    • Caroline

      Thank you for this comment, Nicki. It reminded me that I wasn’t a particular target of the baddies who stalk the corridors of the internet, just a vulnerable one.
      I know what you mean about those annoying spam messages. Part of my daily housekeeping is deleting them. I am greatly helped in this by a plug-in called Akismet which quarantines them, so I just have to hit delete spam. I recommend it.
      Get that man of yours to help and I hope we can see you back on line very soon. Your are always welcome here.

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