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.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.