How to End or Relaunch Your Blog Without Upsetting Your Readers

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Sometimes things don’t work out as planned.  Your blog might be one of them. You’ve probably fallen out of love with your blog topic and you want to make a change.  Running up the white flag is discouraging and you hate to admit you have to make a change, but you want out.

How do you do it?  How do you leave your blog and transition your readers?

This might help…

Breaking Up With Your Blog…

Put a plan in place for the wind-down of your blog before you start.  It will make the process easier and prepare your readers.  I suggest considering a few points as you make your plan:

Know the Reasons Why

Make sure you are turning off your blog for the right reason.  Some problems just need a different strategy.  Poor traffic, disengaged readers, low subscriptions, and most other problems can be solved with different tactics.  You may need to get some advice to put you on the right track.  Don’t let setbacks kill your blog if you still have the passion to write about your topic.

Talk to Your Readers

Let your readers know about your plan to stop publishing new posts.  Explain to them what led to your decision.  If you plan to start a new blog then explain your vision about your new direction.  I bet your readers already know that your heart isn’t in your current blog and are wondering how they can support you.

Understand What Wrong

Ask yourself some tough questions.  From my experience, blogs falter when the publisher  doesn’t pick the right topic and audience.  These questions will help you diagnose your blog:

  • Did you pick the wrong topic?
  • Did you attract the wrong audience?
  • Was your audience big enough to support your goals?
  • Was your topic too narrow to provide 52 weeks worth of quality content?
  • Asking and answering these questions will insure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Pick a Date

I absolutely hate when bloggers “semi-retire”.  One minute they are throwing in the towel the next minute they are back from the dead.  One time is fine but multiple retirement announcements wins you the “chicken little award.”

Select your end date, write your final post, and end.  I recommend keeping your blog up for a while so people who missed your last post don’t arrive at a 404 error.  If you can afford it, consider keeping your blog live for a year with all of your posts archived.

What About Changing the Focus of an Existing Blog?

You might decide to keep your current blog’s name but change its focus and content.  This is an option if you have a large audience that may have interests that overlap with your new topic.  Although making the transition will be tricky, it can be done.  You can insure your success by:

Kicking it Up a Notch

Go big or go home.  You need to send a message that you plan to do things radically different.  I suggest you go nuclear and plan on writing epic, comprehensive, resource posts that enchants your audience.  You don’ want any whiff of your old topic lingering on your blog.    You want your new material to make people applaud your new direction.

Planning Your Topics Out Well in Advance

You will want to establish and keep your momentum.  So plan your topics at least 2-3 months in advance.  Start writing them while your inspiration and resolve are still fresh.  You’ll be happy to have the work done.  Your readers will also see your steady drumbeat of great articles and realize that you are here to stay.

Telling Your Readers About the Benefits

Enchant and entice your readers with what they will be reading on your blog.  Let them know that your new direction will offer content of better quality on a regular basis.  Tell them that the transition from the old blog was necessary to create the best content possible.

8 out of 10 readers will be happy to stick with your blog.  They’ll support you with shares and comments.  But the other folks won’t be as easy to please…

Understanding that You’ll Lose Readers (and they may not leave quietly)

Things are going to change.  You may change your blog’s name, creative template, and layout. This may not  go over well with your stalwart regulars.  Some may choose to leave.  It will be difficult to hear their criticism but you must move forward.  Remember that this is your blog and you are doing what’s best for the long-term.

Making a Clean Break

I recently reviewed a blog of someone whose interests had made a hard u-turn.  They wanted to know if they could still salvage their blog.  I told her to stop the bleeding and start an entirely new blog with a new name and focus.

This may be the case with you.

If you decide to start a new blog with a renewed focus on your “real” passion then work hard to build it on the right foundation.  Your past readers may follow you and you owe it to them to show them a revitalized and sustained effort. Here’s how to take a quick temperature check on your new blog:

  1. Can you describe your ideal reader in perfect detail?
  2. Have you spend more than 5 minutes researching your audience and their needs?
  3. Can you write 10 cornerstone posts before you launch your blog?
  4. Do you have a plan in place for promoting your blog and growing its readership?

These questions will help you get clear about your audience, your topics, and your plan for growth.

Ending or radically changing your blog is tough, but it may be exactly what you need to propel you on your next adventure.

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

9 thoughts on “How to End or Relaunch Your Blog Without Upsetting Your Readers

  1. Nicole

    I have done this recently and it’s tough. I changed from writing about writing to writing about the world around me and my observations of people. It isn’t a huge transition of my readers because my readers are writers and I’d like to think this will benefit them in a new way. I have gotten criticism though. Not much. But I plan on sticking with it because I’m sick of not writing but analyzing the writing process. I started my blog to help my writing, not critique it for the whole world to see. And I needed to change my topic to reflect that. Thanks for this post and making suggestions on how to recover from a blog topic change!

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  4. Stanford Post author

    Absolutely. When I critique a blog I always focus on the Audience + Topic match. But even when their is a match, the blogger’s interests can change.

  5. Stanford Post author

    Thanks Kimberly. I get the “how do I end/change my blog” question a lot. I’m glad this post is helping

  6. Kimberly Gauthier, Adventures in Blogging

    This is such a fantastic post and I wish I were on my notebook so that I could save it to re-read later.

    I needed these steps when I was trying to find my voice on my photography blog. I really love the community I’ve managed to build today and I’ve finally started to make money from the blog too and it’s exciting. I’m glad that I stuck with it.

    I pretty much did break up with a past blog and it was rocky (for me), because I simply had no idea what I was doing. Now that I do know, I think it’s important to share tips like this with other bloggers.

  7. Lisa

    I really like your article, this speaks to an issue that most bloggers have. I agree with the tips you mentioned. I believe that most blogs can be salvaged with direction and consistency. Of course, the bigger problem usually tends to be an undefined niche or target market – wouldn’t you agree?

  8. Stanford Post author

    Hi there! If you plan on making a complete transition to a new topic then I would immediately taper off your current topic posts and start writing (and promoting) your new topic posts.

  9. alison528

    I like your article but what I want to do with my blog is add more topics to it. Can you suggest a way to ease into this? And should I continue posting about my original topic at the same rate that I do right now?

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