The great advantage to working for yourself as a professional blogger is that, for the most part, you get to set your own schedule. You can set your own hours, if you want to set hours at all, and you don’t have to ask a manager for approval when you want to go on vacation. And while there is certainly the temptation to keep working even when you’re away from the office, we all need a break sometimes.
However, unlike a more traditional work environment where the business might continue to run as normal in your absence, your blog is different. Because it’s just you (mostly). To this end, it’s important that you put the right preparations in place before you decide to hop on a plane and disappear for a few days on a tropical island somewhere.
Set Earlier Deadlines
Human nature being what it is, we all have the habit of pushing everything until the very last minute. And we can sometimes be overly optimistic about how much we think we can accomplish within a certain amount of time. Maybe you’re not like that, but if you are, it’s far easier to work around these pitfalls than to figure out how to eliminate them.
To this end, if there’s anything that needs to be done before you leave for your trip, set yourself a deadline well ahead of your actual departure date. Working a new video you want to upload to YouTube? Tell yourself that video needs to be ready to roll a whole week before you leave. This way, if anything does go sideways, you’ve got enough wiggle room to address it before you have to leave.
Schedule Your Blog Posts
Back when I address this topic more than 10 years ago, it was still the general expectation that blog posts were written “on the spot.” If someone published a post today, it meant they wrote it today (or at least finished writing it today). That’s no longer the case, nor does it need to be.
Just about every content management system (CMS) out there, including WordPress, has built in functionality for your to “time stamp” or “schedule” your blog posts into any point in the future. What this means, and this connects to the previous point, is that you can “pre-write” enough content to fill the time when you’ll be on your blogging vacation.
Unless you proclaim to the world that you’ll be away, most people won’t even know that you’re missing, because your blog will continue to be updated with new content. Plan ahead and pre-write (and schedule) enough posts to align with your usual publishing frequency.
Automate Your Social Media
This relates to the previous point too. Just as you can schedule blog posts well in advance, you can do the same with most social media platforms too. For Twitter, you might use a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to help manage your scheduled Twitter posts. On Facebook, the publishing tool for your Facebook page allows you to schedule posts into the future too.
For promoting the new blog content that’ll be going up on your site, you might use the Publicize function in the Jetpack plugin for WordPress. This allows you to decide on the platforms where you want the post to be shared, as well as the text snippet that should accompany it. Conversely, you can grab what will be the live URL and schedule it accordingly too.
Outsource and Delegate as Necessary
No man is an island and your blog doesn’t need to exist in isolation. It’s about figuring out how you can scale your business and eventually remove yourself from the picture altogether.
When you go on a blogging vacation, it’s like a short-term experiment for what your blog would look like if you were no longer actively working on it. Outsourcing some tasks can save you time and ultimately earn you more money in the long run.
You can hire someone to respond to comments, both on your blog and on social media, for example. If you have blogging friends, you can develop a “buddy” system too.
Upload Key Assets to the Cloud
Okay, I know I said that we could all use a break, and it’s probably in the best interest of your sanity that you actually unplug every now and then. Even so, it always pays to be prepared in case of a potential disaster. And even if it never quite escalates to that level, you’ll have the peace of mind that you can handle a situation should it arise.
What you consider to be your “key assets” will vary, but it’s good to keep a copy of these files and documents somewhere in the cloud so you can access it from anywhere, anytime. This could be in Google Drive, Dropbox, or a personal NAS system like the WD My Cloud Home. Need a critical file while away? No problem.
What about you? When you decide to step away from the blog for a few days, what steps do you take to prepare for your absence?