It's that time again - the Pet Blogger Challenge. Amy from GoPetFriendly challenges pet bloggers to take a look back at the previous year and take a look ahead. Here are my responses to this year's questions.
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 started blogging on PawPosse.com in April 2010, which somehow sounds longer than it feels. Last year was my first year participating in the Pet Blogger Challenge; you can see that post here.
2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?
Growing traffic and writing about controversial topics.
3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?
The first one I’ve accomplished: monthly traffic about doubled from this time last year. The second one, not so much. Each time I’ve sat down to write about a controversial topic, it doesn’t feel right. The blog is here for education, not my own rambling. So for the most part, content has stayed focused on useful topics that affect dog owners’ everyday lives.
4. How often do you post?
I now post twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays.
5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed? If you publish on a schedule, why? How strict are you about your publishing deadlines? What do you do for inspiration when it feels like you’ve covered every topic?
A schedule keeps me focused on writing. On other blogs I’ve never had a schedule; as a result, I have fewer posts. But having a commitment in my head of twice a week keeps my antennae much more tuned to topics for my dog blog.
When the antennae aren't picking up enough topics, I look to others. What are others writing about that leaves me with questions? What are crazy things I see that don’t make sense? What questions do people ask me? That last one is fun. I’m known as the dog lady in my circle of friends and get some very random questions. If my friends are asking about something, other people have probably wondered about it too. Voila, I've got a topic.
6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your tips for staying on top of it all.
I typically spend a couple 2-4 hours a week writing 2 posts. Some posts take more research and therefore more time. Writing is my passion, so it’s an absolute joy for me to sit down at my keyboard and let my fingers fly. I spend an hour or two a week reading other blogs. For me, the easiest way to stay on top of it is to schedule time on my calendar for writing and set a timer for reading blogs. That way, I know I have enough time to devote to writing and reading doesn’t take over my day (as it easily could if I let it).
If I have time, I like taking a day to dedicate entirely to writing a few weeks' worth of posts. That makes it easier so later, I only have to finish editing or publishing the post. That makes it much easier to keep to my schedule when other duties come up, the flu strikes, or life simply takes over.
7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)? Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions?
I consider myself very lucky that the interactions in my community are high quality. People are friendly, supportive, and good-natured, which allows me to emphasize the numbers over moderating. For me, the success of a post comes the week it’s posted and months later. The week it’s posted, the numbers tell me how well people responded to its initial promotion. Months later, continuing traffic tells me it’s something people continue to find, value, and share. I’ve gotten a lot more focused on that kind of evergreen content that is always useful over posts that are interesting for a day and never looked at again.
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’d love to know how to make guest blogging more fruitful. I’ve done a lot more with it in the last year, both in getting and sharing guest posts, but it’s still not where I’d like it to be. How do you engage readers from guest posts and get them to become regular visitors? How do you maintain relationships with other bloggers when your time is limited? Any tips, please email me (use the "contact us" button up top). Thanks!
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?
In all honesty, I’d like to make more money off my blog. I’d love to partner with brands I trust and feel confident in, especially those that make giving back to the community a priority. If I can help concerned pet parents make better decisions for their pet, help trustworthy companies get their product or service to more people, and get a little something that helps pay vet bills – that’s a win-win-win.
I’d also like to double traffic. It’s a lofty goal, but one I accomplished each of the last two years. I’m going for a three-peat in 2013.
If you'd like to talk to me about guest blogging, partnering, or any other way we can support each other, please reach out. I'd love to hear from you.
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