Friday, January 10, 2014

Pet Blogger Challenge 2014 -- How can I be better blogger for you?

Today is the Pet Blogger Challenge!

Every year Amy from Go Pet Friendly hosts this challenge. It's a great way to take stock of the previous year and prepare for the new one. I did the challenge last year. 

Please read through my answers and at the end, tell me how I'm doing. Do you enjoy my blog? How can I make it better for you?

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 March 2012 to try out blogging and see if I could keep up with it. I'm still here, almost two years in! Now it's evolved a lot more, and become a bigger part of my life, bigger than I ever expected it to be.

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

I guess the thing I'm most proud about is I'm starting to be recognized for what I do. I haven't won any awards yet, but it's nice to have more people think that my work has some value, to be told that my tips are helpful and my writing is good. Especially good to know that people in Florida know my work. It's cool to meet me at events and they say "yes, I follow you!"

I met Beags and his mom Andrea an event earlier this year. She had read my blog before we met.
 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 think it's the time I've put into it. I've definitely put more time into my blog, my brand, and what I'm trying to do.  My blog has expanded into a lot of areas, particularly with reviews and bigger stories.

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?

A lot of what I've been learning has less to do with the blog itself and more to do with building relationships, especially with companies. I don't know that there's anything I could teach any other bloggers. Just that it's important to go out and meet people. Build relationships. You never know where it will lead.

If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

As always, I am constantly looking for constructive criticism on how I can make it better. I've done great things, but I feel like I am hitting a plateau in terms of where my blog is at, especially with my page views and moving further into monetization. Maybe a redesign, maybe I need to change something, I don't know.

Lulu and I went to Global Pet Expo. We'll be back this year.
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

I am a believer in Triberr. I think it's done some great things in terms of helping me bring more traffic to the blog. Giveaways have also been really helpful, and I've had more. My third biggest thing, I've found, is to focus on beagles. The beagle stories are doing the best in terms of traffic. People seem to share them the most.

6. How much time do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?

I don't really keep count. I try to post several times a day though. I think I need to work on posting smart, not more. I haven't quite figured out how to do that though.

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

Engagement, either on Facebook and Twitter or on the blog itself. In some cases though, the message trumps the appeal. I could fill my blog with pictures of beagle puppies and have thousands of followers. My goal is to help people. And I'm hoping that what I do over the long term is exactly that. Maybe somewhere down the line what I say will help someone. It's all about the SEO.

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

I have to feel like I have something to contribute. I never like to post "oh, cute picture," or something really useless. If I can't contribute something useful, I'll try to share it instead. 

9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways? If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?

I think it depends entirely on the product. One thing I do need to get better at is writing more effective headlines while keeping in SEO and all the proper terminology. I think that hurt me on a few giveaways.

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

I go to work, LOL! I walk away. I go back to the basics, which is spending more time with Lulu. It helps.

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

I take short breaks. I took one over Christmas because I was so burned out. It was nice to be away and just talk to people instead of just promote my blog.

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

Just keep plugging away! Continue to grow this project, continue to help people have a better relationship with their pet. 

Me and my pals from #PetChat at Barkworld!
Now, it's your turn! Please, feel free to tell me what I'm doing wrong, what I'm doing right, and what I can do better. 


  1. Great post, Christie! I am planning to focus on my SEO more this year as well! Good luck in 2014 in all your endeavors!

  2. Such a good post. Not surprised that Beagles are a traffic draw - who can resist a Beagle?! Best wishes for great success in 2014!

  3. I had always thought you'd been at blogging so much longer and I have no idea why! I'm with you - 2014 has lots of goals, but it all boils down to "just keep on plugging."

    1. Thanks, Kimberly. I had thought the same about you last year. Nope, this is my very first blog.

  4. I like that we met and I always feel more of a connection when I meet a blogger and we chat, keep in touch. I don't always comment, but plan to get better about that. I tend to be a speed reader and then don't take the time to comment. Looking paw-ward to seeing you at BlogPaws in May! Continued happy blogging!

    1. I am the same. I will try to be better about commenting on other blogs I read this year. No promises though!

  5. Very nice to e-meet you; I'm glad you took part in the Challenge this year. I like your philosophy of commenting, i.e., if you don't have something useful to say, share the post. Easy, guilt-free!

  6. "posting smart and not more" is an important lesson I learned. Honestly, people don't have time to visit your blog and read 7 - 10 blog posts a week. You're lucky if they hit 2 or 3. I figure that if I write 3 or 4 engaging and thoughtful posts (not saying yours aren't. You have some really great posts!) and then promote them over several days, people will actually be able to read a higher percentage of my posts. I tried that theory - partly because I had to with grad school and partly for experiment sake - and my visitors and page views have actually increased even though I am posting less. Your mileage may vary though :)

  7. "I could fill my blog with pictures of beagle puppies and have thousands of followers." Love that, even though you're working to rise above it.

    Nice to meet you. I'm making my way through the hop, one blog at a time.

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

  8. Several posts a day! I'm exhausted just thinking about it! It's interesting that you've found beagle posts are really popular - I am a little perplexed about the beagle popularity thing. They're cute, but they're naughty! I had one through rescue recently and he was such a crazy! He found a lovely home, but surprisingly, not to a 'beagle home'.


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