Last RSSpectsCan you resuscitate your dead blog?

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Defibrillator

It's official - I'm the cartoon blogger for BlogWorld Expo, coming this October in Las Vegas. And as part of my duties, I'm running a weekly cartoon on their blog. This post originally accompanied one of them.

It can be hard to admit, but blogs have a life cycle – and, in some cases, a best-before date that may be well in the past. Your passion for the subject matter wanes; other interests beckon; your readers and commenters, maybe sensing your faltering commitment, move on to other venues.

And that’s okay. There’s no shame in saying that a blog has run its course. But as Allison Boyer wrote in a post on BlogWorld a while ago, even the most moribund of blogs may not be beyond resuscitation (and she offered a few suggestions for virtual CPR).

If you’re starting to notice the unpleasant smell of decay whenever you visit your blog, here are a few more ideas for bringing it back to life:

  • Redefine the subject. If your interests have changed, then let your readers know you’ll be introducing a new topic, and shifting the emphasis there.
  • Redefine the scope. If your blog died because you couldn’t keep up with the expectations you set around frequency, depth or comprehensiveness, then dial that back. Focus your energies more narrowly. Maybe instead of daily wall-to-wall coverage of a subject, you want to post twice a week on one aspect of it – and one of those posts is a collection of links, instead of your usual 20-paragraph essays.
  • Call in reinforcements. If you don’t think you can do it alone, but you have one or more colleagues or friends with similar interests and solid blogging skills, see if they’d be interested in joining your blog. The mutual encouragement can go a long way to getting you past a slump.
  • Hand it over. Find someone who shares your passion – or the passion you once had – and transfer the blog to them. You’ll know that all your hard work will still be alive and appreciated; they’ll be able to launch with a built-in readership and traffic stream to build on.

Still not feeling it? If you’re sure it’s time to close the doors and turn off the lights, then go ahead. But let your readers know you’re doing it. And give serious consideration to keeping your blog online (with comments switched off if you don’t plan to reply to them, or weed out spam). It’ll serve as a resource for others… and, if your interest should be rekindled or your spare time suddenly reappear, you’ve left the door open to a return from the grave.

I guess we've just reached the age when we start seeing our friends' blogs die.

Comments

Christine Rondeau says

July 22, 2010 - 10:20am

How about kiling specific blog posts? I'm re-launching my site soon and went through 300 or so posts. People have said that i shouldn't delete old posts, but I just couldn't help it. I dislike finding info that no longer applies when searching for help/tips online. So I just deleted posts that I thought were not relevant anymore. I don't think that the internet should be treated like a dumping ground. Old, irrelevant info should be deleted in my opinion.

Rob Cottingham says

July 25, 2010 - 1:21pm

As Alex has written, I think it's important to revisit our tech truths from time to time - those maxims that get repeated so often we treat them as inviolate laws of physics. And one of them is "Never Delete a Blog Post."

Maybe a compromise would be a plugin that would let you set up some simple logic to flag posts of a certain age with a particular tag or category, so a large banner reading "Don't trust a word of this - it's probably outdated" appears above them in blinking red text.

Or, in the case of one or two tutorial posts I've written, maybe I should just preface it with "Deprecated post - no longer supported."

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