Pet Blogger Challenge – but here we are again! It’s time once again to look at the past year to see what I’ve done and to look into the future to see what I would like to do in the coming year!
Here are the questions to be answered by all the participants:
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 have been blogging for the past four years. I just celebrated my anniversary on December 31st! My blog was originally written by my pet rabbit Bunny Jean Cook, but she passed away in June 2011. I continued the blog in my own voice after she hopped over the Rainbow Bridge.
2. Name one thing about your blog that you accomplished during 2013 that made you most proud. The one thing I am most proud of is a little post that really resonated with people called “When a friend loses a pet - 7 important Do’s and Don’ts from Petfinder Foundation”. That post had more hits than any other post EVER and clearly addressed a need with pet parents.
3. When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge what about blogging has changed the most for you? The biggest thing that has changed for me is the amount of time I have to devote to blogging. Last year, I was blogging six days a week. I tried to maintain that pace again this year, but changes in my personal life made it difficult. I will probably go back to blogging 3-4 times a week in the coming year.
4. What lessons have you learned this year that could help us all with our own sites? The biggest lesson I learned this year was to not put so much pressure on myself. I was putting pressure on myself to blog daily, to monetize my blog and work with brands – but really all I wanted to do was share information that I thought was important. This year I will focus more on that.
If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be? I’m always interested in knowing the types of stories people are interested in reading. I like filtering information in a way that people find helpful, so if I can find things that will interest them and save them time, I’d like to do that.
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content? Having great friends who are willing to share your content! Triberr is a big plus for my blog, as is Twitterfeed. I have a pretty small following, but occasionally a post will get a lot of hits because it is shared by another blogger. I also use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest to share my posts.
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? If by publicizing my blog you mean sharing on social networks, I’d say less than an hour a day. I do not aim to have the largest, most popular of pet blog – I’m happy with my audience. In fact, I think I would panic if my blog suddenly became too popular!
7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience? Generally by the number of page views, retweets or shares. Occasionally I will write a post that generates a lot of comments, which is always nice.
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? Basically when my gut tells me it’s time. If my heart is no longer in it, then it’s time 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 don’t like leaving comments just for the sake of commenting, so it really has to speak to me. Something moving or funny or something I feel passionate about.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways? No, I do not. It just doesn’t interest me.
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge? Generally, I just take a day off. Recently I took two weeks off (for the first time ever). I was always afraid if I stopped blogging I wouldn’t start up again, but that hasn’t been the case.
11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go? Yes, I took two weeks off in December. I felt I really needed to step away. At first, I felt a little panicky – like I made a mistake. Then I enjoyed the time off. Now I can say I’m happy to be back.
Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay? Yes – hasn’t everyone? What makes me stay is the fact that I love my blog and I love the pet blogging community. I will quit when I feel it no longer adds value to my life. There are lots of pet blogs out there – I don’t think anyone will miss my little blog when I retire.
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014? Keep on blogging, baby!