I have announced on Twitter that I am going to be out on vacation for a week in Florida and I really won’t be online to do much of anything online, including blogging. I thought that this would be a perfect opportunity to think of ways to keep Blogussion going strong without me being here at all for a whole week.
Luckily, I have a partner to do work here while I can’t, so that makes things way easier for me. But not every blogger is fortunate enough to have a partner like I do, which is why I thought I would write this post.
I am going to cover the three most important things that are absolutely essential for you (in order of urgency) to make sure are under control on your blog while you’re away. Those things are content, traffic and your community. Those three things eat up the most time on your blog, and those are the things that can’t be left alone for very long without suffering some pretty bad consequences.
1. Keeping Fresh Content Flowing
Obviously without fresh content on your blog, no one will read your blog. In some cases (like mine) you will not have any chances to write on your blog. As nice as that may sound, it has a terrible effect on your blog.
So how do we keep fresh content flowing dealing with the challenges of “wanting to get away from it all” on vacation, or the fact that you have no time or no way to write on your blog?
Write posts before you leave and have them auto publish
If you use WordPress, then you have the ability to post while you’re not even on your blog. This is insanely useful, because you can write posts beforehand and then have them publish by their selves on your blog. It’s like you never left your blog if you write enough.
The only challenge here is actually writing all of those posts. So many of us are accustomed to writing a post, publishing it and then going off to another blog task. Try writing more than one post a day, but only publishing one post.
Once you’ve stock piled up these posts, you can put the Timestamp on them and have them publish their selves. Easier said than done, I know. But it just has to be done.
Try to get some guest posters to publish articles on your blog. It’s always great to have different authors on your blog, but more importantly you are trying to get your days worth of content posted onto your blog.
Depending on your authority as a blogger, it may or may not be hard to find people who want to guest post. If you are a few weeks into your blog, it’s likely you aren’t someone who would have people jump at the chance to write on your blog.
You may need to offer some incentives at first, such as money for example. If you can’t offer money, then find something else that can be very valuable to someone.
I talked a little about hiring someone in the above point, and this is something that I don’t think is usually considered very much by bloggers who are going away. I have used a freelance writer before, and I was very happy with my results. If I didn’t have a partner here to write posts while I was gone, I think I would have hired a freelancer for some articles.
If you’re going to hire, hire them about a week in advance before you leave. That way, it gives them to write and gives you time to revise anything and set it up to be auto published on your blog.
2. Keeping Your Community Happy
This is a tough situation, as the most important thing in building your community is interacting with them. And doing that isn’t easy if you are under the circumstances where you have no computer access.
Issue #1: Comment Approval on your blog
If you’re like most people, you will have to manually approve new comments on your blog. Obviously this can’t be done if you have no computer access, so that leaves you in a dilemma doesn’t it? You can’t stop discussion from happening on your blog for any amount of time, it’s just terrible for the community
How I would solve this
Turn off manual approval in your options panel. You can do this by going to Settings → Discussion → Uncheck “Comment author must have a previously approved comment”. Now any new comments posted to your blog will automatically publish.
If you do this, ANY comment will be posted including spammers! Make sure you have a plugin like Akismet, or some other spam fighter plugin activated or you may get spammed heavily!
Issue #2: Who will reply to comments?
Hopefully you reply to your blogs comments when you can, but who will be there to reply to comments when you’re away? You can’t just leave readers hanging, especially if they have questions or concerns.
How I would solve this
I am a very lucky blogger, because I have readers who will reply to other readers replies and answer any questions they have if I didn’t already. That is definitely not the case for other bloggers, so the only advice I can give you is that you reply to comments as soon as you return to your blog.
3. Keeping Up With Traffic
Luckily, traffic may be less of an issue if you have the right stuff on your blog. As long as you pump out quality articles and have a few frequent visitors to your blog, then I think you should be alright with traffic. Of course, with common techniques like blog commenting and forum posting out of the picture, you may see some drops in traffic.
Using Plugins like ShareThis increases your chances of your readers doing the promotion for you
Basically, any plugin on your blog that will automatically let someone spread the word about a blog post is a plugin that’s worth having not only when you can’t be at your blog, but when you are there too.
Here are some plugins you may want to look at to help you get your readers promoting your posts:
Do you have any plugins you want to add to that list?
How do you do it?
If you have ever left your blog before, what did you do to ensure as less damage as possible would be done to your blog? Share your tips here, I would love to know any last minute tips before I leave on my vacation!
Photo by Rob Carlson