Why Taking a Break From Blogging Will Not Cause Your Subscribers to Flee

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.


53 thoughts on “Why Taking a Break From Blogging Will Not Cause Your Subscribers to Flee”

  1. Dave says:

    Good point, though I bet you did start to see a dip in your traffic during that month.

    I’ve taken 1 week off from time to time over the years, but 1 month seems like too much of an opportunity to let competitors catch up.

    I’d rather schedule fewer posts over those weeks, so at least something new is being put out during that time.

    1. I think that while they may not unsubscribe, they may lose interest. I have had breaks on my blog before, and while it doesn’t lose me subscribers, it definitely loses me momentum!

      1. Stratos Jets says:

        I’ve had a full 12 months in between blog posts before.. and I still had 100 subscribers in Feedburner when I resumed!

        1. And did you loose when you resume ?

      2. Yeah your own personal momentum and traffic momentum gets killed when you stop.

    2. I prefer to do it this way as well. I really don’t agree with this post and am not sure why it was posted.

      Seems more like a justification for not posting!

      Great bloggers never make excuses for not adhering to a regular posting schedule.

    3. Yup, surely traffic will be go down — traffic from feed and also from Search Engine.

  2. I agree with Dave, either schedule fewer posts or have the ability for bloggers to guest post on your off days.

    1. And those should have quality ones.

      Because of this pattern I really like Dosh Dosh.

      He do not write too often but when he writes every people want to read this one.

  3. chester says:

    It may not cause the subscribers to flee but I think it may cause Google to spider you less and perhaps result in lower search engine rankings.

    1. Good point! Google LOVES fresh content…

  4. elie palima says:

    what??? 80 subscribers for a 1 year old blog?!

    HollyyyyS***t..

    1. Roman says:

      That’s right. Feel sorry for me.

      1. Tim Linden says:

        He’s just jealous that John Chow decided to publish your post..

        1. elie palima says:

          @ roman, Don’t take it seriously. it’s just a way I “react” and I think I over-reacted there a little.. ๐Ÿ™‚

          @tim. Yeah, I’m Very jealous

        2. I’m sure the fact that John Chow published this post is bound to give a bit of a boost in the readership of Roman’s blog.

          Having gone there myself I just have to add that perhaps a little bit more eye-candy could be great to draw and keep the attention of a larger audience.

      2. What traffic has this guest post brought you? Increased your RSS?

  5. Trying to rationalize not posting? O lordy

    1. Diabetis says:

      I think that he is just trying to reason out his lack of time to post or better known as being lazy.

  6. Darko says:

    Lol this is common sense.

  7. ilker yoldas says:

    I didn’t blog properly for a year and my RSS feed reader increased! (albeit very minuscule).

    Moral of the story: if you provide value, people will stick around.

  8. Very True Roman, I had a similar experience with my blog. I didn’t post for more than 30 days at one point (over Christmas) and didn’t lose a single subscriber, in fact I actually increased my numbers.

    My traffic dropped quite a bit though.

  9. Diabetis says:

    The simplest reason is that they have probably forgotten about it.

  10. adrienne says:

    I think it can depend on the topic of your blog.

    I subscribe to a blog that was a blogging tips blog and she stop posting for 1 1/2 months. I unsubscribed after 2weeks and just noticed the other day that she finally posted.

    Since reading about blogging was important to me, her break caused me to replace her with someone who posts several times a week.

    If it’s a personal blog I wouldn’t mind the break and wouldn’t unsubscribe.

    1. Yeah, depends on the blog. I have some blogs that I’m waiting patiently for a new post even though they haven’t blogged in a month. If it’s a news site and they don’t blog regularly it’s gone.

  11. Shirley says:

    Great point, Roman. Great point. Sometimes that’s a worry for me too. But I guess I don’t have to :).

    1. But what about a post or announcement that you are taking a break and in the mean time sharing your holiday moments with your readers.

      That will be great too.

  12. Divena says:

    I was always afraid of not posting to one of my blogs longer than 3 days, but a year ago I made the same experience like you, Roman when I left for 3 weeks holydays and didnยดt loose any of my subscribers during that time, too…

    But 80 subscribers is not much, perhaps you should change your design a bit, Roman? When I visited your blog it made me turn off straight away – even if your content is good – the design shows poor quality and this is what the visitor first sees and makes him turn away before he continues to read your blog…

  13. Gamers Plaza says:

    Good point ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. WordPress time stamp make it easy to take a break but still provide some content. Good post though.

  15. I also just aware of it. Readers unsubscribe from your feed subscriber is not because lack of post but usually because poor quality of post.

    1. Yes so keep posting quality posts and they will be with you.

      Instead of adding poor, boring and useless posts do not post.

      1. Quality over quantity.

  16. chester says:

    I prefer to do it this way as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. fas says:

    Followes will increase because people who usually visit the site and see not content, just subscribe.

  18. Neel Singh says:

    I guess it depends on the topic of your blog and the overall attitude of your readers. Some authorities have readers that depend on them to post on a regular basis. I think a good thing to do is make your readers aware that you are taking a break and leave them with something that will make them take action – like some sort of contest – that will continue to build momentum for your blog as you take the break.

  19. Scott Short says:

    Also, after a month, you shouldn’t have any shortage of writer’s block. What is considered poor quality post? I can write the best grammatical article of great quality, but it may be uninteresting to people whereas I can write familiarity with many glitches, yet people will want to read.

  20. Take some time off, it’s not the end of the world.

    1. Yes and when you will come back you will add more quality posts.

  21. Chris says:

    I find i’ll only unsubscribe to a blog if I get fed up with the posts. If a blogger doesn’t post for a couple of weeks thats ok, I have over 80 blogs in my reader. If I was the blogger I would mind about the traffic though, thats hard to get back.

  22. Mathew Day says:

    I know I don’t unsubscribe from lists just because they take a break here and there, so I truly agree with your post.

    Thanks for sharing your insight, cause I have never actually thought about it before like that, but it does make sense.

    …. and now I’m going to be taking a little vacation from mine. lol

    1. But blogger have some kind of fear of lose.

      These are natural as well.

  23. Thanks for clearing that fear from my brain.

    You make a very valid point here.

  24. Good Post! I’ve wanted to take a monthlong break but I was always scared to do so because I thought I would lose readers. I’ve never thought about it but you’re right, no post means you aren’t at the forefront of your readers minds and giving them a reason to unsubscribe. I know I’ve sometimes written a post just to be posting and needless to say, the quality was not there. Quality over quantity!!

  25. I really agree with you. It is much more important to provide good content rather than write often. People will stick around if you give value even if it is not often.

  26. S Ahsan says:

    Ok heres my point: if you are legit and make sweet posts, your subscribers will stick around whether you blog or get away for a while. I had 400+ subscribers in the second month of blogging which is amazing for me. Didnt expect this at all and its growing rapidly. I am glad that i am able to provide the best for them. Its about the quality and originality that matters. if you are able to make a difference, none will leave your side ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Good point. But do not make it too long that contents appear old fashioned. It also depends on type of reader, so will notice that and start questioning ! So it depends.

  28. Sounds risky. But glad to hear your absence didn’t hurt you. Thanks for the info.

  29. Wow! This was a real eye opener. I have never thought of it this way.

    Now that I recall, the only times I’ve unsubscribed from a blog is when the blogger writes too many hasty/crappy/redundant posts or when there is a really bad post from a blog after a long hiatus.

    Thanks to you and Roman for sharing this useful info. Will keep it in mind.

  30. Really true…..users really get irritated out of junk posts filling their mailboxes rather than mailing infrequent uality posts

  31. I think Author should write more about the fear of blogger and he will be master in this niche. ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. KS Chen says:

    Absolutely! I really focus on to provide a quality post instead of just post anything that is rambling. Quality of content is the most important for a blog to survive. Thanks for sharing!

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