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.
Actively? About two weeks now. I started this blog just about a year ago, and I think I wrote three or four posts and then lost interest. But throughout the year I constantly would think “oh this would make a good blog post” and thanks to the prompting of a friend decided to tackle the blog again. We have a pretty crazy household – while I’m writing this there are five dogs and a cat in the house, so writing about how to balance such a “zoo” seems to be a new perspective compared to a lot of blogs that focus on one or two dogs. I also foster frequently and compete in dog sports which I feel I can offer some good insight on.
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
Considering I just restarted the blog a few weeks ago… I’d say actually restarting blogging and making a commitment to actually blog is the biggest (only?) accomplishment.
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?
Well the biggest change is that I wasn’t blogging much or really, at all, and now I’ve been steadily posting once a day. I feel good about the rate I’ve been able to keep up with this. Since that isn’t a great answer, a lot of things have changed in my life regarding what I have to blog about. We lost Chance, we got Jeni and Bauer, we adopted and lost Margaret, we adopted a cat, and we’ve fostered a couple dozen animals this year. I have also gotten a lot more involved in dog sports. Chance was the one who got me interested initially in obedience and rally but unfortunately he got sick before we could really get going. Bauer was my first agility dog but Jeni is my hopeful future though we both have a few things to work through before our next trial, whenever that may be.
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?
I have been out of the loop all year… it’s been two weeks of jumping back into the pet blog world and I hardly have an audience… at this point I’m still trying to absorb information and learn, and doubt I have too much to offer to others.
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
So far, social media and blog hops seem to have resulted in the most traffic. I have really loved getting in touch with other pet bloggers through blog hops, which is what prompted me to take this Pet Blogger Challenge in the first place! Posting on Facebook often results in many views, and my husband who is big on Twitter is trying to encourage me to get back on Twitter and promote that way. A lot of views have come from people interested in the Keeshond mill rescue who want ot read about Kringle.
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 don’t spend much time outside of just writing posts… but I have been starting to increase my networking, and I think it is something that I need to start doing more often. Interacting with other bloggers through comments and blog hops is enjoyable for me and something that would like result in more traffic as well. Perhaps I will take Chris’s advice and get back into Twitter. I do find that those interested in companion animal topics tend to be more active on Facebook than Twitter, compared to the sports world (Chris’s thing) where Twitter is the place to be.
7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
So far it has been comment responses. I have gotten great responses to posts about Kringle (the foster) on the Facebook group about the Keeshond mill dogs. Everyone loves the updates. I got a good response to the training post as well… I really appreciate people commenting so I am making an effort to comment on other people’s blogs as well!
8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
The main thing that drives me to post a comment is when I have a story or experience that reminds me of what they were blogging about – usually if I can related to the post I like to comment. Or if I like the collar the dog is wearing in the post I’ll always ask about it… like I said I’m a collar addict. But like I said in the answer to the question before, I so appreciate comments on my own blog that I have been making an effort to comment on posts that I read, even if only to tell them I enjoyed reading or viewing the photos.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?
I haven’t yet, but I intend to. I have honestly had enough stuff to post about so far that I haven’t had time to throw in a product review yet but I have several planned and lined up. I am a collar junkie and slightly addicted to “dog stuff” so believe me, the product reviews will be coming! I like what I like and I love to support small businesses so anything I can do to promote the companies I love while also sharing good information with readers is great.
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
Take a year off of blogging 😉 But to be serious, I am really looking forward to other people’s responses to this. I stopped for a good long while after I got tired of blogging last year and even deleted all my posts because I was frustrated. So far I have been going at a good pace with my renewed blogging endeavor but I am sure the time will come when I grow wary and I want to be able to push through.
11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?
Yep. A big one. And I had barely gotten started. I had no semblance of an audience and in fact was scared to post my blog anywhere for fear of what people would think. So obviously that was not really a good marketing plan. When I took the dive again, I sucked it up and said, okay, I’m going to promote on social media etc. and it has gone over very well, which honestly has kept me moving forward. I hope that I can maintain this momentum and not take a giant break or try to quit blogging again because of nerves, or honestly even lack of an audience. While I hope I will gain some regular readers as I start out, I want to be blogging for myself, to grow as a writer and maintain records of my adventures with my dogs.
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
I touched on this briefly, but my biggest goal is to simply maintain the blog. I am not out looking for notoriety in the blog world but would not mind making a few connections with fellow pet bloggers and learning more through networking. Maybe in the future I’ll have interest in growing traffic but for the time being I want to offer a bit of information, some cute photos, maybe entertainment… but mostly just keep blogging and get through any writer’s block or doubts.