Alright, y’all. Happy 2017!
A new year can only mean one thing…
It’s time for the annual Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by our friends at GoPetFriendly.com.
For all you non-pet-bloggers, this is a chance for us to step back and evaluate our site and goals. Plus, the best part of the challenge is the linkup so that pet bloggers can support one another through sharing experience and advice!
I’ve participated in this almost every year and always look forward to the chance to think objectively about what I’m doing and to learn from others. In case you want a look back, here are previous entries: 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. (What the heck happened in 2012, I wonder? Oh, right. Stupid cancer. Drat.)
Now, it’s time for 2017! Let’s dive in, shall we?
- When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?
I started in summer 2009. My site’s tagline–obsessed with dogs–pretty much sums it up. I wanted to tell stories, started sprinkling in some resource-style posts, and now I strive to do both-in-one: useful posts told from the context of these guys. Sometimes the usefulness is just a laugh; sometimes the usefulness is, like, actually practical. Sometimes.
- What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?
Interviewing Big Boi from Outkast! OK, maybe not my proudest moment, but definitely the most fun.
Being a million percent candid, though, 2016 was a hard year for us for a whole lot of reasons, some of which I’ve shared here with you guys. I hate to say this because it feels like such a cop out, but just getting to the other side of 2016 while keeping my head… I’m proud of that.
- Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)
Without a doubt, my recap of day one at Best Friends Animal Society. It was one of those posts that just flowed. I hammered it out on the flight home, actually. Plus, that place… it’s in my veins… and that post reminds me why and spurs me on to figure out my next visit.
- Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?
Um. OK. So, I didn’t. I didn’t increase traffic, reach more people, or grow. At all. I’m lucky I stayed stable since I only posted 59 times the entire year. That seems like a pace of about once/week, which would be alright, but it wasn’t. It was fits and spurts. The aforementioned “hard year” is to blame, but it is what it is. I’m glad I stayed steady, so there’s that. At least 2017 can only go up, right? 🙂
- Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?
My most-trafficked post is still the idiopathic head tremors post from 2013. I’ve updated it and written more about IHT since, but that one just gets the most traffic week over week. Of new content in 2016, far and away the most traffic goes to DIY bitter apple spray.
- What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)
I said it last year, and it still holds true: oh melvin (and yo jake) (hey doug). Her posts are full of heart and warmth, and I just love that blog to bits. Also, Rubicon Days. She inspires me so much with her wit, wisdom, and authenticity.That said, I’m a huge blog devotee generally. As of this writing, my Feedly account has 205 unread posts. (I know what I’m doing this weekend!) There are so many good ones out there. I only regret not having more time to read them all. In truth, I read a ton on my phone, usually while standing in line somewhere or waiting for a late appointment or whatever. That means I’m a voracious blog reader but an appalling blog commenter. I’ll work on that last bit because I love and value comments here so much… I need to get better about leaving comments for others. (WOW, this answer got super off track!)
- What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?
Emmett dislikes snuggling. Seriously. People always say, “Oh, I just want to hug him!” or “I’d love to cuddle up with Emmett!” Well, I’m sorry to say, he’d leave. He tolerates a smidge of a snuggle, then he gets up and goes away. Cooper is the exact opposite. He cannot snuggle close enough. In fact, he prefers to be on top of you. Also, Newt eats oatmeal.
- What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?
Be patient and kind with yourself. Trust yourself. No one can do it all (at least not do it all well), and some days/weeks/months/even years will be better than others. Such is life. Go with it because, in the end, it’ll be OK.
- What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?
Tell more stories. Get back to writing for the sake of writing. The posts I love the most are the ones that get the least traffic. I think I let that get me down coming out of a difficult 2015. I believe that was a big part of my lethargy last year. Like, I just felt after being clobbered by Lukey’s story in 2015, I just didn’t have the writing chops last year. I was completely drained and running on empty already, and a tough year made it that much harder. So, coming out of the fog with a lot more motivation, I have a project in the works that’ll help achieve that in a hopefully unexpected way. More to come on that front as soon as I tie up a few loose ends.
- Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?
I really want to infuse Newt into the blog more. She makes the occasional cameo right now, and I started a separate category in the top nav to file her stories, but I think multi-species-household stories are much needed on the interwebs… that said, the inspiration and purpose for this space was always dogs, dogs, dogs. Would anyone like to hear more stories about their multi-species shenanigans (see below)? Or would more cat-related content be a turn-off?