It’s a new year, and that often means big changes in my business. A big change for 2021 is revamping my entire blogging system and schedule in an attempt to rebuild my little “blog empire.” But this comes after a long blogging break.
From 2017-2018 I went through a pretty tumultuous time. It left me emotionally beaten down and feeling drained. And I thought about throwing in the towel completely. I’m glad I didn’t.
Instead of walking away from everything I’d built, I eventually decided to take an extended blogging break, especially from my larger blogs and newer ones (like this one). It’s not how I wanted to kick off Kiss My Biz. But then again, this is why I built a highly-adaptable business. It allows me to take time off when needed, with other aspects of the business being able to fill in income-wise.
This isn’t the first long blogging break I’ve taken. Due to chronic health conditions, I’ve had to step back from blogging for months at a time more than a few times over the years. But this latest one was one of the longest blogging breaks I’ve ever taken. And it taught me, or reminded me of, a few things.
What I Learned From a Long Blogging Break
Here are some of the key lessons I took from my most recent time away from blogging. If you’ve considered taking a blogging break of your own, but have put it off out of fear you’ll hurt your business, I hope some of this helps.
1. A Blogging Break Doesn’t Have to Mean a Complete Break From Your Visitors
This allowed me to drastically cut the time spent on that site, and focus what little time I did have for it on backend fixes that were long overdue.
Also, by maintaining job board updates, and adding job lead email subscriptions, it made sure regular visitors didn’t disappear altogether. Now that the blog’s active again, I don’t have to rebuild an audience from scratch.
If you have another element of your site you can update, this could be a good way for you to distance yourself from the blog without abandoning readers.
2. Your Stats Won’t Suffer as Much as You Think
There is a lot of bad blogging advice out there.
People will tell you that you need to focus on a particular blog post length. You don’t.
They’ll tell you that you need to publish daily content if you want to grow your audience. You don’t.
Some will also tout the importance of consistency and tell you if you don’t post regularly, you’ll lose your visitors and search engine rankings.
You probably won’t.
This was a reminder I desperately needed. I already knew most of this was utter bullshit. I’ve been blogging for over a decade and a half. I’ve blogged across a wide variety of niches. So I know the bad advice rarely changes much. It’s generic or based on faulty “data” from irrelevant types of blogs. But it still influences far too many bloggers.
Can your search engine rankings slip if you stop posting content? Sure. It just won’t fall as drastically, or as quickly, as some will lead you to believe.
I’ve seen this happen for years on my professional site for example. If I don’t post for a few months, rankings slip. But they also recover quickly once I add some fresh content. It’s not a difficult fix, and you can get around this with other dynamic content changes (like my job board updates at All Freelance Writing). The only times it’s not a quick fix is when those ranking drops come not from pausing new posts, but rather from algorithm changes.
How were traffic stats really affected by taking an extended blogging break?
They weren’t. Not much at least. After a few months with no new content at All Freelance Writing, traffic even increased by around 1000 new unique visitors per month. And despite sporadic posting after that with no semblance of consistency, traffic remained quite stable month-to-month. Even search-driven traffic didn’t see any significant change.
I’ve seen similar on my professional site and blogs in other niches like small business and genealogy.
Will this be the case for all blogs? Probably not. (Especially not if your blog revolves heavily around timely topics like news.) But what this does mean is you shouldn’t assume the worst and refuse to give yourself a needed break out of fear. Until you test things for yourself, you have no idea how your readers, in your niche, are going to react to you taking time away.
3. Your Income Doesn’t Need to Take a Hit Either
If you decide to take a break from your blog, or blogs like in my case, you can also avoid taking a big hit to your income. In fact, if you plan in advance, it can continue to grow.
With All Freelance Writing, income grew significantly because I kept the job board as active as I could (where curated jobs were monetized with ads, and a more active job board entices more paying advertisers to post). Other income streams remained fairly steady, like the writer directory with premium profiles. And because search traffic didn’t see much change, neither did ad revenue (where those ads are primarily shown to one-time search engine visitors).
I saw similar on other, smaller, ad-supported blogs.
This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me. I’ve long created “quiet sites” which don’t have dynamic content like blogs. And despite the lack of fresh content on an ongoing basis, their income doesn’t significantly drop.
If this is a big concern for you, consider making a change to your monetization strategy before you put the blog on hiatus.
For example, if most of your blog’s income comes from services you provide, look into an ad-supported model. Or prepare a new product for launch before your blogging break. It gives you something to continue to promote and earn from without the time commitment of regular blogging until (or if) you’re ready to return.
Taking a long blogging break doesn’t have to mean the end of your traffic, income, or blog. Sometimes, it’s just a break. And it can be a much-needed break at that. If you’re head and heart aren’t in it, listen to yourself. Maybe it’s time to walk away. Maybe it’s time for something new. Or maybe you just need a temporary time-out while you focus on more important things.
Your blog will still be there if you decide to come back. Many of your current readers will too. So will new readers who have yet to discover your work. You won’t know how an extended blogging break will affect you until you try. And as long as you go into that time off well-prepared, you can even come back better on the other side. Don’t let fear and misguided advice stop you from doing what you need to do for your own wellbeing.
Now that I’m back to my network of blogs, I’m excited to continue the delayed launch of Kiss My Biz. I’ll continue sharing personal stories, tips, tools, and strategies each week that can help you build a business you love.