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What should I Do with my Blog when I go take a Vacation?
This is a question I ask myself in the lead up to every break and one that I seem to answer differently each time. I thought it a relevant topic to write about as I’m currently on holidays (or at least will be by the time you read this).
Here’s a few of the approaches I’ve taken over the last few years:
1. Give your Blog and Readers a Vacation
This is probably the most common approach that bloggers take – they simply stop blogging for the time they are away and resume on their return.
– it’s low maintenance in the lead up to and during your time away.
– your blog stops and you risk losing momentum
– you might end up with a lot of catching up when you return in terms of any news that breaks while you’re away
– traffic will probably fall due to lack of RSS updates
2. Advance Posts
Blogging software like WordPress has the ability for bloggers to write posts in advance of them being published. You simply set the date and time you want the post to go live and it will happen later while you’re sitting on a beach somewhere. This very post is an example of this. I’m currently lounging beside a pool reading a book in wonderful Queensland (or at least I hope I am). If I’m going to do advance posts I generally make them fairly generic, or a tips post or something that is not time specific.
– this can give your blog the appearance of you actually being at your blog
– it keeps content ticking over on your blog which has advantages in SEO, maintaining readership levels
– you retain complete control over what is written on your blog while away
– your posts will not be time relevant and you’ll still need to catch up when you get home on any newsy type posts
– you can run into formatting issues if you’re not careful – make sure you test your posts before you go
– moderation of comments is difficult with this. If a flame war blows up in comments you’re not there to moderate
– increases your work load
3. Retrospective Series
This is really a variation on ‘advance posts’ but instead of writing a whole new series of posts you run some older posts.
– Lightens the load in the lead up to your vacation (not completely)
– Shows newer readers some of the older posts from your archives that they will never have seen before
– Still gives you control over what content goes up on your blog while gone
– Can run the risk of messing up your URLs if you repost an old post on a new date (if your URLs are date specific).
– Still some work before you leave
– Could frustrate some of your older readers who have seen your old work
– Again you can run into comment moderation issues
4. Guest Blogger/s
Last time I went on an extended vacation this was the approach I took. Each of my blogs had a guest blogger or two (ProBlogger had 20 or so) who were given posting rights. They were asked to write a few times a week (more if they could) and were given links back to their own blogs in return.
– Involves your readers and other bloggers in your field which increases the sense of participation on your blog
– Guest Bloggers can moderate comments on their own threads
– Gives your readers fresh perspectives on your topic that you’d never have considered yourself.
– You lose some control over what appears on your blog (at least until you return)
– Can be considerable work involved in setting this up if you have multiple blogs
– Some readers might become frustrated by your guest bloggers style/voice if they are loyal to your own.
5. Guest Posts/Series
This is the approach I’m talking here at ProBlogger over the next two weeks with the majority of the posts you’ll read here. I’ve got at least one guest post per day from a different ProBlogger reader. They’ll get a link or two back to their own blogs in return for the post. Rather than giving each blogger posting rights I tend to do this as a variation on the ‘advance posts’.
– in addition to the advantages of guest bloggers (see above) this gives you the advantage of variety. ie instead of your readers getting frustrated with one guest blogger they get a new blogger every day.
– can bring problems of inconsistency. ie some readers might become frustrated with the lack of consistent voice.
– there is quite a bit of work involved in setting up the advance posts from a variety of different bloggers.
6. Blog from the Road
I’ve done this on a couple of shorter business trips where I’ve arranged for net connections along the way to post from. Generally at these times I post at a lighter frequency than normal.
– This means you’re in complete control over content
– There is no set up time required before you leave
– You can keep up with any breaking news (less catching up to do afterwards)
– You can moderate all comments
– not good for a holiday or you’ll never rest
7. Open Mike posts
Another variation on the advance posts option is to leave a few ‘open mike’ type posts where you invite readers to submit their comments on a particular topic. In a sense then it is readers who provide content for you while you’re gone (although the action all happens within your comments).
– gives your readers a sense of ownership
– keep visitor levels up
– comment moderation challenges
– need to catch up on newsy posts when you return
– some work needed in setting this up (but only really to think of good topics/questions)
I’m sure there are other options which I’d encourage you to leave in comments below.
The choice will depend upon many factors including the topic you’re writing about, traffic levels, the interactivity of your readers, whether you have a high loyal reader factor, the length of your vacation, whether your readers play well together or not etc.
This holiday I’m going for a real combination of the above points on my blogs. Many of them will be going on holidays with me, ProBlogger will have a combination of Advance posts and guest posts (and maybe an open mike or two) and a couple of my blogs have other bloggers looking after them for me.
What do you do with your blog/s when you go on holidays?