The holiday season is almost upon us. I am sure you have many plans already for how you want to spend those days off. Some of us will be reviewing and creating plans. For some it might be easiest to just go off the grid and forget your blogging activities for couple of weeks but that is not necessary the best way to approach it in terms of your blog’s prospects.
Bloggers take unnecessary breaks from blogging when traveling or when being on vacation. I was on a trip last week without much time dedicated to blogging and even without internet access but with a bit of planning I was still able to keep my site alive and active. Regular visitors would not have been able to see any difference from a week when I am concentrating on the site full-time.
It all depends on your goals and objectives but going away on holiday can result in a lost momentum for your blog. Your site would become inactive, there would be no new content and no recent activity on your social media profiles. This may result in a decrease of traffic, decrease in revenue and will not give the best impression to your visitors or to the potential advertisers. It might scare them from subscribing, following or contacting you.
It is a very good idea to take a break to travel or just to relax and get new inspiration. We all need a break once in a while. Taking a break does not mean that you need to let your site die because of a prolonged period of inactivity though. Following are the steps that you can take to keep your site active and keep your blogging momentum going while you are enjoying your holiday.
Get your holiday tool setup ready
These days I normally only take an iPad on my travels. I use it for everything from checking mails, managing social media and doing blog updates when necessary. Some bloggers can even handle everything with a mobile phone only. WordPress for example has a nice app for iOS.
I’m not too comfortable about creating new content on an iPad or iPhone, it just feels too slow and more suited for consuming content. That is why steps below in which I plan in advance are key for me in order to have a relaxing vacation but keeping my blog active at the same time.
Create your content in advance
You know how long you will be away for. You know if you will have an internet connection while on vacation. You know if you plan to have time to get some writing done while you are away. Analyse these factors and plan in advance.
If you won’t be able to get online or if you will be busy with other activities do create the needed amount of articles in advance, edit them, style them and get them ready to be published according to your normal content schedule.
Source guest posts
If you want a real break you could source some guest posts to publish during your time off. This will save you from being too stressed and needing to create a large amount of content in the weeks up to your trip. You can either ask bloggers you are connected to to submit something for your site, or you can announce on your site that you are taking guest post submissions. A lot of bloggers are very active guest posters as there are many benefits of doing it so as long as you have a site of decent popularity you should be able to get some posts.
Schedule posts to be published
Schedule the articles you have created or sourced as guest posts to be published automatically according to your regular content publishing schedule.
WordPress TimeStamp feature makes it easy to schedule and publish articles automatically.
In “Publish” part of your post writing field click on “Edit” at the “Published On” line. This allows you to select a date and time in future on which to schedule the post for.
Set your comments free
Comment sections are the lifeline of many sites. Some bloggers prefer to manually approve comments, but that might be impossible to manage when you are going away. As you do not want the discussion to die out while you are away do set Akismet WordPress plugin to do all the work for you. In WordPress settings in “Discussion” some bloggers usually have “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” checked. By removing this you let Akismet automatically approve comments. There is a tiny risk that one or two spam comments might go through the filter but I find Akismet generally does a great job. See more on fighting comment spam.
Get your marketing routine ready
Having a large established audience is a great promotional tool for your content. As you are set to publish several articles while you are away your audience will help you spread the word as they normally would. Help your visitors do the promotion for you by including social media sharing buttons in your articles. There are several good plugins for this, for example this one.
I use my iPad to go through my after publishing marketing routine on social media when on holidays. This would take me some 10-15 minutes a day.
If you prefer you can also schedule and automate your social media activity.
You can for example schedule Twitter and Facebook to automatically send out messages announcing your new articles. It results in clicks to your site from your followers, and helps the promotion as people do retweet, like and share interesting articles.
Following these simple steps can assure you that your site is not inactive while you are away on holiday. Your visitors will get fresh content, comments will be moderated automatically, traffic will hopefully still be coming in and your blogging momentum will keep on going. All this while you are relaxing and recharging your batteries. Enjoy your vacation!