The Ups and Downs of a Blog

This posting is going to be a bit different then our usual inspirational posts. Call this what you want, a news post, personal rant or helpful personal story that might allow you to reflect and inspire you to push forward in similar times.

In the beginning

First off, when I started Inspiredology I didn’t know what to expect and where this journey would take me. I wanted to start blogging to share my internet finds and inspirations. So late one night in January 2008, I designed the first version of the blog. The next day I launched the site with two articles; “120 Brilliant Logos” and “Cool Business Cards“, over the next week, I was checking stats, comments, trying to submit the articles to various social media outlets, plugging the website every way I could.

Within a week I started seeing a rise in traffic from 10 to 2000, then 16,000. As you can imagine, I was speechless. I didn’t know where these people came from, but for the majority of them, the feedback of the site and posts was great. So there you go within a week, I had a substantial amount of traffic, and I had to just keep sending out good posts, obviously the spikes went down, came back here and there like any other blog.

The first major road block


Things were going good, started getting advertisers, comments, generous emails for giveaways, reviews and just overall good feedback. Then June came around and the site was labeled by Google “This site may harm your computer”.

What do you I do, I started getting bad reviews, users emailing me saying my site broke their computer, bad Stumbleupon reviews (which Stumbleupon was sending me more then half my traffic). Things just snowballed, my site was gone, inaccessible by most people. The biggest thing, lost the trust of the general internet public. Search engine index’s stopped. I eventually switched hosts and found a friendly face to help me out with the virus/malware problem. Eventually after 2 week’s, the problem was resolved and Google started taking off the hateful label. Traffic started to rise after a week or so.

Moving forward


Skip ahead to Spring/Summer 2009, Inspiredology has a new look, new server (thanks WPWebHost), new writers and a trusty new sidekick (Andrew). Average traffic has doubled to 3000 – 3500 daily visits, and our feed has exploded to 3200 subscribers.

Not this again…another F#!%ing attack

About two weeks ago, I started off like every other morning, get to work make myself some oatmeal with peanut butter and read my emails. As I scan my new emails… Removed from Google’s Index, maybe it’s spam…nope its for real. Google basically saying that they have detected that I was using techniques that are outside the quality guidelines. They were removing my pages from the index for 30 days, and if I resolved the issue I could request a reconsideration complaint. Again, I immediately spoke to my hosting company, and I searched all the pages and files on my server. I found that my index.php page was corrupted with some crazy content and links.

I deleted the files, requested reconsideration from Google, by then the damage was already done, Google had removed Inspiredology from their index for at least 30 days. So, here I am watching my traffic go down the tube once again, Google was responsible for 20% of my traffic. We had some really good search results for a bunch of different keywords, if you search anything like Cool Business Cards – we were within the top 3. Not sure if Google will put us back up there, but if not – it’s a kick in the pants for sure.

As of now, I have tried searching Inspiredology on a few different computers and I am seeing some results, not sure how long it takes them, but I hope its sooner then later.

Staying Positive

The past 20 months, have been a roller coaster ride, and I have had some amazing opportunities from Inspiredology. I don’t regret anything I have done, I stay positive in hope that we will bounce back stronger and faster the second time around. How can you help you ask? A quick search for Inspiredology might help Google see that Inspiredology is still a hot ticket item, maybe get them to move their asses.

I hope this post has inspired some of you to stay positive and strive forward if you run into any problems like this, if your blog isn’t as successful as you hoped, just keep working at it. Determination is one of the most underrated skills to have to run a successful blog.

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  • Eric Jewett

    Keeping your site (anybody’s) updated can be a full time job by itself, but as long as you keep at it, your hard work will pay off.

    I am a long time visitor of your blog all of your posts are great, and inspired me greatly throughout college.

    Keep inspiredology alive please =D

    And as for your site breaking somebody’s computer – the Problem always lies between the keyboad and chair. LOL

  • I know how this feels. I went through 2-3 weeks of not knowing why my sites kept giving that error. I found out it was a virus on my computer that stole my ftp passwords, changed all of the index.php files and put a big dent in my business traffic.

    If you don’t have a scanner for your comp yet, I’d recommend AVG (the free version is good) and then get malwarebytes too … run them both and see what it can find. That, and change your ftp passwords immediately.

    Good luck with everything. This site’s in my google reader and will continue to be 🙂

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  • Eric Jewett – First and foremost thanks for being an avid reader… and no worries Inspiredology aint dieing anytime soon…

    Mike Smith – Yeah its weird, I work on a mac, so usually I am worry free, but I might have to find some security for my site

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  • very good article and thank you for your advice..

  • Hi Chad! Blogging can be challenging. I remember the days when I would freak out when the least little thing went wrong. Now, I was able to withstand losing an entire two yearsworth of blogging to some sort of glitch.

    At the moment, my blog traffic is plummeting to new lows. i don’t know if I did something wrong of if the Google gods just don’t love me anymore! But I really would like to build a loyal, faithful bunch of readers, not just ones who fly in thru a search engine and are never seen again! I’ve actually BEEN trying this for years, but I just can’t seem to get the spark to catch fire!

    One blogger I ran across had a wonderful knack for drawing COMMENTERS to her blog. It was just like a forum, a place for wonderful interaction. But something funny happened: she got tired of writing a political blog, and added entertainment and computer-related posts. Her traffic dropped from 10K to less than 400 a day. The comments dried up too, and although she returned to political bloggig, the numbers never went back up.

    Sad thing is we all seem to be at the mercy of Google and Technorati. Mabe we should work harder at attracting traffic in other ways. What do YOU think?

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  • Hey Dave,

    Great comment, fantastic story too… you have a good point, are we at the mercy of Google and other power houses that run the internet. I do agree, generating traffic in unique ways is where we should concentrate on…everything gets saturated, but it is an interesting point, I am always up for new ways of generated more organic traffic.

    thanks again

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  • My Website was attacked by a virus like this once, the difference is that the virus I had, erased some code when pasting thelinks and the iframes and this caused my block to break completely ( and the virus vas doing it everiday).

    I had been suffering this during a month, Once I found a popup from the firefox sayin that i was visiting a dangerous site…

    Then I asked to my hosting, and they told me to change my ftp password, this worked, but I had to be 2 weeks erasing odd codes hidden eveywhere.
    I suspect that the virus was somebody catching ftp passwords from some kind of wordpress plugin that asked for the ftp details in order to do something ( I had been installing a lot of plugins that day.

    I posted the History here: My first post after killing many viruses on holidays: Direct Monetization of Facebook and Twitter

  • David… Thanks for sharing your experiences, it helps out learning first hand, hopefully, your comment and this post can give some other bloggers ideas on how to protect their blog.

  • Hey, nice post. I just discovered your blog today and it’s really great. I’ll definitely add it to the RSS reader. We actually have a complimentary post about starting a design blog (our traffic shot up over 900%) which you can find here:

  • Check my site….

  • I really admire your positiveness, even when your sites were falling apart. How the heck did you hold on for 20 months??

  • Suda – Thanks very much, I appreciate it – I mean I am generally a positive guy – and I kept going forward, just thinking that it had to lead somewhere. It has, it’s not like Smashing Mag or WebDesigner Depot but some people seem to love it.

    Thanks for being a reader

  • Chad,

    I’m sorry you had to go through all of this. I have an interesting story for you and maybe you or someone else reading this can shed some light on the situation.

    I had a blog on a dedicated but old and outdated server that ran great for a little over a year, in the past 4 weeks my traffic has been around 900 page views per day. My server was crawling badly, so I decided to get a better server. The new server I purchased is with the same company and uses Plesk, just like the old server. I performed a Plesk migration using their tool which transfers everything from one server to another.

    I then changed my name servers to match the IP addresses of the new server and went to my blog and everything worked seamlessly.

    Now here is where it becomes interesting. The 1st day of being on the new server I had 713 page views, day 2 was 252, day 3 was 176, and today I have 104 page views so far. I have checked with just about every DNS lookup tool that I could find and they all resolve properly. I can even search for on google and click on it and it goes to my blog without issues.

    I can’t imagine what the problem could be? My subscriber base has also dropped from about 130 subscribers to 39.

    Did I miss a step somewhere? It is very depressing to work on something for over a year and build yourself up to nearly 30k page views per month to getting a little over a hundred a day. Please if you or anyone else has a solution or could point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Also one thing to note is that I only moved to a different server with a different IP address. I did not change the domain name or the name servers. I only changed the IP addresses that the name servers are pointing to. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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