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How to Keep Your Blog Active While Traveling

This guest post is by Norbert Figueroa of GloboTreks.

For many, keeping a blog is a full-time commitment, especially if you want to keep your readers active and engaged with what you have to say.  This often means spending long hours day after day creating content, commenting, promoting, and networking with other bloggers.

vacation

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Then the time comes when you need a small break to step back and relax.  A vacation sounds nice, right?  But, will taking that time off have a negative effect on your blog?  Will you lose your readers or will your traffic die during your trip?  Will it set you a few steps back on all the work you’ve achieved so far?

The answer is, not necessarily; and the key is preparation. Since you won’t want to spend your entire trip keeping up with the blog, or since there’s a chance you might travel somewhere with unreliable internet connection or no internet at all, you have to know how to prepare beforehand in order to keep your blog as active as possible.

1. Write and schedule your posts in advance

Before leaving on your trip, write and schedule all the posts you would like to have published while you’re away.  Also, try to write an extra post or two so that you can have a cushion after your trip, in case you return too tired to write a new post right away.

2. Bring guest bloggers

If you’re open to having guest posts, this is a great way to feature new content that will spark activity in you blog.  Ask guest bloggers to submit their content beforehand so you can schedule it before leaving.  Ask each of them to respond to comments in their post, and even in Facebook (if you promote there).  Just be sure that they are approved to comment, or else their comments will not go live until you moderate them.

3. Schedule or syndicate your social networks

Use tools like Hootsuite or su.pr to schedule tweets and Facebook status of your scheduled content. Personalize your tweets or Facebook posts with a sentence or question that sparks interaction that goes beyond just clicking and reading the promoted content.  Alternatively, you can syndicate your RSS content with RSS graffiti and Hootsuite so that it is promoted immediately after publishing.  The only down side of this method is the lack of personalization.

4. Promote others through your social networks

Your blog can be active even if you don’t produce new content.  Use tools like Hootsuite to schedule tweets and Facebook status of valuable content you’ve read on other sites.  This is to keep your profiles interactive because once you go dormant people will forget you easily.  In addition, it is always good to promote others; not only because it helps them, but it can also help you attract new readers to your blog.

5. Don’t be afraid to look back (promote old posts)

Schedule to promote some of your best “old” content through Twitter and Facebook.  There’s a high chance many of your readers haven’t read it yet, especially if you’ve grown your following consistently.

6. Keep an eye on your comments and status every once in a while

It helps if you travel with a smartphone, iPhone, iPad or computer, but almost everywhere you will be able to find an internet café where you could spend an hour every day or so to moderate comments, input your comments, and schedule a few tweets or posts if needed.

7. Know your peak times

Promote your content and post your new articles during your peak times to get better results from your efforts.  Use Timely (previously featured here on ProBlogger) to learn your best times to publish your tweets.  Likewise, use Clicky to know your blog’s peak traffic hours and su.pr to know your best times to promote your content through Stumbleupon.  If you’re going to spend time online while traveling, try to do it at the time you have the maximum impact.

8. Optimize your blogging time on the road

If you decide to blog during your trip, do it in a way that doesn’t take much time of your vacation.  Write your post during your down time, like when traveling on a bus, plane, or just sitting around.  Choose all your pictures, resize them, and write your excerpt, tags, and description before time.  The point is to have everything ready to just copy and paste at the time of scheduling, thus reducing your online time to the bare minimum.  This is essential if your destination has bad internet service.

9. Last but not least, enjoy your vacation!

Enjoy your time off and relax!  That’s why you’re traveling, right?!  It will give you a fresh energy that will be reflected in your blog, one way or another.

As you can see, it is extremely important to keep the traffic coming, even while you’re traveling, since you don’t want to make it easy for your readers to lose the attention and forget you.  But keeping your readers engaged and in the loop by staying active and visible through your blog and various social media sites will help keep their attention and promote interaction.

Do you have other ways to keep your blog active while traveling? Or ways to save time while blogging on the road?

Norbert Figueroa is an architect who shares his process of achieving a location independent and adventurous lifestyle through his travel blog, GloboTreks.  Follow him through his facebook fan page or subscribe to the RSS feed to inspire your wanderlust.

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Comments

  1. Graham Lutz says:

    Hootsuite is fantasitc! Especially for promoting old post, like the one you did that brought in 100 visits and you were fired up! All your new people since then haven’t seen that one!

    One of the downfalls of blogging is that your older content, even if it is awesome, becomes obsolete.

    • Norbert says:

      Hey Graham – Well, your old content can always be good if you write evergreen content. That way, no matter if you promote it today, six months from now, or two years in the future, it will always be relevant.

    • Each Saturday I promote an older piece through social media. It has been a great way to bring an old post to life and keep numbers up going into the weekend.

      Blogging through the summer (and on vacation) was tough last year and I was burned out by early September when the kids returned to school. This summer I have a guest post series each Wednesday through the summer, which lightens my writing schedule. I just started promoting it as “an invasion” of my blog and creating hype around it. There is a lot of buzz as a result. Hopefully I get a break, the guest writers gain more traffic, and those writers introduce their readers to my blog. It could work out to be a great experience for all of us.

      Thanks for the great post!

      • Norbert says:

        That’s a great technique – promoting an old post each Saturday. I think you marketed well the idea of your guest posts because your readers will not see it as “you need a break”, but more like “here’s a new voice”. Plus, you gain more exposure, as well as your guests. Win, win.

  2. Scott says:

    I was just thinking about this and what I was going to do. Going to the beach soon! I think I will pre-write my posts….what a great idea!!!! Thanks so much!

  3. matthew says:

    This is a great article, we do a lot of traveling on the road and consistently keep up with blogging efforts in order to keep a steady income. Knowing the peak times of your online customer base is crutial so they get the message you are getting to them. Automated software is also a must, Keeping up with blogging even on the road is a huge way to keep tabs on your business even when your away.

    thanks

    • Norbert says:

      You’re right Matthew. Knowing your readers’ peak time is essential to get the most out of your posts, messages, and tweets. That way you can reach most of them with the least amount of effort.

  4. Glynis Jolly says:

    I found out about Hootsuite just recently. I didn’t know about su.pr at all. Stumbleupon gives me some valuable traffic so this is something I will be looking into.

    • Norbert says:

      Yes, stumbleupon is a great tool to bring some traffic to your site. Using su.pr can help you to shorten your links and schedule them with the su.pr shortener, so it automatically submits your link to get some stumbleupon traffic.

  5. Zia says:

    Great stuff dear. Have a nice vacation. The only thing, I can think about saving time using clipmarks.com or through blog riffing.
    Honestly, I never thought to promote old posts.

    Nice work done.

    • Norbert says:

      Thank you so much Zia! I haven’t tried clipmarks.com so I’d have to check it out. Yes, promoting old posts is a good way to bring some life to those posts you thought were great but didn’t get that much initial attention.

  6. rod says:

    Exactly what I needed. I’ve been struggling in the past when my traffic always dived down during my travels. Cheers

    • Norbert says:

      Thanks Rod. At first when I started my blog I had those “dive” moments, but since I run a travel blog, this is something I had to learn in the long run since traveling is something I do often. So, it’s possible to have a blog as active, if not more active, while on the road.

  7. Jay Vance says:

    I just spend the week prior writing all my content and set it to feed the rest of the week. Just gotta motivate yourself and keep your posting schedule regular.

    • Norbert says:

      I do exactly that if I know my trip will be somewhat short. I write all my content, schedule it, and even schedule the tweets even before the post goes live. I also like to pop in online every now and then to keep an eye on how things are going, see the feedback and add a few more tweets, status, or others.

  8. I just recently switched to hootsuite. So far I’m loving it. It’s making Twitter and facebook A LOT easier.

    Vacation is tough because I’ve noticed on my blog that many of my readers don’t care much for the guest posts. I think part of that is the quality of the guest posts, but it also seems to be a bit because they want to hear me speak, not someone else.

    For me one of two options seems best 1) schedule all content in advance or 2) schedule some of the content and go on a “working vacation” where I schedule some time writing posts.

    As for twitter and such, that’s great advice. I don’t want to worry about twitter or facebook while I’m on vacation. Hootsuite is going to make that much easier next time I go on vacation!

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Norbert says:

      Thanks Alex! I agree. Hootsuite makes Twitter and Facebook so much easier because you can manage everything in one platform so much faster.

      Yes, guest posts are done according to taste and focus of your blog. I agree they don’t work for everyone. In that case, the best thing to do is exactly what you mentioned, work and schedule in advance, or have working moments while on the road.

      Hope you enjoy your next vacation with less worries about your content and social networks!

  9. Chris Price says:

    I am planning to post some of my experience as content for the blog. My blog, http://americanchurchhistory.blogspot.com/ is on history and there is quite a bit of church history in the region to which I’m traveling. Hopefully a few pics and some info about the pics will provide some good posts that people will find interesting. I guess I’ll find out…

  10. Annette says:

    Thanks for this post! I am preparing for a trip myself. I was already working on drafts to have done ahead of time, but I hadn’t considered writing an extra post for when I return. Great idea!

    • Norbert says:

      You’re Welcome Annette. Yes, do most of the leg work before leaving on your trip, that way you can come back with a fresh mind, and hopefully relaxed, to write new content.

  11. Sam says:

    Honestly, I find it difficult keeping my blog active even with lots of time on my hands. I think this is mostly due to not seeing any improvements in traffic over many months. Any suggestions? I thought I was doing everything right. Maybe need to work on marketing much harder.

    • krissy knox says:

      @Sam, marketing is good, but you also have to draw people to your blog, get the traffic, and then actually get them to stay and become long term readers, before they will become purchasers of your products. Do something to improve your blog to draw the visitors there, and then to keep them there and turn them into permanent readers (who want to purchase your products at some point). there are many things you could do differently with your blog. i have not checked it out, but of course the obvious things are to have good content (that always brings readers back, form community (readers like to belong), be creative (find interesting features and ways to run your blog), mind map (so that you know what articles you want in your blog and what features you want, and how you want it to run, consider contests and polls and some fun things while still being businesslike, include photos and graphics, etc. Remember to add features others haven’t added — make it unique. We shouldn’t all be copying one another in the blogging world — that’s ridiculous! What works for one blog may not work for another — and besides, why should we all be cookie cutters? And yes, marketing strategies are of the utmost importance and you WILL figure yours out — perhaps AFTER you get some loyal readers! And the fun and exciting part will be competing against others and even against YOURSELF, LOL, to watch your funds grow! I hope I have given you a few good hints! Good luck and may God be with you, krissy knox :)

    • Norbert says:

      Sam, I think you can try looking over tangential niches to tap on their traffic. Comment on their blogs, participate in their forums, and even guest post on them. That will help you get a new audience that might be open and interested to what you’re talking about since it’s a similar or related niche. Also, participate in forums and social groups in your niche that help each other promote their content.

      Also, marketing is a never ending task. You can always find new people through marketing through different “channels”.

  12. krissy knox says:

    All excellent ideas! Another thing I do during my downtime is write quick notes or snap quick photos to use for my next post, to get ahead on that one, for when i get back. i guess i am always working anyway! thanks again for the ideas.

    • Norbert says:

      Hey Krissy, notes help a lot! When I’m traveling, since of course my blog is about travel, I’m always taking notes about the places I visit or other post ideas I might come with. They come great when I sit to write the post.

  13. Great information. I have always been worried when I even want to take a couple of days off. From now on when I get that “rush of content” and it is flowing easily – I will program for the posts to post on future days. With enough of those “blessed days” maybe I can take a couple of months off each year.

    Be Safe

    • krissy knox says:

      @Connor Great idea! Always keep a paper and pen with you if you don’t have a laptop w you, bc you never know when a post may come into your head, and you may want to write something down! You just may forget it later. :)

    • Norbert says:

      Connor, you got the plan! I’ve gotten a few of those “rush of content” days myself. Right now, I have roughly 12 evergreen posts ready to be published but not scheduled as I have them as a contingency in case I can’t get online for a prolonged time. All I have to do is set the schedule date and voila!

      That works to keep you off from writing, but remember that having an active blog also requires interacting with your readers, so every now and then you should check things out, reply to comments, and do some promoting.

  14. Kevin Kimes says:

    Item 5 is like when a TV series does a flashback episode. They combine 4 minutes of acting with 20 or 40 minutes of flashbacks to slam out a filler-episode that people still enjoy watching.

    If your blog is one where readers “know” you, then don’t be afraid to post a quick one here and there while out vacationing. Make it a quick video post to show off where you’re at. The readers will probably love it.

    • Norbert says:

      haha! You’re right! That’s a good way to compare it. Readers that do follow your blog love to know your current status and what are the things you’re doing. I use facebook a lot to keep the current news of the trip.

  15. Marie Noelle says:

    This post is right on time for me! I’m not going on vacation but I’m moving in 9 days and just found out I won’t have an Internet access for 7 days!! I’ll try to find guest bloggers (yes, this is an invitation to all of you) and learn about how to plan my social interaction in advance!

    • Norbert says:

      Glad this post helped, Marie! I know how stressful and time consuming moving days can be. So, try to work a bit harder the days before in order to have your blog running as automatic as possible during your moving days.

  16. colin says:

    Great post, some good ideas that i will use. I’ve been using tweetdeck not hootsuite it does a similar thing but Hootsuite looks better for a marketer.

    I’m always trying to write posts in advance but i guess its still early days.

    • Norbert says:

      Thanks! I use tweetdeck too. I love it since I use it as a platform in my computer instead of using it web based like Hootsuite. But Hootsuite has some advantages over Tweetdeck.

  17. Actually,this is the thing that we should follow

  18. Great tips. I’ve noticed that bloggers who are actively traveling are often less-engaged, which is understandable. Scheduling tweets and sporadically checking comments are great ideas to at least keep in touch a little.

    • Norbert says:

      Thanks Scott! I’ve seen that happen too. I think it’s kind of normal to do so since you want to enjoy your travel time, but there are ways to keep current and engaged while traveling, even if it’s just a few minutes per day.

  19. Osman says:

    Great post, these tips are perfect. I always wondered what I should do say I left a couple days? and this hit the spot :)

  20. Rohan says:

    I was on a month long vacation not very long back and I faced a similar situation , I think I have employed all the above methods and I can confirm by experience that they all work !

    If a proper plan is chalked out then you can virtually manage your blog with just emails (I had asked a friend to help me by assigning him the role of Editor and he used to do the vital things like scanning guest posts for plagiarism and scheduling new ones ), which is also the point I would like to add to your post – ‘ask for a helping hand’. There is nothing like having a person with complete access to a desktop 24×7 at your call. Because there are certain things like checking plagiarism and helping new guest bloggers with registration and submission guidelines and stuff like that which can be efficiently managed by only a person who is online 24×7. Having a blogging friend is very vital…..

    • Norbert says:

      Rohan, you hit a great point there. Having a blogging friend is vital and asking for their help does make a difference. That’s a point that could go well in this post. Great this has worked for you. Thanks!

  21. C says:

    Great post, On my next vac, I will surely try the ones I have not tried before…I sincerely think Bloggers can never have a blog free vacation since we have to spend some lil time no matter what to check on our blogs…

    • Norbert says:

      Yes, no matter how “blog free” I want to make my time off, I always have my iPhone and go online at least to take a peek at how are things going, to tweet and interact in facebook.

  22. I keep myself mostly offline (even though I can use the internet) when I am on a vacation, except for checking emails on my Droid. Coz when I sit at my laptop for an hour or two every day during my vacation I can accomplish a lot more since I don’t have any online distractions.

    I always do schedule blog posts and use Tweetdeck to schedule tweets and FB updates. Not had a problem so far.

    Thanks for the nice post, Norbert.

    Jane.

    • Norbert says:

      Thanks Jane! Working offline helps. I do it some times, though I admit I’m kind of addicted to being online if I have it available. I use tweetdeck too and I love their platform. It has also worked great for me to schedule tweets and facebook status.

  23. Laurel says:

    This post is very timely for me as I will be in Canada for 5 weeks getting married and on my honeymoon, so definitely don’t want to be blogging the whole time :). I haven’t heard of Hootsuite, but will check it out. I use su.pr, but find that it will only let you schedule the same post twice and not once a week over the course of a few weeks.

    • Norbert says:

      Hey Laurel! Congratulations on your wedding! Definitely, put these things in practice on your blog because you will definitely not want to be working during your honeymoon! For scheduling you can try Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. Both are great and work similarly, though Hootsuite has a paid version that comes with a few good metric features.

  24. Daniel says:

    Some solid advice, Norbert.

    I was away on vacation for a few days a little while back, yet I managed to get more done during that time, than I would have at home(Must have been inspired by the scenery)

    What you said about scheduling posts beforehand, is a very handy method. I do this often enough.
    Sometimes I schedule the posts for certain times Globally(I noticed more visitors at certain times ).

    • Norbert says:

      Thanks Daniel. Haha, well, scenery can be a good inspiration! I’ve had moments when I hop on a long bus ride and have the muse on, so I immediately start writing my thoughts, even if they are scrambled to be then polished through editing.

      I tend to schedule my posts and tweets on my peak times based on EST since most of my readers are from the US.

  25. Ankit says:

    Nice post.Well I really liked the Idea of scheduling your posts in advance. I think this a valuable tip for part-time bloggers as they cannot write regularly so it would be great if they can schedule there posts.

  26. Simon Martin says:

    Some good points there. I’d never thought about finding out my peak times and posting then. Simple but a cool idea!

    • Norbert says:

      Yes, peak times are good to know. Also, have in mind that your blog’s peak time might not be the same as your tweet’s peak time. So check both and schedule accordingly.

  27. Marcie says:

    Very timely as I’ll be going to @BWBConference to present Live Blogging 101 in a couple weeks and I was just wondering if I was OK during that time. I’ll do a bit of inventory today to fill in. And thanks for the tip to go back to old posts. This is great.

    • Norbert says:

      You’re welcome Marcie. Yes, get a calendar and fill it with posts as you’re used to do regularly. Also add a few tweets per day, or so.

  28. Eddie Gear says:

    Excellent post to refresh my memory. Thanks for this wonderful post. I am glad you had it written out.

  29. I lose readers whenever (rarely, actually) I take a break, but I’m not going to work myself into an early grave.

    • Norbert says:

      Sure, there’s no need to stress over it, nor work yourself to death, but it’s good to know that there are ways to keep at least some momentum going while you’re out.

  30. Nancy Rose says:

    Great post. I’ve just implemented most of these, since I tend to work more in spurts than consistency. I’ve just started actively pursuing guest articles and just love the additional viewpoints to those reading my blog. I need to start sharing the articles I read. Thanks for all the reminders and sharing this valuable information.

    • Norbert says:

      Hi Nancy. Guest posts are a great way to give a different perspective and voice to your blog. Of course, not all blogs are fitted to work with guest posts, but it is a tool that works if it fits well with it.

  31. Marc says:

    Great topic! I’m currently in Spain and have been struggling with keeping up on blogging as well as twitter and my content curation. It’s hard to find the time for everything so I decided to prioritize – I’m keeping up with 2 blog posts per week as my own unique content. On twitter, I’ve been spending more time RTing good content rather than reading all my regular feeds. I’ve tried to schedule tweets with hootsuite but have run into some hiccups with that. But mostly, I’ve been trying to relax and recharge, take a step back, use evernote to record ideas for future posts and get into a few books that I’d been meaning to get to.

    So far, I’ve found this time well spent. I’ve got a fresh perspective on my SM strategy and have been able to use this time to re-motivate myself

    • Norbert says:

      Hey Marc. You say you are struggling but you seem to have a decent technique there. If Hootsuite is not working for you, try Tweetdeck. It’s good that this time off has given you a fresh perspective on your Social Media strategy… one of the good things of stepping back, taking some time off, and returning with new energy.

  32. This is SO helpful! I’m planning a 3 week vacation this fall (my first real vacation in y-e-a-r-s!) and I’ve been so stressed over how to manage my blog while I’m away – but this is a great list to help me focus and stop procrastinating. Thanks!

    • Norbert says:

      Hi Marquita! Glad this could help you. Yes, take your time off and enjoy your 3 week vacation! Use most if not all of the techniques to set your blog and have it running automatic, or at least semi-automatic, so you can relax while away. Have fun in your trip! :)

  33. ekwunife says:

    This is SO helpful! I’m planning a 3 week vacation this fall (my first real vacation in y-e-a-r-s!) and I’ve been so stressed over how to manage my blog while I’m away – but this is a great list to help me focus and stop procrastinating. Thanks!

  34. Kehinde says:

    Good content advertises itself even when you quit. Some reasons are these: 1. Having emotional content that speaks more personal to the reader than suggesting clues. 2. Have more contents to auto update in time intervals. 3. Always be ready to share values that gives answer to people question.

  35. Nice tips. Who says bloggers cannot go on a relaxing travel without worrying about work.