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Much Ado About Blogger’s Vacations

by Pamela Leavey

Many bloggers wrestle with keeping their blogs on top of the news and updated with new content frequently. In the world of the internets and 24/7 news, staying current is time consuming, at best. Today, the Wall Street Journal takes a look at what bloggers do when they want to take a vacation and how it affects their traffic.

In the height of summer-holiday season, bloggers face the inevitable question: to blog on break or put the blog on a break? Fearing a decline in readership, some writers opt not to take vacations. Others keep posting while on location, to the chagrin of their families. Those brave enough to detach themselves from their keyboards for a few days must choose between leaving the site dormant or having someone blog-sit.

To be sure, most bloggers don’t agonize over this decision. Of the 12 million bloggers on the Internet, only about 13% post daily, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Even fewer — 10% — spend 10 or more hours a week on their blogs.

Yet for the sliver of people whose livelihood depends on the blog — whether they are conservative, liberal or don’t care — stepping away from the keyboard can be difficult. Unlike other jobs, where co-workers can fill in for an absent employee, blogs are usually a one-person show. A blogger’s personality carries the site. When the host isn’t there, readers tend to stray. August is a slow time for all blogs, but having an absent host makes the problem worse. Lose enough readers, and advertisers are sure to join the exodus.

The issue of when and how to take a vacation for bloggers is similar to the same decision most self-employed people face and it’s a tough one. When people come to depend on you for a service, a product or in this case blog content, it’s hard to turn your back on those people for even a few days. But hey, everyone needs a break now and then. As Kevin Drum, author of Washington Monthly’s blog Political Animal, put it, at some point, “You just have to let go.”

I’ve come to learn over the past 11 years of being self-employed, that my clients understand my need to take a break every now and then, and the bottom line is that most self employed people are self employed because they prefer among other things to dictate their own schedules. Regardless, given the nature of my business, it tough to take any extended break and when I do it’s geared around my off seasons.

With Labor Day around the corner, I won’t be flying the coop myself this weekend, but I plan to enjoy a little break now and then with my daughter and some friends. Like Kevin said, sometimes you just have to let go, and a little down time is healthy for everyone. August is reportedly the slowest time in the blogosphere, if readers can take a break, so too, can bloggers…

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