Pet Blogger Challenge. In the past, I found it helpful for reviewing where I've been and where I want to go in the coming year.
Like last year, there are two sets of questions – one for first timers and one for repeat offenders. Here are the questions for those of us who participated last year:
1. How long have you been blogging and provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories. I began blogging in December 2009, and just celebrated my third blogoversary!
2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post? My biggest concern last year was monetizing my blog.
In 2012, I pursued a number of different avenues including Google Adsense, BlogPaws Ad Network, and Dogtime Media, as well as various affiliate programs.
Google Adsense and Dogtime Media are not a good fit for me right now simply because I don’t get enough hits per month. So far, BlogPaws Ad Network seems to work well for me. I haven’t had any success with affiliate programs and eventually dropped them.
3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?
In addition to monetizing my blog, my other major goal was to blog more about animal-related causes. I feel like I've made progress in this area with many of my posts addressing various animal-related causes and how people can help.
4. How often do you post? In 2011, I posted 3-4 days a week with a total of 186 posts. That was down from the previous year, when I posted 208 times. In 2012, I posted nearly every day with a total of 320 posts.
5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed? I still try to post on a regular schedule. I have a great fear that if I stop posting on a schedule, I will stop posting altogether. However, I do occasionally take a day off if I’m sick, if I’m travelling, or if there’s nothing I really want to write about.
If you publish on a schedule, why? See above. How strict are you about your publishing deadlines? If I publish by midnight, I feel like I've accomplished my goal for the day. Generally I write first thing in the morning, but occasionally I will write the day before and schedule it to publish the next day. What do you do for inspiration when it feels like you've covered every topic? Sometimes I’ll look for a fun video. Other times, I’ll just take a day off.
6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? Writing is actually the easiest part. I would say I spend about a half hour to an hour daily writing, editing, finding photos, and getting the post ready to be published.
If there is something important I want to write about (like the Pet Blogger Challenge), I’ll put it on my calendar so I don’t forget it. If I don’t have anything scheduled, I go through my email. I have several Google alerts that I receive on a daily basis, and I read through them for ideas. I also go to PRNewswire, PRWeb and PRLog to see if there is anything I want to pick up. If I don’t find anything there, I may go to YouTube to see if there is a video I want to share.
How much time [do you spend] visiting other blogs? I don't read every single blog I follow on a daily basis. I scan through the titles to see what catches my eye. I belong to Triberr and read a lot of blogs there. I also follow a lot of blogs on Facebook and Google +. I’m not very good about leaving comments on other people’s blogs, but I do “like” them or give +1’s. I also leave comments on Facebook or Google+, and I try to share a certain number of posts per day.
Share your tips for staying on top of it all. I don’t really feel like I stay on top of it all, but I do have a “system”. I have several social media sites saved on my Chrome bookmarks bar (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and ScoopIt). I use these sites to disseminate my blog posts and also to read other posts. I generally make a couple of loops through these sites per day.
7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)? Like everyone else, I probably watch my blog stats too much. I watch to see how many page views a post gets and how many comments. I also watch to see how many times it gets shared on Twitter, StumbleUpon and ScoopIt. In addition, I track my number of fans/followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.
Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions? I think there are both objective and subjective measures of how well a post does. For example, a post may get a lot of page views but very few comments. Or it may get a lot of comments, but not a lot of shares. Or it may get picked up on StumbleUpon and get stumbled by several people. I try to look at the whole picture, but I do tend to get hung up on the number of page views.
8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be? I think I would ask for feedback about the types of posts I publish. I would ask my readers what they would like to see more/less of.
I don’t currently do product reviews or giveaways, and I very seldom write about my own pets. Mostly, I write about pet-related causes and events – probably because that’s what appeals to me, but also because I think it differentiates me from other pet blogs.
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013? Continue to write about animal-related causes, continue to post on a regular schedule, and grow my readership.