Throughout my blogging career, there were times I've had to take extended breaks from one of my three blogs for one reason or another. Whether is was to free up my time to take on other projects or for personal reasons, (like having a baby), sometimes an extended break is necessary. Will it hurt the momentum of your blog? Maybe, nothing beats 110% effort, but your blog (and all the work you put into it) doesn't have to die because you need to step away for a while…. even if you're not sure just how long you will be gone.
Cut down your posting schedule
What's the least amount of posting you can do without hurting your traffic? This is a good question to ask even if you're not taking a break. Chances are, you might be posting too much. IFB used to post three posts a day, and found that was a bit overwhelming for the readers. If you're posting three times a day, try one time a day. If you're posting daily try three times a week, or once a week. Maybe twice a month is sufficient to keep your blog alive while you're gone.
Streamline your content
I'd like to think writing posts counted for 90% of my time blogging, but the reality is just as much times goes into researching and mulling over what goes on the blog as it does actually creating it. What are your most time intensive posts? Why do they take so much time? Is there a way to streamline them? Maybe focus on the types of posts that generate the most traffic, are they outfit posts? Are they list posts? Focus on that particular type of post and keep that going while cutting out the rest of your content.
Say cutting back isn't an option. You might have advertisers, affiliate links, you might be depending on your blog for income. If you have money coming into your blog a great option to keep things going while you're on break is to hire contributors. Post a job listing on your blog or the ProBlogger job board to see what you get. It may not work for every type of blog (personal style blogging) but if your blog has more of a news or industry focus, you might benefit from having more than one voice anyway.
Bring on a partner
Bringing on a partner is a lot easier said than done. Finding the “right” business is just as hard as finding the right romantic partner… but if you have a friend who is interested in blogging, and wants to give it a try, it might be a win/win situation for both of you to allow your friend or partner to take over for a while until you get back.
Streamline your Social Media
Social Media is the biggest time suck for bloggers. We're expected to be everywhere all the time. Or are we? Are you spending hours on Twitter getting nothing done? Stop it right now. If you're on a break, focus on your break. Save all those hours for your blog, and if you have time, goof around on Social Media. Tweet or Facebook once a day, and leave it. I know, they say “engagement” is so important, but so is your life. People will engage when you get back and have the time for it.
Focus on one Social Media presence
If you're having a hard time cutting the umbilical cord of Social… focus on one platform. Where are your readers most likely at? What will take the least amount of your time? Instagram is great for personal style bloggers to keep connected with their communities (but be careful, sometimes Instagram takes over). While I was away, I focused on Facebook because I talked a lot about personal things. It was great to keep connected, while not getting lost in the noise.
Stay in touch with your blogging friends
Just because you're not blogging, doesn't mean you have to fall out completely. Pick a few of your blogging friends (or blogs that you just read) and stay in touch. Keep commenting, engage with them on social media, or if you know them personally, keep your lunch dates. It makes things so much easier when you do come back to have those relationships still in tact.
Don't take on new projects
If you do have enough time to squeak out a couple of posts a week, maybe it's time just to not take on new projects. Don't work with brands when you don't have time to put your all into a project. Prioritize… is your blog the main reason why you're getting these projects? If so, then maintaining your blog is more important than the projects.
Limit your time spent on blogging
Say you have enough time to blog if you limit yourself to one hour a day. Or one hour a week. That hour (or whatever time you have) can really be the lifeline your blog needs to stay active while you're on hiatus. Limit your time and stick to that limit. Some time is better than no time.
Don't delete your blog
A lot of bloggers delete their blog when they think they aren't going to blog again. Even if you can't post, you can't spend time on social media, and you don't know you will return, keep your blog alive. I've seen bloggers return after extended silence and keep up their new blogs. It CAN happen.. but not if you delete your blog.
Have you taken an extended break? How did you keep things going? How did you return? Do share!