Sometimes you just need to vent… and this post is really more of a pep talk for myself, to encourage me to keep going. Maybe someone out there will benefit from it. If not, that's OK. I just need to write it for me.
I spent 10 hours yesterday going through over 1,500 blog posts, fixing broken links, deleting, redirecting and recategorizing posts. I have close to 150 recipes with broken links, bad photos and they need to be categorized.
So much work to do. And I've barely made a dent.
My blog is at an all-time low in terms of traffic. It's at 10% of what it was at its height in 2013, the year I made a million dollars. It is at the same traffic it as at the first year I started blogging. So it really is like I'm starting over from scratch.
Starting over is really depressing. I'm having to fix everything. Literally everything. The blog has so many problems.
In addition to all the broken links and recipes, there were over 70,000 comments that were “pending”. Right after the blog network crashed, this blog got hacked and my comments got spammed. So we had to move all the comments into the moderation queue. And now I have to go back and hand-moderate every single comment. I'm down from over 70,000 comments to just under 45,000.
Yeah, I know. What a nightmare, eh?
The thing is, I have to fix everything because it's all this broken stuff that has made my blog lose all its traffic. Broken links and spam comments cause you to lose all your search engine rankings. So if I want to get my traffic back up again, I have no choice but to go back and clean everything up.
Given all of the above, it really feels like I'm wasting my time.
The Good News
But here's what's good… So far this month, since I started blogging again, a few good things have happened.
I made enough money from Amazon Associates and Google AdSense in the past two weeks to pay for this month's hosting. And I made my first five dollars ever from YouTube.
I know, it doesn't sound like a lot, and it isn't. The money I made barely covers my hosting costs and certainly does not cover the hosting costs I have accrued over the past year that I've had my blog back up.
So the blog will not make money this year. Even if I work very hard, which I am doing, and even if I grow my traffic exponentially, I will still be in the red.
But the point to focus on is that I am making progress. However slowly.
Look at the Bright Side
When you are starting over, rebuilding, as hard as it is, you can't look at the bad stuff. You have to look for all the good things so you can keep going. Because if you keep going, you will reach your goal if you just don't quit. So the trick is to just find a way to keep going.
As hard as it is to go through this, cleaning everything up feels kind of good. When the company went under in 2014, and almost everyone I trusted turned against me, it seems like everything got dirty and tainted.
And now I'm going back and polishing everything. Every post, every plug-in, every widget… everything. It is going to take many months before I am finished. But I guess this is part of my healing process.
Doing all of this clean up work is making me think about what the blog is really about, who it serves and helps, what its purpose is, and what I'm trying to accomplish.
And I truly believe that on the other side of this, I will end up with a blog that is much better, one that helps more people.
Remember the People You Are Helping
I was at the hairdresser's a couple of weeks ago. I was chatting with a woman who asked what I did.
I said, I'm a blogger. She asked what my blog was about and I told her the story of how I was diagnosed with arthritis at age 25, and how I was cured by changing my diet, going off gluten and sugar, and taking natural supplements. I told her that after two years, I was able to go back to eating normally again and had no symptoms.
She told me she is allergic to gluten and dairy and eggs. She said she can't eat anything anymore, and doesn't even want to go to restaurants with her family because there is nothing she can eat.
At that moment, I knew that whatever it takes, I must rebuild my blog. Not for me, but for people like her.
When I think of all the families out there who are suffering with food allergies and other health problems… and these people are told by well-meaning doctors that there is no hope. That's what my doctors told me when I was in my 20s and staring down the barrel of a lifetime of pain, drugs and surgery.
Thanks to my recovery in my 20s, I have been blessed with more than 20 years of good heath. That's something I can't keep quiet about.
So many people need to know what I know:
- That you can recover.
- That you don't have to settle for being sick.
- That food truly is medicine.
Helping the Wrong People
I'm a giver, always have been. When I built the blog network, I gave to anyone and everyone. And I asked for nothing in return. The group of bloggers I was helping grew so large and so needy that I became overwhelmed. I spent all day every day helping them.
I always expected they would have my back, and when they didn't, I learned the hard way that you have to be careful who you give to, and how much you give.
It's a good thing, what I went through. Because I learned that I have limits. I learned that it's okay for me to have needs and that I am allowed to express my needs. And I learned that I don't have to do anything I don't want to do. I learned that there are people out there who will take advantage of you. And I learned to spot those people a mile away.
Funny thing is, I always knew who the “takers” were! I just ignored my intuition. Never again. I look forward to the day when the same people have their hands out again. I know it will happen because that is what takers do. This time I will have the wisdom and the strength to ignore them.
I truly believe now that those of us who are givers are often the most successful in life. But we must learn to moderate our giving. We must learn to set boundaries, to ask for what we need in return, and to take care of ourselves first. This is what I head to learn, and I'm grateful that I went through what I did. I truly believe that the lessons I learned have prepared me for a much bigger success in the future.
Focus on Where You Are Headed
Whatever you're going through in a period of starting over… whether it's a death or a break up of a relationship… or you lost your job… it's the same. You have to stay focused on where you are headed, on what the future will bring.
It's like walking on a tight rope. Don't look down — just keep looking ahead in the direction you are going.
Instead of thinking about how horrible it is that I have to start over and rebuild everything, instead of dwelling on how my sand castle was kicked to the ground, I should find a way to look at this as a good thing. And focus on where I am headed.
I need to remind myself that in a matter of years I will be out of debt again, my finances will be stable again, and I will have a thriving business again.
And I hope this blog will help many people in the coming years. If that is what comes out of the grueling work I am doing now, if it helps someone avoid a life of pain and drugs and surgery, then it is absolutely worth it.
And if you are trying to restart your life after a business failure or a divorce or a death or breakup, whatever it was, I hope you will remember to stay positive, look ahead to the future and know that there is a reason you are going through this — even if you don't know what it is right now.
If you got this far, thanks for listening. If you didn't, I don't blame you. I just needed to get that out. Now I'm going to work on a post that will help someone.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/flattop341/224175619