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How to Kill Your Blog Successfully

When-Blogs-Die
There comes a time in many blogger’s lives when they are faced with the decision of whether to let a blog die or whether to continue with it. This week I want to explore the why and how of letting blogs die. You see there are many great resources around on how to launch a blog successfully (here’s my blogging for beginners resource) but very little is written on successfully ending a blog.

The idea of a successful blog death might seem a little strange but looking at the numbers of blog’s that are inactive around the blogosphere – I suspect this resources will be as relevant as all the blog launching posts.

Today I’ll start this series with a look at some of the common reasons ‘why’ blogs die. The list could be quite long I’m sure but if I had to identify the main 4 reasons that I regularly see for blogs ending this is how I’d sum it up.

1. Quick Death - Often this point comes just a few weeks into a blog’s life as the initial excitement of the new project wears off and as the reality of what it is going to take to maintain it hits home. It also comes when the realisation that only a handful of people (if anyone) is reading the blog and that it could take quite a long time before the fame and fortune that they’d dreamt of is a reality.

2. Life Crowds the Blog Out – Sometimes a blogger lasts longer than the initial few weeks and the decision comes as a result of other life factors crowding out the blog. We all lead busy lives and quite often when the stress or demands of life rise, one of the first things to slip off our radar is the blog. Posting that was daily slips to once or twice a week at first and we tell ourselves we’ll get back to it when we’re a little less busy – but the reality is that before we know it the only posts we write are explanations of why we haven’t been blogging and that we’ll be back to normal soon.

3. Blogger Burn Out - A common scenario for bloggers who’ve been at it for a while is that they simply burn themselves out and/or become disillusioned with their blog (or even blogging in general). This can come as a result of the criticism of readers (or other bloggers), a bout of bloggers block or simply because they’ve over extended themselves with too many projects or by the size of the topic that they’ve been trying to cover.

4. Death of a Niche - Sometimes it’s not the blogger who burns out but the niche itself. We live in a world that travels at a pretty frantic pace and as a result trends come and go – some more quickly than others. Sometimes a niche can come and go so quickly that while it seems like the ideal topic for a blog it’s almost over before you start it. The result is having little to write about that is relevant and having very few people searching for information on the topic.

Of course there are other types of blog deaths – they happen every day for a variety of reasons. I’m sure that most of us have had a blog we’ve written (or read) die on us – feel free to share the ‘why’ of it in comments.

Tomorrow I’ll write a post about some of the factors a blogger might want to consider when deciding whether to let a blog die or not and the following day will give some tips on ‘how’ to let a blog die successfully.

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. brem says:

    I was sort of hoping you’d list a “how-to” stop blogging. How to gracefully and peacefully put a blog to rest, rather than letting it rot with results from 2004 elections, for example.

  2. I can definitely see number 1 as a huge cause of blog death, since people read about all of these blogs making large sums of money a month and their like “oh snap, that should be easy”. The harsh reality of seeing your first few weeks of hard work amount to a few advertising dollars quickly disallusions them.

  3. Blackbeard says:

    If a blogger wanted to let a blog “die” and still reap the benefits of that blog they could always just keep the blog alive and enjoy the extra few dollars a month of advertising revenue. If your blog has a few major articles, that could be worth it, especially if you aren’t paying anything extra to host the blog.

    Also, if you have spent some time building up links and connections, you could always do a 301 (permanent) redirect to a different blog. That way your new blog could get the benefits of all the links you’ve obtained. It might not sound like a big deal, but if you have a few thousand links or more pointing to your original blog, having those links point to your new blog could give it quite the boost.

  4. No doubt blogging takes a ton of persistence. Not all blogs will make it. RIP to the ones that didn’t.

  5. jon says:

    It doesnt pay enough.. the time required vs the payoff is ridiculous.. intitally your site gets indexed fast and your pages are being found high up.. then they disappear and then even after like 9 months the blogs are barely pulling in like $2 .. sorry its not worth it..

    Blogging everyday requires a lot of effort.. its ok if you only have 1 blog and your doing a differnet job.. but if your doing a full time job from home.. it doesnt pay to hope that blogging is going to pay the bills.. thats my take.. anyway..

    Stick to digital product selling, affiliate products, ppc

  6. Jon says:

    One of my mottos for abandoning a website is “never take it offline” simply because you never know when a whim at Google will land get you massive traffic or a high pagerank.

  7. aaron says:

    This is so true and should be included in every page where you download blog software or signup for a free blog service. Some people just think “blog”, and some people have trouble with even the first post.

  8. brem says:

    Aaron: I think most of the blog that die quickly are from people that get registered in 5 minutes through blogger, blogspot and the such.

    If you take the time to set up your own homepage, you are more likely to not want this time to be wasted. That’s my take on it anyway.

    I think that the reasons blogs die is closely related to the goals one sets (group project anyone? :) ), either consciously or uncounsciously. When expectations are not met at short term, disapointment and discouragement ensue.

  9. Jill says:

    I’ve just started a blog that has a finite lifespan by definition. I plan to post one thing every day for exactly a year.

    At the end of the year, I’ll assess the experiment, see if it’s grown into something that can continue, or whether I should close it and leave it online as a document of itself.

    Who knows– I may start a spin-off blog, a new year-long series in the same space, or just let it end. In preparation for any of the above scenarios, I’m being careful to create content that is both timeless and timely as a result of its being integrated into one over-arching concept.

    Good business plans include exit strategies, why not good blogs? I think that as blogging matures as an industry (or an indie sub-section of the publishing industry) we will start to see more planning like this.

  10. Tam Hanna says:

    One reason why I let one of my old blogs die was moving. We wanted to move TamsPalm from blogger to WordPress, and thus had to let the old one die.

    And trust me, it still isn’t dead for good(after like half a year). People still visit it, it still eats our pagerank for the new site, it even generates a few cents of ad revenue each day….

  11. Some blogs don’t die, they simply fade away. That might be a good way of killing as any. You just don’t attend to it anymore.

  12. Don M says:

    I agree. Great idea for a series.

    I posted at length about the problems with one site that I worked on here and here. That is the main purpose of my new meta-blog – to document my rise from neglectful blog parent to a blogger that steps up and nurtures my baby blogs to adulthood where they can be productive members of society … er … the “blogosphere” I mean. (It looks good in print anyways.)

    I believe value can still be found in these (abandoned) blogs. But I’m sure you’ll be touching on that more during your series this week.

    I’ll wait to comment more.

    -dm

  13. I started my blog, http://www.BadLanguage.net, back in January and kept up daily postings for a few months but it’s hard work. I’m a writer so actually producing word count isn’t difficult, it’s more a case of finding the time when ‘real’ work peaks. I partially solved the problem by getting up earlier in the morning which is a very un-writerly thing to do but seems to help. Also, relaxing a little from the daily post rule helped – too much pressure is as bad as too little. So did putting a daily reminder in my to do list.

    I’m not trying to make a living (or indeed anything) from Bad Language – I’m trying to get some attention for my main business, Articulate (www.articulatemarketing.com). However, my passionate hobby website, ModernPilot.com does suffer from bursts of energy and then long periods of inaction.

    For me, the biggest hill to climb is not the writing but the ‘rest of it’. Looking at other blogs, researching story ideas, developing the website technology, keeping up with the latest stuff (tags, email feeds, templates etc. etc. etc.). Wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone who could do all that and deliver a totally bespoke, high quality, state of the art, best practice blog site and all you had to do was write. Somehow though we have to be techies as well as writers and do it in our spare time or in the hope of making a few bucks in the future.

    I’m enjoying blogging and the sites are going well but I can totally understand why people give up.

  14. Lex says:

    I’m sort of in Blogger Burn Out now. However, the nature of the burn-out is a little different than those you mentioned. In my case, it’s that the topic of the blog no longer inspires me (a reality tv show). While I am actively blogging on my other blogs, I left this one hanging mid-season. Luckily the community kept it rolling without me.

    My solution? Attempt to sell the blog to someone who is still fully engaged in the topic. If I were to do it again, I would have sold it before I became totally uninspired.

  15. James says:

    I’m very close to killing at least one blog I started months ago. For me if there isn’t enough interest/traffic from others and it starts looking like it won’t make money, I lose interest fast. I’m really starting to see how blogging isn’t as easy as it might appear…but I think this is a good thing. This makes me realize that many will start blogging, but very few will persevere.

    The good thing about the death of a blog is it makes you think harder about choosing a niche to blog about…so next time maybe your blog will flourish instead of croak.

  16. Anne says:

    The biggest misconception about blogging is that it is all fun…so many people just go ahead and just start one. But many also realize that this is not the case and eventually die out.

    I guess it’s all about dedication and being “married” to your blog, once you feel a connection with what you are doing, it is more likely that you will continue with it…but if it’s foreign to you and it’s just a “free-time” kind of thing, then it’s easier to just let it die…

    Just my two cents :)

  17. Susann says:

    I just started our biest-blog, (are you wondering that Itry to imagine the end already?) Im not considering the end but I am figruing out the long way to go and whether I am ready for that. Because continuity is the most essential thing if you want to gain credibility by your audience. This is one of the experiences during my last years of marekting a completely unkown substance. You are ahead of others if you succeed in that, achieving continuity, reliability.
    But I also know how it can torture you to be reliable over years. I think, especially if you start a BLOG for business reasons you need to be aware of the fact that it accompanies you for at least years. Better to leave it if you cannot imagine to stand it through for a reasonable long time.

  18. sandeep says:

    Great Post Darren !
    In recent few years I have died around 5 times. This is my 6th birth.
    Though this life(current weblog) is still dull, but I will make this time.

    Please come up with ” Survival Tips “.

  19. Why kill it?

    Just sell it on the SitePoint Marketplace for a couple hundred to a couple of thousand dollars…

  20. Darren Rowse says:

    stay tuned for tomorrow’s post Matt :-)

  21. I started my company blog last year and it has evolved a couple of times. The first problem was blogging about technical stuff which isn’t of interest to potential clients, they are seeking technical help because they don’t understand. I realised this two months in and ditch the technical stuff. The next thing was connecting with real people and business which I have started to do recently. I’ve also tried to add a bit of humour to the blog, but not geek humour to make blogging more enjoyable. So my advice would be to set new goals to keep your blog fresh and exciting, but always have a goal in mind so you don’t wander off track. Next month I’m redesigning the site and printing up some business cards to promote the blog, check out moo.com

  22. Andy from Workshopshed says:

    Am I the only person who does not agree with the idea that a blog “must” have one post a day. I’ve stopped watching at least 3 blogs because they insist on this and have had to introduce blogs about their holidays or how their dog is catching sticks rather than staying on topic.

    I agree that idle blogs can trickle in revenue. My “Its a load of Wap” blog has effectively died through cause 4 but still brings in a few cents each month.

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