More on pro-blogging and holidays

Yesterday I started planning for my summer vacation. Yes, I know it’s barely even Spring yet, and no, my holiday isn’t imminent – in fact, I don’t leave until June 2nd. But when you’re a pro-blogger, and run a blog like The Fashion Police, which generally gets between 6 – 10 new posts per day, you have to start planning in advance. Well in advance.

Do you really need to make sure that your blog is updated while you’re on holiday, though? Well, yes, I think you do. Last year, for instance, I decided to just not bother. I did write some advance posts, but only a smattering, and I ended up publishing them before the holiday anyway, on a day when I was feeling under the weather and didn’t feel like writing. I also requested some guest posts from our readers, but I left it too late, and by the time the posts started to come in, I was already on the plane. Great planning job, there then.

“It won’t matter,” I told myself. “The regular readers only make up a small percentage of our overall visitors, so the fact that a couple of weeks pass with no new posts won’t make a difference, will it?”

Oh hell yes.

During that two week period, our traffic bombed. Adsense earnings bombed. Advertiser enquiries dried up. Subscribers were lost. In short, it all went to hell in a hand-basket, and not only that, but once I got back from my holiday (It was great, thanks), it took a long time, and a lot of hard work to get back to where we’d left off.

This time? I’m just not willing to risk it. From now until a couple of days before we leave, then, I’m going to be:

  • Writing one, non time-sensitive post every day, and scheduling it to publish while I’m gone
  • Actively looking for guest bloggers – and giving them two months notice this time, rather than the few days I allowed last time, in my infinite stupidity.
  • Looking into the option of hiring a writer to keep an eye on things while we’re gone

The third point is one I’d rather not have to do: not just because I don’t feel we’re quite at the point of being able to hire writers yet, but also because training someone up and making sure they know exactly how I need things to be done would take up more time at the moment than I really have to spare. But I’m considering it, and it would ultimately be better than allowing the blog to stagnate for two weeks. Just by sticking to points one and two, though, I should be able to make sure that the blog has a minimum of six new posts each weekday while I’m gone, and that should be more than enough to keep things ticking over.

All of this applies only to The Fashion Police, of course, which is still our major earner, by a long way. Our other blogs, I’m afraid, including Writing World, are going to have to go on hiatus during the vacation: unless, of course, they suddenly start making a whole lot of money in their own right, and we decide that we really can’t let that happen.

As I mentioned in my last post about self-employment and holidays, I’m exhausted just thinking about the amount of work that has to go into preparing to take time off. I’m not looking forward to the next two months at all. But I amlooking forward to my holiday, so I’m telling myself it’s all going to be worth it in the end…

What do you do to keep your blog going while you’re on vacation?