I thought that given how long it has been since I wrote here, I’d start out with a topic which is appropriate for a blog about SEO and blogging and which also explains where I’ve been. The short version: I’ve had major upheavals in my life the past month or so which are frankly quite tragic (a close and dear friend was killed and then my mother was ill) which have had me dealing with “life interrupted” instead of working (I quite literally did no work for the past the month and am excited to finally be getting back to my job).
What Do You Do When Life Gets In the Way?
However, all this experience has made me consider the question of what to do when life gets in the way of running a professional blog such as this one. One possibility is to simply abandon blogging for the time when you are unavailable (as I have done this past month or so, though I don’t recommend it). However, there are other possibilities. I thought it might be useful to run through them here:
Hire Someone Temporarily
If you know you’ll be unavailable for a while, consider hiring someone else temporarily to help with running your blog. This person can be involved in writing on a day to day basis and you can even have someone ghostwrite for you so that you don’t have to worry about people thinking that you’ve disappeared.
This is of course only a good choice when you can plan ahead for such disruptions. However, there are other ideas you can try which will get you through a hump like I just went through (and which I’m now in the process of implementing).
Follow the Teacher’s Rule
In another life, I was a teacher in junior high school. I’d write lesson plans and teach my class for 45 minutes. However, every now and then, I’d find that the lesson plan didn’t go as planned or that it wouldn’t last the full 45 minutes. The solution to both of these problems was to have a stock of “fillers” to fill the time so that the kids weren’t running wild until class was over.
Fillers might have included doing a review in the form of a game (Jeopardy for example) or they might have included mini lessons which could easily be whipped out and run on a moment’s notice.
When it comes to blogging, you can use a similar idea — have a set of blog posts ready to post to your blog which are evergreen. These kinds of posts can be posted anytime so that you don’t have to worry about being topical (so for example, the piece I was working on about Yahoo Site Explorer is probably not relevant anymore, but the piece I have in the works about creating link wheels is still relevant because it’s a common SEO tactic which can be employed any time).
The key is to have a list of topics which can be employed in your field of expertise and then to write them up as a kind of “rainy day” set of blog posts. You can then pre-post them on your blog using the scheduling feature (both WordPress and Blogger have this) so that they appear whenever and wherever they need to appear, even though you are preoccupied with something else.
Another possibility, especially if you have a popular blog with a decent PR rating is to encourage guest posts. There is actually a plugin available for WordPress which will allow people to submit guest posts automatically and then to simply allow you to approve them (or edit them as the case may be).
There are also several popular services available where you can offer your blog as a place to have guest posts published and this can help you get over the hump as well (one that I like is Blogger LinkUp though there are others).
Treat it Like Brushing Your Teeth or Showering
Finally, for those who have iron willpower, it is also possible to treat this like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. You wouldn’t go without showering or brushing your teeth each day (and if you would, you have far bigger problems than not getting to your blog), so consider blogging to be part of your daily routine. You wake up, you brush your teeth, take a shower, get dressed, pour a cup of coffee and write your daily blog post.
It doesn’t work for everyone because you quite literally have to make it into something you do every day, but for some, simply making their blog a daily part of their routine is enough to ensure that life will never get in the way of running your blog.