What kills more blogs every year than bad hosting, legal threats and all other blogging pitfalls combined? Blog abandonment.
The biggest killer of blogs by far isn’t what makes headlines, it’s the simple fact that people get up and walk away from their sites.
How bad is the issue? According to a recent Technorati survey, of the 133 million blogs tracked less than 7.5 million were still active and, of those, just 1.5 million had been updated within the past week. This means that almost 99% of all blogs created are not currently active on at least a weekly basis and approximately 94% have been abandoned completely.
So how can you help your site beat the odds? Well, there is no easy answer to that one as even the blogs that take the best precautions still, most of the time, wind up being abandoned at some point. However, there are still some steps that you can and should take.
While it is great that it is easier than ever to start up a new blog, the problem is that now it is so easy and cheap, even free in many cases, that they can literally be started on a whim.
As a result, many people set up new blogs without realizing that they are, in actuality, a lot of work. Writing posts takes a great deal of time and energy and that says nothing about other site maintenance tasks such as answering comments, updating your software, etc.
However, all of this work, at least initially, comes without much reward. New bloggers can expect very little traffic to their site until they’ve built an audience and a position in the search engines and this can wear on bloggers over time, causing many to simply give up and walk away, especially in the first months.
Of course, there are other reasons that bloggers walk away, personal problems or a sudden change in their lifestyle may push them away from blogging without warning, but, for the most part, it’s just that the blogger has decided blogging wasn’t worth it, for one reason or another.
The danger of blog abandonment is pretty obvious: It is the end of the blog. Though some blogs have a built-in expiration date, such as the Sims-oriented blog Alice and Kev, blogs are typically meant to be more open-ended and not stop.
The problem is that, once a blog has been abandoned and left behind, it can be virtually impossible to start up again. If you lose the domain, it will almost certainly fall into the hands of spammers and/or domain speculators. Even if you don’t lose the domain, as links die out and search engines lose interest without fresh content, you find yourself starting from the beginning.
This is why most blogs, once abandoned, stay abandoned.
How to Avoid It
To be fair, much like death itself, blog abandonment is pretty much unavoidable. All blogs die, it is just a matter if they get to lead a long, fruitful life before they do. So how do you ensure that your blog can go the distance? Here are a few tips to keep your site off of life support.
- Blog in Private: When you start blogging, don’t submit your blog to the search engines or try to promote it. Blog for at least a month in private. This both builds up a good amount of content for the search engines and it checks to see if you are as commuted to the blog as you think. If you make it this far and are still motivated to do more, taking the blog public is a good idea.
- Half Your Schedule: When thinking about your blog schedule, decide on the number of posts you can do per week and shoot for half of that. This will help you avoid burning out early on from the pressure of maintaining an intense posting pace and let you focus on generating quality content over quantity.
- Get a Paid Host: Paid hosting accounts and domains are extremely cheap and easy to get but the small amount of financial investment can help motivate you to keep going. People find it much easier to walk away from something that is free than something that costs even a small amount.
- Follow Your Topic: Subscribe to relevant blogs on your topic and participate in their discussions. Not only will this help you drive traffic to your site but it also will help keep your interest high.
- Take Breaks When Needed: Finally, though it is important to keep a good blogging schedule, if you need a break from blogging, take one. Take a week away before you find yourself becoming overloaded. Sometimes a little time away is the best thing for your site.
However, as mentioned above, even with taking every precaution to ensure that you will stick it out with your blog, blog death is a fact of life. But, if you find yourself in a position where you want or need to leave behind an ongoing blog, you may wish to look at selling it or giving it away to anyone who is interested. That way, the blog can live on with you having to be the one to carry the load.
As with life itself, blog death is pretty much inevitable but that doesn’t mean bloggers should give up and avoid giving their blogs long, active and productive lives. The only blogs that are truly failures are the ones that are abandoned before they had the chance to achieve their goals.
Though you may not be able to blog indefinitely, if you take some precautions and are smart about how you blog, you can rest assured you’ll stick with it for as long as it takes for your site to reach its potential.
Beyond that, the rest is really out of our hands. Some blogs will succeed, some won’t, even with the best writing and promotion.
Still, you owe it to your site to give it the best shot possible and the first step in doing that is making sure that you are committed to it and willing to stick with it through the long haul.