You deserve a vacation. Being a business owner is hard work, and it’s only fair that you take some time off to relax and enjoy the sunshine every once in a while — but should you keep your business website active while you’re away? The short answer is yes. When it comes to building your brand and keeping fans happy, sudden radio silence can undermine your outreach and marketing efforts. Before packing your suitcase, consider these three tips for taking a vacation that is good for both your mental health and your business.
You’ve probably thought about setting up an automatic “out of office” email response, and changing your voicemail recording to let folks know that you’re on vacation. If you find someone to cover for you while you’re away, don’t forget to include their contact information within your out of office and voicemail messages as well.
Let’s face it: it takes more than just an automated reply to truly stay connected to shoppers when you’re on vacation. In the days of instant access to online information and resources, your audience expects you to be available 24/7. The good news is that there are tools and solutions to help you keep your communication channels open for business, even while you’re basking in the sun or hitting the slopes.
- Blog posts, emails, and newsletters: Imagine that you send out a newsletter every Monday morning and update your blog on Friday afternoons. As long as you create your content ahead of time — maybe you’re announcing a new product, offering a sneak peek of an upcoming sale, or sharing an interview with an industry leader — you should stick with your regular content and communication schedules. MailChimp and Constant Contact are two services that allow you to pre-schedule newsletters, while Boomerang is used to pre-schedule emails through Gmail. You can also preconfigure your WordPress.com website to publish content on the day of your choice. Vacationer’s pro tip: surprise and delight your audience (and give yourself a break) by featuring posts by a guest blogger while you’re on vacation. If you have a friend who writes about the topics in your space, ask them to draft a few quick posts that offer a fresh perspective on the same subjects that you typically cover.
- Facebook, Twitter, and other social media pages: If you’re normally active and engaged across your social media accounts, you may hesitate to stop posting when you’re out of the office. Fortunately you can post, tweet, and update your social pages remotely without typing a single word during your trip. WordPress.com offers Premium and plugin-enabled plan site owners the Advanced Social Media feature, which allows you to schedule social media posts ahead of time. Vacationer’s pro tip: reward a loyal fan by inviting them to be your guest “Tweeter” or “Facebooker” while you’re away! Having a supporter craft posts in your absence will keep readers engaged, and will help your fans feel especially valued.
Even the best plans can go haywire, so it pays to anticipate any hiccups that might occur during your absence. For example, if you think that your process, delivery, or response times might be delayed while you’re away, get ahead of any potential problems. It never hurts to proactively explain or apologize for potential inconveniences by uploading a banner to your website stating the dates that you’ll be away, or by including an announcement within an email or blog post. Fans will appreciate your consideration. Vacationer’s pro tip: when people know what’s causing a delay or hitch, they’re less likely to send angry or frustrated emails. You will have fewer messages to catch up on once you’re back at work.
Sometimes things happen that require immediate responses — even when you’re on vacation. When you need to track what’s happening on your website or blog in real-time, you can turn to the WordPress mobile application for instant updates and alerts. The mobile app lets you view fan posts, so that you can monitor and immediately resolve a potential problem or concern before it escalates. When you return to work, you can scan the Comments section of your dashboard to quickly flag any issues that developed while you were away. Putting out fires may not be the ideal way to spend your precious vacation hours, but monitoring and responding to business activity from afar is a critical part of keeping shoppers satisfied. Vacationer’s pro tip: if you forget to publish a blog post, send an announcement, or change a delivery window, you can manage your website (and your shopper’s expectations) from anywhere and at any time using the WordPress mobile app.
It’s no secret that when it comes to building a strong business or brand, consistency is key. If you’re taking a vacation, maintaining a consistent digital presence will require advanced planning and a few extra hours of your time before hitting the road. This will all pay off in the end, as it helps solidify your reputation as a professional and reliable business owner.