If you are running a blog or website for a long time, you will encounter days or even weeks where there is little to write about.
There are plenty reasons why this can happen. Maybe nothing happened in that week that was of interest to you, maybe you overlooked it, ran out of ideas, or experience writer's block.
The situation can be frustrating, especially if you earn a living from writing.
Over the years, I have started to develop habits to stay productive in situations where I cannot publish new articles on sites that I run.
The one thing that works best for me in this situation is to run maintenance related tasks on the blog. Lets find out what I mean by that.
Over 15,000 articles have been published on Ghacks Technology News over the years. Articles need updates for a variety of reasons:
I try to improve articles, add relevant content to them most of the time. If a program is no longer available, I try to locate a copy of it and either host it here on Ghacks, or link to a download portal where it is still offered.
I may also rewrite part of the article, correct other issues, or add new contents to it to improve it further.
I do move articles to the trash sometimes, usually when they do not have anything of value to offer anymore.
The reading of old articles may lead to new article ideas as well.
Fix broken links
I run the Broken Link Checker plugin for WordPress that scans all links -- those set by authors of the site and users -- to make sure they are all valid.
For some time, the plugin would add so much load to the server that it lagged and one could not really open any web pages on it.
I discovered a fix recently for it that resolved the issue. Just uncheck the "Run continuously while the Dashboard is open" option under Advanced in the plugin settings.
I try to fix links first whenever possible. This often leads to me finding articles that are in dire need of updating. As far as links are concerned, I try to find an alternative for article links, and if that is not possible, I update the article to let readers know about that and post a link to an alternative if available.
I try to respond to all emails that I receive in time, but that is not possible at all times. Whenever I find the time, I try to reduce the email queue.
I value user emails more than emails from marketers and companies -- usually -- and assign higher priorities to them so that they do get answered first.
Still, I have to catch up with emails waiting for replies in my inbox, and blog maintenance time is a great time to do so.
I have not included any "regular" tasks, as I tend to do those whenever I notice them. This includes updating the blog software or plugins, making sure the RSS feed is working, that all forms work, that the commenting system works, dealing with spam comments and comment moderation, and so on.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.