Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but anyone who has taken an extended break from their blog without scheduling a slew of guest writers to fill in knows just how quickly traffic and comments can drop off.

That's what Australian blogger James Duthie learned the last couple months via his "Online Marketing Banter" blog. James just wrapped up his first full year as an online marketing blogger and decided to share some powerful lessons he learned in the process.

Among them, the never surprising, but slightly disappointing realization that readers don't just sit around waiting for you to write:

I suspected my efforts had bought me some well deserved time off. Apparently not! In the blogosphere it seems that out of sight means out of mind (even if it's just for a few days...). Within weeks of reducing my participation I'd noticed dramatic drops in traffic, subscriber engagement, reader interaction (comments) and social media support. The loss of momentum was cumulative as the period of inactivity extended, to the point where it become a virtual ghost town in December.

It's a trend I've seen time and time again on my own blogs and one I've heard pretty much every single other blogger talk about as well.

Of course that's part of what makes feed readers so wonderful. People who read your blog on a regular enough basis to be "loyal" readers tend to subscribe to your feed. That means they'll only visit your blog when you have new content because the feed reader is doing the work of watching for that content for them. Over time this can mean less traffic, but higher quality engagement rates with the readers who do show up.

James offers up five great lessons on building up your blog popularity and engagement rates, many based on what he sees as his own failures from his first year. Take advantage of James' experience and adjust your own expectations and blog plans for 2009 accordingly.


January 12, 2009





Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.





Comments(14)

I'm disappointed when I log onto a blog I love and there isn't new content daily, or at least weekly. It doesn't even matter if it's a short blip, just as long as you're staying in touch is the important part to me.

Thanks for the reference Jennifer. It can be difficult to maintain motivation as a part-time blogger, but the reality is that you pay a fairly hefty price for a little time off (as I found). At the same time, it was encouraging to see a few of the regulars pop up and support this post. All is not lost... :)

How true this is indeed. My blog, though small it may be, suffered a similar fate. I decided to pull back my marketing efforts altogether as it was not my main stay at all, and it certainly wasn't my day job. However, feed readers are indeed the saving grace when it comes to disengaged readers. Get enough of these loyal readers and not only does your blog traffic level increase, you gain another venue by which to advertise in a more subtle manner.

Free Games

the worst that you can do is not update your blog daily with new content, users forget your blog and lose the habit of read it, so if your thinking in create a blog and as soon get popular you forget about it please just don´t do it.

Great post. I think people often forget that with a blog, you're trying to build up readership, and residency of viewers. And when you spend all that time and then take an extended break, you end up hurting all the work you've put forth.

referral marketing

Very nice post, and as for me personally I find my self loosing interest in a blog rather quickly if I don't see some new material up. Their just so many that its rather easy to just move on and find another more active blog.

Hi ALL:

I think blogs are a great way to relax and vent or meet new and interesting people. People tend to evaulate you as a person and not judge you on your size, small or big, white or black, or whatever race you may be. On here we are all just one blog community.

Vince

How true this is. I didn't quite take time off, and I wrote barely less than I usually do, but I made very few comments in the month of December, and it was like people forgot I was around, so they never came to visit my blog. Well, very few did, and I saw a drastic decrease for sure. I'll have to make sure to keep up on that from this point on.

I aim for posting on my blog once a week, but when I have a chance to get several posts up in a week, I certainly notice a difference in my traffic stats.

well, easy comes, easy goes ... for now blog's are getting rankings, PR and traffic very fast and easy ...because of the constant flow of new-fresh content

so, obviously it will also lose as easy as it gained it

point being; you don't lose your link power, so the rankings your real site gets (although many people don't have a real site and think their blog is a real site) will remain ... just play the game right ...

I concur with the article. You can kill a blog (it's really a slow downward death spiral) in a fairly short amount of time.

Interesting. I've never had a successful blog before. One thing I get in the habit of doing is scheduling posts in the future so I can do other things. Eventually time catches up to you and you need to post more stuff :D I could be reading my stats wrong, but those search terms people use I think help me figure out what they want from my blog.

My Ex Back Blog

I agree, you need to keep up the momentum, because once it's gone it's hard to get it back.
By and large people are creatures of habit, I know I am. I check the same websites/blogs first thing each morning. If they stopped interesting me I'd leave them and probably never go back.

Good summary - it makes sense. Online followers are fickle; they have a lot of places to look and limited time. Give them what they want (unless you're an online rock star - then maybe they'll take anything!!!)

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