The Third Annual Pet Blogger Challenge is here! I love any opportunity for reflection, especially when it comes to goal setting and, ideally, goal achieving. This took me longer than I thought it would because I realized that I didn’t have a concrete plan or set of goals, so I’m glad to have this opportunity to be introspective and think through how I’m running this blog! So, here goes…
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’ve been blogging since June 1, 2009. I missed the challenge in 2012 because it was the same time as one of my surgeries, but here’s a link to my 2011 challenge post.
2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?
I actually hadn’t set any specific goals, which is odd for me because I’m a terribly goal-oriented person. My only stated goal was to start making enough money to cover the cost of hosting and registering the blog.
3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?
I sold some sponsored posts, which covered the cost of hosting. Yay! However, all this introspection about goals has inspired me to actually create some concrete goals for 2013. I’m not sure what those will look like yet – traffic? income? engagement? – but I’m excited to have something to think about!
4. How often do you post?
Since the old cancer diagnosis, it’s been about once per week. Prior to that, it was three times per week. AHA! There’s a goal for 2013! Get back on a posting schedule!
5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed?
I’m determined to be more scheduled in 2013, just to help keep myself on track. Since I write for a living, I spend almost all day every day on my computer. Having a set schedule will help me stay motivated and focused to get posts up regularly.
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?
If you don’t publish on a schedule, why? How do you think your decision affects your audience? How do you know when a topic is “post-worthy?”
I haven’t been posting on a schedule, but, as I said, I want to change that.
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.
Honestly, over the past year I’ve spent very little time writing my blog. However, I spend a ton of time visiting other blogs. The only tip I have is to use Google Reader! It’s the only way I can track the ever-expanding list of blogs that I follow. The only thing is that it takes an extra step to visit the blog to leave a comment, which I’m terrible at doing. Another goal for 2013, perhaps?
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 used to check my Google Analytics obsessively, but after a while I realized those traffic numbers were less important than engagement. Are people commenting? Are there discussions among readers? Those are the questions I’m using to determine success these days.
8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
How to get people to take that extra step to become subscribers, whether it’s via email, RSS, as a Google Reader subscription, and so on. When I look at my numbers, I have a lot of visitors who come by a couple times then disappear. I do that to other sites, too; unless I add the subscription when I first visit, I never remember to go back and check for new posts. How can I capture new folks and get them to subscribe? Is it as easy as adding a button to each post? Should I assume those who want to do and everyone else isn’t interested? I feel like this is something I need to work on for 2013 because I think this is a number that potential advertisers want to see!
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?
I had to set this aside and think about it for a little while, but I think I came up with three main goals for the year… Next up: Developing the strategies to achieve each one of these guys!
- Subscribers: I haven’t pushed subscriptions (reader or email) more than once or twice, but I want to get those numbers up.
- Income: I want to maintain my previous goal of earning enough via sponsored posts or advertising to cover the cost of monthly hosting and annual domain registration.
- Posting: I will post a minimum of three times per week. Wordless Wednesday counts, right?
Thanks to GoPetFriendly.com for hosting the Pet Blogger Challenge again this year! I love the opportunity to think through all these questions, and I can’t wait to read (and comment on!) everyone else’s challenge responses.