Since I got sidetracked by BlogWorld on my Monday post I decided to postpone the next part of my series about my blog changes until today. Changes happen, and sometimes unexpectedly. It's how we handle the changes that is the most relevant thing and not the necessarily the changes themselves.
Before I continue I do want to remind any readers in the Southern California about my BlogWorld contest giveaway. If you can be in Los Angeles November 4-5 you can enter for an Expo Pass to BlogWorld. And even if you can't, you might enjoy reading about the BlogWorld Conference and Expo. Click the link for more information.
So back to the changes. My Labor Day post first hinted that changes had happened and were going to continue to happen on Tossing It Out. Then a later blog post confirmed that Google AdSense had been a recent addition to my blog. But there were some other changes that I don't think anyone mentioned.
Between late August and early September there was a sweeping epidemic of "Warnings" attached to blogs saying that they were possibly distributing or displaying links to sites that were distributing malware. You undoubtedly saw some of these and perhaps were even affected yourself. My blog was and when it happened I was distraught.
At first I had visions that my blog was going to be history. I began to consider the idea of stopping my blogging activity entirely. I was away on a vacation and couldn't do much of anything. When I did get back home I guess maybe I panicked a bit hoping to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. I had no idea where the malware culprit could be residing so I began an all out attack to cleanse my blog from anything that might be responsible. While I was at it I decided to do some major blog cleaning--period.
One of the first things I did was get rid of nearly all of the awards and badges, including the special page I had set up for them.. I became ruthlessly unsentimental about this. I will have more to say about this in an upcoming post.
Next I began cleaning up my blog rolls. I had already been receiving emails that others were removing my link from their blog rolls because of the malware warnings. The ones I was removing were not acts of reprisals but long overdue clean-up of defunct and long inactive blogs. I also removed some links of blogs that I had long stopped visiting for one reason or another. I have considered the possibility of entirely removing my blog roll, but I can't bring myself to do that. For one thing it's too useful for me to use to jump over to blogs I visit with great regularity. Although if you don't see yours listed don't be overly concerned if you are a regular commentor since I try to visit all of the blogs of those who comment on mine.
Following the recommendations of the Google Webmaster report and help pages I pinpointed part of the problem as possibly being related to a Linky List on one of my past posts. To be safe I started eliminating old Linky Lists. I hated losing those, but on the other hand I wasn't finding the time to refer to those lists anyway.
The purging of all of these aforementioned things apparently did the trick for clearing my blog to be acceptable to Google and the warning was removed. Some damage had been done. I lost sixteen followers and I think some of my regular visitors were afraid to stop by even after the warning was removed. However, whatever sixteen followers that I lost have now been replaced by more than twice that number. The state of the blog appears to be back to normal.
For me this was a big scare. I hated the thought of losing the blog and all of my work going down the drain. Fortunately the scare was over pretty quickly, but not without having left a mild aftershock bit of trauma. Starting over would have not been fun. But the event brought Tossing It Out to a state of renewal and hopefully for the better. My goal now is to hone this blog space to be what I hope will be more professional.
My blog roll will continue to be pared down. I am trying to minimize the amount of clutter on the page without sacrificing the more vital aspects. The awards will probably stay gone and as I said earlier I will be posting more about this topic in the weeks to come.
One other change that I will be talking more about in a future post will be the addition of some new blogs. I don't want to say much at all about this topic until the upcoming post appears, but I did want to bring your attention to one new blog that is appearing under my name. You may have noticed mention of it in my new profile that appears in my sidebar.
The new blog that premiered on October 4, 2011 is Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. If you click on the link you can read more about it and the intent behind this new blog. I would encourage you to add yourself to the friends list so you will be reminded of each Tuesday post. Don't worry--I'm not going to be posting on this blog too much for now. When any important A to Z news comes about I will be posting it on that site. Please leave any suggestions in the A to Z blog comment section.
If your blog was hit by the malware threat, how did you react and how did you resolve the issue? Have you been experiencing more problems with Blogger that ever before lately? Are you planning to Blog from A to Z in April of 2012?