Well, I just went on my first major vacation as a blogger. It was a 20 day vacation to visit my brother in England, far from my home battle station PC. And with summer in full-swing, chances are you’ll be going on a few vacations of your own. So, what have I learned about blogging while on vacation? And what will I probably do differently next time? A few things. On both counts.
There were three ways I could go about blogging while away. First, I could not blog at all and pick it up when I got back. Second, I could repost some of my older popular posts (a common thing to do in the blogging world). Third, I could keep fresh posts coming each day. Obviously the third option would be the biggest commitment. And, despite what some women might think, I’m not afraid of commitment, so I took door number three.
To not blog at all while on vacation is to shoot yourself in the foot (as I learned by not blogging here on WW4F). A big rule of blogging is that you should post often enough that people always have a reason to come back. In this big, fat, crazy internet world we live in, people will forget you pretty quickly if you disappear. It will probably take me a little while to remind everybody that was following that I still have posts coming on WW4F. Others will never find their way back, I’m sure. If I had it to do over, I would have prewritten and pre-scheduled several posts for WW4F.
To repost old posts is an interesting route. On one hand, it could be great because it could bring your new readers some of the stuff they probably missed out on at one point or another. On the other hand, your long-time readers may drift away for awhile because they’ve already read what you’re laying down. I didn’t choose to go this route because a) I was going to be gone nearly three weeks which is a lot of reposting, and b) I just did a week’s worth of reruns back at the beginning of the year. I think this option is viable if you’ve had your blog around long enough that you have plenty of old content to pull, and if you’ve not done it too recently.
Which left me needing to come up with 20 new and fresh posts for my trip to England.
Knowing that my vacation was coming up, I started working on it some time ago. I wrote all the posts except for a few (which I reserved for writing a few new “England” posts while I was here) before I ever left, and had them scheduled to launch automatically every day.
Because I like to post links personally to Facebook every day (with a quote), I couldn’t fully have everything set on auto-run while I was gone (at least not while keeping things going the way I like). On some days this was tricky since there’s a seven-hour time difference. It would have been a lot trickier had it not rained 95% of our vacation, trapping us inside.
In the end, I was glad I took the route I did. My traffic did well while I was gone, and my Alexa rank actually improved quite a bit (thanks to many bloggers and websites taking it easy over the summer).
My next challenge will be at the end of July when I leave camping for five or six days to a place where I doubt there will be any internet.
If I had to do anything differently on SDL, it would be to take the time to post more posts about our vacation while I was gone. People really enjoyed reading about what we were doing while we were gone, and I didn’t make much time to share that. Then again… I’m supposed to be on vacation.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. What are your favorite ways to keep your blog going while you’re on vacation? What have you found to be trickiest? What has worked and what has flopped for you? And, what vacations do you have coming up (and how are you going to tackle them)?