One of the most common blog phenomena you’ll see around the blogosphere is the apology post. Bloggers apologizing for not posting in a while. Bloggers saying I’m sorry for being away for whatever reason. Almost always the apologies are followed by a promise to post more. What is the reason for the time away? It could be work, it could be home life, it could be that you just haven’t felt like blogging. It could be any number of reasons. All reasons being justified, if you can’t blog, you can’t blog. The question is, do you have to post an apology on your blog to excuse your absence?
While you may think it’s a nice gesture to your readers, it’s really not necessary to write a post and feature that apology.
For many visitors, it is the first time landing on your blog. If the first post they see is an apology for absence this may send the wrong message to that first time visitor, because they are wise and know of the common blog apology/promise post. They’ll see that infamous - “I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I promise to post more” - line and they’ll slip away. Many blog readers want to see activity on blogs. If they see that apology and see the date of the previous post that’s a warning sign of no activity and they’ve moved on to a similar blog who they’ve now fallen in love with.
Who are you apologizing to anyway? If you’ve been gone, it stands to reason that your readers have also moved on too and mostly likely they aren’t checking back daily. But, let’s say you have returned with rejuvenated motivation to blog, and you want people to visit your blog now that you are back. You’ve tweeted and emailed your regulars, what is the first thing you want them to see? An apology post?
Very rarely do you see any of the top bloggers apologizing for being gone, that’s because they very rarely are gone and have committed to blogging full time and they may also have interns or employees who can fill in the gaps. But there are many ways that you can Ferris Bueller your way through your time away.
- Make use of an app to make simple mobile posts while you are gone.
- Come up with a category for short posts and make use of asides, quotes, links and videos. Not all your posts have to be essays.
- Remove post dates from the posts on your front page.
- If you know you’ll be away, write a post with links to your most popular posts, with a calls to action for each of those posts getting readers to join the comments discussion.
- If you know you’ll be away, throw up maintenance page – create some suspense, tease readers with a promise of a makeover or something new on its way. That will keep them checking back and buy you some time.
If you really feel strongly about apologizing instead of making a post, use an announcement plugin to create a temporary banner somewhere on your blog, apologize on twitter and your other social media outlets, or make the apology in your next email/newsletter to your subscribers. The point is really to avoid using a post to highlight and feature that you’ve been gone. There are plenty of other ways to make it up to readers, one of the best ways is just pick up where you left off.
What to do when you do return
- Make some design updates and surprise your readers with a sparkly new theme.
- Engage in pending discussion in your posts’ comments.
- Write a flurry of posts and have them ready to go after you’ve alerted your subscribers
- Introduce a new feature or series.