Avoid the Abandoned Blog Phenomenon

Blogging Editorial CalendarThose who read my book know that I am a big advocate of scheduling content on a regular basis.[1]

As Woody Allen famously said, 80% of success is showing up. He is right, you know. I believe that’s the case when it comes to blogging as well. Showing up on the blogging front means posting new content on a regular basis.

However, after following a predictable trajectory, in the long run many – if not most – blogs end up being abandoned.

A blog usually starts with a bang. The author is hyper-motivated. They’ll publish a series of posts, share their blog with family and friends, get some good feedback, and then… Then life gets in the way, web traffic disappoints one’s lofty expectations, posting becomes less frequent and more sporadic, monetization efforts fail or fall very short of the mark, and so on until a blogger pretty much gives up on their site entirely.

But wait… they’ll be back here and there with an apology post for not having posted much lately, then they’ll publish a little more before, sooner or later, disappearing entirely.[2] Life, after all, keeps getting in the way, and it’s not like all of us can retire off of this blogging thing.

That’s the usual path to blog despair.

Several months ago I received the following email:

I just finished your book and loved it. I also read your blog from time-to-time. Why did you stop blogging?

The subject was “y u no blog”. Why I no blog, indeed. You see, if you follow the steps within my book you can avoid the predictable pattern of blogging abandonment that happens to most people.

Blogging is a river, not a lake. The constant stream of new content that you post on your blog is what gives it an edge over other forms of content publishing. It’s part of what hooks readers to follow you, rather than just consuming the existing content with no expectation regarding what is coming around the bend next.

Blogging’s nature is also a curse. That strength quickly becomes a weakness if you fail to produce new content.

Amusingly enough, I myself failed to follow my own advice. My pattern of abandonment was slightly different, however.

Thanks to my blogging expertise, I still managed to monetize my “semi-abandoned” blogs quite well. They continued to bring in a decent side, passive income. They still, relying on existing content, managed to keep a steady traffic of new visitors.

Lack of blogging success is not what lead me personally to stop blogging on a frequent basis. A lack of proper organization did. This was compounded by the fact that I run a multitude of blogs. So the degree of organization required to pull it off is much higher in my case.

Sure, I can sit here and blame the number of blogs I run. I can blame being particularly busy with my day job, I can blame the beautiful weather we have in the Okanagan, I can blame my recent renewed focus on my health. What about the government? Yeah, sure, let’s blame them as well. 🙂

The real reason is me. I failed to blog regularly not due to lack of time. We all have the same 24 hours in any given day. I failed to blog regularly because I prioritized other things instead. Including some things that weren’t actually worth my time.

In short, I didn’t have my shit together[3]. I often also fell prey to black and white thinking. “Yeah, I could write a random post now, but I want to get back into blogging when I can do so regularly”. And so over time, months, and then in some cases, years quickly passed me by.

The buck stops here.

After significant research into productivity, time management, and personal development I can finally say that I’m headed in the right direction. It’s a process of course, but I’m well into it and am now organized enough to pull off the multiple blogs regular posting trick.

I’ve already rebooted this blog (posts go live on Monday), and my programming blog (posts go live on Tuesday). Math Blog will also be rebooted this week.

I have another project under wrap, too, which specifically relates to said topics of goal setting, the systems needed to achieve them, personal development, and the general topic of attaining success. I will announce the specifics here when ready, so stay tuned. 🙂

Back to the topic at hand, here are seven key suggestions to avoid the abandonment phenomenon:

  1. Set a frequency (publicly disclosed or not) of at least two posts per month.
  2. Be predictable by always posting on the same day(s). Even better, have an editorial calendar.
  3. Schedule in your calendar a time for writing posts. I find that two hours are generally sufficient for a good post. If you finish a post in less time, use the remaining time to write more.
  4. Schedule your posts in your content management system (e.g., WordPress).
  5. Keep a cache of a few posts to be used if an emergency that prevents you from writing that week arises.
  6. Have an idea file accessible from anywhere (e.g., on your Dropbox, Evernote, or Google Docs) in which you keep adding future post ideas and headlines that come to mind.
  7. Consume content that is relevant to your blog. Resources such as books, blogs, videos, courses, magazine, etc. This will stimulate your imagination and help you devise new ideas for topics that are worth sharing with your users.

In the near future, I’ll discuss some of these key ideas and provide step by step instructions where relevant.


  1. Blogging consistency is queen, I claimed in my book. Amusingly, I could have just easily said, “My wife is the queen of blogging consistency”. She has, for many years now, continually produced high quality, substantially sized posts multiple times a week, with the sort of dedication one would show if their life depended on it. I plan to interview her soon for this blog.  ↩
  2. The irony of this post coming across as the sort of aforementioned typical blogger apology doesn’t escape me in the slightest. The difference is that, as you’ll see over time, it won’t be just that.  ↩
  3. If you excuse my candidness and language.  ↩

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About Antonio Cangiano

Antonio Cangiano is a Software Developer and Technical Evangelist for IBM, as well as a web entrepreneur, serial blogger, and published author. He makes extra income blogging in his spare time about technical topics. He authored a definitive blogging book published by The Pragmatic Bookshelf.

Comments

  1. nice to have you back! I’ve read your book and I was wondering the same “where has that guy disappeared… why he doesn’t publish content on this blog…”

    One thing about having a schedule is that it actually boost your productivity. You are ‘forced’ to publish something and it usually helps. I am trying this on my blog since the beginning of this year and it feels a lot better.

    • Thank you, Bartek. I absolutely agree with you about editorial schedules. I’ll talk more about them in the near future.

      • another thought: you’ve mentioned that you need something like 2h for a good post. I run a personal programming blog and I think in that area 2h is not enough… you have to make some source code, maybe pictures/diagrams, then write a content, maybe recheck it.
        Will you cover some strategies how to minimize that time?

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