Today 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.
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.