Blogging without breaks

Wall Street Journal: No day at the beach.

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.

This is a fascinating, and slightly worrying, article about the "A" list bloggers. Andrew Sullivan (The Daily Dish) went on vacation and his dialy hitcount dropped dramatically. There’s a good quote from Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) at the end: "I need a vacation more than I care about the traffic." The scary quote is from Mark Lisanti (Defamer), who joked "My plan is to die face down on the desk in the middle of a post."

These are people who make a living from their blogs, they have advertisers and employers to please. But it was the pressure that they feel that surprised me. I try to post twice a week. More often if I spot something amusing in the news or something interesting happens. If I’m on holiday the blog goes "dark" and there are no posts at all. Some of these people post several times a day, every day, even while on holiday, or while driving to their vacation spot.

I’m happy as a "Z" list blogger.