I hesitate to write about this method of ‘letting your blog go’ because I know that most bloggers do go through stages when they struggle to post to their blog due to legitimate reasons (sickness, death in family or some other life crisis).
I’ve gone through periods myself when I’ve been unable to keep my blogs posted to regularly (sometimes without any reason other than I struggled to find something to say). In my early days of blogging it seemed that there were weeks in which all I could muster to say was ‘I’ve got nothing to say’ or ‘I’m sick again… posting will return to normal next week’ etc.
The problem is that when you post a few posts like in a row it has an impact upon your readers and any sort of momentum that you might have created on your blog.
Solution: Here’s the conclusion that I’ve come to (and it’s a work in progress). I attempt to build blogs that build momentum on my topics and that stay largely ‘on topic’. While I occasionally include a little personal information in my posts this information is generally shared in a ‘by the way’ type form or as an illustration to an ‘on topic’ post. As a result if something happens in my life that prevents me from blogging then I generally don’t post a post about it (unless it’s a very major thing – something that hasn’t happened yet thankfully).
However: Of course this will vary from blog to blog and situation to situation and I do (and would) break this ‘rule’ on occasion. For example if something happened that would mean that I would not be able to update my blog for an extended period of time I would probably post a short note to explain my absence and to let people know what would happen to the blog while I was gone (see some strategies below). This would likely be a one off post and a short one and it would also attempt to provide readers some sort of alternative for them to do/read in my absence (linking to key posts in my archives, asking a question, suggestion a few other blogs to read).
Tips for When You Can’t Blog:
If faced with a situation which takes you away from your blog for an extended period there are a variety of strategies that you might like to employ:
1. Guest Posts - this is easier if you have a blog with a larger readership and profile but having others (either one person or a group of them) to come in an d post to your blog in your absence can be a good way to keep it ticking over.
2. Decrease Your Post Frequency - not able to keep up your normal frequency of posting? How about decreasing it for a period of time? Even just a post a week gives readers a sense that you’ve not abandoned them. One short on topic post a week is much better in mind than a few ‘I can’t blog because….’ posts.
3. Revisit Archives – how about repost an old post or at least point back to some of your best posts? Many of your newer readers won’t have read your ‘old stuff’ so give them a taste.
4. Polls and Reader Questions – you can’t do this every day but one of the quickest types of posts to write is a question or poll. Ask your readers something about their experience of your topic and throw things open to them for some discussion.
5. Rainy Day Posts - it’s wise to have a post or three in reserve at any given point in time. I try to keep at lest one in my drafts section at any time so that I can throw it up if in a spot of bother. In addition to this I have an ‘ideas’ document on my desktop that has titles of posts, questions to ask readers, half written posts etc – these are half baked ideas that I can quickly turn into posts on days that I’m struggling.
6. Prepare for Known Events that Might Disrupt Your Blogging – while some things to happen to us out of the blue that stop our blogging in it’s tracks – there are many other things in life that we have some control over or advanced warning of. In these instances plan ahead and either get a guest blogger in and/or pre-prepare some posts. For example, as you read this I’m taking two weeks paternity leave on this blog. I started planning this ‘letting your blog go’ series a month ago and wrote all of the posts over the weeks before our baby arrived. I also arranged for a handful of guest posts over these two weeks. This meant a little extra work in preparation for my break but it’s worth it!
I guess in summing up – my strategy is to attempt to keep a balance between:
- keeping momentum of the blog going/adding value to readers
- resisting the temptation to keep posting ‘excuse’ posts
- keeping readers informed of what’s happening on the blog
What’s your strategy when you can’t post on your blog?