What To Do When Your Blog Goes Dormant

In the lifetime of a blog, it is not uncommon for a blog to experience a dry spell (a.k.a., a “post-less” or dormant period) somewhere along the line.

Whether it is due to lack of motivation, time or ideas, or due to choosing of a non-ideal niche, or losing purpose, or lack of perceived benefit, etc. , the reason why a blog goes dormant is not as important for the reader to understand as it is for the blogger to know.

Thus, it is not hard to get consensus on what not to do when attempting to resurrect a dormant blog. The consensus would be this: After a blogging hiatus, planned or unplanned, don’t make your first new post an apology post. The reader generally doesn’t care or doesn’t remember or didn’t even notice that you stopped blogging. And, more importantly, excuses generally don’t add value for anyone, so don’t do it.

So, how do you resurrect a dormant blog? To get a comprehensive answer for you, I decided to poll the MyBlogU community to see what they would recommend. Based on their feedback, I came up with the following list of tips and questions that should help you decide what approach makes the most sense for your situation.

Key Questions To Determine What Strategy is Best For You

  1. How Big Is Your Following at the Time of Re-Launch?

If your dormant blog has followers (e.g., email signups or subscriber list, etc.), then re-launch with an email campaign, guest posts, and/or social media campaign, perhaps with a free download or giveaway to create excitement.
If you do not have a lot of followers yet (that’s okay, too), then just ease back in and start re-posting as if you never stopped.

  1. Has Your Blog’s Focus/Niche Changed?

If your blog’s target niche is unchanged, then keep your existing post history intact and pick up where you left off.
If your blog’s subject matter has changed considerably, then consider starting a new blog or at least rebranding your existing blog.

  1. Have You Decided on a Posting Frequency? Do you have a Blog Topics Editorial Calendar?

Be honest with yourself about why you stopped blogging so you don’t repeat the same mis-steps.
Create a blog topics calendar and commit to a posting frequency that is sustainable for your schedule.
To build momentum as you establish your new writing habits, start by setting easily attainable goals and reward yourself for achieving them.
Start posting weekly, then gradually increase the frequency of your posting until you reach your target number of posts per week or per month.

  1. What Will You Write About in Your First Few Posts?

Consider writing a “What I’ve Been Up To” post explaining what you have been doing or what you learned while on hiatus. This helps build or re-build the relationship with your readers (especially if your blog has a follower base.)
Write a post about restarting a blog. Maybe include asking your readers what kind of posts they’d like to read on your blog.
Ask readers about what wasn’t covered or commented on by you or them while your were out of the game for a while (e.g., news, tips and advice to re-address with updates). Re-engaging your readers gets them involved, and you can learn from them at the same time.
Write about goals you have set for your blog or yourself for the year (or for the remainder of the year). This helps readers know what to expect. And, it reminds them why they subscribed in the first place.
Especially for new visitors, but also relevant for existing readers, write something “shareworthy”. Take the time to write something that will cause waves in the industry, e.g., an epic manifesto, or evergreen content, or a long list post.
A great come-back story is always interesting, fun and shareable. Consider telling your story it in a visual way, such as with photos, videos, or even an infographic made with a tool like Canva.
If you do decide to write an apology post, follow up within a a matter of days or even hours with value-added share-worthy material to direct the focus back to the subject matter of the blog.
General Advice

Keep in mind who you are writing for. You will have both: (1) “regular” readers to re-engage and (2)“new” visitors to invite in. You will want to write with both audiences in mind.
There are no rules to follow. Every situation is unique. Do what makes sense for you and your blog, and don’t just follow the crowd.
Restarting a blog often seems harder than it is — the first step is the biggest, so don’t put unnecessary barriers in your way. Don’t dwell on what went wrong, but focus on the future. (FYI: I restarted with a simple ice-breaker post called: “Gotta Start Somewhere.”)
Don’t let perfectionism stop you from “getting back out there”. Writing epic content or redesigning your blog is great, but don’t use that as an excuse to stall out again.
This advice from the MyBlogU community is really helpful, right? So, what do you think? Will this work for you or someone you know? Do you have any tips or advice to add? Please feel free to share!

(The above tips are inspired by “Brainstorm Idea” feedback received from the MyBlogU community: Evgeniy Orlov at Undead SEO, Philip Turner at Teaching Escape, Nicole Pyles at World of My Imagination, Cormac Reynolds at iBeacon Blog, Richard Adams at Tech Toucan, Sandy Stachowiak at Sandy Stachowiak, Anna Fox at Hire Bloggers, Matthew Woodward at Matthew Woodward, and Amine Richer at Comment Devenir Riche.)


Image Credit: Thanks to Flickr Creative Commons for “Start” image by JakeandLindsay Sherbert

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