We interrupt your regularly scheduled FUF post, for this important announcement.
Today we are taking the Pet Blogging Challenge hosted by Go Pet Friendly and Will My Dog Hate Me? This is the 4th year this challenge has been offered and if you’ve taken it before, you’ll notice the format is slightly different this year.
But who cares about format? Let’s get right 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 originally started blogging to gain an online presence for my writing. I had written a children’s book about Sampson that I was looking to publish, (I’ve since decided it’s rubbish.) As we know, those really sweet, good dogs don’t really generate a lot of stories. I mean, how many times can you post about him looking up at you sweetly, or snuggling contentedly?
It’s hard for me to pinpoint what my blog is about, I tend to focus on the entertaining aspect of having dogs, the trials and tribulations. It’s more of a personal blog about how I feel dogs should be raised, trained and treated.
Oh, and to answer the first part of the question, my third year anniversary was December 1, 2013 and I completely forgot it!
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
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?
The last half of last year I struggled with where this blog was going. How I could attract sponsors and advertisers and how to “brand it.” I have very strong principles about products I use and how I use them, which really narrows the field for me. One of my blogging friends Flea suggested I read Pro Blogger and honestly, within the first couple of chapters I decided, that’s not what I want for this blog.
So to answer the question, what has changed for me is the need to have this blog ‘branded.’
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 give a shit about my dogs and my bliss is making sure the relatively short time I have with them is the best it can be. If I can share that on this blog and in doing so make a difference for a dog, that’s Amazeballs.
I would tell you, to care about what you are doing and follow your bliss whatever that might be.
If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
Guys, I’m still stuck with the technical side, if you know of any “Dummies” books, send them my way.
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
The best way I’ve found to bring more traffic to my blog is network with other bloggers. The best months I had this year in terms of traffic, were when we did the Blogville Calendar fundraiser and working on the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers. Now whether that traffic hangs around, well it’s hard to say.
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?
This I suck at. When I think of it, I post it on Facebook, but I’m not religious about it. Tweeting eludes me, so my basic publicizing is Facebook.
7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
I still mostly gauge that by the comments, it’s not just a comment but the detail involved. When I get some good conversation going, I know my audience is interested.
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?
I guess it would be when there is no joy in writing about it, when I sit there dreading a post, theme or feature, then it’s time to let it go.
8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
I know blogging is all about engaging your audience, but I won’t comment just for the sake of commenting. I only comment when I feel I have something to contribute to the conversation, or something really moves me to comment.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?
I have done a few, but in general I do not.
If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?
If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?
I’m combining the above two questions because I think they are relevant. Originally I was gung ho on doing product reviews, I mean who doesn’t want free stuff for their dogs. BUT product reviews are a lot of work and I’m very particular about what types of treats/products I use with my pups.
Then you get to payment. What is fair payment for a post? Is a post that is read by hundreds of people and promoted in online media worth a bag of biscuits? Do you ask for the product AND a fee for the post? I’m just not sure how to manage it, so for right now, I don’t do it.
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
That’s hard. I’ve actually allowed myself not to post. But anyone who reads this blog knows when I’m looking for inspiration I usually get it by walking my dogs.
11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?
I haven’t taken a ‘break’ per say, but I have cut back my posting. I used to post daily and now I’m basically giving myself the weekends off.
It’s working out pretty well. But there are more changes coming to this blog in 2014 and we’ll see how that works.
Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
Twice a day and twice that on weekends. I stay because of you. Because of your friendship and support. You are amazing. And because Jan said I wasn’t allowed to stop blogging without getting her permission first.
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
I have one goal and that’s to be true. To be true to my blog, true to my readers and true to myself. Anything above that is gravy.