I get it, you started your blog with high hopes and a strong start. You dove into learning how to start a blog, how often do you post, and how to build a community. Maybe you started writing posts weekly or even daily. But life got in the way and more important things seemed to take up your time. But you told yourself you’d have the energy to pick it back up at some point. Eventually, you notice it has been months even years since you have touched your blog and now you are here. Wondering how am I going to start again and where do I start?
I get it.
I left my blog for two years and came back to a whole new world. The very format of WordPress was different. A lot of the bloggers I used to write with had also abandoned their blog. My readers and blogger friends had seemingly disappeared. I quickly realized I would have to start over again. After eight years of blogging, I would have to begin blogging like I was a beginner building new content and new relationships which is extremely frustrating. But where do I start?
So, if you are in the same boat as me, here are some steps you can take to get your blog back on track after taking a blogging hiatus.
Where do I start?
Take a breath and set reasonable expectations for yourself. Let go of the demands you previously had on your writing. If you used to blog everyday, give yourself grace to only write once a week. It took you awhile to build up to that point then and it will take you awhile to build up to that point now.
With that being said, I recommend re-entering the blog world with an arsenal of blog posts and confidence that you posses what is needed to meet your goals. Come into it with a plan. When I first hopped on WordPress after two years of being absent, a lot of the bloggers I followed were gone. There were new faces with new attitudes in the blog world that I had to get to know.
So start with that.
This phase is important because it will allow you to set the base of expectations for your blog. You will begin publishing more posts with ease if you understand who your community is. Plus, you will have more eyes on your blog when you do decide to post again. During this time, you can also be writing posts but don’t pressure yourself with publishing them or sticking to a blogging schedule-you are just warming up.
- Go through WordPress Reader
See what the people you previously followed are saying and doing now. Catch up with them. Read their posts and engage with them. Find new blogs to enjoy. You can even go through your existing follower (we will talk more about that later).
- See what new blogs have emerged and which of the your favorite bloggers are still here. One way to do this is to go to your WordPress reader and put in short key words related to your blog. For instance, if you talk about gardening, type in “gardening” in the search bar. Personally, I like to have the search bar set to “date” instead of “relevance.” This way, I can see recent posts on gardening instead of a post that someone tagged from months ago.
- Go through your current followers and catch up on those who are still active.
- For those who are no longer active, consider managing how you follow them.
This allows for your WordPress Reader experience to be more effective as you are only seeing posts from blogs you actively follow. If you are on WordPress, you can view and edit your full list of subscribers by going to wordpress.com/following/manage after logging into your account.
Create a Plan
Now that you have familiarized yourself with those around you, it’s time to create a plan.
What are your reasons for getting back into blogging? Why do you want to come back? What type of content do you want to publish? How much time can you dedicate to your blog?
Making a plan helps you to create reasonable expectations for your blog. Consistency is key. Creating ways that you can be consistent while maintaining your life is even more important. (I have a post on that here). How is your blog going to run if you are unable to tend to it for a few days or even a week?
For me, scheduling posts is a major way that I keep content flowing. I rarely ever publish in real time because life always happens. Plus, inspiration doesn’t always strike the same way twice. One day, I will make the outline for the post while the next day I will focus on creating a title. For this reason, I recommend to use this stage to just keep writing. Don’t worry about publishing content. Focus on making your plan, creating ideas and content for your blog. Tackle one thing at a time.
- Use your resources
What blogs did you guest blog for before you left? What interviews did you do? Revisit those blogs and consider re-establishing your relationship with those bloggers. By now, you would have made new relationships as well. Guest blog, interact with and participate in the community and you will often see that you will get new traffic as well.
- Avoid the Stats page- at first
It can be discouraging to see the large differentiation between the traffic you used to get and the traffic you may get now. Remember, you are trying to build your blog again. Focus on getting into a consistent grove that is right for your lifestyle. Then, look at the stats page to help you determine ways you can improve your blog. I often use this page to see what posts readers have engaged with most over the past month or year. If there is a consistent trend, I try to understand why in order to create more content that people want to see.
Throughout it all here are some key things to remember:
- Be realistic and flexible with your schedule
- Give yourself some grace
- Ask yourself “what is my goal for being here? What do I want to accomplish?”
- Have ways to check in on the progress you made on your goals. I do monthly check ins.
- Prepare for days where you fall off schedule. My posts usually scheduled a month in advance so it makes it easier to be more consistent
- Set reasonable timelines but be flexible enough to change them
- Realize it may take longer than you think and that things may not go according to plan
Have you come back from a blogging hiatus? What are some of your tips for creating a successful blog?
I am a blogger of over 8 years. I love to read, write, and garden! I can currently be found running Thoughtful Minds United (thoughtfulmindsunited.com) which is website dedicated to building, connecting and inspiring people in writing and in life.