April 29, 2013

The Curious Reader - Does taking a hiatus equal blogging-suicide?

I guess you never thought it'd really happen, but yes, I'm back. Not as though I've been really gone. I was here, all right. And if I may say so, that hiatus was as refreshing as an April shower. Maybe that's a bad example, but you get the general idea. Before we get back to business as usual - and I know some might have read about this plan in one of my Sunday reading posts - please don't be surprised about the way I'm now easing back into the world of book blogging. Let's all say goodbye to daily blog posts and welcome the new format I decided on ...

Each week starts with The Curious Reader ... these will be discussion posts - on Mondays; followed by the Beyond the Shelf ... this features various bookish news eg. interesting websites, articles, etc - on Wednesdays; and rounded off by Non-Fiction Discoveries ... where I'll share some non-fiction books that are on my radar - on Fridays. Sunday posts will remain like they were before.

And without further ado, let's get started with this week's big question ...

Does taking a hiatus equal blogging-suicide?

Source
While it's usually newbie bloggers who worry a lot about the fate of their readership during their absence, I have also encountered a select few established bloggers who'd rather not take a break in fear of a decreasing follower count. But is there really a reason to get your panties in a knot? Apparently so.

Recently I read an update of a fellow book blogger, stating she'd go on a three-day-hiatus. While this might be of a semi-vague interest to the most loyal followers I dare say that most folks will not even notice such a short break, unless of course you send out a warning like this one. Add the fact that the blog post had this slightly panicky undertone fueled with fear of what people might think of the blogger daring to take off to enjoy a long weekend.

Many have gone on one and, as far as I know, they all survived. Both bloggers and their blogs.

I say, if you want to go on a hiatus, for whatever reason, then do it. Just think of it as a vacation without any pre-scheduled posts. Let your readers know you'll be gone for, say, three weeks or even three months, and maybe explain why you'll be gone. That way everyone knows what's going on and that you did not just fall off the face of the Earth. Plus, they will be happy to have you back. Except for those who un-followed you in the meantime. Just kidding.

Page views dropping slightly. Follower count strangely increasing.

So, are the fears some bloggers have justified at all? Not really. Of course it depends on what you personally consider a blog-astrophy. The good news is that followers usually won't leave by the truckload. In my case I even added a couple new ones. Blame it on giveaway hops I had already signed up for months ago and which I participated in during my hiatus. The amount of page views dropped about a third which, all things considered, isn't all too bad. Of course, to be fair, I am now referring to a semi-hiatus as I did post on Sundays. Funny detail - when I went on a full-fledged hiatus for a month, early in 2012, page views actually increased. I still haven't got a clue why. Maybe my readers liked the silence, ha.

Consider your hiatus as a vacation. You'll return refreshed and with a tan.

What's your take on a blogging hiatus? Yay or nay?
As a blogger - have you ever been on one or are you hesitant to take a longer break?
As a reader - do you mind when your favorite bloggers take off for a while?

16 comments:

  1. I've been known to take long (we're talking months), unannounced breaks in the last four years. I never lost followers, but the pageviews drop. Then they soar again once you start posting again. I don't sweat over it because it's usually due to school/job, but I'm not chasing numbers. I can see why someone with high aspirations would fret taking a longer break.
    And I completely agree, a small break here and there is refreshing.

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    1. I guess some people take blogging more seriously than others which in itself isn't a bad thing. But for bloggers like myself, who view this as a fun thing to do in their pastime, well there's no need to fret over taking a break every once in a while.

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  2. I say if you need one take one. And I think this stems from my personal idea that my blog is just me writing to the world and if they read it they read it, if not it's there for me to look back on later. I've not taken more than a couple of weeks break, but generally it's unannounced and I'm stuck on a major tome.

    I encourage people to take breaks, I'd rather then be healthy and happy than feel obligated to post stuff for us to read. And then when they come back it's like a nice breath of fresh air because they're excited again about the world of book blogging. And if they don't come back, hopefully they let us know and they make the decision that's best for them.

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    1. A nice breath of fresh air is exactly what I (or rather my blog) needed which is why I went on a hiatus last year and this year again. I regret neither, because I came back with lots of new ideas and filled with energy.
      As a rule of thumb I'd say, if blogging stops being fun you need to change something. And if that something means taking a break than you should do it.

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  3. The way I see it, I take vacation from my day job, so why can't I take a hiatus from my blog? Having said that, in 18 months I've taken about two weeks off, and even then I 'came back' early. But this Christmas will be a big one - I'll be away for four weeks, so I'll be taking a nice, long hiatus.

    I do like when people 'announce' their hiatus, otherwise it seems like they've been abducted by aliens. And if it looks like a blog is just 'on vacation' rather than 'abandoned', I'll keep following. I'm not quick to unfollow, but I will do it if there are months of non-posting with no announcement.

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    1. I like your vacation comparison!
      And I agree that bloggers should announce their hiatus (the long ones, at least), otherwise it feels like they simply abandoned their blog. Without an explanation, and if there isn't a single blog post over the course of several months, I've been known to unfollow blogs too.

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  4. I think a hiatus, or vacation is fine and if you know it is coming it is nice to let your readers know so they don't worry about you or feel ignored if you don't respond to comments. Sometimes it just happens that a chunk of time elapses between posts and that seems fine to me. I think it all boils down to expectations between the reader and the blogger. Once you tell your readers you are going to do something you should do it, or let them know why it won't happen. This is why the book blog I write for work has "the occasional postings of" right in the header. I don't want people to expect what I am not prepared to deliver.

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    1. You made a good point about expectations between readers and the blogger! And as many of the other commenters here already agreed on, announcing a longer hiatus is basically good manners.

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  5. I think if you're going to be away for much more than a week, it's a good idea to post to let people know what's happened to you. I don't think it's necessary to post saying you'll be away 3 days...sometimes I don't get a chance to look at my reader during the working week, so I wouldn't even notice! But loyal followers may worry if you go a lot longer than your normal break without saying a thing but not for less than a week. I try and schedule things or get guest bloggers in when I know I won't have a chance to blog but it's become so much part of my routine, I'd probably start to twitch for not blogging!

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    1. True, three days aren't exactly worthy a big announcement, but keeping your blog readers generally informed about a longer absence is definitely a good idea.
      I remember, the first time I went on vacation I had lots of guest bloggers, including you, and while that was a neat idea, I have to say, despite not writing all the blog posts myself, the whole organization of it cost me the same amount of time if I had pre-scheduled my own posts. These days, of course, I simply put my blog on vacation too. As much as I like my blogging routine, I do need some time-out too.

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  6. I've not taken a hiatus. Partially out of fear of losing readers, but since I seem to be losing readers (or at least: a decrease in daily hits) anyway, I should not really care. Every time I was away for a while (2 week holidays etc.) I wrote and scheduled posts in advance so it wasn't obvious I was away.

    I think it's a disease, but I try to keep my blog updated regularly. :-)

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    1. It's not a disease, it's dedication which I find pretty admirable!
      Personally I never feared I might be loosing readers and as far as page views go, well, those fluctuate anyway. Besides, with so many people using feed readers, where you don't get an actual "page hit", those stats are somewhat unreliable anyway.

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  7. I say take it if you need it. A blog is a blog is a blog (unless it's what literally brings food to your table). I agree that it's just good manners to let people know though!

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    1. A blog is a blog? Are you sure? Just kidding. It's true though, if it's more than a personal outlet and you make money off it, taking a hiatus is a whole different story.

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  8. I like to let my readers know if I'll be absent for a week or more, just to be polite. But as a reader, I honestly don't keep track of when people posts and time goes by so quickly, I think someone would have to be gone for at least a month before I'd notice. And then, I still wouldn't unfollow over it, I'd just look for a notice saying they were ok and if they'd be back :)

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    1. I will only ever notice that a blogger is on vacation/hiatus after ... let's call it "a while". If it's one of my favorite blogs I'll obviously realize sooner that there's a lack of blog posts.
      As to the unfollowing scenario, I have to say that I go through my blog list every now and then, and if there's a blog inactive for more than 4 months without any kind of explanation, I usually do unfollow. Other than that, I do have more patience, of course.

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