Tips when you can’t blog


Tips when you can't blog

Photograph by Daniel Jensen at Unsplash

Have you ever come across a blog that posts more about why they don’t post than anything else?

I hesitate to write about this method of ‘releasing my blog’ because I know that most bloggers go through stages when they struggle to publish on their blog for justified reasons (illness, death in the family or some other life crisis).

I myself went through periods when I was not able to publish my blogs regularly (sometimes for no reason except that I struggled to find something to say). In my early days of blogging there seemed to be weeks where all I could gather to say was ‘I have nothing to say’ or ‘I’m sick again … posting will be back to normal next week’ etc.

problem:

When you miss a few posts in a row, it has an impact on your readers and any momentum you may have created on your blog.

The solution:

Here is the conclusion I came to (and it is ongoing). I try to create blogs that give impetus to my topics and that mostly stay “on topic”. Although I occasionally include little personal information in my posts, this information is mostly shared in a ‘by the way’ type or as an illustration of a ‘on topic’ post. As a result, if something happens in my life that prevents me from writing on the blog, then I generally do not publish a post about it (unless it is a very important thing – something that has not happened fortunately yet).

However:

Of course, this will vary from blog to blog and situation to situation and I have (and would) occasionally break this ‘rule’. For example, if something happened that would mean I wouldn’t be able to update my blog for an extended period of time, I’d probably post a short note explaining my absence and letting people know what will happen to the blog while I’m gone (see some strategies below) . This would probably be a one-time and short post, and would also try to provide readers with some alternative they can do / read in my absence (linking to key posts in my archive, asking questions, suggestions of several other reading blogs).

Tips when you can’t blog:

If you are faced with a situation that takes you away from your blog for a long time, there are a number of strategies you could use:

1. Guest posts

This is easier if you have a blog with a larger readership and profile, but having others (either one person or a group of them) come and post on your blog in your absence can be a good way to keep typing.

2. Reduce the frequency of posts

Unable to maintain normal publishing frequency? How about reducing it to a certain amount of time? Even just one post a week gives readers the feeling that you haven’t left them. One short post on the topic a week is much better in mind than a few ‘I can’t blog because …’ posts.

3. Visit the archive again

How about re-publishing an old post or at least pointing out some of your best posts? Many of your newer readers won’t read your ‘old stuff’ so give it a try.

4. Surveys and readers’ questions

You can’t do this every day, but one of the fastest types of posts to write is a question or survey. Ask your readers something about their experience on your topic and open things up for discussion.

5. Rainy Day Posts

It is wise to have one or three places in reserve at any one time. I try to keep at least one in my draft section at all times so I can get it back if it bothers me. In addition, I have an ‘ideas’ document on my desktop that contains the titles of the posts, questions to ask readers, half-written posts, etc. – These are half-baked ideas that I can quickly turn into posts on days when I have problems.

6. Prepare for known events that could disrupt your blogging

While some things out of the blue happen to us and stop our blogging – there are many other things in life over which we have some control or advanced warning. In these cases, plan ahead and bring in a blogger guest and / or prepare some posts in advance. For example, while reading this, I am taking two weeks of parental leave on this blog. I started planning this series ‘let go of your blog’ a month ago and I wrote all the posts in the weeks before our baby arrived. I have also organized several guest posts in these two weeks. This meant a little extra work in preparation for my break, but worth it!

I guess to sum up – my strategy is to try to maintain a balance between:

  • Maintaining the momentum of the blog / adding value to readers
  • Resist the temptation to keep posting ‘apology’ posts
  • Informing readers about what is happening on the blog

What is your strategy when you can’t post on your blog? Give us your tips in the comments.

If you are fighting for blogging ideas, you can download ideas for 6 months blog posts from the ProBlogger PLUS member library (feel free to join).

This post was first published on June 24, 2008 and updated on October 7, 2021.

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