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Lights Out: How to Take a Holiday Hiatus

Want a blogging break, but worried about losing readers? Here are four ways to turn off the lights without disconnecting the power.

The end of the year can be a personal and holiday maelstrom. Hanukkah. Christmas. Kwanzaa. Kids are off from school. Family and friends are in town, or you’re traveling to them. Work projects need to wrap up before January. Or maybe you just want a week or two of down time to reflect and prepare for the start of a new year.

No matter the reason, lots of us want to simplify during the year-end whirlwind. One way to cut back? Don’t worry about your blog. Here are four ways to take a blogging break without losing your readers.

Wise words from American World War II propagandists. (Image in the public domain.)

Wise words from American World War II propagandists. (Image in the public domain.)

Announce it

The easiest way to put your blog in a holding pattern for a few days? Just stop posting.

Don’t just disappear, though: let your readers know you’ll be taking a break and let them know when you expect to return. A short post announcing your time off and offering good wishes for the new year lets you and your readers click the virtual “pause” button on your blog while getting everyone excited for your triumphant return.

Eight nights of links

If you’d rather not go completely dark, sharing great links is a low-impact way to continue giving your readers useful content. Choose links that are seasonally appropriate or relevant to whatever holidays you celebrate, highlight the best posts you’ve read this year, or tailor the links to your blog’s topic. Share one to three links per post, and include a sentence or two explaining why people should click.

As with a roundup post, you can focus the links however makes sense for your site. And if you schedule the posts in advance, you can still take a personal blog break while the posts publish without you.

Blasts from the past

Along with scheduling posts in advance, you might also consider disabling commenting so you don’t have to monitor your blog at all. If you decide to disable comments, it’s nice to give your readers a heads-up and let them know that it’s a temporary change.

A simple way to continue sharing great content over a break is to share your own content — after all, not every reader has seen every post you’ve published, so the posts are new to them! We often do this on weekends here on The Daily Post; you’ll see them as posts titled “Perennial Favorites.”

Highlight your most popular posts, or use this as an opportunity to give posts that you were proud of but went unnoticed — we all have them! — a second chance to impress. You can either share links to the original posts, or paste the content into the new post. I’d recommend the latter, unless there was a great comment section in the original you don’t want folks to miss.

Invite guests over

One of my favorite ways to take a virtual vacation is to get friends to do the heavy lifting for me. Enter the guest post, where another person publishes a post on your blog.

Inviting guest posters in lets you publish new takes on familiar topics, adds exciting new voices, and introduces your readers to the other bloggers you love. It takes a bit more planning than posting links or republishing your own posts, but can have big payoffs, like increased engagement and traffic. Interested? Check out our primer on guest posters.

Are you taking a holiday break from blogging? Any plans?

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Header photo by David Shankbone (CC BY 3.0).

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  1. This year and two years ago, I ran a themed writing contest and post winning essays in the last couple of weeks of the year. The prizes include charitable donations, so it ties in nicely with the holidays. It’s a little work, but it can be done in advance. I think it’s been fun for readers and it gives me a break.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m in the middle of a 12-part Christmas series that I wrote and scheduled during the summer. That means I get a break while having more posts appear than usual… though I’ve been using the time to set up blog #2.

    BTW: This is the series I devised during the first 201 that Daily Post ever hosted. It was supposed to feature artists and photographers I met in 201 but the only people who volunteered and followed through were bloggers I was familiar with already.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m an insomniac, I write mostly in the night and post it when I wake up or before I turn in. Holidays season would not interfere so much with my posting habit. But I’m glad to know that there are some alternatives in case… and not only for this time of the year but whenever people like to take a break.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. First of all thank you for the helpful hints. I post regularly at least once a day, mainly on the daily prompt, and now and again a blog in between, but like all there are times when you cannot be permanently where you should be. I host two sites on WordPress.
    In connection with this I am pleased that WordPress are assisting us to inform our readers that we are absent On the other hand it is strange that no-one seems to be caring about the daily prompt. Since almost two weeks the ping backs are disabled. There is a permanent notice on the site informing that you are working on it. The grid is disabled. I miss having contact with my fellow bloggers on the daily prompt. I am used to publishing my blog and reading others. It is interesting to see what others have to say about the same theme and over time we have got to know each other and even friendships have been formed, which is the idea of a good blogging site.
    Are WordPress thinking about discounting the daily prompt? Luckily we have the Reader to see what others write. I have also noticed that fewer and fewer people are contributing to the daily prompt because they feel neglected and are disappointed, having the impression that no-one cares at WordPress.
    Could we perhaps have an update on the progress of the pingback system and whether WordPress are seriously considering to drop the whole thing.
    Thanking you for your assistance

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pingbacks are not disabled because they’re being abandoned, they’re disabled because they’re broken for an increasing number of bloggers and we want to make sure we get them up and running for everyone. As pingbacks fail for more people, people stop participating, so the hope is that by getting them fixed across the board, blogging will pick back up. Our developers are actively working on getting them working; it’s a persistent, WordPress-wide issue that, unfortunately, doesn’t have a quick solution. They’re currently testing some patches that we hope will fix them, at which point we’ll turn them back on for everyone; in the meantime, the Reader is your best bet. We know it’s frustrating — we’re frustrated too.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I normally post once a month, but decided to do something different and challenging this holiday season. I am now 17 days in doing a post a day up until Christmas Eve, at which point I will be taking a short break to recharge the batteries and get some new inspiration. My daily blogs have been much shorter, and I pick only one song and one photo to write about. It has been fun, and challenging writing every day, and though I had good intentions of writing several at once over the weekends, it has not happened! But the feedback and response has been great and has given me some ideas about how to change things up with my regular blogs. But I like what you say here, the simple but effective ways to put the “gone to the pub” sign up for a few weeks with a proper announcement. Thanks for the tips!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. These are such great ideas! I’ve been thinking of a way to take a break without abruptly stopping, and this post provided good food for thought. I’m more than likely now going to do a roundup of the most visited posts of the year, and make my announcement at the end. Thanks for writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Michelle for the great insight!
    I like the idea of inviting ‘friends’ to guest post during the holidays. It will not only provide the needed break but it’s also a great way to introduce the readers to a different voice and style.
    Welcome to guest post on my blog if you are looking for such an opportunity.
    http://storieswithoutborder.com/
    Happy holiday!

    Like

  8. I’m back in the UK with family and was going to take a break as i’m busy but I’ve ended up using travelling time at the airport and in the car and already posted twice! The advertised break sounds like a good idea for next week though!

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  9. Or do a simple fun poll.

    As for me, I don’t plan to do anything. I’m such a slacker: 1-2 blog posts per month.

    I want my readers to enjoy their time with real people. No need to pull them over to my blog during family time, holiday time. But yea, maybe some people might get stuck at the airport.

    Like

  10. Currently doing a countdown micro-film series – posting a video every five days (currently at 3/5) – with the plan to do a round up of them all and say night night til 2015. Feels much tidier than last year 🙂

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  11. Thanks for the suggestions!

    HI, I am an amateur blogger who is a senior in high school. I’ll be heavily posting when my second semester starts but began a few publisbed posts. Woud love some feedback 🙂

    Like

    1. Welcome 🙂

      The best place to go for feedback is the Community Pool — a new Community Pool post opens here every Monday, and it’s for anyone looking for help and feedback. You might also think about trying one of our Blogging U. courses; the next beginner blogging course starts on January 5, and you can find a post with more info and a registration form on the home page here.

      Like

  12. i agree its great and necessary to take a break but do think readers appreciate something new- take the time to work beforehand and you can stand out as other bloggers take breaks! great idea to re-share old content, we all know our earlier posts likely went unread by most!

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  13. Happy Holidays to you!
    I rarely do blogging but I enjoyed this article, very helpful for those who used to blog everyday.

    Like