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How to Kill Your Blog Successfully – The Methods

We’ve been talking this week about why blogs die and factors to consider when deciding whether to end them or not.

If you get to the point where you think it’s best that you end a blog there are a number of options before you as how to do it. Here’s a few that come to mind:

Just Stop Writing

This is perhaps the most common approach that bloggers take when ending their blogs. It can happen quite gradually over time as posts become less frequent or it can happen very suddenly as a blogger just decides it’s over. In most cases these blogs remain online in the state that they were in the day they were last posted to and in a sense they become something of an archive. The beauty of this approach if you have a commercial blog is that it will continue to make money for you into the future. Even if it’s not performing brilliantly – over time it adds up.

The other good thing about this approach is that if you’re stopping your blog because it’s not performing well it could do a turn around in the weeks or months after you stop writing. I had a blog once that I stopped writing because it wasn’t doing well with traffic but a few weeks later Google updated and my traffic increased 10-fold. I’m glad I didn’t kill that blog off completely because it came back to life by itself and when I started blogging to it again it found a second wind.

If you’re going to take this approach I would highly recommend considering two things:

  • 1. Communicate with your Readers – tell your readers that the blog is over, give a reason (if appropriate) and say good-bye. It’s amazing how attached readers can become to a blog and to give it a definite end not only gives them a little closure but it also gives you some also.

  • 2. Consider Comment Spam Strategy – inactive and unmaintained blogs tend to be a target for comment spammers. I’ve come across a few inactive blogs lately that have sadly become overrun by the underbelly of the web with all manner of filth. Remember that if you leave your blog online that your name and reputation continues to be associated with it and what is on it. If you’re not willing to continue maintaining your comments sections either consider switching them off or putting some sort of spam killer in place.

Delete It

This is another strategy that some bloggers use, especially those who have their own domain and hosting but who don’t want to continue to pay for that into the future. Sometimes it happens quickly after a blog dies – but other times it happens at the end of a hosting contract or when a domain comes up for renewal.

Once again – I think it can be a good strategy to communicate what you’re intending to do with this. I know of one blogger who deleted his blog at one point and who in doing so disillusioned a lot of people who used the archives of the blog daily as a resource for their businesses. If he’d communicated his plan to delete his blog he might have given his readers a chance to get the information they needed off his blog or would probably have found a buyer for it. Instead the information on his blog was virtually lost (except to those who knew how to access archival sites).

Also if you’re considering the ‘delete it’ option – really think ahead. Don’t do it on the spur of the moment, don’t do it in anger, don’t do it if there is any chance of you wanting to start up again later and consider what useful information there might be on the blog that you might want to back up first.

Reinvent it

Another option for bloggers making the decision to end a blog is to consider reinventing it. Many bloggers who end blogs go on to create other ones, sometimes on very very similar topics to the first. Instead of running out and buying a new domain it might well be worth simply re-launching your new blog in the same place as the old one. The benefits of this is that you’ll find any traffic, search engine ranking etc that you already have will be easier to leverage in your new re-launched blog. This is not an option for everyone of course – sometimes a completely fresh start can be just what you and your blogging needs.

Find Another Blogger

Instead of letting your blog die completely you might find that you can let it live under the authorship of another person or group of people. I’ve seen this happen on a number of blogs where on announcing that a blog was going to end that a blogger had readers volunteer to take if over.

In doing this you continue to provide a space for people to come and interact around a niche, you continue to get any income that it might have brought in and you keep your options open for reengaging with the blog later on.

Of course this approach will depend upon a number of factors including how central you are to the success of your blog (some blogs are more reliant upon the personality of their blogger than others) as well as the quality of the blogger/s who take over.

You’ll also need to work out a fair way of compensating the bloggers who take over if your blog is a commercial blog. You might want to offer them anything from a share of the revenue on the posts that they write, to a flat fee per post, to some sort of incentive for building traffic/revenue.

Sell it

Another increasingly popular way of ending a blog is to put it on the market and see what people are willing to pay for it. This won’t work for everyone and will depend upon the popularity of your blog and it’s earning potential but you might be surprised what an established could be sold for.

Keep in mind that in selling your blog you’re selling a lot of content that you will lose control of (unless you build conditions into the sale). So if you want to use some of the content later you’ll want to avoid this approach, take if off the blog before selling it or build it into the sale agreement.

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. Kenny Allman says:

    My rule of thumb would be, never kill a blog. Let it ride and find someway to keep it updated every once and awhile. Just give it a fresh little content injection here and there. Any blog that has had some decent start to it, will most likely make a trickle of income over time. Just move on to the next little stream..

  2. Chris says:

    I have a blog that never really took off in terms of traffic, but has over 600 posts and has a Google PR 5.

    I have a couple of other blogs that do well in generating organic traffic, so it was disappointing when the newer blogs surpassed the first blog.

    I was tempted to delete the underperformer earlier this year because of the low traffic compared with my other blogs.

    Sometimes it seemed that it wasn’t worth the effort to write for just a few people.

    Instead of spiking it, I decided to let it sit fallow for awhile.

    I did a post pointing people to my other blog so that they wouldn’t think I disappeared. It’s only fair to any readers, if only one or two.

    Around the same time, I was helping someone with another blog who disappeared for a while because of a new job and it was disconcerting to hear from someone all the time, then have him bail out and never post or email. People do wonder if something bad has happened when people stop posting, if they’ve been consistent in the past.

  3. Carl Johnson says:

    I would work on SEO and put contextual ads to it rather than kill it. I wonder why so many people want to do this. Haven’t they heard of “how blogs make money online”?

  4. pcunix says:

    Another option for some:

    Move the content to another blog and redirect the domain to that. I did that with three blogs that I broght back under the umbrella of my main site.

    Of course the ability to do this may depend upon the suitability of content. It’s easy enough to move a camera site to sit under a gadget site and perhaps even vice versa, but a pet bird site might not move comfortably to a dating site.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    This is soooo true!!! I have been so busy with some other online ventures that my blogs have suffered and boy is it a killer to the Adsense revenue that I was getting at a few clicks a day (LOL! still not much, but something), now it’s seriously down last week and this whole week!

  6. Razib AHmed says:

    Don’t kill a blog unless you cannot afford to pay the hosting fee anymore. I have a personal blog which is now not updated because I cannot give any time for it but it is getting some hits daily and it often send me some visitors to the blog I am giving all my time. Since, my inactive blog is in blogger, I do not have to think of hosting fee.

  7. Hey Darren,

    Great blog. Your information has really helped this novice blogger.

    I started blogging on blogger about 6 months ago and then switched to my domain with wordpress about 1 1/2 months ago. I left the blogger site up and just stopped posting to it. I kept the adsense ads and deleted everything else. I also made one final post redirecting the little traffic to the new URL.

    The blogger site still gets limited traffic ( 50 hits last month) and I made a couple of bucks off this site from google adsense ads.

    Since I’ve switched to wordpress, I’ve seen about double the traffic that I used to get from the blogger site. I’ve also noticed that my new blog URL is not listed on google yet. I guess I still have another 1 1/2 months to get out of the sand box.

  8. DVDV says:

    Hi,
    I’m a Dutch problogger and I suggest communicating with your visitors. It was because of them that you wrote all those articles! Tell them that you are going to stop and explain why. A few weeks later, delete your blog! Old archives are becoming the sore throat of the internet. Search engines have a lot of problems to find out wich site is outdated and wich is not. Information has to be accurate and visitors require accurate information. An article that’s 2 years old can be outdated!!!

    You can redirect your link to another blog that you like and you’ll give another blogger the opportunity to make a blossoming blog.

    Don’t look in the past, look into the future and that’s how blogs were invented…

  9. Brad says:

    I’m a serial blog killer. I’ve killed off many blogs in the last few years. My new blog is different because the content is much more focused and I’m really passionate about the topic (heck, it’s what I’m studying in school!).

    But a few years back I ran a small publishing website that published short stories, articles about writing and other things concerning the writing life. Every month I had to come out with new material, which is very tough, and I was buying material that was submitted to me.

    Anyway, I announced my monthly updates through a newsletter sent out via email. I didn’t have a large list, but for the short amount of time I ran the website it was substantial.

    I finally decided to end the site because I could not give it the time and attention deserved. I figured no one would care. So when I sent out the last newsletter announcing the close, I didn’t expect much for a reply.

    Boy was I wrong. I got several personal emails from subscribers telling me how much they enjoyed the material I published and they were sad to see it be shut down – but they were very grateful that I actually made the announcement.

    Long story short: It’s just common courtesy that when you end a blog (if that’s your only option), at least let your readers know. After all, they are the reason why your posting on your blog to begin with (I’m assuming it’s more than a personal blog). They also invest time in your blog by reading, supporting you by checking out the ads, etc, etc, etc. Letting them know you will no longer post is the very least you can do.

    That’s just my two cents, though!

  10. Ted Laskaris says:

    After 889 posts and over 2000 comments, I was about to discontinue my main blog, when some of the commenters offered to contribute as a way of keeping the blog alive. The multi-author model is a solution, especially when you really don’t feel like wrapping up, but you’re under pressure from job and other projects (as I am). Anyhow, the blog is alive and kicking and has moved to a WordPress solution (highly recommended). I’m glad we (myself and the small but prolific community of commenters) found this way to stay online. I see blogs like “children.” I want to have them all thrive.

  11. Clair Ching says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter. I know of some blogs that have been left behind due to personal circumstances of the people behind them. I guess that you are right that it would be nice to have the blogs passed on to other people.

    I personally feel sad when there are blogs that I have been following would suddenly announce that they will no longer be updated but I could go look up this other blog of a similar topic by the same blogger. Sometimes I wonder why not keep the archives up or move the archives somewhere. Make a redirect, etc.

  12. A few months ago I zapped EnrichmentDaily.com (a spiritual self-help blog) because the blogger just found it hard to write. Time passed and I wanted to put up one called The Money Blog. Obviously the domains had gone, so I reused Enrichment Daily, which seemed sort of appropriate. Within days it had a PR of 5, no doubt benefiting from the old posts which only existed on Google’s archive. :-)

  13. Markus Merz says:

    Productivity: Content Recycling is my little comment to this at performancing.com. It’s a follow-up to Chris Garret who wrote about when you are stuck in routine and enthusiasm is going down.

  14. Leon says:

    Someone would have to kill me before I kill my blog.

  15. What about this: use your old domains as giant ads for your new project. I’ve just tried this with my new project The Big Chorizo which has me really enthusiastic and which is where I want to concentrate my efforts.

    I had 3 or 4 other sites which were basically doing nothing and I don’t really have time to do a proper job on all of them so I’ve decided to turn the other sites into giant ads for the new project, with a thank you note, a list of articles on the new site (which should be useful for attracting new readers and the search robots) and ads and other navigation options.

    This is quite easy with a dynamic publishing system like wordpress or vbulletin: just come up with a landing page that you like and copy and paste the source code into all the relevant dynamic pages (page.php, single.php) which an old reader or search spider might find. I’ll just post one example domain so you can see what I mean: http://www.multimediastory.com

    It would be interesting to hear other people’s thoughts on this idea.

  16. Clark says:

    People might consider organising some of their best material into easily accessible categories so that in the future if someone comes across your now defunct blog they can find the articles that might be of greatest value.

  17. blackzero85 says:

    I sold my former blog….And the selling was a right step for me.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] John came to the decision this weekend to pull it. See his post on blog funerals as well as Darren’s post How to Kill Your Blog Successfully. [...]