Having a blog takes up a lot of time; you may hit a point where you feel like you need to take a break, or suddenly you realize that you’ve taken a break from your blog! This can happen when life gets hectic and you don’t have as much time to blog. Sometimes you have a big life event coming, like a baby, or maybe you’re working on creating a product or course and don’t have as much time to dedicate to ongoing blogging. If you’re going to take a break, here’s how to do it well!
How to take a blogging break the right way
- Create content ahead of time. If you know a break is coming, work overtime leading into the break to get your content prepped and scheduled on your site and social media. This way, people don’t know you’re on a break!
- Consider guest contributors. If you don’t have time ahead of the break, or you find yourself on a surprise break, consider inviting others to write for your site.
- Announce your break. If you won’t be able to post on your break (or you don’t want to schedule content ahead of time), put something on your site that lets people know: a “be back soon” graphic, or a short blog post works well.
- Hire a virtual assistant (VA) to assist: Your VA can take on a lot of tasks from scheduling social media while you’re away to answering your emails.
- Set up autoresponders and use canned responses. Email can get backed up real fast! So, be prepared with some sort of autoresponder that lets people know you’re away. If you’ll be checking email sometimes, canned responses (a pre-prepped email) are time-savers.
- Plan for your newsletter. You might want to schedule these ahead of time, or use them as a way to quickly stay connected (if you think you’ll have the time).
- Microblog. You can do miniblogs (maybe not full-on recipes) on Facebook, or through an IG story. Prep these ahead of time, or create them when you have the time and are feeling inspired.
- Recycle old content and use social media schedulers. People may not realize you haven’t created new content when they find you through social media. So, use a scheduler like Buffer or Meet Edgar to get your social media set up ahead of your break.
- Plan passive income streams. This is an important strategy for any blogger who wants to make money, but if you know you have to take a break, work hard to make sure your money making posts are optimized and that you’re promoting those through your social media schedulers.
- Let yourself take a break. Drop the guilt and do what you need to do on the break!
Enjoy your break!
Remember that a break might be 100% away from the blog, or it might be that you need to take a break from certain aspects. Plan as much as you can, do what you can, and don’t feel guilt. Your blog is yours and it’s okay to take a break. You can get back to it whenever makes most sense for you.
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Transcription of This Episode
Welcome to Feast Food Blog Talk, where we share how to take your food blogging to the next level, and inspire you to do more with your blog and business. Today, on Feast Food Blog Talk, we are talking all about how to take a break from your blog, because sometimes life gets busy, and you might plan for the break, you might have a sudden need to take a break, or all of a sudden realized, “Oops, I haven’t been blogging.” There’s lots of reasons why as a blogger, you might have to take some time away from your blog, or you might want to take some time away from your blog. Today, we’re covering a number of tips that are going to help you understand how to take a break well from your blog, whether that’s creating content ahead of time, getting support from people like guest bloggers, bloggers you know in your network, maybe even working with a VA. We’ve got lots of tips and ideas for how to take a 100% break, or maybe more like a 50, 60, 70% break from your blog.
There’s no shame if you do need to take some time off, and we’ve got all the tips for you, so join me, Sarah, your host of Feast Food Blog Talk as we dig in. Life as a blogger can be really busy, because having a blog and treating it like a business and taking it seriously involves a lot of work, but you probably have other parts of your life aside from being a blogger. You might have another job, you might be a parent, you probably have just life and other general responsibilities, so there might be times where you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and you feel like, “You know what? I need to take a break from my blog”, or there might be a big life event like a baby, or you want to focus on other things in your blog like creating a product or a course, something that’s going to be really great for your brand or your business, and so you don’t feel like you have as much time to dedicate to the actual creation of blog content and promotion of that content. What if you actually need to take a break?
Ideally, you can anticipate that the break is coming and plan ahead, but sometimes you don’t actually realize that you’re on a break. This might sound like Ross and Rachel, for those of you who are ‘Friends’ fans. You might realize all of a sudden, “Oh, it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted something on the blog”, and you’re used to posting regularly, so ideally, you know that this break is coming, but sometimes you just find yourself in the middle of a break or you realize, “Oh my goodness, I need to take a break.” Let’s talk about some ways that you can take a break well from your blog. This first idea is an ideal situation.
It’s to create content ahead of time. If you can, write your posts ahead of time, so even though you take a break, your blog doesn’t have to look like you’ve taken a break. Again, this is ideal, but it’s not always realistic. For example, if you know that you have a big trip coming up, or you have another job and it’s a busy season, or you’re having a baby and you want to take leave, all of that is completely fine. Knowing that that’s coming, you would think, “Okay, how many blog posts ideally do I want to have?”
Maybe you even cut back during that time frame, but you’ll create those posts ahead of time. Now, this will require you one, to know that the break is coming, but two, you’re probably going to have to work twice as hard, and that might not be realistic, right? You might not have that extra time leading into this break, but if you can, create your posts, and then schedule them in your site, and if you use WordPress for your blog, you can use Buffer for social media, which is a scheduler, and then you add a plugin like WordPress to Buffer, and this will allow you to create your social media posts and have them publish when the post goes live. Basically, it’s going to look like you’re still blogging if someone were to look at your site and your social media, so you can take a break that basically doesn’t look like a break. Now, if you’re thinking, “That would be great, but I don’t have the bandwidth to work double-time leading into this break”, consider asking other people to contribute content to your schedule ahead of time.
This might be a good time to open your blog up to guest bloggers or other bloggers that you’ve met in your community, and create content that works for your blog. Now, if you’ve never used or worked with a guest blogger before, there can be some growing pains. People might not always give you exactly what you want, it might require editing, so sometimes working with other creators can actually create more work for you, but if you already have a habit of working with other people or you’ve got some trusted individuals, consider inviting them to create some content for you while you’re gone. Again, if you can get this set up ahead of time so that everything is pre-scheduled, that’s really great, but if you’ve got some sort of unexpected job change, life change, and you’re going to take a break, and then you can lean on people, maybe give them some access to your site as maybe not an administrator, but an author, that could be a really good way to get some support while you’re on this break. The next way is that if you don’t plan to put out content during this time either because, “You know what? I just, I can’t work ahead, and I want to take a break”, that’s absolutely fine.
This is your blog and your business, and you can decide what you want to do, but consider doing something small so that if someone were to take a look at your site and see, “Wow, they haven’t updated in a while”, they don’t leave because they think, “Oh, this person isn’t blogging anymore.” You can create maybe one post or some sort of graphic that says, “On a break. Be back on this date.” Make it sort of look like your brand. Maybe recreate your homepage so that it directs people to where they want to go.
Have some of your most popular posts, so if you find that you just didn’t have enough time to prepare, or all of a sudden, a break is required, if you can just get to your site and give people a little bit of a heads-up that you’re not going to be around, that can go a long way. Now, planned break or unexpected break. Hiring a VA, a virtual assistant can be another good choice. Now, similar to working with other contributors, there can be some growing pains with virtual assistants, even if your tasks seem sort of simple, and you choose a VA who knows how to do that. They still need to understand what you want them to do, maybe your aesthetic if they’re creating some social media posts. If you can plan ahead and hire a VA, that’s great, but if you have to hire someone on the fly, go to your network and see who they work with, but this VA can do the scheduling for you, post to social media, answer your emails, they can get started ahead of time or while you’re on this break so that you can keep up appearances.
Again, you might be able to show people that you are still there even if behind the scenes, you’re not actually doing much of anything. The next way that you can take a break well from your blog is, has to do with your email. Set up an autoresponder on your email, as well as have canned responses ready. An autoresponder is going to be something that every single person gets when they send you an email, and that would be something like, “Thank you so much for your email. I’m on a break until this date. I will get back to you at that time.”
If you have a VA say, “If this is urgent, please contact this person”, or you can simply say, “I’m on a break until this date. I’m checking email once a week”, if that’s really true, and, “I’ll get back to you then.” Then, the canned response is preplanned kind of emails that you already have written for some of the typical responses that you might need to give, so if you tend to get a lot of emails about, “Do you want to partner up and review this product?”, you would have a canned response that says, “Thank you so much for your interest. I’m taking a break right now. If you’re still interested in this month, please follow up.”
You would essentially copy and paste, or if you use Gmail, that’s a feature that you can add on, but basically, just create these ready-made responses so that you can easily get back to them. Now, if you’re taking a 100% break, and you’re not actually going to be responding to email, you definitely want to have some sort of autoresponder set up. Now, also having to do with your communication is your newsletter. A newsletter can be a really great way to stay in touch with people if you’re not blogging. Again, if you want a 100% break, consider creating some newsletter content ahead of time and schedule those out, but this can also be a quick and easy task.
It might be fun for you, so if you’re on maternity leave, you might enjoy being able to send an email once a week or every two weeks just to check in. Maybe you point people back to some recipes you’re really loving or other resources that are good for you, so it’s up to you if you want to continue with a newsletter. It might be realistic, and you can also use this as a way to send like mini blogs to people, and just let them know what’s going on, maybe some new recipes that you’re trying, even if it’s not the full informal posts that they’re used to seeing on your blog. Similarly to that is this idea of microblogging. Instead of putting the content up on your blog, you can quickly put things up on Facebook or do an IG Story.
Now, this might not always work for a recipe, where people want to know the exact measurements and ingredients, but it can be a good way to continue to connect with your followers and fans. If you want to take 100% break, obviously this isn’t going to help, or you could plan some of this ahead of time, but if you are just meeting to not spend as much time on the blog, but you still want to stay connected, and you’ve got a good social following, this can be a really great way to do it. Maybe you highlight … If this is during the holiday season, you highlight some of your seasonal recipes that you’ve already created at a link, but then, you’ve got a video or some images of you making it this year, so think about how you can maybe add those in as a way to be off the main blog, but still connecting with people and sharing some content. Now, the next way to blog on a break is to recycle your old content especially on social media.
Hopefully, you’ve got fans who check your site regularly, but you probably also have people who find you via social media platforms and Pinterest, so use a social media scheduler, or if you have no problem, maybe getting on a couple times a week and posting something live, or scheduling out posts for the next week or so. That can be a really great way to again, take sort of a 90% break, but still have ways to connect with people and to ultimately bring them to your site, so really make sure that you’re utilizing those social media schedulers. You’ve got options like Buffer, MeetEdgar, Post Planner, Tailwind for Instagram and Pinterest. Some of these tools are going to be free, some are paid, and they definitely have a place in your ongoing blog strategy whether or not you’re taking a break, but especially if you want to take a break. If you can anticipate that a break is coming, it’s a good idea to get really familiar with your social media schedulers, and either queue them up for as far as your break, or maybe do a couple of weeks at a time, but it’s good to know exactly how they work, what spaces you need to fill so that you can keep the people coming to your blog even when you’re not there to create new content.
Okay. The next tip has to do with, if you are using your blog as a means for creating income, this is another really good strategy just in general, but especially if you’re wanting to take a break and you do rely on your blog to bring in income, is to make sure that you have some passive income streams. Passive income is basically where you don’t have to do anything, and the income rolls in. Super nice, right? Not always easy to set up, and certainly, you might find that if you’re active, that passive income is higher than if you’re just not doing anything, but you can still create income through ads, affiliate links, products when people are on your site, so having strong SEO and a presence on Pinterest is going to help you maintain your income.
Obviously, if you are taking an unexpected break, you can’t set yourself up for this, but again, if you know you have another job, and the first quarter of the year is super busy, then the summer beforehand really be looking at your posts. “Which ones are most popular? Do you have affiliate links in there? Are there any products or courses that you can team up with or possibly create to help maintain your income in those times where you aren’t actually blogging?” Now, this last tip is really important.
If you’re taking a break from your blog, let yourself take a break. Drop any guilt that you should be blogging. Don’t feel bad about the break, especially if it’s for something really positive like a baby, or a change in your job, or maybe an unexpected trip. Obviously, there may be times we take a break and it’s not for positive reasons, but regardless, it is okay to take time off. Even if blogging is making you money, you have the right and you have the ability to take some time off.
If you take a break or find yourself on a break, mentally let yourself do that, feel good about it, and try to just drop any guilt or feeling bad, so remember that breaks aren’t always anticipated, right? You might not realize that it’s been a couple of weeks. You might not have realized that you were on a break. That’s kind of the worst. If you find that you didn’t anticipate a break, you didn’t have an unexpected break that you then let your people know, “Hey, I’ve got to take a month off. I’ll check in when I can”, you’ve just all of a sudden realized, “Oh man, it’s been a few weeks”, there’s a few things that you can do.
One is right away, publish new content. Now, that might not always be easy, right? If you need to do a recipe, that takes time. You’ve got to get your ingredients, you’ve got to set up, you’ve got to take photos, you’ve got to edit, but new content can be on social media too, but put it out there that you are there, so check in with your followers on your different platforms. You can send a newsletter to check back in, and I think it’s okay to be honest about your break.
I once thought that I had sent my weekly email, not the week before, but the week before that. Then, I logged into my email system and realized it had been a month. I was like, “Oh, whoops. So, what did I do?” I sent an email, and I think the subject line was basically, “Oops, I forgot to email you”, and the A/B testing was something like, “Sorry, it’s been a month since I’ve emailed”, and I got a lot of opens from that.
It’s okay to be honest about the fact that, “Oh, I accidentally took a break. I’m so sorry about that.” Now, depending on your blog and how often you do things, you don’t always have to go that route, but know that it’s okay. You’re a human, and I think that your followers and your fans like to know that there’s an actual person behind all of the post that you do and that beautiful imagery that you create. Lastly, remember that taking a break from your blog can be really healthy.
It doesn’t have to always be a 100% break. You can figure out a 90% break, a 50% break. Maybe it’s not the content new to your blog because that’s been really time-consuming and overwhelming, and you’re going to stick with posting existing content on social media. There’s different ways that you can take a break from your blog because really, blogging, when you’re looking at it from a business standpoint, or even a habit and you’re doing it well, it can be very time-consuming, and so taking that time off, allowing yourself to rest, regroup, get reinspired, all of that can be really positive, and ultimately, it’s your blog. You can pick it back up whenever you want to.
If you’re Ross and Rachel, being on a break can be a bad thing, but as a blogger, it doesn’t need to be the end of your blogging career. In an ideal world, you’ve planned ahead, you’ve prepared, and it might not even look like you’ve taken a break, but that’s not always realistic. If you find that you have to take a break or you’re on a break from your blog, don’t panic, don’t stress, don’t beat yourself up. Try some of these strategies so that you can stay connected, or worst case scenario, you just check back in when you can. The great thing about blogging is that it’s yours.
You can make it what you want it to, you can do what you want when you want, and if you want to take a break, that can be a really good thing, so use our tips and ideas to help you understand how you can prepare well and take a really nice break from your blog if and when you need to. If you want more tips delivered to you, don’t forget to check out our newsletter, and if you’re preparing your blog for a break and you want to freshen things up, don’t forget to check out our beautiful themes.