I am excited to be participating in my 6th Pet Blogger Challenge, hosted by Amy at Go Pet Friendly. Each year we get a list of questions to answer, and it’s a great way to look back and forward on our blog to see where we’re at, and where we’re going. It also gives us a chance to support our fellow bloggers and give encouragement and help where we can. Once again, this year I’ll include some cute photos of the Wag ‘n Woof Crew, for those that might not be as interested in the technicalities of blogging!
For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic? I have been blogging for over 5 years. My main topic is my life with my own pets, with an emphasis on staying healthy and happy. I share personal stories, product reviews, and cover training and health topics that we deal with personally.
What was your proudest blogging moment of 2017? My proudest moment was creating my new tagline “Barking About…. Love, Health, & Our Purr-suit of Happiness”, and getting a new logo done in line with that.
Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? “You are My Sunshine”, my review of our golden retriever Sheba’s life with us (she passed last January). Looking back on those happy memories was very cathartic for me.
In terms of your blog, how do you measure success? I measure success by interactions. If people are commenting on, and relating to, what I write, I feel like I’m getting through. I recently had an email from a reader whose dog had just been diagnosed with luxating patella (also called trick knee). I’ve written several posts on the subject since we found out our Lab mix Luke has them. I am thrilled when someone feels they can reach out to me for advice, or simply for commiseration. That’s a big reason I do this.
In what ways has your blog changed in 2017? I’ve started writing much more about our little farm and our crazy birds (chickens and guinea hens). While it seemed risky to do that – not everyone is interested in farm birds – I still felt like many people who love dogs and cats love all animals. I’ve received some good feedback on our stories, so I plan to continue to share them. Part of the reason we got the birds was for the whole family to try to live a more healthy and natural life, so they really do tie in with our themes.
What was the biggest blogging challenge you overcame in 2017, and what did you learn that could help other bloggers? I guess it was the hesitation about making the big changes that I did. Taking that plunge was scary, but I’m so glad I did it. Don’t be afraid to follow your heart and your instincts. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, opinions, and advice. It was this challenge last year, and the response I got to it, that helped me get up the nerve to do it.
When things get hard, what keeps you blogging? (Question submitted by Pamela Douglas Webster of Something Wagging This Way Comes) This year has been quite difficult for me technically. It seems like I’ve had to fix one thing after another on my blog, and I’ve needed professional help doing that. Trying to keep up with the times and the changes needed is stressful and can get expensive too! I’m still dealing with that. The truth is all of that has had me thinking about giving it all up more than once. What keeps me blogging then? A passion for writing and a passion for my pets. The community of friends, other bloggers and readers, that I’ve made. Some days it just takes one special comment, or someone reaching out to me about a mutual issue, to keep me going.
Looking forward to 2018, what are you hoping to accomplish on your blog this year? I think I’ll be happy to maintain the status quo this year. So much of my life is up in the air right now, that I can’t seem to focus on any kind of goals. I lost my part-time, outside the home job, last fall, after over 20 years and that has really thrown me off. I just feel like I have no idea how to plan when I’m in the middle of finding another job and trying to figure out how that will fit in with the blog, and the farm as well. I have big plans for the farm this year (hoping to plant a huge garden to sell produce, and to add to our bird flock as well). For now, I think I’m just going to focus on getting everything working right (the latest project is getting that SSL certification, so I can be a “secure” website) and plug along as I have been. I guess my main goal is to just be able to keep it going, while figuring the rest of my life out.
In addition to what you’d like to accomplish, is there one specific skill you’d like to improve or master this year? (Question submitted by Jodi Chick of Kol’s Notes) No, I don’t think I’m up to taking on anything more major until things settle down!
Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on? Share it here, and we’ll answer you in the comments! One of the technical issues I’ve been having is problems with my e-mail notifications for new posts going out consistently and to everyone on the list. Do you have a widget/plugin or service you use that you love, or do you prefer a newsletter format for sharing your posts? Also, I am thinking of adding a little non-intrusive advertising to my site. I’ve heard MediaVine is good, so if you have experience with that or something else, please share. Thank you!