In this post Roman from How this Website Makes Money describes how after taking a month vacation from blogging he was glad to see that all his subscribers were still there.
My blog is one year old. For the last year I have devoted at least 9 hours a week to the blog. Since I keep track of all my hours I know that for the entire year I have spent 511 hours on the blog.
So this Christmas I took a month long break. A break from everything. From writing posts, reading other blogs, visiting forums, leaving comments, and agonizing over my slow progress. Needless to say, the blog free month was total bliss.
But before I took the break I had a problem.
In the last year I managed to get 80 subscribers. 80 people that, because of their personal quirks, found my blog interesting enough to promise to come back by subscribing to my feed. 80 followers is nothing compared to other blogs that can boast 1000’s – but I loved my 80 followers because they were mine. My precious followers – the gang.
Before I took the break I was worried that I would let the gang down by not posting for a month. It is a mantra, preached everyday from the highest rooftops, that you need to post often. To keep your subscribers happy and interested you need to post often. The argument follows the logic: why would anybody continue to subscribe to a blog that does not have a steady and frequent flow of posts?
At first glance, and without really thinking about it, I agreed with the logic. I do not know why, but it just sounded right. So I was concerned that my break would result in the lose of a few of my precious followers. But I desperately needed a break. So hell – if taking a break meant loosing followers then so be it.
The month went by quickly. It was time to get back to the blog. I checked my Feedburner stats. Over the month of no posts, I gained 4 followers.
What happened? Why did I not lose any subscribers?
The answer is simple. It is difficult for your followers to unsubscribe if you do not post.
Usually people are subscribed to many feeds. So the only time they become aware of a particular feed is when they receive a new post either in their inbox or in their reader. This is a crucial point. Most of your subscribers are not aware of you if you do not post. They completely forget about you. They are not going to wake up and suddenly think, “I am going to unsubscribe to blog xyz today – it is really bothering me that I have not seen a post in a long time.” When you do not post you are invisible and safe from people unsubscribing.
The only time to worry about people unsubscribing is when you post because that is when they are presented with an option to unsubscribe. Each post is a risk, because each post gives them the option to leave. Be more fearful of writing a hasty and poor quality post then of writing no post at all.
My month break gave them no chance to leave. I forgot about them and they forgot about me. Instead of writing poor posts followed by the unsubscribe link, I offered no posts at all.
So if you are thinking about taking a break from blogging, but worried that you will loose all your followers, don’t be. They will not realize you are gone. And then when you do come back and they receive a quality post they will quickly forgive your absence.