What Happens if you Stop Blogging?

Worried your blog traffic will dive if you stop posting?

After blogging for a while many bloggers start to feel like a slave to their blog. I admire
people who post daily because I know writing and publishing posts can become an eternal slog, even if you only post a few times a week or less.

For new bloggers who are wondering how often to update their blog I recommend setting a regular blog publishing schedule (once a week is ideal) and sticking to it to get in the habit, but for those who’ve been blogging a year or longer a break could be what’s needed to prevent blogger burnout.

 

I had a busy year in 2012: my blogs grew, I started selling sponsored blogs posts on my travel blog and went on many international and national media trips. The trips were great but they meant I had to write and publish more blog posts with less time available. Just choosing from the hundreds of photos I take, even during a short trip, and editing them can take days.

So I had a month-long blogging break in January because I could. My three kids are on school holidays for six weeks over the Australian summer. For the last three years I’ve kept posting on a reduced level during that time but this year I decided to stop publishing posts completely to see how it would affect to my blog traffic and business income.

Blog traffic is always slower in December anyway because of the holiday periods but here are the results of my little experiment (or lazy work ethic if you prefer) with statistics from Google Analytics:

Successful Blogging.com

How often I published a new blog post in Oct, Nov and Dec 2102: Once a week.

How long I stopped publishing for: 6 weeks (from Dec 26 – Feb 1)

Unique visits in Oct, Nov and Dec 2102: 8,111

Unique visits in January 2013: 9,765

Results: Over 1,500 more unique visitors in January even though I didn’t publish any new posts or promote my blog in any way.

Get In the Hot Spot.com

Over on my travel blog Get In the Hot Spot I didn’t stop publishing completely but I did cut from 11 to 8 posts per month and promoted those posts less to save time.

How often I published a new blog post in Oct, Nov and Dec 2012: 11 (average per month, included 3 guest posts)

Number of blog posts published in January 2013: 8

Unique visits in Oct, Nov and Dec 2102: 10,841

Unique visits in January 2013: 12,668

Results: Almost 2,000 more unique visitors in January even though I published less than usual.

Overall Results: So I ended up with slightly higher traffic on both blogs in January with reduced posting and no posting at all. New people kept subscribing too and there were less unsubscribes because the newsletter wasn’t going out.

What about  income?

My income was largely unaffected. On Successful Blogging.com my eBook and blog consultations continued to sell, web design inquiries kept coming and affiliate income came in as usual too.

On Get In the Hot Spot my income went down because I didn’t get any requests for sponsored blog posts. That could be a seasonal thing with so many people on holiday in Australia in January but it did allowed me to post less often than usual too so I could have a much-needed break.

Warning: Stopping Blogging Doesn’t Mean Stopping Writing

I did keep writing new blog posts though, working with an editor for the first time to improve my writing and create new posts that I’ll start publishing soon. It’s good to have a stock of strong posts up my sleeve so when I get busy later in the year (and I know it will happen) I can still publish a post with minimal effort.

So if you need to stop blogging or want to take a blogging break go for it because you probably won’t see a big dive in traffic. Just make sure you come back to it again because your regular readers will still be there, waiting to dive back into your new content.

It was good for me to have a break and now it’s great to be back. I’m looking forward to helping you more and watching our blogs continue to grow and evolve in 2013.

What have you been up to, on or off your blog? 

About Annabel

Comments

  1. says

    The real question is “where did the traffic come from?”

    There is no reason why search traffic should be effected by the amount you publish.

    Social traffic, however, should be effected greatly.

    Most travel blogs gets 90% of their traffic from search, so it really doesn’t matter. If you rely on people sharing your content, however, then it can make a big difference.

    • says

      Hi Gary,

      You’re so right but I think it’s a common myth that bloggers think the more they post the more traffic they’ll get. And that you’re not really a proper blogger unless you do it daily :)

      Great point re search engine vs. social traffic thank you. I will have to look into that. Very quickly, as an example, it looks as if about 70% of the traffic to Successful Blogging was from the search engines in Jan 2013 compared to 60% during Oct, Nov and Dec 2012.

      For referred traffic (which includes Facebook, Twitter and more) it was 10% compared to a usual 17% so a definite drop there, although I’m sure some people who find a blog post through the search engines share it and I do use the RT old posts plug-in to keep the social media juice flowing a bit on old content.

      Thanks for the great reminder that we bloggers need to pay attention to where the traffic comes from, not just how much they’re getting.

      PS. I loved your recent interview with Marybeth Bond from the Gutsy Traveller. She’s a living legend and I was honored to design her blog last year :)

      • says

        hey Annabel

        it’s not really a false assumption that the more posts you release on your blog, the higher your chance to generate traffic… you never know which one of your followers/fans or anybody else discovering your content will push it to their fans/subscribers…

        this is an interesting case study article you might want to read on Think Traffic called 50 guest posts in one day.

        it shows that active blog posting increases traffic… and if you stop publishing, at least use Bufferapp or any other “content scheduling” tool, where you re-post your past content to FB and Twitter… you’ll still generate traffic and grow your database.

      • says

        Hi John,

        That seems to be a slightly different example as the posts were published on other blogs, not the bloggers own blog.

        In the past I’ve scheduled posts as you suggest but you still need to check they look okay and promote them. I really wanted a break this time and loved that I still grew traffic and subscribers without doing anything :)

  2. says

    Blogging has been an activity I’ve enjoyed since the early days of the internet, however, I hate feeling like a slave to anything. Even my morning coffee time goes through a drought if I feel it becomes too routine, or uninspiring. Pulling the plug on unrewarding activities or relationships comes easy to me.

    As I see it, blogging can be fun when you feel you are communicating something of value, but the trick is not to become enslaved by the digital numbers, and not to take yourself too seriously.

    Recently I returned to blogging, as I genuinely want to track the election. A mix of race calling, and covering real issues is very appealing to me. I’m so enthusiastic, I already have my next two posts scheduled.

    I admire your drive Annabel, you are an inspiration to so many. Yo’ve never lost sight of your passion.

    cheers

    Blogging can be fun, but we can’t take it all too seriously.

    • says

      Hi Catherine,

      Oh that passion ebbs and flows but it works out better when you just run with the rhythm.

      That sounds like a healthy way to deal with life but I’m still happy to see you getting back into blogging and with a new slant.

      I was laughing while watching the news the other night because they said the lower a profile the political candidates take the better their results in the polls. Thinking about it now there could be a little blogging lesson for us in that too…

  3. says

    Average over 100 viewers a month, but I feel like I’m in a slump right now. Sometimes I wonder if I should continue to do this. I feel like it’s just me and that my writing style is not effective.

    • says

      Hi Cheval,

      Remember progress is never linear and you will have to stick with blogging long term to see results.

      From a five second glance at your blog (which is all that’s needed, since first impressions are so important) I’d say blog design is your biggest problem and that’s easily changed. I haven’t read any of your posts yet but your writing skills will improve the more you blog. That’s just one of the benefits of sticking with blogging :)

  4. says

    Annabel, I truly appreciate your candid and transparent posts. So many people will say that nothing will change if you “unplug” but they never explain what “nothing will change” means. Thank you for explaining what happened with your blog and what you did (or didn’t do) for your blog during your time off.

    It’s important to step away and refresh. Years ago we’d pack up the car and go somewhere, leaving only a list of places we’d be and how we could be reached in case of an emergency. We’d really get away, in body as well as mind and spirit. We returned refreshed, excited, and eager to share about our adventure.

    Today, every day is so connected that everything and nothing is shared. It’s good to be reminded that if you’ve got something worth reading people will come and read it.

  5. says

    Thanks so much for this article. I started blogging last year and the initial learning curve was much steeper than ever I imagined. After understanding the concepts such as passive income and evergreen content, it takes a long time to get traffic or subscribers. Knowing that groundwork is done and there is a light at the end of the tunnel is valuable. Once your site is set up, on post a week is doable as even just a hobby, and things can grow naturally.

  6. says

    Hi Annabel,
    Glad to hear you had a lovely break. It would be interesting to know if you would have got the same results if the date was displayed on your posts.
    Personally, I’ve been busy guest posting following the launch of the ebook I co-authored ‘How To Host A Swingin’ Blog Challenge.’ It’s been great fun – I wish I’d started guest posting (with or without a product to promote) much earlier!
    Cheers,
    Caylie

    • says

      Hi Caylie,

      Love that title and I agree guest posting has always been the biggest traffic booster for me although I didn’t have time for it at all in 2012 it’s always on my list of things I’d do if I had more time :)

  7. says

    Hi Johanna,

    It’s true promotion is crucial but I don’t want to spend time on it because I prefer writing so at the moment I’m focusing on that. Thanks for the feedback and ideas, I’m sure all that promotion will pay off in the long-term too, hopefully by connecting you with readers who stick around.

  8. Dave Doolin says

    Website In A Weekend is running 200+ hits per day, and I haven’t posted on it in months!

    This goes to show: persistence is key.

  9. says

    This is fascinating. Now that I’m coming up on my 3rd blogoversary I can say my blog grew more when I went to one post a week. During my first year I was posting twice a week and sometimes three.

    I made a ‘resolution’ into the 2nd year to post three times a week and it fizzled almost instantly.
    Now for about six months I’ve been posting every six or seven days and my traffic is markedly improved. PLUS people are spending more time and going deeper into the old posts. That’s a big plus, I think.

    As for those who post daily…I can’t read their posts every single day. We bloggers read A LOT. When we find a blog we love we subscribe because we understand what that means to the blogger and we love good content (like yours Annabel). Not to mention, no matter how fabulous a writer you may be you can’t be brilliant DAILY! At least I know I can’t!

    Thanks for sharing this info. It makes me take a deep breath and relax abit.
    xob

    • says

      Hi Barbara,

      Totally agree with: ” no matter how fabulous a writer you may be you can’t be brilliant DAILY”.

      Love hearing your story. It sounds like a case for quality not quantity which is a hard lesson to learn because quantity is way easier to produce. Great to hear that you’re experiencing excellent results by following the quality stream.

  10. Niquie says

    Hi Annabel,
    I just dipped my toe into the water of blogging (after much procrastination) just as you went into your break. I started with something of a flurry of posts but am trying to organise myself into a bit of a rhythm of one or two a week. I hope you enjoyed your summer break (and didn’t get too wet in the last couple of weeks). Interesting to see your statistics – and sometimes you can come back stronger from a break from an activity (or maybe you just feel stronger?).
    Niquie

    • says

      Hi Niquie,

      Great to see you here and glad you’re now getting into blogging. Don’t lose that initial burst of enthusiasm altogether – I hope you can find a rhythm that works for you and think that after a break you feel stronger and are stronger too :)

  11. says

    Hi Annabelle!

    Thank you this post and especially for sharing your figures, I found it very reassuring. I took most of January off as well, and was surprised to see only a slight dip in my stats. I try not to get hung up on my figures but I think this year that might all change – my youngest has started school and I have more time to focus on my blog.
    I kept a journal going a little bit during January, but it wasn’t very extensive. Do you have any tips for getting back into the swing of things?

    Thanks!
    xx

    • says

      Hi Lisa,

      That’s a great topic about getting back into the swing of things. I should write a post about that. But very briefly:

      1. Breathe, take it slowly, make sure you don’t head for burn out again.
      2. Create a clear simple plan that will work for you and your readers. Eg. Monday – Travel post, Wednesday – Adventure story, Friday – Photo of the week
      3. Set aside one hour a day for writing at the time when you are most effective. That’s first thing in the morning for me.

      Hope that helps.

  12. says

    Similarly I had a wonderful six week sojurn in the land of ‘no blogging’ while the kids were on holidays. Aren’t the Aussie summer holidays wonderful – no one seems to be back (for real) until February!
    My brain went away, even if my body didn’t and I’ve found it has refreshed and refocused me on what’s my purpose and my why. That’s the other benefit of having a break – getting some head space.
    Over the six weeks my blog stats were similar (although not as high :) as yours) in that the traffic stayed fairly equal as well as subs. Nice to know that hard work pays off.

    • says

      Hi Di,

      Sounds like we’re following the same path and yes, getting some head and breathing space is so good. Great to hear you benefited from it too with no negative effects on your blog.

  13. says

    Great post Annabel, love the comparisons, It seems its building up a regular blogging schedule then keep going. Thats my aim this year is post once a week from my writing FB page and blog weekly too- after all, I’ve got a pile of untyped work ready to go so I don’t have to come up with new stuff. Build of following and find someone to help me with en ebook and how to attach that to me wordpress page- can you do that??
    Love your work Annabel! Thanks again

    • says

      Hi Julie,

      I can tell you how I created my ebooks using InDesign and other quicker alternatives but WordPress and blog design is really our speciality and I’d love to help you with that. For advice on how to build your following you’ll find plenty of tips here or a consultation might be the way to go if you want to get insights and solutuons for your own very unique business and blog.

  14. says

    Hi Annabel, this is a really helpful and reassuring post. I loved a bloggy break in November and thought I’d do one in Feb but don’t feel like it now.

    I often get the urge to blog every day as I think I could do with being more personal on my blog and finding my voice more… but haven’t done it yet. I think I will do it for a month when I am feeling more energetic!

    If I can so one recipe and two good Sydney places a week I think that is fab… and less doesn’t matter either. It’s the long game that counts, eh?

    • says

      Hi Seana,

      Love that you are following your creative urges and not being tied down to a schedule you’re not enjoying because that will keep you blogging long term and yes, that’s what really counts :)

  15. says

    Good one Annabel, thanks for sharing.

    Just another item on the list of things you don’t know until you experience it for yourself.

    Very interesting findings, so what does this say about social media promotion?

    I would assume you continued to get social shares even though you weren’t promoting your posts?

  16. roll off dumpster says

    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.

    I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!

  17. Sebastian Aiden Daniels says

    Right on. I am new to blogging so blog burnout has not occurred yet, but I am sure it can and will. I am working with an editor on the book I wrote. It has been very useful. I am sure the editor you work with has been very useful. How much do you pay him to edit your blog posts?

    findingonespath.blogspot.com