Stepping Back: 5 Ways You Can Put Your Blog On Pause Without Losing Readers

This is a guest post by Daniel Cassady.

It’s foolish to think that you can be everywhere at once, that you can do everything. Of course, most of us still try.

Bloggers are a special breed. We become so attached to our blog and our readers that sometimes it can be hard to leave them alone, even for a little while. We feel like we are doing our readers a disservice if we take a little time for ourselves.

But, dear blogger, you have a life too and if you don’t go about living it, odds are you are gonna run out of things to write about sooner or later.

So I’ve put together a few ways that you can take some time away from your blog and live your life without hurting your readers’ feelings, or leaving them in the dark (although, we all know this is really for your benefit, don’t we?).

Ready? Here we go.

Be Honest

If your blog has a steady following and you want to take a week or two off, the best thing you can do is let your loyal readers know. If they are dedicated fans, they’ll understand that everyone needs a break. If not, there is a good chance they weren’t gonna stick around that long anyways.

If you just stop posting out of the blue, people will grow tired of checking back for new posts and eventually stop checking all together. On the other hand, if you let your audience know what to expect, then they can’t be disappointed.

Offer Something

Why are you taking time off from your blog? Are you going on vacation? Having a baby? There are a million good reasons. If you need to stop posting for a while, but are worried that your audience may leave, tell them why you are leaving and promise to write about what happened while you were gone. Let them know how excited you are about your vacation, build up a little anticipation for the content that you are going to write when you get home.

Like I said before, if your readers are true fans, they’ll be happy to wait.

Follow Through

So let’s say that you told your readers you were going on vacation and that you would give them a play by play when you got home. You’d better take some notes while you’re gone.

This may sound counterintuitive, but my first suggestion for vacation writing would be to leave your computer at home. The whole point of a vacation is to enjoy yourself, not to look for a cafe with an internet connection so you can update your blog.

A notepad and pencil, on the other hand, you should always have near by. You’ll find that you only write down the truly interesting things that happen, and if you focus on jotting down quick notes instead of long passages (like you would if you were staring on at your computer), you can spend your time back at your hotel or on the plane home expanding on the notes that you took.

Grand Reserve

The best bloggers I know have a reserve pile, a stack of posts that will fit anywhere, anytime. Usually they are reviews, movies or books. Dream logs work well, too. Whenever you have some spare time, start working on a random post — the topic doesn’t matter as long as it fits with the general niche of your blog. When you’re done, file it for later use. Posts like this come in handy, and not just when you’re going on a long vacation.

If All Else Fails

Of course, sometimes, you just want to get away. From work, from the social scene, from everything, including your blog. If you don’t want to tell your readers they have to find a new place to get the latest DJ gossip or read a review of of movies that came out this week, then try this sneaky but successful tip — give your blog a complete make over.

Change themes, fonts, colors. It doesn’t take as long as you would think to switch things up, and it can give you some breathing room if you’ve become overwhelmed by the blogging lifestyle.

Plus, the new scenery may just give you something new to blog about.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hey, Daniel! This is a great post! Most of my inspiration comes after a walk in the park. It’s amazing how many things you see when you get outside the house, comparisons you can make, and so on and so forth.
    Cristian Stan just posted Laser Printer Reviews

  2. says

    Great post David. I just did go on vacation and then post about it!

    I’d add a few more ideas — encore posts, guest posts, and user-generated content.

    The reality is that we get new blog subscribers all the time — my Google Analytics tells me about 60 percent of my blog visitors are new each month! So you can pull out a great post that was popular a couple years back and run it again and give it a whole new audience.

    Break times are also a great opportunity to feature some fresh voices with a guest post or two. I know bloggers who advertise for guests when they have a break coming up, and just fill the slots that way.

    Finally, why not simply pose a question in a post and let readers create the content with their responses? I did that on my most recent vacation by simply putting up a very quick post with a few mailbag questions I’d gotten on email — just copied and pasted them in — and then let my readers provide the answers. Everyone loves to play the expert, so give your readers that chance now and then.
    Carol Tice just posted 23 Ways to Destroy Your Freelance Writing Career Before You Begin

  3. says

    Good evening, Daniel.

    I’ve got to admit, I’m struggling with this. Why would anyone want any more time away from their blog than is absolutely necessary?
    Surely we blog from a point of passion and if we’re passionate about something, we never run out of things to say – even if it’s the same thing in a different guise.
    When needs must and we have no choice but to leave our blogs, there’s always the scheduling facility. So to my thinking, there’s no good reason for anyone to leave their readers in the lurch. It takes such a long time and a lot of hard work (contrary to all the hype and clap-trap that some would have us believe about miracle growth in their traffic rates) to get regular readers, why would anyone want to run the risk of losing them?

    Kind regards,
    L

  4. says

    Definitely would second the idea for gathering a few guest posts. If you know a couple weeks or a month in advance that you’re going to take some time off, you can put out feelers to your readers and fellow bloggers.

    Then you can gather the posts, edit them, put them into WordPress, schedule them, and then ask the authors to reply to comments. That’s a winning situation for everyone involved!
    Mandy Kilinskis just posted How Small Businesses Can Rock Their Next Trade Show: Tips from Chicago Comic Con’s Artist Alley

  5. says

    Totally guilty about the ‘being honest’ part of taking a break. Sometimes I fail to post for more than a week and I don’t announce it – not knowing some people get tired of going back just to check if I have new stuff published.
    Thanks for the refreshing reminder!
    Sean just posted Youtube SEO

  6. says

    I haven’t thought about how to manage a blogging break beyond how it would affect Google analytics. Thanks for the tips on how to keep readers engaged so the break isn’t anything more than a blip on the radar.

  7. says

    I’d caution against taking an extended break if you operate a business blog. If it’s just for personal use, it’s acceptable. The goal of a business blog isn’t just to maintain a readership, but also to grow it. If you aren’t posting regularly you are missing out on that chance. Obviously we all need to take a break every once in awhile. What I’d recommend instead is to write some posts ahead of time and schedule them out for when you will be away.

  8. says

    Great tips Dan :) I often find that having a pen and a notebook is one of the best ways to capture ideas (while waiting in the airport or shuttling). It is also very important that we really resist the itch to open our laptop and try to promote a blog post or publish one. A vacation is a vacation and it should be given its full purpose. There is no point in ruining it!
    Jane just posted How To Write Blog Posts Without Getting Burned Out Or Bored

  9. says

    You have addressed an issue most every blogger has at one time or another.

    I love the tips. These can save a blog from slipping during vacation time. I especially like the grand reserve one. It only makes sense. If I am away, I may want to share a bit about my normal day…or something to make the visitor feel a bit more welcome. As a blogger, I frequently forget that my readers want to know about me. Thanks for the reminder.
    David Sneen just posted Prequel to the Earn More Spend More Group

  10. says

    What a great way or tips to take some time off from your blog without losing your audience and readers. I think, leaving them with one big blog post, like some kind of resource article (just like the fetching Friday posts of Kristi here) before you leave will be enough for your readers to read. Giving them good resources or links to read while you are away from your blog is I think, a good idea as well.
    Ron Leyba just posted 3 Stunning Illusion Driven Photographs That Can Surely Bring Some Fun At Your Mind

  11. says

    Hi Daniel,

    Yes – One of the things that is very scarcities on the internet – Honesty. I couldn’t have said it better myself, Honestly – Honesty is the best policy.