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7 Things to Do with your Blog when you take a Vacation

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What should I Do with my Blog when I go take a Vacation?

This is a question I ask myself in the lead up to every break and one that I seem to answer differently each time. I thought it a relevant topic to write about as I’m currently on holidays (or at least will be by the time you read this).

Here’s a few of the approaches I’ve taken over the last few years:

1. Give your Blog and Readers a Vacation

This is probably the most common approach that bloggers take – they simply stop blogging for the time they are away and resume on their return.

Advantages
– it’s low maintenance in the lead up to and during your time away.

Disadvantages
– your blog stops and you risk losing momentum
– you might end up with a lot of catching up when you return in terms of any news that breaks while you’re away
– traffic will probably fall due to lack of RSS updates

2. Advance Posts

Blogging software like WordPress has the ability for bloggers to write posts in advance of them being published. You simply set the date and time you want the post to go live and it will happen later while you’re sitting on a beach somewhere. This very post is an example of this. I’m currently lounging beside a pool reading a book in wonderful Queensland (or at least I hope I am). If I’m going to do advance posts I generally make them fairly generic, or a tips post or something that is not time specific.

Advantages
– this can give your blog the appearance of you actually being at your blog
– it keeps content ticking over on your blog which has advantages in SEO, maintaining readership levels
– you retain complete control over what is written on your blog while away

Disadvantages
– your posts will not be time relevant and you’ll still need to catch up when you get home on any newsy type posts
– you can run into formatting issues if you’re not careful – make sure you test your posts before you go
– moderation of comments is difficult with this. If a flame war blows up in comments you’re not there to moderate
– increases your work load

3. Retrospective Series

This is really a variation on ‘advance posts’ but instead of writing a whole new series of posts you run some older posts.

Advantages
– Lightens the load in the lead up to your vacation (not completely)
– Shows newer readers some of the older posts from your archives that they will never have seen before
– Still gives you control over what content goes up on your blog while gone

Disadvantages
– Can run the risk of messing up your URLs if you repost an old post on a new date (if your URLs are date specific).
– Still some work before you leave
– Could frustrate some of your older readers who have seen your old work
– Again you can run into comment moderation issues

4. Guest Blogger/s

Last time I went on an extended vacation this was the approach I took. Each of my blogs had a guest blogger or two (ProBlogger had 20 or so) who were given posting rights. They were asked to write a few times a week (more if they could) and were given links back to their own blogs in return.

Advantages
– Involves your readers and other bloggers in your field which increases the sense of participation on your blog
– Guest Bloggers can moderate comments on their own threads
– Gives your readers fresh perspectives on your topic that you’d never have considered yourself.

Disadvantages
– You lose some control over what appears on your blog (at least until you return)
– Can be considerable work involved in setting this up if you have multiple blogs
– Some readers might become frustrated by your guest bloggers style/voice if they are loyal to your own.

5. Guest Posts/Series

This is the approach I’m talking here at ProBlogger over the next two weeks with the majority of the posts you’ll read here. I’ve got at least one guest post per day from a different ProBlogger reader. They’ll get a link or two back to their own blogs in return for the post. Rather than giving each blogger posting rights I tend to do this as a variation on the ‘advance posts’.

Advantages
– in addition to the advantages of guest bloggers (see above) this gives you the advantage of variety. ie instead of your readers getting frustrated with one guest blogger they get a new blogger every day.

Disadvantages
– can bring problems of inconsistency. ie some readers might become frustrated with the lack of consistent voice.
– there is quite a bit of work involved in setting up the advance posts from a variety of different bloggers.

6. Blog from the Road

I’ve done this on a couple of shorter business trips where I’ve arranged for net connections along the way to post from. Generally at these times I post at a lighter frequency than normal.

Advantages
– This means you’re in complete control over content
– There is no set up time required before you leave
– You can keep up with any breaking news (less catching up to do afterwards)
– You can moderate all comments

Disadvantages
– not good for a holiday or you’ll never rest

7. Open Mike posts

Another variation on the advance posts option is to leave a few ‘open mike’ type posts where you invite readers to submit their comments on a particular topic. In a sense then it is readers who provide content for you while you’re gone (although the action all happens within your comments).

Advantages
– gives your readers a sense of ownership
– keep visitor levels up

Disadvantages
– comment moderation challenges
– need to catch up on newsy posts when you return
– some work needed in setting this up (but only really to think of good topics/questions)

I’m sure there are other options which I’d encourage you to leave in comments below.

The choice will depend upon many factors including the topic you’re writing about, traffic levels, the interactivity of your readers, whether you have a high loyal reader factor, the length of your vacation, whether your readers play well together or not etc.

This holiday I’m going for a real combination of the above points on my blogs. Many of them will be going on holidays with me, ProBlogger will have a combination of Advance posts and guest posts (and maybe an open mike or two) and a couple of my blogs have other bloggers looking after them for me.

What do you do with your blog/s when you go on holidays?

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. Michael says:

    great stuff I am leaving for a month and that really gave me a few ideas Thanks Michael Angelo Christopher

  2. Pua says:

    that must be one of the repeat posts but as i never read it before, i found some good recommendations what i can do when we are moving in our new house (hope next time it is when going on vacation).

    i like the idea ‘to write posts in advance of them being published. You simply set the date and time you want the post to go live and it will happen later while you’re sitting on a beach somewhere’. never looked into it with blogger. will do so immediately.

    thanks. pua

  3. Vern says:

    Blogger has “Post Options” in the lower left hand corner of their “new post” form. A small link that lets me set an advance time to publish the blog – I THINK. I’m trying it now. I’ve also looked at posting pics, videos, and text to my blog at blogger. I can do text without problem – I just set up a “Post-to” email address in my settings. Then I email to it from anywhere and it posts text. I also set up mobile photo blogging with my phone. I can send SMS messages with photo and text and they are posted automatically once I “claimed” my blog at blogger. NOW I found Youtube’s video posting. I can take video with phone, send it to a pre-arranged email address at youtube and they post the video automatically. Then I’d just create a blog entry and link to that video post. I’m in Thailand and things aren’t always as easy as for those elsewhere, but all of this appears to work. I’ve not tried the video youtube post, but in theory there’s no reason it shouldn’t work… I read your site daily Darren, thanks for helping us all out.

  4. Edward says:

    I will choose the “Open Mike posts” to keep readers on my blog , because once you lose traffics , visitors are hard to find again

  5. Jon says:

    When I travel, I tend to advance post but also try to write a post or two from the road.

  6. beej says:

    Oh god. As if.

    I *wish* I could even take a vacation much less afford one!

    Good grief, what a post! “Oh woe is me, I’m so worried about what my precious blog will do all by it’s lonesome while I’m gone!” Shite. Don’t we have better things to worry about in life?

  7. Randy PLACE says:

    What vacation? I have a new blog, don’t want to risk losing audience, so will keep my head down and write through the Holidays. In respect for those days, I’ll try to match whatever i post to the day (Christmas, New Years Day).

  8. nso says:

    Previously, I have just not posted and both times I have actually had an increase in traffic. The first time was my honeymoon and was very early in on my blogging days. While I was away a link to my blog was posted on a major fashion forum and that lead to a massive increase in traffic, both short term and long term. I was one happy camper when I got home and saw the site stats.

    The second time was over the last two weeks, where I just warned my readers I was taking a break from blogging, alerted them to the fact that I would be posting 1 post on Christmas Eve (about the boxing day sales) and continuing to update some of the other non-blog aspects of the sites (discount codes etc). The site was a little slower traffic wise during the lead up t Christmas, which I expected, but Christmas day and boxing day I had a huge spike in traffic and it’s continued on even though I haven’t started back up blogging.

    For me, its important that my vacations are vacations, and a week here and a week there, when properly warned, won’t lose me too much traffic

  9. You offer a good advice . Sometimes I take a vocation.

  10. This is a great post. I keep coming back here to re-read this advice.

  11. Yin Teing says:

    Prior to my vacation, I will sit down and type articles and scheduled them to be posted in advance. I’ve done this when I took a 50 days vacation recently and now, I am preparing articles in advance as I will be away. My only worry is what to do with comments- since I can’t turn comments to avoid spam.

  12. Great advice! I have done a series of guest posts when I’ve been gone in the past. I’ve done the Advance Post thing. I’ve never had an open mike. I think my readers might like this.

    But for the holidays, I’m assuming readership will be low anyway, and I think I might take an old-fashioned blog break. I’ve never officially done this before. In three years, I think I’m due. :-) Although I’m sure I’ll post sporadically. With a personal blog, there’s always something to share.

  13. Matt says:

    At the moment I am busy writing away – i’m a big fan of the WordPress scheduled post echanic. It means i can still write observational posts that will be just about relevant to the time that they’ll go up.

    If anybody wants to write a guest post, be my guest (poster) :-)

  14. Danny V says:

    I’m going to be writing posts and schedule 1 or 2 of them per week, that way I have content for when school starts up and I’m busy.

  15. I’m doing “1. Give your Blog and Readers a Vacation” for a week and a half over the holidays. I hope that my readers will be focusing on their families during that stretch of time!

  16. Philippa says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. Writing my holiday posts now to come out later.

  17. diamondTearz says:

    I’ll be going through and making collections of some of my prior entries that are buried too deep for new readers to ever come across but still relevant.

  18. I think that there is a big opportunity in the search engines in the next few weeks to gain some ground on the vacationing competition. Let’s face it most people will not be writing for the obvious reasons.

    We are talking about just this on a conference call today and thinking about strategy.

    Thanks for the post man. Perfect Timing.

    I welcome subscribers =) lol http://www.davidkamatoy.com

  19. Gina Chen says:

    on my work blog, I tend to do a combination – schedule posts and blog during my vacation. I end up with fewer posts them when I’m working, but at least readers won’t be frustrated with nothing new.

  20. I really like the idea of guest bloggers. I like the idea in general, but it’s a great way to freshen up your content. I guess it depends on the theme of your overall blog to begin with as to which strategy you can engage in. It’s also important to make sure your guest bloggers are consistent readers of your blog to understand your style and what people are looking for in general.

  21. Well, I give myself a short holiday by closing the blog for a few days. Most people have other things on their mind between Christmas and New Year. Most bloggers that I follow are also lowering the amount of articles in this period. And I also need a short break :-)

  22. Well, this will be my very first holidays and then a few days later I will go on vacation. I was planning to leave the blog inactive but I think that an advance post will be the best.

    Thanks for the tip!
    Gabriel

  23. Bryan Murley says:

    In the market where I blog (college media), most everyone is shut down for the two weeks around the holidays, and I have blogged during those holidays previously, only to find that there’s not a lot of traffic out there for the content.

    Anyone who deals with education-related issues will probably want to keep in mind that even if you post, there will likely be less readership as professors and students don’t necessarily read as much work/school-related stuff during the breaks.

  24. Tim says:

    Typically I like to do a holiday-related post a day or two before a holiday and then just moderate comments.

    I’m newer to blogging so I don’t have as much reader-related action quite yet, but I like some of the ideas in this post. I think using some of them and then just keeping an eye on comments should keep the work-load down while still maintaining some control.

  25. Momentum is the key. It takes a lot of work to build a readership and if you take a few days of your readership may think your not contributing anymore. Readers like to go around and see whats “happening.” If nothing is happening “posts” then there is no reason to stop by. The fist blogs I go to are twitip and problogger b/c I know they will have a few posts throughout the day. I need to follow the same example.

  26. aftercancer says:

    Since my site is so niche related I usually advance post. We’ll be having company at the house over Christmas so blogging while they’re here just seems rude. I’ll likely be back to live work over New years.

  27. I just switched my blog to WordPress this last week and I am going to take advantage of the advance posting feature. I’m also going to write some posts that are timeless, therefore I don’t have to worry about the posts not being up to the minute and out of date. Happy holidays to everyone!

  28. krissy knox says:

    I celebrate the holidays, yet keep on posting. I’m going to do a post tonight in a few, and one tomorrow (Christmas day).

    Thanks for a great post! It gives us food for thought and good ideas.

    Krissy :)
    visit my main blog: http://sometimesithink-krissy.blogspot.com
    visit me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/iamkrissy

  29. I think it’s okay to, in a post, tell your readers you’re going on vacation. That you’ll return on such in such date. People understand we all need vacations, so I think that works too.

  30. ganesh says:

    Saying that I am on a vacation, is better than to mess up with the quality of the content.

    Advance posts are the safe option out. Yet another good option, is opening up a contest or free giveaway, based on reader inputs.

    The day you return from vacation, it will be a good read and also you would have accrued many a inputs and in a way to celebrate the holiday season could give away the freebies to your readers.

  31. Advanced posting is nice but WordPress has this annoying bug that’s never been figured out where advanced posts will occasionally not show up. Keeping on your blog or site while gone is a requirement, just to make sure things are working fine.

  32. sprittibee says:

    I’d love to hear more about the open mic method. I wouldn’t even know how to set that up. I have done the Guest Blogger series and enjoyed it a LOT. It was fun to read what the friends came up with while I was gone. I had minimal input and sent them back photos and they did their own thing. Truly rewarding and I was able to be on the road and out of pocket entirely. Best way to vacation!

    Most of my time away has been just NOT posting, though – which I have not felt so great about.

    Another thing I tried over Christmas break was a photo-themed series that I set up… the 12 days of Christmas. That was fun. I just had to find the 12 photos up front and write a short snip about each one… which was a lot easier than writing an entire post out. It also gave the readers a lighter side of my blog that they might not normally see.

    Who am I kidding? I do that sort of thing often when I’m in a block or too busy to keep up. I get more comments sometimes on the whimsical stuff than I do on some of my heavier and more lengthy posts, though. I think it is important for your readers to see your human side – quirks and all.

    PS – I have to say that I enjoy reading your tweets and your articles are really thoughtful. Thanks!

  33. Yeah ,the most useful i’m always doing is to make an advance post then enable comments so there’s always an update.Guest bloggers make my blog active even i’m on a vacation or i’m not around.

  34. neon says:

    Everything is very open and very clear explanation of issues. was truly information. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing.

Trackbacks

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