I’m in a quandary… I’m expecting my first baby in three weeks time and am obviously not going to have time to post on my blog as regularly in the coming months. My blog is a wedding blog and is fairly new (only launched five months ago) but it’s going really well and I want to keep the momentum going in the best way possible.
I have two questions. Firstly, if it’s not going to be updated for a while do I need to have a post explaining why, or can I just leave it standalone with the content as is? Obviously viewing figures are going to go down whilst I’m not updating regularly – there’s nothing I can do about that – but do I need to tell the world that I’m on a little maternity leave?
Secondly how often, as a minimum, do you think I should be aiming to post? Do readers genuinely expect updates or can they be happy with the content as is? I look forward to hearing any thoughts.
Well firstly, congratulations. It’s going to be a super exciting time for you. If you want to keep blogging you’re going to need to have a plan because I imagine you’re going to have your hands full!
A blog is like a baby in itself. It needs to be nurtured, to be given regular love and attention or it won’t continue to grow. So, yes, if you want to keep the blog going in some capacity, you need to be posting regularly. How often you post isn’t actually the most important thing, as long as you make the commitment to update at regular intervals. Most of all you need to find a schedule that works for you.
Remember, if you don’t blog, no-one is going to tell you off. You need to be accountable for whatever you decide to do otherwise it can be all too easy for it to fall to the wayside. You’ll wake up one day and think “Oh I’m too tired/ busy today, no-one will mind if I don’t blog” and you’re right, they won’t, but without the commitment to do it, one day will quickly turn into two… to a week… to a month… and soon enough you won’t have blogged for a year. You’ll have no readers left and you’ll basically have to start again from scratch.
Regarding your first question about an announcement: if you have regular readers that expect a certain schedule from you I do think you should let them know what will be going on. The other thing about doing this is that then you’re also more likely to stick to it because if you don’t you’ll be letting people down. If your posting becomes irregular and every other article starts with “Sorry I didn’t blog yesterday, the baby got sick” your readers will start to become disillusioned and find other blogs that can give them regular updates instead. New readers that find you during this time will also be unlikely to stick around. Building an audience for a blog is based on trust and your readers expect a certain amount of content from you.
In terms of how to do the announcement, always remember to make things sound as positive as possible. Your readers ultimately only care about what you can do for them so instead of saying something like “I’m having a baby and I’m going to be soooo busy that I’ll only be posting once a week” (which focuses on the negative) spin it to say something like, “We’re so excited to welcome a new addition to our family which will mean a few subtle changes to the schedule of the blog. I’ll now be posting wedding content at these times but will also be adding a brand new feature where I share my journey into motherhood!” This sounds much more like the blog is taking an exciting new turn, rather than being put on the back burner because you’re about to pop out a sprog.
Onto your second question about frequency. It’s one of those ‘you have to do what’s right for you’ answers I’m afraid. There is no golden rule when it comes to knowing how often to post. In fact the mistake a lot of bloggers make in the beginning is to set goals that they’ll never have the time to reach. They then end up over-stretching themselves and falling out of love with it, or worse, post lacklustre content just so they can say they blogged. It’s much easier to start out slowly and post at achievable increments rather than trying to post so often that you burnout.
My biggest tip would be to implement some regular features and start working with an editorial calendar. This is something we talk about a lot about at The Blogcademy as all three of us utilise both of these techniques to stay on track with our blogs.
As well as enabling you to keep on top of your blogging, a framework for what and when you post will give structure to your ideas and eliminate the stress of “Oh crap, what am I going to write about today?”
If you’re giving yourself the freedom to blog about anything it can actually be counter-productive because it’s difficult to reign in those ideas. It can also feel a little schizophrenic for your readers. However if you know that every Monday you’re going to post a real wedding and every Tuesday you’ll put up a fashion and style piece for example, it’s much easier to collate your ideas and come up with engaging articles. Regular features are also great for your readers because they know what to expect from you. They can ‘tune in’ for their favourites just like they might for their favourite TV show. Your blog then becomes part of their routine and they’re much more likely to stick around.
Of course if you had a regular feature everyday your blog might become a bit predicable and boring which is why you should be using an editorial calendar. This basically means that each week or month you are plotting out what and when you’re going to blog (I use a physical week-to-view diary for mine but you could use an online calender, a spreadsheet, a wallplanner, a notebook – anything. There’s even a WordPress editorial calendar plugin). Plotting out what and when you need to blog in advance means you can easily see what you’ve written, what gaps need to be filled in and, crucially, it allows you to work in advance so you’re not scrambling for content the day you need to post something.
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to your posting frequency, it really just comes down to what works for you and your lifestyle. The vital thing is that you stay consistent and that you’re accountable for when you’re going to post. Have a structure in place so that you can keep enjoying blogging even though you’re going through some massive life changes. Remember, blogging should be something you enjoy, not the extra chore you have to do once you’ve finally got the baby to bed.
- Photography: Eliza Claire Photography