Death of a Blog

In Death of a Blog, Guest Author Jean of Cycle Write Blog and Third Wave Cycling Blog shares her experience of giving birth to a blog and bringing it to an end prematurely. Last year, she was guest author of this post Blogging and Cycling:  It’s Like a Drug.

I never knew it was going to happen this fast: I was asked to discontinue a blog. It was a blog that I had created and fed it with blog posts and photos. (Note: The blog will disappear after 2012.)

Right off the bat, when I gave birth to this blog, I knew its lifespan was going to be short and sweet.  The blog was supporting an international conference on cycling infrastructure planning.  It was scheduled to start in only 3 months from the blog’s demise.  The original plan was to freeze the blog after the conference and provide it as a resource for conference attendees and other readers unable to visit Vancouver.

Now it feeks like premature burial of a little art canvas – including all those articles that several writers and myself had spent time crafting  along with formatting our personal photos.

Social marketing as a tool for drawing delegates at this time,  is not always well developed or understood part of a marketing strategy.  It was apparent among 1-2 conference planning team members.   What were effective ways to use blogs, Twitter and Facebook?  What was the purpose of a blog as part of a marketing program for a conference?  This blog was an experiment in social marketing,  with a hope to find other ways to draw delegates.

bicycle clip artThis blog  marketed Vancouver as desired destination  and  thereby, was to stimulate interest for a niche conference.  Sure, there was enough general Internet tourism information about Vancouver.  But not enough to give readers, many photos from a bike saddle rider’s viewpoint, with tips on city destination points for exploring by bike.  The blog was also a convenient communication tool before the conference registration website was even ready.

Hence, the blog was born and it blossomed slowly for 14 months.  We even had a casual reader’s online poll and summarized survey results in a blog post which attracted a steady stream of viewing hits.

Then changes to the conference leadership, led to  a decision that the blog served less purpose as a communication tool.  Unfortunately a decision was made without improving a way to push out critical information from the conference registration web site, as equally fast as blog posts.

The conference team did use complementary social tools of Twitter and Facebook.  However, the content brevity of information snippets and links, only meant regurgitating existing information from other web sites which weren’t always on target for our audience.

My blogmastering experience during a cranked up time frame of conference planning, left me pondering on lessons learned from a blog with a limited lifespan:

1.     Limited blog life means the blogmaster should not become emotionally invested in it.

However if the event is a personal passion or cause, then the blog is energized by the blogger’s enthusiasm.  A blog existential conundrum:  A good blog that is well-fed sometimes also needs to die soon.

2.     Have a plan that covers the lifecycle of the blog:  Will the purpose of the blog remain the same near its demise compared to when the blog was launched?

At the end, this blog was intended to include last minute items for conference attendees. It would also provide a space for virtual photo album of conference experiences and events.  But now this will not happen.

3.     Brand your blog the same as all your other conference marketing vehicles.

For the first 4 months we used a local city photo before the logo header.  The blog’s masthead did take time to design.  A conference doesn’t begin with a full operating budget to pay a design firm.  But in the end, we all liked the blog logo header which was used for business cards, conference program and bookmarks.

4.     Have other writers contribute to the conference blog.

We invited local guest writers and allowed writers to link from their blog post to their personal blog for soft self-promotion.

Discussion

Have you had to let go and bury a blog?  What were the reasons for deleting your blog?  Did you import any of your previous posts into another blog?  What did you learn from death of your blog?

26 thoughts on “Death of a Blog

  1. Well, it looks like more possible changes in the future, a 2nd blog is currently under discussion on its future. But outcome won’t happen until this summer.

    Meanwhile I have to try to figure out how to lasso the blog posts I wrote and I like, and put them in my personal blog. I’m trying to figure out, maybe I should tag them in a certain way and use the same date as they were originally published.

    1. Create unique category for your own posts and assign it to all of them in that blog. Then you can export out only that category and import it into your other blog.

        1. Please read:
          export > http://en.support.wordpress.com/export/
          import > http://en.support.wordpress.com/import/

          Then go to your Dashboard and click > Tools > Export and read what you find there.

          Next go to Tools > Import and read what you find there please.

          When importing an XML file one is prompted and asked if the want the “attachments” ie. images and other media files to be included. If the response to the prompt is positive then the file will contain images that were on WordPress.com servers because you uploaded them from your own computer into your Media Library. It will not contain image on any third party sites you linked to. Yes comments are included whether they are on posts or pages.

  2. Not dead yet, but I am re-thinking my personal blog, primarily because I am now so strongly identified with the commercial blog for which I write, that I can no longer speak freely on a personal level without thinking about professional ramifications or conflicts. Either I shift the focus and identity of my personal blog or mothball it altogether, I don’t know yet – I actually came here tonight to look up prior posts about starting over to try to get some ideas what to do. On the other hand, I just reviewed the stats, and despite the dearth of new content lately, my hits are holding respectably steady – so actually, Jean, it’s quite possible our blogs won’t be forgotten when we are gone so long as they are “out there” and the content is of high quality. We still read the Odyssey a few thousand years later, cause it’s still a ripping good yarn, right? Hopefully someone will feel that way about our work some time in the future!!

    1. Well, my blogs aren’t going into the canons of mythology like the Odyssey has for Greek mythology! At best it might become part of just inner family folklore. :)

      I understand your dilemma since I’ve had to look after and feed 2 business blogs and my personal blog. I set up my personal blog after the lst business blog (business is not mine, it’s my partner’s), because I wanted to have unfettered freedom. However so far, I haven’t said anything in my personal blog that would conflict with overall messages in our business, organizational blogs.

      The other option, Cynthia is for your personal blog if you create a 2nd blog, to have yourself anonymous with no link to your commercial blog. I am not sure of the topics you would enjoy writing about or maybe they are the same topics as you write now, but perhaps more in the tone of an industry “consultant” with a bird’s eyeview.

      Having read some of your blog posts at times, it would be a shame to mothball it completely.

      However if your “voice” feels very constrained now, maybe to at least think of a 2nd blog and start with topics that are safe for now, yet very enjoyable to you.

  3. Have you had to let go and bury a blog?
    Not the way you describe but I did delete a blog which I did not export the content out of and regretted later that I did that. I should have closed comments and made it private. And I have deleted others too.

    What were the reasons for deleting your blog?
    I have also accidentally deleted a blog —- wayyyyyyyyy back when I thought “blog” meant “post” and not the whole site. I got the content back from bloglines as the RSS Feeds had been on full and I had subscribed to the feed, and it was also in Google’s cache. I acted quickly when I was informed of what to do.

    I deliberately buried a political and environmentally focused blog when I got tired of being trolled by those with no manners and no idea what fallacious arguments were. I had great followers whose blogs I truly admired as well but a year of that kind of blogging was enough for me. I learned many lessons from the birth and death of that blog because back then I was a beginner blogger.

    I really admire the upbeat outline you presented in this article. Points 1 and 2 resonate. Reflecting back on the blog I wrote of my first sentence I wish I had made export files and won’t be neglecting that step in the future.

    Your guest post has added unique value to this blog, food for thought, and an action plan. Have I told you lately that I love you?

    1. Hey, thx timethief. ((((Hugs)))). Appreciate your kind words. For those who don’t quite understand..death of blog and some emotional investment happened after death of a family member over a year ago.

      Change is inevitable but we all like to be prepared for such things in advance.

      My partner was more pragmatic when he and I talked about our other current blogs: he thinks sadly, that after we pass away, the blogs won’t be looked at much or forgotten.

      I don’t disagree with him. Right now for my personal blog, Cycle Write there is an inner drive for me to share some stuff and photos. I actually find it handy sometimes, when I verbally talk about a certain experience and if I’ve written a blog post about it, I’ll give the link to the person. Avoids sending several digital photos to friends and more emails on explaining the subject matter of the photos.

  4. Yeah, I’ve buried blogs. It usually happens when something occurs in my outer life and I find the blog no longer represents me – often the more I try to keep it going, the more personally confused I become. And sadly, I’m at that stage now with my current blog. However, now, rather than deleting it, I’m trying a compromise of leaving a few pages as a pseudo-website. (I’ll eventually take down the message post I’ve got there at the moment). But I’ve already removed the rest of the posts.

    What I did with my last blog (Absurd Old Bird) was export all the posts to my computer and then import them into a private blog for my eyes only. That way I do still have all the posts should I want to republish any or use them for something else at a later date.

    In a way, Jean, the idea of doing a short-term blog would be quite interesting, but also perhaps rather difficult. When I’ve blogged well, I’ve put myself into it – heart and soul. That’s partly why the current one hasn’t really been working for me: too one-dimensional with just my artwork and not enough input from me, but I’m too tired (emotionally) at the moment to change it to include the latter.

    Thanks for this article – it’s given me food for thought.

    1. “That’s partly why the current one hasn’t really been working for me: too one-dimensional with just my artwork and not enough input from me, but I’m too tired (emotionally) at the moment to change it to include the latter. ”

      I liked your Absurd Old Bird blog, Val. Why not revive that in different form / theme again? I think you should keep that name but with a new tagline. I agree your current blog only captures a particular facet of you.

      When you’re ready, I have no doubt that you will fly happily again in blogosphere!

  5. There’s a problem with the link at the top of this article.

    A bit of fiddling around and I found Third Wave Cycling blog at

    http://thirdwavecyclingblog.wordpress.com

    I see that the blog that is to be discontinued (Velo-city Global 2012 Conference Blog) is a self-hosted WordPress blog.

    So someone owns and paid for the hosting and the domain name and I guess whoever that is calls the shots.

    If you wrote articles there and you want to preserve them, perhaps you could export or copy them and maybe put them on a page of your own blog when Velo bites the dust ?

    1. Hi David,
      Thanks for letting me know about the link. I have repaired it.

      P.S. I agree with you. If I were Jean I would want all of my content and I would post it into my blog and assign a unique category to the posts.

      1. I have not yet thought through how I plan to salvage the posts that I wrote, but tagging them with a unique category might be useful though I would have to begin or end each post with reference where it was originally published. Need to do this simply and elegantly. Certainly plenty to think through and implement later!

        So no one has yet to bury a blog yet?

        1. If you tag the posts you wrote in the WordPress.org install with a unique category, then you can export out an XML file of that category only, and import it into any other WordPress blog.
          http://en.support.wordpress.com/export/
          http://en.support.wordpress.com/import
          Add that unique category to your custom menu as a parent category or a sub-category of an existing category like “My Words Elsewhere”. That’s all I can think of right now. If I think of anything else I’ll return.

  6. That’s rough, Jean, I’m sorry. I know you put a lot of yourself into every post.

    On the plus side, you’ve responded like a true blogger and artist: you’ve taken a negative, viewed it as a learning experience and a chance to help others, and used it for an interesting post– well done!

    1. @Kathryn- For a day or so, it felt as if a part of my blogosphere footprint was taken away prematurely. It does help to have already another blog that continues on in a different way for a different audience.

      @Mark- As we all bloggers know, writing a post and formatting photos takes time. It did learn some technical features, particularily working with online surveys and some widget functions which I haven’t really tried much on other blogs yet. Thanks for your positive support.

  7. i had a blog in blogger blogging is a new are to me i wrote some posts there which i deleted before i came here i just didnt find any form of support and also i maybe didnt know how to use it .. my enthusiasm waned i guess not sure

    1. Might be useful to contemplate how you could improve a diferent blog in terms of writing style. One is reaching a broad international audience where not everyone has fantastic reading fluency in English. I try to remember these potential readers because they can become loyal readers because they want to learn more.

  8. I know one blogger, Aamba, who confidently wrote “The blog itself will no longer be active. I may, perhaps, occasionally post something that catches my attention, but for the most part I will stop posting”. That was in July 2011 and she has posted 15 posts since then.

    It makes me wonder, when your blog has reached the desired aim is it better to start a new one or use it for miscellaneous posts? I think from a point of view of getting the most views, continuing from an established blog is the best strategy, but something tells me that long term integrity-wise it is not a good move. People looking at the blog for the first time won’t see a neat record as originally intended but will first see a number of disjointed posts.

    1. If a blog already has a particular focus, then it give a better impression to any reader, that the author is organized in their approach. A blog owner would retain a more regular audience if posts weren’t too disjointed from the original purpose and focus of the blog. It is an ongoing consideration particular for a personal blog because we, as a blog owner change ourselves at times in life.

      A personal blog has to suit that person’s authentic voice at that stage of their life. The example that you gave for that blogger, perhaps she might have been better off to start a second different blog with a completely different theme.

  9. I personally did not think of its death at the time of creation. I want my blog to be around as long as I am or as long as my interest and abilities last. Perhaps the owner can turn it into a reference book.

      1. You really don’t have to clean it up. Deactivate the option to leave a comment. No work necessary. If you did not sign a “Do not Compete” clause when working at that job then it should be your work. Start your own blog under a new name.

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