This is the 4th Annual Pet Blogger Challenge, and my 2nd time participating. Thank you to Amy at Go Pet Friendly for starting this hop to encourage, motivate and support our fellow bloggers. This year her co-host is Edie from Will My Dog Hate Me.
I know I’m a day late doing this, but I didn’t think I was going to have time. When I started reading some of the other contributions though, I found I really wanted to participate. I actually learned some things from last year’s that helped me out a lot, and it’s a very good exercise for re-focusing on where we’re at with our blogs.
On to the questions, and I’ll throw in a couple cute photos of the dogs I took this morning to break it up a bit!
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. One year and five months now. I had just closed a pet sitting business I was involved in and needed something to fill that void. I always wanted to be a writer and blogging came to my attention as a way to fulfill that dream as well as continuing to do something that involved animals. My blog is about “all things pet related” but my focus has really come to be on my own dogs and cats and my life with them.
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud. I stepped up the looks of my blog, with a new header and some additions to my sidebar.
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?
I spend a lot more time at it. Not only do I post more often but I spend more time promoting it by visiting other blogs.
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? To give ourselves a break. A lot of us are just trying to “do it all”, and no one seems to have enough time for that. I’ve backed off a little here and there so that I don’t burn out, and I’ve seen other bloggers doing that also. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be? How can I manage my time better? I never seem to have enough.
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content? Participating in blog hops. I see a lot more new commenters that come from blog hops.
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? Gosh, at least 7 or more hours per week, when you count sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and visiting other blogs. I’ve recently been spending less since we got the new puppy. I’d like to spend more, but frankly, I just don’t have any more time to give to it!
7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience? Mostly by the number of comments left. 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 lose interest in it, or get burnt out on the topic. I wrote a series on puppy mills, and it really started to depress me so I had 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 like to comment as much as I can to show my support to my favorite bloggers. Sometimes I just don’t have the time, or anything intelligent to say so I don’t. If the subject is something I relate to though, I will almost always comment.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways? I’ve started doing some this year, and I’m excited about that. It was one of my original goals to make a little extra money doing this. If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all? I find it’s best not to overdo it. Too many obligations start to take the fun out of it for me.
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge? I’ve been lucky enough not to experience this yet! I actually have the opposite problem…too much I want to write about and not enough time for it all. I’ll often start a This ‘N That Thursday post and have to cut out half of it because I’m trying to cover too much for one post!
11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go? I tried to take two short breaks, once when I went on a family vacation, and once when we brought Luke home. I found I could not detach from it completely….I still had to read emails and comments and read other blogs! Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay? In my first year I thought about it many, many times. I felt like no one was reading and no one liked me (I might have a self confidence problem). I read somewhere that the way to make people give a s–t was to just keep writing. So I did. I also had to learn to not compare myself to others. I think I am finally over that hurdle now. I have a very good friend who often encouraged me, and when I seriously thought about quitting, I knew I would miss my blogging friends too much (as well as the actual writing). When I’d be on the edge, someone would leave a very nice comment and that kept me going.
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014? I would like to start adding videos. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now!