Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pet Blogger Challenge 2014

I've joined the blog hop hosted by Go Pet Friendly, by taking the 2014 Pet Blogger Challenge! Go Pet Friendly posted the following questions on their blog for hoppers to answer and then link up their post.


Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

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 started blogging in January of 2010. It was a huge turning point in the life of myself and my fiance, and I thought blogging about our dogs would help me get through the struggles we had in the past. Shortly after I started blogging about our dogs, I discovered I was pregnant and my blog became a mix of dogs and babies. I still blog about both today, but the "chi's" make up a majority of my blogs content.


2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
I didn't take part in the 2013 Pet Blogger Challenge, so I didn't really have goals laid out for myself or my blog, but I would say that I definitely accomplished bringing in more readers. My blogs' page views have tripled over the past year, and my social media connections have more than doubled as well. I hope to bring in more readers this year, and have a goal for myself to post at least every other day.


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 didn't take part in last years' challenge, but I know my outlook for my blog has changed. Prior to this past year I focused more on my son, and even throughout 2013 I focused my content on product reviews. This year, while I would love to still post a lot of reviews of dog related products, I hope to be able to branch out my post topics more.


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 post on your blog daily, and have fun with your posts. Even if it's just a photo of your pets, who doesn't love a cute pet to look at? 


If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
How to encourage readers to comment and share their thoughts more. I feel like, even though I'm getting more visits to my blog, that readers aren't reading the full posts, or getting any enjoyment from looking through my blog. I wish I could receive more comments and feedback, and have some "friends" of the blog who are excited to see a new post from me.


5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
Joining blogging groups. I've joined several groups on Facebook where we exchange links to read and give feedback on.


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 currently spend a few hours a day publicizing posts on my blog. I would love to have traffic flow in while spending less time, but I have a feeling that I will be spending even more time on publicizing my blog this year.


7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
I currently don't, I just post! 


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'm burnt out on it. If I'm completely uninterested in posting about a topic, I imagine my readers don't want to hear about it anymore either.


8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
If I just read and move on, then who's to say that that's all anyone does on my blog? If I comment and give some good feedback about a post I've just read, I hope that in return someone will be willing to post on my blog too.


9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?
Yep!


If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?
I've found out that my blog is just not big enough to have companies contact me asking me to review products. I spend a lot of time researching companies to find good fits for my blog, and emailing them about myself, my family, and my blog and explaining what I have to offer as far as a review post and promotion of my review should they be willing to send me a product. Sometimes, it works!


If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?
N/A


10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
I just take a break from blog-ville. My blog took a huge hit, but shortly after Gabe was born I took a long break from blogging all-together. It helped me re-charge and gave me a new outlook on what direction I wanted my blog to go in, but it suffered and I lost a lot of followers in the mean time.


11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?
I sure have! I was slow to start, and thought I could start going strong after Gabe was born. But I was wrong, and got burnt out. I took about a half a year off of blogging, but it was refreshing. Since my blog was still fairly new, I was able to re-think where I wanted everything to go in the long run and readjust my blogging habits.


Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
No. But I do have ideas for other blogs in my head should this one not work out.


12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
Allow myself a monthly budget to purchase products for review. I've noticed my reviews lapse for long periods of time while I track down new company's willing to send product for us to try out. I'm continuing my BarkBox subscription to have a monthly delivery of random product to review (you can use my coupon code on the right sidebar if you'd like to try it out, too) and am currently looking for low fat dog treats and foods to review with Venus during her weight loss journey (a new addition to my blog).



10 comments:

  1. This is a great way to get to know your fellow blogger and how they started blogging. I haven't really taken a break since blogging except for my maternity leave. I was too inclined to turn it into a business and has been my income. So taking a break, meant no income. But of course I schedule things out over holidays and vacations. Not sure what I'll do with the blog when or if I start working full time somewhere when my kids go to school.

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  2. Seem like you're headed in a very clear direction for 2014 and thats a good thing! Loved getting to know you and your blog! :)

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  3. So many ways to visit new blogs! i love it!

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  4. Great post! I have the same policy with my blog - post every day even if it is only a picture. I hope that you are able to hit all of your goals this year! :)

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  5. Come on over to BlogPaws.com and be active in the community. I saw you wrote, "Joining blogging groups." - you'd love it there. Happy Blogging!

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  6. This post really makes me miss my beagle. She is gone and I refuse to replace her. I mean how can you replace a family member!

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  7. Nice to meet you. I, too, reach out to brands to do reviews for them but, like you, only for products I love and are a great fit for my blog. I get several offers a month too but most of them don't fit with my blog niche.

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  8. Reviews are tough. I never really got up the courage to approach brands myself and I think it is fantastic you were able to put yourself out there! I am not the least surprised that you receive a response. When companies see what quality you have to offer, they are bound to want a small part in that.

    Congratulations on all of your success! I think it's great you are still writing despite all of the changes in your life. I look forward to seeing where you take this in the future.

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  9. One way I have found to put together a nice network of bloggers is to join hops and comment and connect with other bloggers that way. I have gained a lot of loyal readers through hops and found a lot of great blogs to read. Best of luck this year. I love that you approach companies for product reviews. I think that is a great idea. :)

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  10. Oh no. I think my comment disappeared. Hopefully it shows up, but in the meantime, I will just say best of luck this year!

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