Monday, April 23, 2007

How to Know When It’s Time to Shut Down Your Blog

I’ve been blogging for a little over two years now. And, to be honest, there were times when I wanted to just shut it down. I’ve even gone as long as a month without updating it. But, alas, like an addict, I started to update it again.

While blogging may be addictive, following are two signs it’s time to shut down your blog. NOTE: I’m referring to professional blogs, not personal ones.

1. Not updating regularly: If its hard for you to find the time to blog, maybe it’s time for you to shut it down.

Blogs that are irregularly updated reeks of unprofessionalism – in my opinion. It’s like an unfinished project you leave out there for the world to see. To gain a base readership, readers have to be able to depend on you to deliver on a regular basis. And, regular could be whatever you set them up to expect, eg, daily, weekly, bi-monthly, etc.

TIP: The less you update, the longer your posts should be. And, twice a month is about the longest you should go without updating. Once a week would be even better, with daily being the optimal.

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The point is, whatever schedule you set, let your readers know what to expect so your blog doesn’t look like it’s been abandoned.

2. No Marketing “Oomph”: I use my blog as a marketing vehicle. Updating it regularly has built a loyal readership who trust my opinion enough to purchase my e-books, e-classes, etc.
Being a full-time freelance writer leaves you with very little time to “doodle.” I make sure that every project I tackle during working hours has a direct impact on my bottom line. My blog is a big part of this.

So, if your blog is not helping your marketing efforts, it may be time to shut it down, or update it during non-working hours.

To make a living as a freelance writer, you have to become ruthless with your time – almost like an assassin. While this may seem a bit diabolical, it’s the difference between being able to make a full-time living, and complaining about not being able to make a full-time living.

NOTE: Sometimes your posts may have nothing to do with the subject of your blog. Maybe that day, you decide to go off topic. This is fine, it gives readers insight into your personality. But remember, readers flock to a blog, normally, because they want to learn something to help them achieve their goals. So, give them that on a regular basis.

How to Officially Shut Down Your Blog

Like quitting a job, there is a right and wrong way to officially shut down your blog.

Rule #1: Don’t just stop blogging. Give readers a shut-down date, eg, a “resignation post.” This will prime them for what’s to come.

Rule #2: Share your reason for shutting down the blog. You don’t have to go into grave details. Whether it’s because you’re too busy, a personal issue (eg, birth of a child, sick family member, new business venture, etc.).

Rule #3: Give readers some Q&A time before you sign off. Respect them enough to let them chime in. This is good for you as well because you never know how much you’re appreciated until you’re not there any more. Even if all the feedback is not good, it’s something you can take with you into your next venture.

I remember when I first shut down my site,, in December 2004 to revamp it. I received close to 100 emails within 30 minutes of sending out the “shut down” memo.

I saved the feedback because it was overwhelmingly positive and let me know how much users had appreciated me and my company over the years. When I’m feeling blue about business, sometimes I read through these emails. They are a real spirit booster.

Rule #4: Say “Thank You” to Your Readers. After you’ve answered all the feedback you can – and to make a concerted effort to respond to everyone – even if it’s just to acknowledge receipt of the email – send a final thank you and wish your readers well in their endeavors.

Now, that’s a classy way to end any relationship – even if it was only a virtual one.
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