It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on our blogs, where it’s been, and where it might go. Excuse me while I clean out the lint prior to navel-gazing.
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 June 2010. We’d had Our Best Friend just over a year, and decided that if I was unemployed and bored, I might as well write about my dog.
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
I managed to keep up with my minimum one post per month. Given the insanity I call life, not just letting the blog die is a huge accomplishment.
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 didn’t put participate in last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge. I think the fact that I’m back this year (and was part of the recent Meet the Bloggers blog hop) shows a re-commitment to my blog and the blogging community. And I hit over 100 subscribers, some of whom aren’t even relatives. I had pretty much given up on that, so that was cool.
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?
So many blogs are professionally-run with a purpose and plan. GoPetFriendly and Will My Dog Hate Me, who are hosting this hop, are great examples; Amy has turned her passion for pet travel into a business, and Edie is a professional writer. The only way my blog could have been anything like theirs would have been if the Internet had existed when I was 16 and still had time and ambition. If you have a blog like mine– infrequent posts, a lot personal rambling and no particular agenda– you’re not going to gather thousands of followers any time soon. A successful blog requires time and effort, inspiration and investment. I’m content with what I have; it’s a hobby, not a business. If you’re a hobby blogger, but yearn for just a few more readers, there are two things you can do: 1) join blog hops and 2) follow other bloggers, and comment frequently. The pet-blogging community is pretty awesome. You can even make a friend or two (or twenty 🙂 ).
5. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
How to make my blog more visually appealing without a lot of expensive design. I’m still using the old “Twenty-Ten” WordPress theme I started with almost 4 years ago. Pictures of the dog help, but I should be doing more.
6. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
Following other blogs, and commenting back and forth. That includes following facebook pages.
7. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?
The only publicity this blog sees is when I put the link on facebook, and when the automatic tweet goes out with a new post. Some of my friends are truly kind and re-post or re-tweet. Of course I should spend more time publicizing, but I doubt that’s going to change in 2014.
8. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
Errr… Am I supposed to do that? I write what I like; I’m thrilled if other people like it too. Obviously more appealing posts get more comments, but I can only gauge that after the fact, and have no idea how to repeat it.
9. How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?
As I never have a theme or feature– next question. (But maybe I should shut up about school and how crazy my life has become.)
10. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
Something that touches my heart– honesty, integrity, humour. A really, really beautiful photo. Smart bloggers end their blogs with a question to promote comments; I never remember to do that.
11. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways? If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all? If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?
BWAH HA HA. Oh… it’s a serious question.
Two things stand in my way for contests, reviews, give-aways, and the like: my size and my nationality. I have too few readers to attract sponsors, and many American companies won’t ship to a Canadian address. And honestly, I don’t have the time (right now– call me in April) for book reviews.
12. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
Sometimes I can’t. Sometimes the only thing that gets my ass in gear is the calendar telling me I have one day to post, or I’ll miss my every-month goal.
12. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?
As my blog is on life-support, a true break would be the kiss of death. I don’t dare.
13. Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
Ummm… every other minute? My initial purpose was to look at human relations through the lens of pet ownership. I’ve strayed from that focus; it’s all become more personal. I stay because the only way I can still define myself as a writer is by having a blog.
14. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
Two posts per month? I’m heading for another huge life-change this year: graduation, followed by work OR unemployment. If I’m lucky enough to find a job, I won’t have much time for blog goals. If I’m unemployed, I’ll probably be too stressed. So, dear reader, you tell me: What would you like to see in this space in 2014?
(See? I ended with a question! I’m finally learning!)
This is a blog hop; hop on here!