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What Were the Best and Worst Blogging Experiences You Had This Week?

Posted By Darren Rowse 13th of July 2009 Reader Questions 0 Comments

What was the best and the worst thing that happened to you in your blogging this week?

best-worst-1.pngImage by hebedesign

I was reading the blog of fellow Aussie blogger Mia Freedman this week and saw her weekly post ‘Best and Worst of the week‘ in which she asks her readers to share the best and worst things that happened to them during the week (as well as sharing hers).

I thought it was a cool idea and thought I’d give it a go here at ProBlogger – but with one difference. While Mia’s readers write their best and worst things from all areas of their lives I thought it’d be more helpful to everyone if we kept it to the topic of the best and worst things that happened to us as they relate to our online activities/blogging/social media.

I’ll share mine below and look forward to reading yours. Hopefully though this we’ll all learn a thing or two from one another about what works and what doesn’t work in building blogs.

So tell us your best and worst. I’m particularly interested in hearing what you learned through the best and worst of your week.

My Best – Forum Traffic

the best thing to happen to me this week was some big days of traffic on my photography site, particularly the photography forum area of it. Friday in particular was a great day with visitor numbers 3-4 times normal levels. The reason? Actually there were a few:

1. Friday is newsletter day – Friday is normally a good day (usually about double the traffic of other days) because it is the day I send out my weekly email newsletters to readers. The newsletter not only contains the latest posts from the blog section of the site but also hot threads in the forum. But that was only part of it….

2. Twitter – this past week I decided to expand what I was doing with the DPS Twitter account and not only promote new posts on the blog but highlight key threads in the forum. The result has been really promising with a definite bump in traffic from it (I’d say it’s accounted for an extra 10-20% in traffic depending on the day).

3. SEO – just over a week ago I installed VBSEO – a plugin for VBulletin (the platform I run the forum on) that optimizes the forum for search engines. By default and out of the box VBulletin is pretty horrible for SEO so this plugin is one I’ve wanted to install for a while. The results were very quick – within 3 days we’d seen search traffic up by between 25-40% (it varied a little from day to day).

What I learned? I guess there were a few fairly obvious lessons. Twitter and newsletters can be great for driving traffic, VB sucks for SEO by default etc.

The other thing that I relearned is about forums – while the DPS forum gets a lot less visits per day it drives a lot more page views per visit. For example in June the forum area of the site had only an eighth of the visitor numbers that the blog area had – but had about 60% of the page views. ie: Driving one person to visit a blog does not equal the same as driving one person to visit a forum.

My Worst – Comment Spam

This goes back beyond the last week but as a result in an incredible rise in comment spam I’ve switched comments off here at ProBlogger on any post older than 90 days old. I know this inconveniences some but it was the result of massive increase in comment spam getting through the filters/plugins that I was using. The filters were catching many thousands a day but hundreds and hundreds were getting though and it was taking quite a few hours a week to go through them all manually.

As most of these comments were hitting old posts and because 99% of the genuine comments here on ProBlogger were on new posts I took the decision to switch off comments on old posts. I’m hoping that this is a temporary measure and have the tech team at b5media working on some solutions.

So there you have it – my best and worst of the week.

What Were the Best and Worst Blogging Experiences You Had This Week?

What have been the best and worst things that have happened on your blogs or online experience in the past week? What have you learned? What will you do again? What will you do differently?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. The best thing that happened to me online and on my blog this week?

    Easily #manweek. It’s a great initiative by Reach Out and triplej to help men discuss what it means to be a man and to tell their stories.

    The outpouring of touching, personal, honest and brave posts from male bloggers across Sydney and the rest of Australia has been an incredible example of the strength of writing in the Australian blogosphere and the courage and community sentiment that exists amongst Australian male bloggers.

    Even better, off the back of the #manweek Twitter and blogging initiative, Mark Pollard and Gavin Heaton are putting together an eBook full of observations from men across Australia and some international contributors. I hope you forgive the link, but if you are a man and you’re keen to contribute, please check out: http://www.theperfectgiftforaman.com.au/2009/07/help-us-write-a-book/

    It would be great to hear from more of Australia’s men.

    The worst thing that happened to me online and on my blog this week?

    I procrastinated again and didn’t post. To be fair I have been pretty busy, but every week that goes by without a post still feels like a week wasted. I think I need to pick up a copy of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog!

  2. Best:
    — A few people actually finding my blog even though I was offline for a week.

    – Depressed because there is so much to do just to get my blog set up — and no time to do anything with my 2 sets of twins home everyday since school is out.

    – Wanting to “do things right” and realizing mistakes I’ve already made that will require me to go back and redo — which takes my time that I don’t really have.

  3. Best: Got back into teh swing of posting and did 3 in a 24 hour period

    Worst: Offered an iPod as a contest prize at http://www.swbnetwork.com/blog/headline/win-an-ipodswbn-content-creation-competition/ and had ZERO entries….. cmon guys… anyone can win this!

  4. Great Topic :-)

    – The Good Human accepted a guest post from me and called me a friend. That felt good!
    – I’m really enjoying making good connections on Twitter.

    – I’m still embroiled in changing from Blogger to WordPress. Tons and tons of posts to fix categories on and I’ve not figured out the whole Google duplicate post thing so that I can clear out my old blog and release my new blog to be indexed. So right now I have ZERO search engine traffic.
    – Nice give away on my blog has just one comment. I don’t get this one, it’s for a FREE subscription to a very useful service and quite a few have read the post.

  5. Great heads think alike

  6. Thanks for the mention & link Darren. Ironically, my overall worst/best of last week were actually blogging-related but I decided not to write about them on mamamia for reasons which will become apparent….

    WORST: Watching the comments on several of my rather innocent posts deteriorate into an absolute slanging match that went for days.
    Watching the battle unfold between a new commenter with strident (but not unreasonable) views and a large group of regulars who ganged up to attack her and continued their attack on Twitter.
    Having to email the regulars to ask them to cut it out and having to delete more comments in one post than I have in all my posts over the past year.
    Questioning what the hell I was doing.

    BEST: Being forced to take an overdue look at what the hell I was doing!
    I have been restlessly searching to tighten my own editorial brief and identify what exactly I want my blog to be for a while now.
    I’ve been facing that familiar blogging dilemma of the increased traffic that (I think?) comes with a broad brief versus a narrower one.
    With my best/worst post this week (the second week I’ve done it) comments exploded in a GOOD way and I was reminded EXACTLY what I want from my blog. To be a place where people can share their experiences and support one another. Not flame. Not fight. Not abuse.
    I have emerged with a renewed resolve to try and continue to elicit the vibe of my best/worst post on all the posts I do this week.

  7. Best: got the company’s elder care blog up (thecarecompass.com), upgraded tweetdeck so i can tweet from multiple accounts, really found a groove in my personal twittering (schreiberwriter). Made some good connections with caregiving/senior bloggers.

    Worst: real life has been challenging, the social media community has been where it’s fun

  8. Hello! Mia Freedman sent me!

    Best – Deciding to add my Tumblr and my Recipe Blog to my main blog page so my readers can get heaps of good stuff every time they visit!

    Worst – Seeing the comments on some poor people’s blogs turn into a bit of a high-school bitch-fest. Not nice or respectful.

    Thank you for asking, Mr ProBlogger!


  9. Best: visitor stats rising, new commenter dropping by and sharing their feedback.

    Worst: hours spent trying to add a Digg this button and failing, knowing I can’t keep doubling my visitor stats every month forever so I’m sitting here waiting for a crash!

    Thanks for the post, the comments and good luck everyone!

    Annabel Candy

  10. Worst – I worked on a blog to tie to lyrics of a song. But I was only working on the chorus. When I finished the blog, I went to check the full lyrics of the song and found that I couldn’t align with the entire song. So I had to give up the post. I wish I had done the research first. I felt stupid and I wasted time.

  11. Best: My E-book project, (Working title: 60 days to become a better space advocate) (I got the idea from Problogger’s 31 Days to a Better Blog), is gathering a lot of attention and support from the space community

    Worst: I just added project wonderful and there have been ads that I’m not proud of. I’m still playing with the settings. I turn on “block NSFW ads”, but that didn’t do much. So, I just turned on the most strict filtering. It’s annoying and it’s not worth 10 cents a day.

  12. No terribly bad experiences, but I like how I’m slowly gaining more traffic!

  13. The worst for me is still suffering from blogger’s block! It’s more of a nightmare really.

  14. Best: Finished the css deign for one of my blogs.

    Worst: I didn’t get a lot of what I wanted to do this week done.

    Interesting to see how many page views your forum generates.

  15. Worst: Assigned myself a project to create a database relating to snakes in all 50 of “these United States”. I went into it assuming it would be a snap once I created a 5 templates. My thought was to simply find the information and plug it in knocking out 15 or 20 a day. Reality is the templates took about 30 minutes to create but all the research is taking about 4 to 7 hours PER state.

    I had planned to have it done by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. I just got finished with Delaware, the 8th listing and I began this last Wednesday.

    Best: I was struggling getting visitors and from past experience on ablogaboutnothing.com a good technique to try is a contest. So I got a hold of one of the largest snake breeders in the US and asked if he’d co-sponsor a snake up to $400.00 value (me paying $250 and him discounting $150) and he said sure. It took a few days to get going, but as word has spread in the reptile community I’m getting flooded with visitors, comments, emails, etc.

    Best 2: I finally spent some time optimizing my blog for load times and learning some of the inner workings of Thesis.

  16. Best:
    – Coming up with some great content ideas
    – Finally happy with my design
    – Locked down design and content for two ebooks
    – Traffic is slowing down and I’m not sure why, possibly my recent focus change
    – I don’t know what I want to do first or what I should do first
    – The lack of time to implement all of my great content ideas is annoying me!

    Ahh.. what a nice way to vent :P

  17. This post is a great idea!

    Best: I had a really nice ammount of affiliate sales this week, I had more and more visitors coming to my website clicking ads and my websites value was increased by a few dollars more.

    Worst: I had a huge ammount of spammers using my contact form to send me useless messages. Some expensive affiliate programs I’m promoting sell more than my own cheap ebook called The Cheapest Money Maker Gold Edition and I’m really disapointed because I think people believe I’m selling junk just because the book costs only $1.97! I also had 2 big losing trades in my forex trading.

  18. I had an unexpected amount of visitors to my blog without social bookmarking. Thanks for sharing. Great topic by the way. Great post.

  19. Even I recently had a worst blog-day, though am just a few months into blogging.

    Actually I have been surfing around for some know-how about blogging. And, i came across a very good blog which really had some interesting posts on blogging.

    I went through a good number of articles and this made me so excited about the blogging thing that same day only I posted around 4 posts, just on the tracks as suggested by the blog. But when I reviewed my blog the next day, what I noticed was that all those 4 blogs were just pieces of waste.

    My mistake was that I did not give myself enough time to learn the concepts. I just read those concepts and tried to emulate them.

    My suggestion to all new bloggers is – though you may take tips from such online tutorials, they are many a times good, but be patient ourself. Do not blog just for blogging. Have a reason for it and blog only about what you can blog about!!

  20. What a great idea.

    Best: I’ve abandoned using the stat plugins that were all giving me different readings, I am now using Google Analytics and I’m really happy with the spike this week in traffic.

    Worst: I decided to install a new comment system called Intense Debate. I have found it to be a lot of trouble, sometimes more trouble than it is worth, and I’ve had to resist the urge to remove it and go back to the old way.

    It looks nicer than the old one I had and it will nestle comment replies nicely. It just doesn’t catch as much spam as the old system, nor does it import all my comments at the first attempt and sometimes it holds onto comments so I don’t see them.

  21. Best: My blog design is almost look like yours.

    Worst: The traffic never had improvement.

    A Blog to Review Your Apple iPhone

  22. Worst blogging experience- getting my blog suspended by my former hosting for no apparent reason.

    Best experience- meeting and gaining new readers (RSS) and friends

  23. Best: I actually had 3 things – is that allowed!

    1) my traffic has doubled in 3 weeks – yippee.
    2) a well respected mummy blogger commented that she liked, no “loved” one of my posts – wow.
    3) my mum liked one of my posts on bogeys of all things – that never happens!

    Worst: my Tweet This plugin seemed to zap my home page this morning. I’ve no idea why but had to turn it off to fix it – any ideas anyone?

    Cheers, Chloe

  24. Worst this week – registration spam. Some bot is registering again and again with the famous mighty morphin’ email addresses. Grrrr.

    Best this week – Joined Networked Blogs on Facebook and saw a bump in traffic. That was easier than I thought!

  25. I’d have to say it is when there are any hosting issues or when my hard drive dies losing a third or all my data that I hadn’t backed up for 2 weeks. Now I do daily grandfathered backups.

  26. Worst blogging experience- getting my blog suspended by my former hosting for no apparent reason.

  27. Hmm interesting idea.

    Best Thing – Would have to be that my twitter started to grow again, it had been a little stagnent, just floating around the same number of followers, but has started growing again.

    Worst Thing – I shared a lot of content this week which has normally led to some good spikes in traffic, however i saw very little difference at all.

  28. Best: My traffic has stayed consistently higher than normal all week, mostly due to StumbleUpon.

    Worst: I had two posts that did really well, then my last one got an inexplicably poor response, judging my the comments. I don’t know why it stung so much but it did.

  29. Best: My traffic is up!

    Worst: However much traffic I get I am always frustrated because I want more!

  30. Hi! It was interesting to read your forum experience, because I’ve had nearly the same. Using twitter, facebook and in some cases stumble upon to highlight certain threads or areas has been successful. The bounce rate is a little higher than I’d like to see, but those that get hooked, go on to read many pages and stay for a good bit.

    We upgraded to IPB 3, which is supposed to be more SEO friendly than previous versions and it seems to have worked, search traffic is about 25-30% higher in just the week it’s been installed.

    Only problem is, once folks are hooked on the forums, they’ve no time to read the blog!

  31. Best: There was a surge of readers from StumbleUpon to read my article: Positive Thinking – 10 Delightful Tips to Make You Happy (http://allaboutlivingwithlife.blogspot.com/2008/12/positive-thinking-10-delightful-tips-to.html)

    Worst: My account with StumbleUpon was subsequently suspended because I bookmarked too many of my own articles.

  32. Best: Contest for a Tamron Lens got over 750 comments! Yay!!!

    Worst: Not so much blogging – but I was unorganized as my mac was in the shop after having it one week, and my PC was a week out of date. Hard to juggle…

    *** Darren – would you care if I try this on my blog sometime? Love the idea – but do not want to just copy you without permission. I was thinking I could do:
    What is the best and worst client experience you have had this week… Or what is the best and worst photography experience you had this week…

    Let me know please – email – [email protected]

    Thanks for your great blog,

  33. Best: My Alexa Traffic Rank has improved in the past few days.

    Worst: None for now

  34. Best – having someone link to my post, Handling Rejection, on my New Business Pipeline blog.

    Worst – no participants in my WordProverb blog contest where I am giving away two free books!

  35. As someone who is switching my blog from Blogger to a self hosted WordPress site, my best blogging experience was finally feeling comfortable with the WordPress Admin panel. I also met with a friend who is going to help me with the plug-ins and SEO. I am feeling excited about the new blog.

    My worst blogging experience stems from my indecisiveness about which new theme to select. I know it is all about the content, but I want to have a design that I like and that my readers will like. So I’ve been going back and forth and probably over-thinking some stuff and driving myself crazy in the process.

  36. The best was when a stranger wrote an on-line article about my blog.

    The worst was when I made a lesbian very angry with my opinion and she wrote an open letter to me on her blog. I was very stressed about it at the time, but it was a good experience.

    And both brought lots of people over.

  37. Best: I have updated my sidebar based on your inputs on a previous post.

    Worst: I became so busy that I had not found the time to update my blog.


  38. Worst: Watching my Technorati ranking drop into the 60s. It used to be in the 100s and 200s.

    Best: Seeing a bunch of people link to me last week. ‘Cause I had good content. Yup, it’s true. It’s content, content, content.

  39. Thank you for another great post! My best experience was a blog of mine being featured on Barbara Swafford’s “Blogging Without A Blog!” A complete and wonderful surprise to me.

    My worst was my mind going “blank” for a new and decent post idea on my site.

    Both are good learning experiences, though at opposite ends of the spectrum.


  40. I saw the 90 day limit on your posts which kinda sucks since I enjoy reading through your archives and like discussing the topics of older posts especially the marketing ones, but it of course is understandable with the amount of spammers out their and having to spend that much time sorting through garbage really hurts when it comes to blogging. Personally the best thing about my blogs this week has been breaking into technorati’s top 35k the bad has been lacking motivation with my posts.


  41. Hey Darren,

    Best: A “throw away” little blog of mine that normally sees about 50 visitors a day had a post go viral with nearly 5k hits over 48 hours!

    Worst: Withdrew from a forum due to some yukky circumstances

    Great idea here. Interesting to read all of the comments


  42. Hey, for all those experiencing blogger’s block check out TED.com This is the website for the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference. Browse around a try to apply to ideas presented to your niche. These lectures are thought provoking so if these don’t get a blog post out of you, nothing will.

  43. Comment spam is a ever growing problem. We need to be cautious of spammers. Drop in traffic and site moving slow are few of the worst blogging experience this week.

  44. Best – I finally realized that purchasing te combo 31 day package did not mean a hardcopy of 31days. I researched and found instructions to download so I now have it in hand.
    Worst- After revamping my blog with a weekly schedule and theme and making a real effort to provide value, I do see small increases in visitors and even smaller increases in repeat visitors. But nobody leaves comments even when the point of the post is to get visitor insight and opinion and even though I know something about the repeat visitors, I don’t know how they got there or why they come back.

  45. Good Darren, shield yourself. now i understand why suddenly you put this line ‘comments will be closed off…’ above the comment form. yeah, your blog is so well known so spammers are here and there. and might want to entertain you as well.

  46. Same like you, my blog is full of spam comments and I don’t know how to solve it because I use blogspot platform for my blogs.

  47. best:
    changed theme & cleaned up site (still cleaning ;).
    I added feedburner and discovered Windows Live Writer. (thanks, darren) Which I used to do a huge batch posting (for my weeklies, like word of the week).

    I’m hoping it will give me more time to focus on stories. [which was the point of my fictional blog until i got sidetracked.]

    low readership, but it’s a quirky site and as long as i am enjoying it (and make a few giggle or suggest a doctor) then i’m happy.

    like a few mentioned above, my problem has been spam. although it has been interesting and unique.

  48. So far 2 important ‘bests’ – (1) starting my blog, and (2) traffic to the blog is increasing as a result of learning how to promote it more effectively

    No ‘worst’s so far but the week is only half over.

  49. Definitely my best blogging experience of this last week was StudioPress officially sponsoring my Best WordPress Website Design of 2009 Contest! Brian will be giving his All Theme Package (worth $199) to the winner and one theme to each of the 5 finalists. It’s amazing to already have such a strong blogging relationship (my blog is only 2 months old).

    My worst experience is I haven’t heard back yet from any of the other companies I requested sponsorships from. I really want to give away some awesome prizes to the winner and hope to bring on board at least two more sponsors. But, it is summer time and many people are on vacation. It’s probably time to remind myself of the virtue of patience.

    I think this contest would greatly benefit many of your readers Darren. I’m hoping to have a lot of newbie bloggers enter. This is a great opportunity to get some attention and free traffic! I should be launching the contest in a couple of weeks. If anyone is interested in learning more, please check out my post: http://www.fresheventure.com/1256/questions-best-wordpress-website-design-2009-contest/

    I hope it’s ok that I added a link to my blog :).

  50. Best:
    I’m preparing for a guest spot as a teachers’ “advice columnist” next week at Change.org’s Education blog (http://education.change.org/). A number of friends and colleagues have written brilliant letters requesting advice on teaching dilemmas. I’m very excited about launching this feature.

    traffic is down, no matter what I do to try to pick it up. I’m blaming the time of year – mid-July is teachers’ last chance to think about anything BUT teaching before the preparation for the new year begins in earnest. Here’s looking forward to a more active August!

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