Looking back on another year of dog blogging

Pet Blogger ChallengeThis is my first year participating in the Pet Blogger Challenge, a “blog hop” that’s hosted by Go Pet Friendly and Will My Dog Hate Me?

It’s nice to have the opportunity to reflect on why I keep a dog blog (short answer: because I’m crazy) and what I’m looking forward to in the coming year.

Without further ado, here are some answers to the challenge questions:

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 this blog in May 2011, a year before we adopted Pyrrha, our first dog. I was driving my husband insane with my desperate need to talk about dogs all the time, and so I started a blog as an outlet for my year of concentrated canine research. This is still a blog that focuses on learning about and from dogs, specifically our two dogs, Pyrrha and Eden, who were adopted through Southeast German Shepherd Rescue.

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.

I don’t know how to answer this question, honestly. I just feel grateful to have a community of readers who are always so encouraging and helpful when I have questions!

3. What about blogging has changed the most for you?

I feel more confident about expressing my opinion now than I did when I first started blogging about dogs. This clearly has to do with the fact that the more I actually live with dogs (instead of just reading about them), the more I actually learn.

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?

Ask people for advice! I think I started getting a readership simply because I desperately needed help, and people are usually willing to share their experiences and offer counsel when you ask for it. I’m still really grateful for that interaction on this blog, and I’ll keep asking questions!

5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

Coming up with better, more searchable headlines. And using more photos! Everyone likes to look at photos, even if they’re just breezing over the text.

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?

Not a ton. I have a Twitter account, which I’m using more regularly. I’m also on Instagram and Pinterest. I got off Facebook recently, though, and that was one of the best decisions of my young Internet life.

7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?

Comments are always a helpful gauge, along with site views. Posts that ask questions tend to get the most feedback.

8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?

When I feel a connection with the post, or feel like I have a similar experience to share, I am more likely to leave a comment.

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

Yes, both! I particularly enjoy reading and writing book reviews, and we’ve done a handful of product reviews (mostly food items, which the girls love). I’d love to have the chance to offer more giveaways.

10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?

Take the pups on a walk! This is not my full-time job, either, so I probably spend less time blogging than most “professional” pet bloggers. But it’s been easier to blog lately, having the craziness of adding a second dog to the household provide fodder for blog content.

11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?

Not yet! I’ve made this my main Internet outlet, pulling away from my personal blog some, and I’ve been happy with that decision. Dog people are so much nicer than normal people. 🙂

12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?

I’d love to improve my writing abilities and continue to build a community here.

SIDE NOTE: I got to see Bo again! Bo now lives in Florida with his mama, but he is the dog who taught me the most in the year that I was waiting to adopt Pyrrha. It was very special getting to see him; he is such a sweetheart. He is starting to get some white around his muzzle! Aww.

Reunited with Bo! Love that boy. #goldenretriever
Reunited with Bo!

Why do you blog about dogs? Are you participating in the challenge?

8 thoughts on “Looking back on another year of dog blogging

  1. I blog because I love our dogs so much and I needed an outlet too. There is so much information out there that contradicts, I find it easier to learn from other dog owners so I created my blog and love reading about other dog owner experiences.

  2. I used to write a monthly e-newsletter to my customers with doggie news items. I then decided to write the blog and simply provide links to posts in my newsletter. I am so happy I did. It makes it much easier to manage because I can regularly add to it, rather than waiting until the end of the month to compile everything. And I continue to make connections with really interesting doggie people from around the world – so not just my local market in New Zealand. It’s been a fabulous experience. I’ve been blogging since 2011, too.

  3. “Dog people are so much nicer than normal people.” I like that. Though I might say “Dog people are so much more normal than other people.” I’ve only just started connected to the pet blogging community, and I agree; they are good people.

    Nice to meet you.

    –Woofs (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

  4. You are so right when you say “Ask people for advice! I think I started getting a readership simply because I desperately needed help, and people are usually willing to share their experiences and offer counsel when you ask for it. ”

    I totally would love to network with you at blogpaws in the community and the conference. Join us http://community.blogpaws.com

  5. I missed the challenge, and I’ve also been severely slacking. My visitors and commenters really dipped when I switched to the MWF schedule (especially, I think, because Wednesday is such a cheat. So two “real” posts, and Wordless Wednesday).

    I loved reading more about you, though!

  6. I love your “short answer” and feel that sums most of us up! I’m right there with you. It’s the community. Pet bloggers and readers of pet blogs are so willing to help, to share advice, to commiserate. There aren’t many other communities on the internet that are so dang generous without being judgey or competitive. You capture that spirit perfectly in your writing. I can’t wait to see where you and your expanding herd go in 2014!

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