Oh yeah.

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series.]

One of the challenges of any blogger, whether you’re a part-time TentBlogger or ProBlogger, is to keep your blog alive and kicking while you go on vacation.

But how does one do this well? How have I done it in the past? It’s actually quite easy, especially if you use something like WordPress as your blogging platform of choice!

Here are a few tips to get you started so that you can adequately keep the blog traffic flowing while you’re away from the keyboard:

Powerful.

  1. Plan Ahead – This is simply knowing when you’re going to go on vacation and the length of travel. For example, my current vacation was a full week, Sunday to Sunday, meaning that I’d need 7 days of content coverage.
  2. Determine Post Quantity – This is easy as well as you simply determine how many posts you typically publish a day and then multiple that by the amount of days that you need coverage. For example, I’ve tried to publish twice a day now here on this blog. That means that I need at least 14 posts in the hopper.
  3. Begin Drafting in Advance – I started drafting blog posts a month or so ago in preparation for my vacation. My goal was to draft and save about 3 to 4 blog posts a week leading up to my vacation so I could be ready. This takes a bit of discipline, a bit of time management, and a commitment to simply do it!
  4. Draft as Close to 100% – Unless you are completely out of range of an internet connection you may end up tweaking a few things here or there before the posts go live. My goal, though, is to draft as close to 100% as possible – that is, as close to publish-ready as I’m going to get and as little editing as possible.
  5. Draft Timeless Types of Posts – A vacation, for me, is an opportunity to publish posts that have a universal quality to them which means that they aren’t related to a time-sensitive piece of information or event. For example, my post published this morning was about the art of blogging discipline and is universally relevant at any point and could have been published at any time. I try to stay away from Series Posts (if I can) or posts that require a lot of feedback or are related to pressing events or issues.
  6. Schedule – One of the neat things that WordPress offers is the ability to very simply schedule posts to be published in advance! This is one of the neat features of the WordPress blogging platform. You can immediately queue up blog posts for future publication and then trust the system to publish them at the appointed time. In fact, this very blog posts was drafted weeks ago, was scheduled for release today, and published (with the intent) of never having to touch it (but I did, slightly – see next point). Brilliant!
  7. Leave Room for Inspiration – There are always moments when you’ll just be inspired to write and publish during your vacation and if your schedule (and spouse) allows it you’ll write and publish a few posts during your time off. That’s fine if you plan on leaving a few “blank” spots open for off-the-cuff and inspirational posts but I typically try to have enough in the queue just in case my internet doesn’t work or if I decide to go totally offline (never happened!). Unfortunately on this trip I had a few blog posts that were published out of necessity related to some server and hosting troubles – I wasn’t planning on writing these but I did and it was fine (frustrating, but fine).
  8. Let Your Community Know – Some bloggers choose to disappear and not let their community know that they have essentially vacated the digital space and their blog and just let the scheduled and pending blog posts take their course but others create announcement-like posts to simply let their community know that they’ll be gone for a bit but that they can expect their RSS readers to still be updated with awesome blog posts. This is up to you, of course. I choose to let my community know in advance.
  9. Double Check Publishing – There are some instances where your pending blog posts won’t actually fire – that is, publish when they are supposed to. You’ll see a notification in your WordPress post panel that says “missed” and you may have to manually publish them. Not a major problem (unless you don’t check up on it) and you’ll have to do some fixing when you get back. It’s most likely related to a server issue that can be fixed when you get back.
  10. Relax – The point of drafting in advance and creating scheduled blog posts is so that you can take full advantage of the reason you’re on vacation in the first place! Relax, rest, and know that your blogging platform and discipline to plan ahead is paying off as your blog is still pumping out relevant and valuable content to your readers. You might be on a “break” but you’re blog is still working as hard as ever!

And that’s how I do my blog posts while I’m on vacation! It’s not too complicated and the most effort is simply drafting ahead of time and creating those extra posts during days when you may already be pretty exhausted from publishing that day’s blog post!

But you can do it!

A few other options that I’ve seen people do are as follows, if they are of interest:

  • Use Guest Bloggers
  • Hire a Temp, Part-Time Blogger
  • Use a Ghost Blogger
  • Re-post old content with updated versions
  • Re-blog other content
  • Don’t blog at all!

Up to you, of course.

So how have you blogged while on vacation? Do you let your blog have a vacation as well or do you continually publish while you’re away? Love to hear your thoughts!

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series.]