Recently Amy Burkert from Go Pet Friendly and Edie Jarolim from Will My Dog Hate Me shared how sometimes they feel bullied by their blogs (you can read them here and here). Truthfully, the need to constantly “feed the beast” can be a challenge at times. I think many of us feel the pressure to offer new and interesting content to our readers on a consistent basis to keep them interested and engaged. I know I’ve certainly felt that way at times.
It was out of this discussion that The Pet Blogger Challenge! was born.
What is The Pet Blogger Challenge? It’s a challenge for pet bloggers across the blogsphere to share what they’ve done with their blogs (take a look back) and share where they want to go with them moving forward.
They even came up with a list of questions!
So without further ado, here are my responses. Let me know what you think.
1. When did you begin your blog?
2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
I began my first blog (Daisy the Wonder Dog and How She Found Her Inner Lab) in October 2008 after attending a seminar given by Mr. Social Media himself, David Meerman Scott. What I heard him say inspired me to use social media as a way to build my business, but it also made me want to start a blog as a way to catalog my puppy mill dog, Daisy, and her progress from a cowering and fearful dog to a Lab that enjoyed life. (I had no idea what I was doing when I started!)
Over time, I realized that Daisy’s blog was fun, if not a little emotionally challenging at times, but it did not allow me to address those issues or topics that might be of interest to my pet sitting and dog walking clients. So, in February 2009 I started No Dog About It Blog as a way to encompass those topics as well as a few topics that I have an interest in like animal welfare, puppy mills, etc.
3. Is your current purpose the same? If not, what’s different?
Unfortunately, I haven’t written as much in Daisy’s blog as I would like, but the purpose is still the same.
For No Dog About It Blog, I’d have to say No. Somewhere along the way, I started to focus on more of the issues that interested me and less on those things that might interest my clients. I had actually begun revisting what I wanted my blog to be about when this challenge came up. This year, I plan to blog more about those things that might be of help or interest to my clients and less on those issues that just interest me. I will still blog about some of the issues I care about, but I also want to be a resource for my clients. I believe my blog can fill both purposes.
4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you? If the former, how often — and what techniques do you use to stick to it? If the latter, do you worry about… well, whatever you might worry about (e.g. losing traffic, losing momentum)?
I do have a schedule for some items, like Wordless Wednesday or Wednesday Winners and Favorite Video Friday, but often I just blog when the spirit moves me or when a topic gets stuck in my brain. Sometimes, I just stumble upon something of interest, and like a dog with a bone, I just can’t let it go until I blog about it. To be honest though, I do feel like I have to blog about something at least 3 times a week even though I don’t have it scheduled in my calendar, I do have it scheduled in my brain.
5. Are you generating income from your blog? If so, how (e.g. sponsor ads, affiliate relationships, spokesperson opportunities)? If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how?
I do not currently generate income from my blog (hard to do when hosted on WordPress’ site), but I would like to in the future.
6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular (bragging is good!)?
Being a creative person, I enjoy blogging because it allows me to express myself. It gives me a voice. It also means I get to learn from others and learn about their own experiences. I love that!
Now for the bragging part – What I have tried to do with my blog is make it both fun and informative (being serious all of the time can be pretty boring dontcha think?), and I think I have done that. I also like it when I am able to write something that resonates with people. It’s really rewarding when someone takes the time to add their own experiences or thoughts and then shares it with others.
7. What do you like least?
Two things: 1) Trying to meet the deadlines I have imposed on myself for the Wednesday and Friday items and 2) feeling like I need to post at least 3 times a week to keep people interested.
8. How do you see your blog changing or growing in 2011?
In 2011, I intent to focus a little more on topics and issues that I think would interest my clients. I’ll do a few more product reviews, interviews and share information on pet healthcare and health issues for both dogs and cats. I also hope to migrate my blog to my website and host it myself.
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.
The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.
In 2010, there were 120 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 205 posts. There were 201 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 170mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was July 17th with 2,166 views. The most popular post that day was A Letter from a Shelter Manager.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were stumbleupon.com, facebook.com, twitter.com, Google Reader, and humanewatch.org.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for american humane association controversy, dog hiking, letter from a shelter manager, renaming cats, and fox 9 news dogue spot.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
A Letter from a Shelter Manager July 2010
When an Animal Shelter Closes December 2010
Investigative Report Into A Doggy Daycare Shows Why You Need To Do Your Research November 2010
Adopted Cats and Dogs: To rename or not? January 2010
Dogs, Dog Trainers and American Humane: There’s a storm abrewin’… March 2010