Today I’m joining the 2016 Pet Blogger Challenge. This annual event, hosted by GoPetFriendly.com, encourages pet bloggers to take a look back at the previous year on their blogs to help gain insight for the new year. The Pet Blogger Challenge consists of 10 questions designed to make bloggers think about their blogs from a new perspective and share insight to help fellow pet bloggers. This will be my first year participating in the challenge and I’m looking forward to what it helps me learn. So without further ado, here are this year’s questions and my answers:
1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone who is visiting for the first time, please give a quick description of the subject of your blog.
I will be celebrating my 2nd Blogiversary next month, which means I have been involved in the wonderful world of pet blogging for two years now. My blog focuses on the life and adventures of my little Yorkipoo Sadie. I love to share photos of her adventures, discuss ideas about pet parenting, and review new products.
2. What is the one thing that you accomplished during 2015, either on your blog or because of it, that made you most proud?
One of my most proud moments of 2015 was as a proud Dog Mom. My little Sadie is not very comfortable around other dogs and usually tries to avoid all contact with other canines. But at the BlogPaws conference it was pretty much impossible to avoid all other dogs all the time. We participated in one particular event, Pawject Runway, where I had to make a quick little costume for Sadie and parade her on stage in her homemade attire. Although we did not even come close to winning, my proudest moment was at the end of the competition when all the pets and their parents got onstage for group photos. Sadie sat on that stage right next to other dogs and allowed them to sniff her. She did not run or try to jump off the stage – she just sat calmly through the photos and then wagged her tail excitedly when I said we could leave.
3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)
It’s a tough choice to think of my favorite post from 2015. I’m proud to say there are a number of posts I’m extremely satisfied with, especially many of my product reviews, but since I have to choose just one, it will have to be the Ownership Contract. In honor of Sadie’s third Gotcha Day, I decided to have a little fun and write up a list of demands that Sadie would have made before letting me take her home. It was a fun blog post to write and I really need to let myself loosen up and write a few more silly posts in the new year.
4. A common theme from last year’s challenge was that many of us wanted to increase the size of our audiences. Whether or not we intend to monetize our blogs, it seems we’d all like to reach more people. It feels good to know that we’re connecting with others, sharing a laugh or supporting a cause, and it’s motivating to see those numbers grow! What is one thing you’ve done in the past year that has brought more traffic to your blog?
In 2015 I participated in a number of group prize giveaways with other bloggers. These giveaways were very successful in getting new readers and followers to my blog and social media pages.
5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? Why do you think it was so popular? (Please include a link.)
My post in 2015 with highest traffic was actually a review I did of a pet identification tag. Generally ID tags aren’t the most exciting topic, but I believe I got the boost in traffic on this particular review because of my intriguing post title – Does Your Dog Have a Driver’s License Yet?
6. What is one blog that you read religiously – other than your own – and what makes you such a devoted reader? (Please include a link.)
I’m a little ashamed to admit that there isn’t any particular blog I read religiously. I always enjoy what other pet bloggers have to share, but I can’t always find the time to be a consistent reader. In fact, in 2015 I actually cut back on my online time in order to focus on having more adventures with Sadie. Usually when I find the time to read other blogs, I just click on the photos that seem interesting from whichever blog hop I’m joining and then read a bunch of their blog posts to catch up on what I’ve missed.
7. What resources do you rely on to enhance your technical, writing, photography, social media, or other skills that improve your blog?
My biggest resource in 2015 was the BlogPaws conference. I took so many notes at the conference last May that I’m still referring to them and trying to implement some of the strategies I learned.
8. What is the best piece of advice you can offer other bloggers?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions and interact with brands and bloggers and readers. I’m a very shy person and sometimes it’s hard for me to think of what to say, but in 2015 I built up my confidence quite a bit by initiating conversations with companies and getting positive feedback.
9. What is your vision for your blog in 2016? Do you have specific goals?
I base a lot of my blog posts on the photos I take of Sadie. If she’s doing a specific activity or using a specific product or going on a specific adventure, I make sure to take lots of photos so I can blog about it. But I have other blog post ideas in my mind that I never get around to writing because there are no specific photos that go with them. In 2016 I’d like to write more blog posts for the fun of writing or my interest in the topic and not worry so much about having the perfect photo.
10. You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there one blogging challenge you’d like help with, or one aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?
It’s frustrating that Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links with the photos. How can you convince Instagram followers to actually venture over to your blog post when there is no convenient link that will take them straight there?