When starting a blog, the ease of set-up is such that nary a thought is given to the time when the blog’s owner will want to stop blogging. For some, blogging is a brief fling, a flirtation with writing online that quickly becomes old. Two or three posts in and that handsome blog shows its ugly, needy side, begging to be cared for every day.
For those who accept the commitment, the relationship between blog and blogger eventually takes on an easy rhythm and years’ worth of posts stack up. And years. And years. Is a blog supposed to last forever? What if the life circumstances of a blogger change and the commitment becomes too much to handle?
Whether you are a short- or long-term blogger, a day will come when your blog must come to an end. While there are plenty of tips online regarding starting and maintaining a blog, I have yet to run across any advice on quitting a blog. As I’ve ended several blogs and witnessed the cessation of several more, here are my tips for quitting a blog gracefully:
1) Make a definite decision to end your blog. None of this namby-pamby three-to-six months between posts. If you find yourself apologizing because you haven’t blogged in forever and it’s not a one-off deal (i.e. you begin every post with an apology), perhaps blogging is not for you. And that’s okay! Let the blog go.
If your life changes in a way that prevents you from blogging, no need to feel guilty. Let the blog go.
If you’ve been blogging for years and you’re sick of it and want to spend time doing something else, let the blog go.
If you find another social media outlet for your thoughts and no longer need the longer format of blogging, let the blog go.
You are allowed to say goodbye to blogging, but, by golly, make the decision and do it! No hard feelings.
2) Once you’ve made the decision to quit blogging, you need to decide whether you want to keep your blog public, switch it to private, or delete it.
If you dig posterity and want historians and your future biographer to be able to access your past thoughts, leave the blog public. If, in looking back through old blog posts, you find potentially embarrassing expressions of your younger self that you don’t want others to read, but you want to be able to relive them, set your blog to private. If you made a half-ass attempt at blogging and didn’t record anything of consequence, feel free to delete your blog.
You can also delete your blog if you’re ruthless and don’t mind destroying something you’ve worked on for years, but I don’t recommend doing this hastily. You may regret it. Make the blog private, instead, and ignore it for a good long while. When you come back to it, you may feel differently and be happy you saved it.
You can delete a blog without remorse if you start a new blog and export the posts from your old blog to your new one. I did this with one blog in order to keep the public and search engines from getting confused by duplicate content on two blogs. (Don’t delete the old blog until you are sure the posts transferred properly.)
3) Write a final blog post letting your readers know what’s going to happen with your blog. Do this whether you are leaving the blog public, making it private, or deleting it. If the blog remains public, the final post stating that you are no longer continuing with the blog will keep people from expecting future posts. This is how I handled the ending of Filter & Splice.
If you’re going to make the blog private or delete it, use your final post to forewarn readers and tell them when you will make the change. Allow a month or two for people to find the post before blog deletion or resetting to private.
You may also want to put this information on your About page. People don’t always enter your blog through your Home page or current post, so they may not see your final post. Give them every opportunity to find this information.
One more word on final posts. It is not inconceivable that a blogger may die before ending his or her blog. Each long-term blogger ought to have a final upon-my-demise post written and saved as a draft, with instructions for someone to post it upon his or her passing. Also, the blogger needs to let that someone know whether to keep the blog public, make it private, or delete it.
4) Last, but not least, if you decide to end your blog but keep it public, turn off the comments. I didn’t do this with one blog and a comment came in long after I’d finished with the blog. I was no longer in the frame of mind to properly deal with the comment when it arrived. Turning off comments will also prevent you from having to check in on your blog regularly, which is the point of quitting your blog.
Congratulations on gracefully quitting your blog! Revel in the end of the relationship. And, remember, if you miss your blog, it’s easy to start a new one.