Pet Blogger Challenge 2014 | GBGV

PBCToday I’m joining the fourth Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Go Pet Friendly and Will My Dog Hate Me. I participated last year for the first time, click here to see that post, and it was  quite helpful, so I wanted to join again this year.

My GBGV Life Pet Blogger ChallengeNow on to the questions for this year! I sure do appreciate any ideas or feedback you might have in your comments.

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’ve been blogging just over two years, since November 2011. I started blogging to learn how social media and blogs/websites interact and to promote my rare GBGV breed in the USA. When I started I had no idea where I was headed and no idea it would be what it is today. Mom and I have lots of fun with the writing and photos. Slowly we are finding out more and more about where we are headed and the direction we want to go.

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.

Made the switch to self-hosted which allows me to do so many more things. It is still terrifying because if the site goes down, we have no help to get it back up and that is our biggest fear, but we just cross our fingers and keep blogging!

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?

Working with BlogPaws and Pet360 to get wonderful opportunities to write reviews on products I believe in and I have some advertising on my site. My mom also met a lot of fantastic bloggers at BlogPaws as well as online and they have been so helpful just with small things like plugins. Even small ideas can bring big results.

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?

Forget the stats. For one thing, we need a translator to decipher google analytics. Hopefully BlogPaws will have a session on it or someone that can give us a crash course. I used to check stats all the time and it would sometimes make me happy, but usually bum me out. Now I rarely check and when I do it has been a pleasant surprise. Blogging should be a passion, not a numbers game, we don’t get hung up on stats. If we are happy, hopefully our readers will be happy too.

If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

I think sharing. We try to share posts, triberr has also been a huge help, but so often my sharing buttons just aren’t being used. I just switched to new ones that hopefully are more visible and they show share numbers as well. It seems like so many say how they love the post or photos but there isn’t much sharing most of the time.

5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

Triberr has been wonderful bringing new Twitter followers that also come to the blog, but the most referrals I get come from Facebook. I seem to switch around on social media. I was into Twitter, now Facebook. I love Pinterest, but that isn’t bringing me the numbers, so I have to figure that out. The biggest boost I have ever gotten for social media or my blog was the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers, it was challenging posting daily for almost a month, but it was awesome!

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?

I have a pretty stable system of promoting it online, we bring business cards with us all the time and hand them out, but I do need to find some more innovative ways to get it out there. We can’t spend much more time as we don’t have more to spend.

7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?

Usually by the comments.

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 have only had one real “theme” which was my Snoopy series on Wednesdays that went for about three months. Everyone really loved it and hated for it to end, but I was worried it was getting to be too long and I was out of Snoopys anyway. Everyone loves when I’m in the kitchen, but I try not to do more than one baking post a month to keep it fresh.

8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?

I first look at the title. If that is interesting I read the post and if I have something to say I will comment. Sometimes I prefer to just like a post as I don’t have anything to comment about which is why I love blogs that have a like button. Just because I don’t comment doesn’t mean I did not like the post.

9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?

I started doing them late last summer.

If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?

So far I seem to have a nice mix. There are some campaigns I wanted to participate in but wasn’t chosen, which is fine. I don’t want to do more than a couple reviews a month because I put a lot of time into them and I don’t think my readers are reading my blog just for reviews, they want to hear about me and what I am up to. I only review products that we can use and/or would like to use. It is a fun way to try out new things with my sisters and I.

If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?

The only hurdle I think I have may be statistics. There are a lot of real big blogs out there and I am not a big one…yet! I think some companies pay the most attention to the numbers and not the type of blog but that is for them to decide. So far I am happy with what I have gotten to do.

10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?

I rarely have writer’s block, I usually have too many ideas. If I am in need of an idea, I either read other blogs for inspiration or go for a nice walk. Something always pops into my mind.

11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?

Thought about it, haven’t done it.

Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?

No, I enjoy it far too much but I suspect that day will come.

12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?

Possibly a new look. I can’t nail down what exactly I want, so I have to do that first. I want to work more with video and improve on creating videos. I also need to work on Instagram and Vine, but I think once spring hits that will just happen.

Comments

  1. says

    I can’t help but love your attitude about the stats, though I realize you needs them to attract “business.” I’m big on sharing because I truly believe it makes a difference and it costs me only seconds of my time. I figure if I like a post, my social media followers most likely will enjoy it, too. Best wishes on achieving those 2014 goals – I have no doubt you will.

    • John Miller says

      Thanks dear, I love your blog ! You have provided a good info through this blog about a pet. I’ve learned more through this blog.
      Really your your blog is top notch and very classy.
      Many thanks again for sharing.

  2. says

    I hadn’t thought about the sharing too much. I know mine don’t get shared very often either. But I also focus more on commenting when I visit someone’s blog, and don’t always think about sharing. I’m glad you mentioned it, because it is something I could try to do more to support others.
    I agree about not paying attention to stats and I usually only look at mine when I’m applying for a campaign

    • Emmadog says

      We didn’t think much about sharing either for a long time but then we started noticing sharing buttons and using them on a few posts a day but realized ours weren’t being used much. Maybe it helps, maybe not?

  3. says

    I actually am one who shares (and often do on my Facebook fan pages and Twitter), but cut that down quite a bit when I kept realizing the favor wasn’t being returned.
    I think people are mistaken when they say that comments are a gauge of how a post is doing, it isn’t a fair tracking method. Case in point, the larger of my two blogs gets over 1000 hits per day and trust me there aren’t 1000 comments to go with it.
    Since I have two blogs I don’t participate in this challenge because it is too hard with two blogs but I will tell you that Dakota’s blog is much smaller than my other one and I once had a PR person tell me that the reason he gives me products to review is NOT about the numbers, it’s about ENGAGEMENT with readers (which you have.) He said he would rather have FIFTY engaged readers than FIVE THOUSAND who aren’t really there, so please remember that point. Your blog is fabulous and like you, I no longer focus on numbers. Just keep doing what you are doing and the rest will fall into place. Oh and YES we need a class in Google Analytics! I couldn’t agree more!

    • Emmadog says

      Thank you :) We love comments and feel they are important, but we also know it doesn’t always mean it is a huge post. Many never comment. Our goal is for readers to have fun visiting the site to see what Emma the GBGV is up to now. We want to have fun posting our content and in the end, my blog will grow. As long as we keep growing, we are happy, if we check our stats and we are going backwards, I think there would be a panic. Your two blogs makes for a lot of work! Mom writes a blog and handles social media for work, but trying to put the same energy into two is hard. You do well juggling both!

    • Emmadog says

      Like many share buttons say, sharing is caring. It is nice for the post that is being shared but it is also a very simple way for you to get another “free” post for your social media as well. We figure if we share, it will come back to us eventually.

  4. says

    I love Triberr for sharing, since I sometimes forget to share when I am at a blog. It makes me crazy sometimes how much stuff needs to be done besides just read and comment. I need to get better at it.

    I sometimes worry about my stats too – there are so many bigger blogs out there. I try to focus a lot on engagement – I have great followers who are now really loyal and engaged. To me, that is important…but yes, the companies want the numbers.

    I think you do a fabulous job. I am one of those who missed the Snoopy posts! And you know how I love your photos…no matter if you are in the kitchen cooking or just hanging about with your siblings.

    Keep up the great work! I will always be back for more GBGV fun!
    Happy Saturday,
    Oz

    • Emmadog says

      You are a great fan, and there is so much to do if you want to be a good blogger! It really is more than a full time job, but it doesn’t even pay like a high school part time job. You have to do it because you love it. We feel engaging is important too and we do our best to comment back on social media here and there, but especially on blog posts. Thanks for your feedback!

  5. Ellen Shedlarz says

    A new theme for you this year has been being the middle child and I for one love hearing those stories.

    • Emmadog says

      I do feel like the meat in a sandwich. I have to work a bit harder to get all the attention I deserve as Bailie needs Mom’s time so much and Katie being older also gets extra Mom time, but I’m doing okay with it. Sometimes when we do things with just of us and Mom I get to be the older one or the baby depending. That is fun too and Mom makes sure to spend quality alone time with all of us.

  6. says

    I always ponder if I should switch to a selfhosted blog or better not. I’m afraid I could lose a lot of readers. It’s a hard decision for me and I have no clue what’s the best to do. btw: you really hated Snoopy? lol

    • Emmadog says

      Heavens no, I never hated Snoopy but I was thinking people would get tired of me posting those pictures! Moving to self hosted is a big step and believe me, Mom and I lost sleep over it but it was a good move. Why would you lose readers? Since we were too chicken to do it ourselves we paid the $100 to WP and they did the switch for us making sure every last thing was switched over. It was worth the money to have the piece of mind and then they provided 1 or 2 weeks of free help if you needed anything. I think we gained lots of readers being self hosted as we can do so much more with buttons, sidebars, etc, stuff you can’t change with the free site. We highly recommend it.

      • says

        Many thanks for your reply, Emma, I think I will do it with wp together, for the $99 per year. I also read they can help you to keep your readers and support you in all ways. The other option would be to use the blog-software only and manage all with my own domain, but I’m not sure if my posts will appear then in all kind of readers. Think to spend the $99 is the better way.

        • Emmadog says

          They did an awesome job with the switch, we did not even notice and did not lose any readers at all unless there was one that we never knew that didn’t tell us they got left behind. We switched and use host gator which was recommended to us by many bloggers. We don’t use a reader and don’t know much about that part of it, though.

  7. says

    We too have thought about self hosting but we feel we are not tech-know enough. Likewise don’t really get too hung up on stats. Google analytics is a thing on its’ own LOL. Have a super Saturday.
    best wishes Molly

    • Emmadog says

      Mom is kind of techy, but we are terrified if the site should go down, then we are SOL! Since Mom has worked on WP sites for a couple years, she had some idea as to what kind of things need to be done, but other bloggers have been so helpful when we have questions. It was a great move going to self hosted…but scary too!

  8. says

    Great post!! I love your stories, and your photos are always so cute. I agree about the like button too. Blogging because you love it has got to be the reason. I get hung up on stats, but I am vowing this year to quit looking, and just have fun.

    • Emmadog says

      Thank you! Mom says the stats are like the bank account, she is always afraid to look and hopes that if she never looks it will all be good! We love seeing what you are up to and all the interesting things you do and places you go. We have no idea about these kind of places, so it is really interesting to learn about it all.

  9. Panda the Boston says

    We enjoyed the read and loved the bunnies near beautiful Emma! I just bounced into the mom’s lap, gave her kisses, and helped with this comment. XOXO Panda the Boston

      • Betsy says

        My little Panda man is always there for me. God Bless him! I had a bad time last night, and he literally licked my tears away. Betsy

        • Emmadog says

          Mom says that Katie did the same things for Mom when her Trine passed away. It took them both a long time to start to get over it, but they had each other and it really helped.

    • Emmadog says

      Wabbit! Heavens, there was one right outside my window this morning, I lost my mind as usual! Oh, I bet you mean Bunny. Bunny, isn’t really a wabbit in my mind, Bunny is my stuffie that I love to death and sleep with every night. I also have Bunny with me for important matters. Bunny is the only wabbit I would never harm :) It is kind of odd since I have killed so many wabbits in the yard Mom lost count, but Bunny and I are real tight!

  10. says

    I was so anxious to read your Challenge. Your blog was one of the first ones I began following when I discovered the wide world of Pet Bloggers. I feel better knowing you find Analytics confusing…misery loves company! I tried to figure out what they were last night and my eyes crossed! I still have to check out Triberr, it seems like a popular media. Bentley and I think your are wonder-fur!

    • Emmadog says

      Thank you so much, we love readers like you and Bentley! Analytics are something to study, but triberr is something you can get into now and it will bring you readers for sure! As soon as we went self hosted after BlogPaws we started triberr and noticed the difference. It is one more thing to do, but it is worth doing. I think we are in two or three tribes now. It also uses twitter, so it looks like you are tweeting a lot. We used to be super Twitter active, not so much right now, but using triberr it looks like we are tweeting and we also always link Instagram and Pinterest to Twitter. We just can’t be on all the sites all the time. We like to always post manually, not pre programmed posts, but we think combining a couple social media sites for tweets is as good as as manual tweet.

  11. says

    I enjoyed reading your answers, and always love to check out your blog!

    I’m really not a fan of Google Analytics – I find the reporting from Statcounter to be much simpler to decipher. Too bad more people don’t feel that way! ;)

    • Emmadog says

      Thank you. I’ve never heard of statcounter. We aren’t big fans of google and their monopoly on the web to be honest, but you have to play their game to get anywhere.

  12. says

    I think you are doing a great job Emma, and I really admire how engaging you are with your posts and on your Facebook page. Facebook is something I struggle with. Reading these are giving me lots of things to think about myself… I totally agree with the sharing thing, and I share posts on a regular basis! Mostly on Twitter and Pinterest. I think that if people were more share-happy, we could all benefit! I don’t want to spam out my Facebook page, so I try to share one thing that is not from my own blog there once per day. And sometimes on G+ too. Sharing is caring! Caren is a wonderful sharer too btw, just read her comment and think she has the right idea.

    • Emmadog says

      I try to share 3-4 blog posts a day with their share buttons. My facebook page is pretty much 1-2 posts a day of just my stuff, or I post on the pages of others on occasion. I find that most of my readers don’t look at stuff I share from others. I share other posts on G+, twitter and pinterest instead. You have to remember to keep your own fans happy first and then help others. Mom says that reminds her of being a flight attendant and telling people to don their own oxygen mask first and then assist others. Sometimes you have to be number one.

  13. says

    “Blogging should be a passion, not a numbers game” – yes! That’s where I am now too. Stats used to just get me down – now, I write what I want, and when I occasionally see that a post has taken off, it’s a nice bonus. :)

    And on a more general note, I just want to say that I love your photos. Whenever I visit, your photos are sure to make me smile. They’re just wonderful.

    • Emmadog says

      Thank you, we love doing photos ;) What we find odd, is that often a post we almost don’t publish because we don’t think it is good often turns out to be super popular, so post everything, you never know.

  14. says

    I like what you said about blogging shouldn’t be a numbers game. We can’t help but to look at those numbers, though. I hate Google analytics too. I did have someone try to teach it to me, but still not getting it. I rarely look at it anymore. Now I look at comments and likes. I love it when blogs have those like buttons too. I don’t always have a comment to make. BTW, I love the Snoopy posts. I first visited your blog when you were in the middle of that series so I didn’t know what they were for. You had replied to my comment to let me know. :)

    • Emmadog says

      Thank you. Like buttons are awesome as they are so quick and they let people know you were there even though you didn’t have something to say. The Snoopy series turned out to be pretty popular, but none of those were in my top posts, surprisingly.

  15. says

    You are absolutely right! Forget the stats and just have fun. Having an audience is really nice, but having fun with your blog is most important. Thanks for the reminder, because I sometimes forget that. :)

    I wish I had advice on getting more shares, but now that I think about it, I don’t get many, if any, shares. But I don’t share other people’s posts either, so maybe that’s why my posts don’t get shared. I’m going to have to make that a goal, to share blog posts that I enjoyed reading. I hope your new sharing buttons help! They’re really nice and visible but not all in your face, good choice!

    Also, I love your blog. I’m new to following it, but I love it already. Your pictures are wonderful and so adorable and I’m getting to know a breed of dog I had not previously known about! :) Your posts always make me smile.

    • Emmadog says

      Thank you for your kind comments. We want to give people a place to go for fun, smiles, laughter, and maybe something new to learn about as well. We try to hit share buttons on 3-4 posts a day, that is our goal, but some days we totally forget and if they don’t pop out at us we forget too. We have lots of fun with the blog and are so happy you enjoy it.

  16. says

    Hi Emma!
    We loved this series! It was really fun reading your answers too. It’s always nice to understand other bloggers’ perspectives and the challenges they face. We have to do a better job ourselves of sharing. It’s easy to forget! That’s a great suggestion.

    Like many others, we LOVE photos! …and you are very photogenic, Emma!

    Stay warm…and enjoy our “heat wave.”
    ; ) Katie & Glogirly

    • Emmadog says

      Thank you ;) We aren’t fans of the mid winter heatwave because it just makes a mess of our fur and the snow, but it will be better temps for us tomorrow. You kitties have awesome stories and fun photos too! Maybe with the warmer weather you will have some birdies to watch outside your favorite windows?

  17. says

    First you been very good on time and commenting. I guess starting early in the morning is your secret. We totally agree about stats, one reason we are a bit frustrated when brands ask for it and seems to be their primary basis. They should give a chance to other ‘ smaller” blogs. Love Triberr in a way but the streams to be broken (old posts n odd post are on our streams). For starting blogging 2011, you guys have done a PAWsome job. As always, we are happy to help out. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

    • Emmadog says

      Thanks so much…we do start pretty early every morning trying to get stuff done! Triberr when it is working is not bad, we just installed their plugin which seems to be more reliable, but sometimes things seem doubled up or really old that appear.

  18. says

    I’m right there with you with the stats. I used to focus so heavily on them and I’m not convinced that brands care. They look at Facebook and Twitter and our blogs. The rest is up to subjection.

    To stand out from the big blogs, I’d suggest sending proposals to brands and doing reviews of products you regularly buy. It’s astounding what a difference this makes. You have the engagement, which is so much more important than the numbers.

    • Emmadog says

      Thank you for your insight. We have been thinking about reviewing some products we love. We actually do review some products we like without being asked just because we like them but I think we need to contact some of those companies.

    • Emmadog says

      Self hosting is so much better. I have Mom to handle computer things but she can only fix so many things, so paws crossed I don’t really mess anything up!

    • Emmadog says

      Very important. I mean if you have great numbers but dislike what you are doing that is not a good thing. Your happiness will bring the numbers.

  19. says

    Nice job on your answers. I am bad about sharing. I just am always rushing along and never take the time (no excuse…lol). I find it easiest to like things on Facebook. but the app for my phone doesn’t show the newsfeed. Usually when I have the time to poke around FB I only have my phone with no newsfeed! I am one who was sorry to see Snoopy end. :) That was a very clever series.

    • Emmadog says

      I have to find another fun series to do I think. We are good about liking on facebook but on blogs we try to share 3-4 posts a day with share buttons. We rarely use the phone for any blog or social media stuff, it is just too difficult.

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