I've been noticing that a lot of bloggers are on hiatus lately. While some are on holidays and others have various reasons, breaks are becoming more and more popular these days.
I myself took a blogging hiatus in November - though tbh, I was not there in the first week of December as well. This break taught me quite a lot, and most of all, I learned the necessity of taking a break when things turn chaotic.
Breaks are refreshing. They give you a peace of mind, and if you are going through that phase where you have started to question the point of blogging, it's good to take a break and sit back and do what you want and not what you have to. And one of the most beautiful things about taking a break is that by the end of it, you'll always feel inspired and would have rediscovered the love you have for blogging.
But it's not all a bed of roses. Breaks can also mean a drastic fall in pageviews, loss of a few followers and most probably you'll be utterly clueless when you come back to the scene.
But at the same time, there are ways to have a successful break. While these are not hard and fast rules, after all we are talking about taking breaks, which is supposed to be relaxing, but there are a few ways in which you can make the best out of your hiatus, without ever regretting the deed.
1. Inform your readers
Even if the hiatus is sudden and impromptu, never fail to inform your audience about your upcoming break. Tell them that you'll be gone for a while - and if possible, let them know a rough time period of your hiatus, the reason why you'll be MIA and whether you'll be completely out of the scene or will be hanging here and there when you can make the time. This is really really important, bceuase if you just leave your readers hanging for weeks or months without any kind of announcement, chances are someone will unfollow you while clearing their feed or just assume that you are out of the scene completely, especially if your hiatus lasts for a really long time.
2. Time your hiatus
Okay so sudden breaks are out of control, but if you just want a breath of fresh air or have any plans such as a vacation, time it properly. For example, I went to India in the first week of November and my school finals were on the last week of that month, so I knew that it would be ideal if I took the whole month off. I planned this about a month before that, which made it easier to make plans and schedule accordingly.
3. Try to be active on social media as much as you can.
Taking a blogging break doesn't necessarily mean taking a break from twitter. In fact, being updated with the blogging community happenings through twitter during your hiatus would be really ideal, because otherwise, you'll be totally lost when you are back in action. You wouldn't know where to start the blog hopping from, what everyone is talking about, what's the current trends, the hot topics etc. While you shouldn't force it, it's always good to be around. Especially if you're taking a looooong break, because nothing remains constant or still in the blogosphere even for a short period.
4. Schedule before hand
If it's a planned hiatus, schedule posts! It will keep your readers coming back to your blog, even if you're not there. You can take it easy, and schedule maybe one post a week. It won't make your blog look empty and barren and will create a balance during your break.
Schedule tweets as well. Even though they're automated, scheduled tweets remind your followers of your existence, which is important considering the community is really vast.
5. Feature guest posts.
Ask your friends to stop by and guest post at your blog! Give them a topic, or give them the freedom to write what they want. It can be a review, discussion post, tag etc. Not only will these posts cover your absence, they'll also be refreshing, because from what I've noticed, readers appreciate new voices just as they do the familiar voice behind the blog.
Plus, if possible, ask your friends to reply to the comments that their guest posts might get. And to promote their respective guest posts, as you might not be available to do it.
Open the gates to your blog to bloggers who might be interested in guest posting. Ask around in twitter or set up a google form. Guest posting is a great way to attract new audience and promotion, so this is a situation where both parties will gain certain advantages.
When you are on a break, don;t forget blogging completely! A time off is a good period to come up with new ideas, and make sure you do have a notebook and a pen - if you are taking a vacation - so that you can write down ideas that might come to your head. This way, when you come back from your break, you won't be totally clueless over what to post or write, you'll already have some back up plans ready to be executed!
- When you select guest bloggers, try to be clear of your requirements. Make sure that you let them know of your blog's niche, style and what you normally post and what you never do in the blog. Give clear instructions of when and on what you need the post. Don't forget to give a deadline and if needed, constant reminders.
- Don't feature filler posts. And by filler posts, I mean book blitzes, spotlights, memes etc. Now don't get me wrong, I am not criticising these type of posts, but often bloggers tend to use them to cover the space and gap in their blog. Give your readers quality content when you are away.
- Try to stick to your time frame as much as possible. I know this might not be possible every time, but an ideal break includes a strict time frame.
- Don't disappear off the face of the internet completely. If you have to extend your hiatus, let your readers know.
- Please don't try getting a co blogger because you want to take a long break. While co bloggers can fill your space, you can't expect a blogger to completely take care of your blog for you when you're not there. It's additional burden on your co blogger, and it turns off and confuses the readers as well.
- Don't stress about the fall in pageviews or the lack of comments. It takes away the whole point of taking a break. Take it easy!
- And most of all, have fun during your hiatus! Come back refreshed!