Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I’ve been building websites for authors for over a decade. Many of them were built with blogs. So it’s not surprising that after all this time, I occasionally get the question, “I want to stop blogging. Is that okay? Will it hurt book sales?”
Look, unless you are a professional blogger with a following in the thousands, the chances are that you are not going to be inclined or inspired to continue blogging for more than a few years. Eventually, that fire burns out.
Here are three questions I frequently get when people want to stop blogging, and what you as an author need to know about cutting ties with your blog.
1. Can I just stop blogging cold turkey? Should I notify my followers?
Yes, you absolutely can just quit if you want. There’s nothing stopping you. If you’re done, you’re done.
However, it’s probably a good idea for you to thank your followers by writing a last post that explains why you’re going to “take a break” from blogging. I would refrain from saying that you’re quitting for good — you never know when you might get the urge again. Some followers might be disappointed, but they’ll understand.
2. Should I shut down my blog completely?
If you no longer want to be responsible for maintaining a domain name, site hosting, images, etc… you certainly can. That’s especially true if you’re walking away from writing altogether and get no benefit from eyeballs on your site.
But my strong recommendation is that you leave your blog as it is and simply let your already-created posts continue to live on. Here’s why.
All of your previous blog posts have been submitted to Google, and are likely already showing up on some people’s search results. That’s the result of the work that you put into them. Ditto with any links to your blog posts from other sites, social shares, etc… If you take your blog down completely, you will lose all those placements. If you do nothing and just allow the posts to live on in infamy, you’ll still get traffic to them. And as long as there’s a plug for your book on the pages where those blog posts live, you’ll still potentially generate sales from them.
Now here’s the tricky part: if your blog is a stand-alone entity (i.e. its own domain name), there’s little reason why you should change anything after you stop blogging. Just let it sit. If, however, your blog is a section of a larger author website that you want to maintain, my recommendation is that you keep the blog posts living, but take the links to your blog off the site. In other words, if “blog” was one of the tabs in your navigation, have it removed. You certainly don’t want a user coming to the site, clicking on a “blog” link and seeing that you haven’t updated it in several years. Just removing that link should rid you of the problem.
3. How will it impact traffic to my website and/or book sales if I stop blogging?
I’d be lying if I said there would be no impact at all if you stopped blogging. Just having regularly-published content that is optimized for the search engines drives additional traffic to your site. There’s no question about that. And since traffic = book sales, you may see a small hit there as well.
But the impact might not be quite as huge as you fear. After all, if you keep your old blog posts alive, the equity that those have built over time will still be sending traffic your way. In addition, if you maintain your author website apart from the blog, that will continue to generate some of the traffic you had before — especially if people are searching for your name or your book title.
Just how much your site traffic and book sales are impacted can vary when you stop blogging — depending on how much you relied on your blog for site traffic before. If nothing else, take a short time off of blogging and assess the difference before deciding whether to quit altogether.
So, in short, if you want to stop blogging, here are my key takeaways for you:
- Don’t take the blog down completely. You don’t want to lose the equity you’ve built over time.
- Look at it as taking a break from blogging. You can always change your mind later if you’re re-inspired, or if you see that your traffic is significantly impacted.
- Remove any links to your blog from your author website. You don’t want to drive people to something outdated.