Dear WordCount: I started blogging a couple years ago to transition from working as a staff writer to working as a freelancer. I loved the subject and it helped publications find me. Now I’ve got more than enough work to do and am not as interested in the topic of my blog. Plus I want to do other things, like exercise more and travel. Should I kill my blog? — Bored Blogger
Congratulations on your successful transition from staff writer to independent writer. Given competition and changes in the industry, it must give you a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.
Now that you’re on the other side of the switch, it’s easy to see why you’re wondering what to do with your blog. It’s gotten you where you needed to go – has it outlived its usefulness? Asking yourself these questions might help determine whether the answer is yes or no:
- Is your blog helping you uncover subjects you can pitch to publications giving you paid assignments?
- Does your blog continue to bring you to the attention of editors or publications you want to work for?
- Does your blog bring you to the attention of potential sources?
- Are you using your blog as an online resume, portfolio or business card?
- Is your blog a financial asset or liability – does it make money or is it just another expense?
- Is it still fun?
If You Decide to Continue Blogging
If the pluses of continuing to blog outweigh the minuses, stay with it. That could be hard if, as you say, you’re slammed with work.
Here are some suggestions for making blogging less of a burden:
1. Cut down on how often you post. If you’ve been posting three times a week, cut back to once a week. If you’ve been posting weekly, cut back to once or twice a month.
2. Re-run popular posts. You don’t have to write every post from scratch. If posts on evergreen subjects were popular the first time they ran, chances are they’ll still draw eyeballs. Update as needed before re-running, but don’t change the permalink.
3. Share stuff you find online. Readers love photos, illustrations, infographics, videos – anything that’s visual. Another option is bookmarking interesting things you find online and using them to create list posts. Either way, you’re sharing posts that are fast & simple to create. Just make sure you’ve got permission to share. If you do, include proper attribution to the person who created it.
4. Set aside a specific time to work on your blog. If you’re spending 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there on your blog, it could feel like you’re spending more time than you actually are. Set aside a block of time once a week or once a month to write posts, find illustrations to go with them, and do other blog maintenance. If you’re only posting a couple times a month, you might only need a couple hours to do everything – a perfect activity for a slow Friday afternoon after all your deadline work is in. Then don’t think about it.
5. Post a sticky post to your front page saying you’ve gone fishing. Let readers know that you’re changing how often you’re posting, but that you’ll be back at some point. Then stick to your promise. If you expect to take days, weeks or months more than usual off between posts ease yourself back into the routine by writing a couple posts and having them ready and waiting, so your return won’t feel so daunting.
If You Decide to Stop Blogging
If you’re really over it, and want to bid adieu to blogging, here are a couple other suggestions:
1. Don’t shut down completely. If your blog has been your online identity, hang onto it so people can still find your resume, bio and contact info. If you’ve been blogging for any period of time, you’ve built up some search engine juice – it’d be a shame to see it go to waste.
2. Find another blogger wants to take over. Who knows? Maybe there’s someone who’s just starting out who’d love to pick up where you left off. Maybe they’d even pay you for the privilege (it could happen).
3. Say goodbye. Don’t leave readers in the lurch. Let them know you’re quitting and why. You might suggest other blogs that cover the same topics they could read instead.
Started and shuttered a blog before? Share your experience or advice by leaving a comment.