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July 23, 2015

Tips for blog posts while vacationing

by Donna Huber

In my part of the world there is a month or less until the start of the school year. For those whose family or professional life are dictated by a school calendar, you may be trying to fit in one last trip out of town. If you don't want your blog to be a ghost town while you are away I have a few suggestions.

If you blog only once or twice a week, you may just close the virtual doors for the week. I do recommend letting your readers know that you are on vacation and not disappearing for good (it happens).


Old is new again
Take a look at your past posts. Do you have a post that did really well but hasn't been seen in a while? If the content is still relevant then copy. paste, and schedule. Now you have a "new" post to go out while you are gone that didn't take much time. If you have a bit of time consider polishing it up with any updates - new links, deleting irrelevant content, etc.

Perhaps you reviewed a book that is now a television show or recently released movie (added to Netflix/Amazon Prime or newly out on DVD). Again copy, paste, schedule! Update the book cover if there's a new one since you reviewed.

This is my go-to for easy posts. What books are you packing with you on vacation? You can actually do multiple lists like this if you have kids as you can do a list of 'books that keep my 6 year old entertained in the car', etc.

If you want to have a little fun, find books about where you are going and have your readers guess. You can do a list in as one post or you can give "hints" in a new post each day you are gone. You might have one book with a character from there, another book set in the place, and a book featuring something well known about the place (ie. if you are going some where with a famous lighthouse, you may find a book where a lighthouse play prominently in story even if it isn't the lighthouse where you are going).

Blog takeover
If you have some time to plan and you know several authors, you may see if they want to do a blog take over one day while you are gone. They can write up a guest post and then have them share it out and monitor comments.


Automatic feeds
What's the point of having new blog posts scheduled while you are on vacation if there is no promotion happening? Thankfully there are ways to automate the sharing of posts so that you don't have to manually go in during your vacation and do that daily.

If you use Hootsuite, go to settings and then RSS/Atom. clickthe + button and fill in the info. You can set it you post to any or all of your social media networks (you will need to have the networks set up in Hootsuite first) and you can custom write a message that goes out with the post.

Your RSS feed manager may also offer this option. I have mine set up with Feedburner to auto-post to Twitter. And my blog (it's with Blogger) is tied to my Google+ account and auto publishes there.

If you are already part of a tribe(s) then you blog post will automatically feed there, but be sure to fill up your sharing stream before you leave on vacation so you are still sharing everyone's posts while you are gone.

Ask friends
Do you have some blogging friends or avid readers who follow your blog? If so, you can ask them to check in on your blog while you are gone and share your posts to their social networks and perhaps leave a comment or two on a post. This can be unreliable as people get busy and forget so I would do this in conjunction with one of the methods above.

Comment Moderation

If you typically moderate your comments, you may need to turn this off while you are gone. I don't moderate comments. I do require the commenter to sign into an account (no anonymous comments). I get a couple of spam comments a month. I don't think the spammers will suddenly find you in the few days you are gone.

If you are moderating for other purposes other than to reduce spam comments, then you may need to just turn off comments while you are gone.

Whether you turn off comments or continue to moderate, you will want to note in each post that you are on vacation and comments may not be approved or turned off until you return.

What tips do you have for when you go on vacation?

Remember to take pictures while you are away that may come in handy in future blog posts, especially if a book you reading on vacation will later be reviewed on your blog.

Have a great trip!

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