This has by far been one of my favorite challenges since I became a blogger and I look forward to it ever year. I was actually thinking about it around November and I was hoping that Amy was going to continue the event, so special thanks to Amy for keeping the Pet Bloggers Challenge going!
Participating in the challenge is easy and Amy has the 12 questions ready to go so let’s get to it!
1. How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
- I have been blogging for 4 years. My first post was posted on 1/4/10 and then I didn’t post again for 3 months. My sister was the person who got me started on blogging. I thought the whole idea was just weird and I wanted nothing to do with it, but then I found it be a creative way to share what goes on in my complicated brain. My blog mostly focuses on Sherman and Leroy, but I also post about my family, pet health, and really anything that moves me.
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
- When I started thinking about this year’s Pet Blogger’s Challenge I knew this was going to happen. I did not accomplish any of the goals that I made in last year’s challenge. I still have no idea where I am going with this blog. I did change themes but I still have not switched over to Genesis. I have thought about it a lot so that has to count for something, right? Despite not hitting my goals, I’m still super proud of this blog. It continues to grow in readers, and page views and my stats get better each month, so that makes me very happy, but I’m also a little bummed that I don’t where I’m going or where I want to go.
3. When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?
- This is a tough one. Blogging now seems more like work for me rather than a hobby. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not.
4. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?
- I’ve learned a lot from other bloggers, but nothing more important than just to be yourself. Be creative and be positive.Some of my top viewed posts have been posts that I thought were way out there, but I guess some people like that.
- Almost every blogger I know gets blogger burnout, so if this happens to you, know that you are not alone! Pet bloggers are one of the most compassionate people there are and they are always willing to lend a helping hand if they can. I like to think of pet bloggers as magical unicorns.
- Share. Share other bloggers posts on your social media sites and link to your favorite blogs when possible. Sharing and linking is the best gift you can give a fellow blogger. You don’t have to do it everyday, but if you read a post that moves you, share it!
- Experiment with your blog. It’s ok to try new things out and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. For example, I was doing a weekly roundup post on Saturday’s for a few months. For 2014 that is going to be eliminated because I’m going to try and cut down on posts and a roundup post just won’t be needed.
If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
- Tagging my pictures. This is a serious problem I have. How? What? Where? When? Why? You would think I would know this since I share so many pictures, but I don’t.
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
- Ironic, but good pictures have brought a lot of traffic to my blog. Also, a wacky title. A good, eye-catching title brings them in….all the time.
- Share, share and share.
- Facebook currently is my top traffic driver.
6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?
- How much time I spend on my blog really depends on what I have going on for that week. If I have reviews that need to be posted the time I spend here greatly increases. If I took a lot of pictures that week or the week prior, time increases.
- I plan on spending less time publicizing on the blog and more time taking adventures and working on projects.
7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
- Shares, comments and likes. In that order.
How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?
- When I don’t feel it anymore.
8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
- When I can relate to the topic.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?
If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?
- Giveaways don’t seem to work well for this blog.
If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?
- No. I’m actually contemplating giving up doing product reviews. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting and trying out new dog products, but product reviews are super time consuming. Research, pictures, linking, etc. I have a few product reviews that I have already committed too, but after those, if I continue to do product reviews, there will be a fee. I can’t justify taking several hours of my time for free advertising on a site that I have worked very hard to maintain and grow. I would rather use that time on writing on photography.
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
- Writer’s block seems to be happening to me more than normal lately, which means it’s time for me to take a step back.
11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?
- Yes! Just recently I took the longest break that I have taken in 4 years! It was glorious, but I struggled coming back.
Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
- Absolutely. I think every blogger has thought about quitting, at least once. You make me stay!
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
- Seriously? You want me to be honest here? You got it. The only goal that I have for this blog in 2014 is to keep it going. I need to get back to basics. I’m sorry. I’m only being honest. This blog means a lot to me but I’m struggling with where I want it to go, if anywhere. I love coming here to write and share pictures but I also want to explore other things in my life and to do that I might have to let go of blogging just a little bit. Now……that’s a thought I am having and things could change which is why I’m rambling and not giving you a straight answer, so why don’t you help me out a bit and tell me what you would like to see here in 2014 🙂
Awesome! Another Pet Blogger Challenge down! It’s not quite the answers I thought I would be giving when I was thinking about it a few months ago, but it’s what I have for right now.
Thank you to Amy from Go Pet Friendly and Edie from Will My Dog Hate Me for hosting the Pet Bloggers Challenge again! I’m excited to read all the other great posts!