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Sole Practitioner Blogging – What to do When on Holidays?

One of the downsides of being a stay at home sole blogger is that on days when you can’t blog (because you are on holidays, sick or….moving house – your blogging can grind to a standstill.

Having just had a few very light days of blogging and today logging onto the internet I’m feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the vast quantities of emails, comments to check for spam and questions, unread RSS feeds that just 36 hours without being online has meant. I’m still at least 24 hours away from resuming ‘normal’ blogging activities as I don’t have my office set up and will be relying upon dial up internet from home for up to another week (I’m currently sitting on the floor in my empty old house blogging with the broadband that is still there).

Professional blogging brings with it quite a lot of administrative tasks that accumulate very quickly – more quickly than you realize until you take a day or two off. I guess when I blog most days I am able to pace myself and gradually pick off each task one by one – but miss a day and you’re behind the eight-ball.

This leaves me feeling a little worried about the 4 week trip that I’m taking in June. If I’m overwhelmed by the admin of 36 hours of being online – imagine what happens after 28 days! Not to mention the apprehension of wondering what happens to a blog when you don’t post on it for a month…

So how am I preparing for my upcoming trip? Here is the strategy so far:

- Guest Blogging – I’m attempting to find a few bloggers to help out with some of my higher profile/most visited blogs. I’ll post about this in the next day or two but I’ve decided that on my bigger blogs that I’ll be paying for a couple of bloggers to keep things running. On the smaller blog I’ll be hoping for a few volunteers that’ll do it for the love of blogging and the links back to their blogs that they’ll get. Readers of ProBlogger will be pleased to know that I’ve signed up a rather large and diverse group of bloggers to keep this blog ticking over.

- Advance Posting – On a few blogs I’ll have some posts written in advance – ready to be added when the date and time ticks over – this will keep the illusion of an up to date blog for casual readers. It won’t work on some of the more time sensitive news blogs – but on others it will work fine.

- Blogging from the Road – I’m planning to do a few blogging sessions from the road from net cafes and relatives places. Whilst I don’t want blogging to dominate my holiday I’m resigned to the fact that there are some things that guest bloggers can’t and shouldn’t be asked to do. This will include tasks like dealing with spam comments which come to my inbox. I’ll also attempt to fill in the gaps a little on some posting duties where I can’t find a guest blogger – I’d like to at least keep each blog with posting once or twice per week.

- Letting Go - There is of course going to need to be a relaxing of my standards of blogging. 25 posts per day isn’t a reality, responding to every email quickly isn’t either. I guess some of my blogs I’ll simply have a note that the blogger is on holidays.

What would you do if you couldn’t be online for a month but you wanted to keep your blogs ticking over and earning an income? Interested in your thoughts.

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Shai Coggins says:

    On “smaller” blogs, I just post that I’m on holidays. But then, I didn’t look at these blogs as business ventures before. On blogs that I earn a living from (my About.com one), I write WAY in advance — both articles/features and “drip” (future post) my blog entries. That’s what I did when I went on holiday for 4 weeks last December 2004. I tried “blogging on the road” — but I couldn’t get a decent internet connection and there were just too many other things going on. So, I mostly tried to kick as much spam away from my email accounts and tried to answer urgent emails (and set notices).

    In any case, good luck and ‘hope all goes well…

  2. A couple very good posts with active comment areas can go a long way on a blog that’s used to many daily posts. Besides controversial advance posts I still haven’t found a decent solution to this problem.

    An aside: is anyone else impressed that Darren managed to write this enormous post during a non-blogging time? Talk about humbling…

  3. What about writing a series of questions, set to post at various future dates? Tell readers to provide answers in the comments section.

    This should work well (for a few weeks, at least) on a blog like ProBlogger, where we all know you’re away and we have enough interesting ideas and people to be able to talk amongst ourselves for a while.

  4. Jon says:

    It sounds as you are hooked on the internet. Sometimes it is just good to let go. It is called vacation for a reason, to vacate.

  5. Darren says:

    Could be right Jon – although in addition to the addiction part its partly about ensuring the income level doesn’t drop too much while we’re away.

  6. Ian says:

    One question I’d like to see discussed is- How do you go about creating a business plan for professional blogging. I just spent all morning roughing one out, but it comes down to having to explain to a bank or whoever that you plan to make money from something ephemeral. You don’t really have a product, and if your primary income, like mine, is from Adsense your cashflow relies on something that looks a lot like voodoo (understanding CPM, CTR etc then trying to influence them by just writing stuff? What’s that all about?)
    So, if anyone has managed to secure a loan by explaining how their weblog works I’d love to hear about it.

  7. jim says:

    Would you be able to write up some posts offline while traveling or something and then just use the internet cafe as a way to upload the psots? I’m not sure about the nature of your vacation but if it includes long automobile/train/airplane rides it could be possible. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to do any research while you’re constructing these posts which would be necessary for some of your blogs.

  8. Ken says:

    For myself, a relatively new reader to your blog, it seems I haven’t even scratched the surface of your blog, your archives seem pretty deep so I would suggest people start hacking away at the archives. Like you said yourself, some articles are still popular, even a year later, like your AdSense article.

    I think the tendency with RSS and blogs is that we read the new posts but rarely go back to the archives. There is some serious buried treasure in the archives of a lot of blogs.

  9. Steve Kelly says:

    Just returned from 5 weeks in the Philippines, i put a chatterbox on my blog and told everyone i would be away, got a few enjoy yourselve type messages and a few contacts too.. very difficult to blog from where i was in the Phils. as the internet was very patchy and i was too busy on the beach with my San Mig. Hey i was on vacation
    Was going to try audio blogging, but as it was difficult to get too my blog to check it out, desided against.. perhaps next time

  10. I think preparing a couple of longish posts in advance and then scheduling them to post throughout the weeks that you are away is the best bet. Start off by indicating that you are on vacation and that posts will be sporadic so people are aware that you are away. Then unsubscribe from all those RSS feeds and e-mail lists that you are currently subscribed to for the duration of your holiday. Another idea is to schedule some “from the archives” posts which are kind of like television repeats. Re-post some of your stuff “from the archives” for any new readers to read and comment on. Between your pre-wriiten posts and “from the archives” you should have plenty of content. Then go on vacation and actually “go on vacation.” If you don’t relax you will eventually burn out with the unfortunate consequence that you may actually not want to blog anymore because of the stress. Then your income will definitely drop!

  11. Carl says:

    I like the *from the archives re-runs* idea. Also, don’t feel guily setting up an autoresponder for all the emails. Just automatically send a note thanking them for their email, and that you will not be personally responding to the mass of emails you’re receiving while on vacation. Nobody is going to hold it against you.

  12. John Bradbury says:

    One word – elance

    Pay a freelance writer to create a series of posts based on the content of your site and have the posts scheduled. This way you don’t get stuck with having to create a mountain of content before you go and you can view the content in advance – unlike having guest bloggers…

  13. Jon says:

    Darren, do you want to share any info on how much traffic you get on your blogs from search engies vs. recurrent visitors. You don’t need to say the exact numbers.. I mean that search engine traffic comes in no matter if you are updating or not.

  14. flo says:

    Why don’t you use the new http://www.blogsitter.net service?
    It’s worlds first blogsitting agency and provides guest bloggers in the specific field your blog is in.
    Just try it!

  15. value says:

    I finally decided to give you a little feedback ! well you got it! i love your site !!! no , really, its good…

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