Can you Take a break from Blogging Without Losing Readers?

Many Scraps of Mind readers put a lot of time, attention and effort into building their blog traffic. For some it may be because they are scrapbook designers seeking to increase their audience for their digital scrapbooking designs, or others may want to create an industry profile to launch themselves into the commercial digital scrapbooking world. And many of you just love your blogs and really enjoy building a regular readership.

pontevecchio.jpgSo what happens when you take time off for a vacation?

I was reading a post by JD Roth on Problogger about How to take a Vacation without losing Traffic and I thought “Oh, my God! That’s exactly what I did!” So I thought I’d share what I did with you so you can apply the approach yourselves if you want to protect your traffic whilst you enjoy a vacation.

As many of you know, last September/October I took four weeks off and went to Europe for a holiday. I know, I know, it’s tough work but somebody has to do it. I had spent the previous months putting a lot of time and effort into Scraps of Mind to build up the blog and to improve traffic and readership. And I was very concerned that taking four weeks off could zoom me back to square one in the twinkling of an eye.

So I put in place a strategy (almost exactly like JD recommends, I think we must be channeling each other) to protect all the hard work that had gone into Scraps of Mind.

Early Planningburano.jpg

I started planning my blogging strategy from July and implemented it throughout August and the first half of September. Scraps of Mind delivers a post to you six days a week, and I didn’t want to short change you whilst I was away. So I needed to have at least 24 articles and posts lined up before I went away. And they couldn’t be rubbish content either, that certainly wouldn’t have been the way to retain readers.

On August 16 I published the article Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Scrapbooking Columnist inviting readers to be Guest Authors on Scraps of Mind. I needed to allow enough time to advertise the request for authors and for respondents to get back to me. I needed to give candidates enough time to think about the offer, respond, write their articles and for me to review them. So you can see why it was important to start the ball rolling a month in advance.

I was blessed with contributions from Kayla of The Legacy Lady, Melo from Digital Arts Cafe and Seona from The Scrapbooking Orphan. With enough time to think about their contributions I received quality content that I was proud to publish on Scraps of Mind. (Incidentally, I am still open to hosting guest authors on Scraps of Mind. Contact me if you are interested.)

Get organised

spreadsheet.jpgI needed to write a bank of articles myself as well as integrate my guest posts. This required a fair bit of shuffling around to get the best blend of content to keep the blog interesting. So I created a Spreadsheet calendar and slotted the articles I had prepared into it as I wrote them. Then when my guest posts were submitted I could move things around to spread them throughout the period I was away. I was constantly rescheduling my articles as new ones were prepared and this made it so much easier to see how the blog cycle would look as I went along.

Make enough time to accumulate your material

With my four guest posts, that still left me with over 20 articles to write ahead of time. I have two regular posts on Fridays and Saturdays which I was able to easily prepare content for and slot into my spreadsheet. Suddenly the gaps didn’t look as daunting. But I needed to write the extra posts as well as maintain the six posts per week momentum of Scraps of Mind in the lead up to my holiday. That was quite an ask. So the clear message here is start early and allow the extra time you’ll need in your daily schedule. The earlier you can start the easier it will be to fit in the extra work.

Write more articles than you need

What!!! Isn’t this ask big enough without writing more than you need?rhodes-tower.jpg

Well the truth is that when you get back from a trip you’re often totally exhausted and jumping back into your blog is not something you can easily do the following day. In my case I knew from experience that jet lag (and the 30 hours traveling time) between Europe and Australia always knocks me about for a few days. So I ensured that my article bank covered most of the week following my return. Boy was I grateful for that foresight.

Blogging whilst on holiday

Now if you put the above strategy in place then you should be able to happily enjoy your holiday without any further thought to the wellbeing of your blog. I, on the other hand, am a Blogging Tragic. And I wanted to try my hand at some ‘remote’ posting. Unless you know that you’ll have Internet access where you’re going, make sure that you have an alternative article slotted in which you can reschedule if you get to do a post whilst you are away. I didn’t bring any laptop or equipment with me and I found Internet access was patchy in different places that I went. I still managed to do it, but by having alternative posts slotted in I didn’t feel under any pressure. After all, you are supposed to be enjoying yourself on holiday.

And as a result of all this I returned four weeks later, after a wonderful holiday, to find Scraps of Mind in great shape and all my wonderful readers still there to welcome me.

Other related Posts:

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Scrapbooking Columnist
I’ll be back
And it’s back to reality…

Scrap Girls: Making it simple for YOU to become a great digital scrapbooker!

5 Responses to Can you Take a break from Blogging Without Losing Readers?

  1. Hannah November 29, 2007 at 9:07 pm #

    I don’t usually go away for more than 5-7 days at a time, so I’ve never really thought about losing readers. Not sure I would really lose many, actually. I think most are quite loyal and would wait for me to return. But 4 weeks is a bit different, for sure. You were very organised to get all that planning done beforehand, and I’m glad you were pleased with the outcome. Good job!

  2. karooch November 30, 2007 at 9:46 am #

    Yeah I think I might have gotten away with it for a week Hannah, but four weeks was a bit much to leave the blog with no new content. Once I decided to maintain it over the period, I then knew that I didn’t want to let it be any less than I had built it up to be. So I knew I would have to maintain the posting rate. But that was a personal choice. I expect I could have gotten away with reducing the posting rate to every second day. But like I said, I’m a Blogging Tragic.

    Once I got started though, the workload wasn’t as much as it looked at the beginning. And the ScrapBlogging Journey series over four weeks was a great help too.

  3. Antoinette November 30, 2007 at 11:33 am #

    It was a great way to spend the weeks while you were gone – with the ongoing blog I had no Karen-withdrawal symptoms :)
    As for my Blog – I’m a terrible blogger, there are just too many things I want to do and Blogging isn’t at the top of my list. Besides (or probably therefor) I have just a few regular visitors and they keep visiting until I close my Blog.
    Due to a misunderstanding I’ve lost all my blog entries from July-Nov 20th, I was ready to give it up completely!
    Having said that, I just committed myself to a “Post every day” from Dec 1 until Dec 24th. Please keep your fingers crossed as I know it will be hard – even with the work I did in advance.

  4. Tink November 30, 2007 at 3:52 pm #

    I remember when we went to Hawaii, I scheduled my sister to write the posts for me and answer the blog prompts for me. But after we got there I found there were going to be days I would have internet connection. Loved driving her crazy but popping a post in from time to time. Not something I would recommend unless you happen to be related to your guest poster.

  5. karooch November 30, 2007 at 4:26 pm #

    Thanks a lot Antoinette. I really appreciate your support. Good luck with the ‘post a day’ resolution. Once you get into the groove it’s not so difficult. And i understand how it is with priorities. That’s why I never say to anyone “why haven’t you updated your blog lately?” Everyone has their own lives and their own priorities and that’s the way it should be. What works for one won’t necessarily work for another. I’m just happy that so many of you make reading Scraps of mind a ‘priority’. It makes me feel good about what I do.

    And Tink, shame on you. What a tease to give the reins of management to your sister and then just jump in over the top of her when you’re feeling a little bored. It’s a wonder she didn’t clobber you. I know my sister would have clobbered me.