Even for the most committed of bloggers, issues in the real world tend to creep up. Whether it’s a family emergency, your regular job placing more demands on you, holidays or simply a case of blogger burnout. It happens.
There may be a few days in a row that you are unable to post – those few days have a tendency to turn into a week and so on. And that’s okay! Your readers will likely understand as long as it doesn’t become a habit. No matter what the reason, don’t make your return to blogging an apology post.
If you really think about it, that apology post might be sending a message to your readers that you aren’t quite as dedicated to them as they had hoped you’d be or as they deserve. For every blog in your particular topic, there are hundreds of blogs on the same, or similar topic that will remain dedicated to loyal readers.
Don’t lose your readers to the “other” guy!
Don’t get me wrong, transparency is a good when keeping your readers informed of your real world activities and that can be a positive thing. But – by all means, make sure your posts are relationship building, not a series of hollow excuses.
If such a case does arise, where you do have a lengthy lapse in posting, what should you do?
If you don’t have a good stash of emergency posts, I highly recommend you reemerge with a full-fledged, knock-your-socks-off kind of post.
Bring your readers something of solid value – provide them an educational and/or entertaining post. Give them interesting links from around the blogosphere. Ask them questions that let them know you value their opinion. Deliver something that lets your readers know you *really* appreciate them. If you don’t take the opportunity to show how much you appreciate them – how can you possibly expect them to remain loyal to you?
Gayla’s Comment Policy: I am committed to my readers. If you leave a comment on any of my posts, I will visit your blog and “share it” in some way whether on StumbleUpon, Twitter or Facebook depending on if I can find a nice fit. This is my way of saying thank you!
Joanne Troppello says
Excellent post. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Ari Herzog says
Indeed. Apologizing on the web, generally, is something that will come back and bite you. It’s one thing to share a perspective and have everyone tell you a fact is wrong or your opinion isn’t grounded, but it’s something else to say something and immediately apologize for saying it — or, as you suggest, saying you’re sorry for not doing something. Life is supposed to get in the way.
Dina Santorelli says
Yep. No need for apologies. All is forgiven. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!
Maria Walters says
Amen! I am definitely not a fan of apology posts – and I love your suggestion to make your return post the best it can be, even if it takes a little longer.
Even better, in my opinion, is sharing why you are going to be gone before you go, especially if it’s not an emergency. I first landed on Aliventures when Ali was leaving for her honeymoon. I added her to my RSS reader so that I could hear about it when she came back, and then stayed a reader because of the great mix of personal and professional info she was sharing!
Lorne Pike says
You make a great point, Gayla. One other point to remember as well is that your post will be out there for a long time to come. A hundred posts and maybe as many years from now, people will still read your apology along with whatever else you say. As much as you may feel an apology is warranted, it’s probably not worth an apology that will live longer than you do. As you suggested, just give ’em your best and move along. Thanks Gayla!
I found myself apologizing when my computer went kaput & I was unable to post for some time…
I’ll consider your recommendation in the future.
Life is filled with ups and downs. It’s a good idea to have a ‘stash’ of extra posts but writers can always ‘re-purpose’ articles. Take an article and write it from a different viewpoint. If writers can write quickly, they won’t have to worry about missing days here and there.
Debra Stang says
Thank you for sharing this advice. I’ve had to take breaks from blogging and each time I’ve felt like I owed it to my readers to “apologize” for being gone. Now I know better. Onwards and upwards!
Great advice. For me it’s almost instinct to recognize an absence, even with it’s just a mention of how busy I’ve been putting client work first. I usually try to share something valuable that I’ve learned while working at applying the techniques and skills that I blog about. It’s worked well so far, and it’s comforting to see that I may just be on the right track handling my blogging habits this way. 🙂
John Soares says
Gayla, really good points here.
I also think it’s important to let readers know if we will be taking a planned hiatus from posting. I took 4 weeks off from all of my blogs from mid-December to mid-January. I’d just landed two large and well-paying freelance writing jobs, and my girlfriend and I had a one-month house-sitting gig in Santa Cruz, California. I focused my time there on working, visiting with our friends, hiking, going to beaches, and eating in good restaurants.
And when I came back online, I wrote a post about what to do if you take a break from blogging.
Nina c. says
Lately, my life has been really crazy and I have to disappear. I always do an apology post but thanks to your article I see why this is not so good. I thought it was a good thing but I see where it would leave your followers feeling hollow. Will not be doing that again, thank you!
barb g says
I’m so glad to see someone else that believes you should never write an apology post! I just don’t understand why some blog owners feel they need to apologize. I write when I want & if I don’t want to 1 day I just don’t I’m not going to apologize for it. I’m also happy you check out blogs as I could use some traffic. 🙂
Gayla Baer-Taylor says
@ Joanne – thanks for stopping by.
@ Ari – Yes, it does come back to bite!
@ Dina – thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂
@ Maria – True – an intro to hiatus is a good idea – so readers won’t be looking for updates and then not get them. Good idea.
@ Lorne – Agreed – I’m trying to teach my kids now that everything that goes on the Internet is permanent – make sure you want your words to be a part of your overall footprint.
@ Clara – Thanks for commenting. Sorry about your computer – hope everything is back to normal now.
@ Rebecca – I like re purposing old articles!
@ Debra – Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂
@ Ginger – Glad you’ve found techniques that work well. Good luck with those 🙂
@ John – Indeed it’s good to let them know when you’re going to be away for a planned period of time. It’s nice to be able to get those little escapes to focus on real life matters that are near and dear 🙂 Can’t be all work and no play, can it?
@ Nina – Hope you find a technique that works well with your readers 🙂
@ Barb – Agreed – not everyone is online 24/7 – time away shouldn’t be of great concern and certainly doesn’t warrant an apology. It’s life 🙂
Joe Duncko says
This is some great advice. I never thought of having a stash of emergency posts before. May be a good idea… but, as I am new to blogging, I don’t post very often, so I only post what I have. Maybe I should work on finding a balance of sorts…
Jennifer L says
You know, I have been guilty a few times of writing, “I’m sorry for my absence” when I’ve been offline for more than a few days, but you’ve inspired me to not do that anymore. I plan to either 1) not be absent for more than a few days if possible, 2) have an emergency evergreen post or two in the wings to post or 3) explain where I’m going beforehand. Thanks for the suggestions!
I read something decades ago –back when people wrote letters– that you should never start a letter with an apology for not writing.
I took that to heart, and sometimes impishly began a letter with the quote about how I shouldn’t apologize, so I wouldn’t, then I forged ahead.
The same goes for blogs, and it makes just as much sense. You’re posting NOW, which is all that matters. Make the best of it.
Emergency posts..that brilliant. I never thought about it before. Thanks for the idea. I never had to apologize since I think they didn’t even notice that (I only have small blogs and want to develop it).
Simply Three Cents says
Thanks for the advice. I suppose it is really true, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Jacob Andrews says
Over-apologizing is a huge weakness of mine in every area of life. Thanks for this.
New blogger has a question – Is it appropriate to blog about the reason why you haven’t been posting, if you can make a good/helpful/informative blog post out of it?
Raspal Seni says
I have also apologized a couple of times when posting late. Right now, I’m late for posting on my tech blog, but the reason is the post is becoming lengthy and when it’s completed and finally posted, it’d be a killer post. I felt I should just write a short post about why I didn’t post two days ago, but now I won’t do that. I’m gonna publish a valueable post anyway.
Nice post, will keep these tips in mind hence. This is an old post but still a new advice for me.