Friday, January 10, 2014

Pet Bloggers Challenge Accepted

   Today I’m excited to be a part of the 4th annual Pet Bloggers Challenge hosted by Edie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me?.com and Amy Burkert from Go Petfriendly.com. It is a chance to read what pet bloggers are thinking and planning for 2014. This is my first time to participate so I’m anxious to contribute but more than that, I’m anxious to learn from the more experienced bloggers. So, let’s tackle some questions!
 1. How long have you been blogging? If you’re stopping by for the first time, please tell us why you started blogging and give us a quick description of your blog.
I started blogging in September 2013 as a platform for my books, The Returns. Initially, I wrote on various subjects from book reviews, fun facts, and life topics. I always included a recipe and pet tip of the day. I thought I’d be good at book reviews but quickly discovered that I don’t have the heart to give harsh comments to another writer. If you are a book reviewer/critic, sometimes I think it is expected. I changed over to a pet blog on December 6th so I am still in “newbie” status to blogging but a brand new “newbie” to pet blogging.. I am currently participating in blog hops, featuring adoptable pets, and generally trying to find my perfect niche.

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, which made you the most proud.
I made the decision to let my blog go to the dogs! I am very proud of that change because it feels like the right fit for me.
3. When you think back over the past year, what has changed the most for you about your blogging?
I discovered the joy and camaraderie of pet bloggers when I followed the PetBlog Lady, Lisa Taron on Twitter. Her blog led me to the BlogPaws Community and an entire new group of wonderfully helpful bloggers. They all had one thing in common with me; they love their pets! Having other bloggers who share the same goals and interests has changed and enriched my blogging experience completely.
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?
This question could take up more space and time than I have to write or anyone else has to read. I think designing my site, adding widgets, and creating social media buttons have been major lessons that I am glad I learned. Technology still makes me growl on many occasions.
Alternatively, if you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re still having with your blog, what would it be?
I am interested in gaining advertisers and writing product reviews. Any information on that side of the business would be appreciated.
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
I believe great photography and interesting topics are imperative.
6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog — and do you think you should spend more or less time next year?
It is probably important to spend more time publicizing my blog. I am open to ideas!
7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience? 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?
I think return traffic lets you know if you are doing a good job. I haven’t settled into the routine of a feature or theme yet so maybe I can answer this next time.
8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
It may be a “southern” thing but it just seems rude to visit and not leave a comment on a blog. It’s like showing up to dinner without bringing a dessert or seeing someone waving at you and not waving back. I just don’t need the guilt.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways? If not, is this something you’d like to do? What hurdle is getting in your way?
I haven’t yet but I have signed up to accept product reviews and giveaways. I’m just waiting for approval. I am planning a contest for the “Ultimate Returns” giveaway featuring both of my books, book related items along with dog goodies. Be sure to check back for that announcement!
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
Coffee, espresso, coffee, espresso…did I mention caffeine helps?
11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go? Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
I haven’t been blogging long enough to even think about taking a break. As an author, writing every day is important, and blogging is a wonderful exercise. Of course, I am starting my third book so I’ll be writing non-stop. Now, if I can keep my characters from talking to me while I write my blog, it’ll be a major accomplishment.
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
I still have so much to learn at this point but my goal is to learn more each time I blog. I figure after another 360+ blogs, my brain will be full and exhausted! It has already absorbed more knowledge this past year than in the 20 years prior. The good news is my answers on next year’s challenge should be much more impressive.

That covers all of the questions in the challenge! You can see what everyone else has to say on these subjects by hopping to the other blogs below. Many thanks go out to Edie and Amy for co-hosting today. I appreciate you stopping by Barking from the Bayou today and hope to see you again!

38 comments :

  1. Welcome to the challenge and welcome to pet blogging. :) All the best for your first year as a blogger.

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  2. M.K. I think you have accomplished so much already!!! I know you are in the BlogPaws Community and I posted in the "Blog Talk" group some answers to this question of yours "I am interested in gaining advertisers and writing product reviews. Any information on that side of the business would be appreciated."...........there are posts there that will answer that! Also, you need to be sure you are at the Conference this May for sure! (I think you signed up?)

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    1. I appreciate the information Caren! I will definitely read more on the subject in Blog Talk. I haven't signed up for the conference yet but I am hoping to be able to attend. (Paws crossed!)

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    2. Thanks dear, I love your blog ! You have provided a good info through this blog about a pet. I’ve learned more titanandmilo.com through this blog.
      Really your your blog is top notch and very classy.
      Many thanks again for sharing.

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  3. I'm so glad that you entered the pet blogging community and took the Pet Blogger Challenge. Your comment about not commenting is a hoot: "It’s like showing up to dinner without bringing a dessert or seeing someone waving at you and not waving back. I just don’t need the guilt." Since guilt is a key inspiration for most of what I do, I wouldn't dream of not saying something here.

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    1. Hahaha! I appreciate you waving back to me! : )

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  4. Hi there, clicking over from The Lazy Pit Bull! I enjoyed reading this and I have to agree with Edie - the comment about showing up to dinner without bringing a dessert is PRICELESS! What a great way of putting it!

    Looking forward to reading more in 2014!

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    1. I just visited your site and it is so cool! Should I mention that I left a comment?

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  5. Wow! So great to hear all this stuff about you!
    I had no idea you were new to blogging as well! I started November 2013 !
    This is my first pet bloggers challenge as well! I think its a great idea!
    ((Husky hugz))
    "Love is being owned by a husky"

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    1. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only new (old) kid on the block! Let's agree to help one another and see where we are for next year's challenge!

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  6. I remember first doing this Challenge just a few months after I started and just trying to do my best to not reply "I dunno" to all the questions! It looks like you've got some good vision and goals, and anything you've left uncertain will likely just come about organically as you go.
    I know what you mean about the comments - don't know if it's a southern thing, or a southern & Canadian thing!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to visit. I've been reading some of the other blogs and think I have such a long way to go but I guess everyone started out where I am so there are many great "pawprints" for me to follow! I'll drop in and read your story too.

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  7. Great to read all from the challenge.

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  8. Have you joined triberr? That was a tip I got in last years challenge that was a huge help. You are already so much further than I was after a few months. Love you blog, keep it up and keep sharing and posting on social media, it will grow. So happy feedburner is fixed! Mom loves technology but she is also terrified when it doesn't work right!

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    1. Hmmmm....triberr? Ok, I'll be visiting Google once again! Haha! I appreciate the encouragement from you and your mom. You know that I am in love with you and y'alls blog. I am still trying to get used to the fact that you actually went outside in -27F. Thanks again for the triberr tip. I will check into it.

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  9. Emma's suggestion about Triberr is a good one, I think. Ditto Caren's about the Blog Paws community - there are all kinds of great resources there, plus everyone is terrific about helping. Being from Virginia, I totally get the comment thing... sort of like not saying "hey" to people on the street :-)

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    1. You are exactly right about all of the people on the BlogPaws community. I must say again, of all the different sites and forums I have interacted on since I began writing and blogging, it is the friendliest and most helpful. I have to believe it is because the members are all pet people. Pet lovers make nicer people. Hey, maybe that should be the motto! LOL!

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  10. I have just started visiting your blog but I think it is great! I'm going to have to check out Emma's suggestion about Triberr!

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  11. Thanks so much! I still need to check on Triberr, I've been busy hopping! Have a great weekend and drop back in for Sepia Saturday!

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  12. When I first started blogging and reading other blogs, I ALWAYS left a comment. Now my reader contains 500 blogs and there is no way I can read or comment on all of them so I have to be more selective. I will say that people generally appreciate no comment to a non-thoughtful comment like "cute" or "just stopping by to say hi". I think in the beginning of pet blogging people would take what they could get but the whole trend (both with posts and comments) had evolved to quality over quantity over the years. Still, you have to do what makes you feel comfortable.

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  13. Amen to caffeine! As for the product reviews, I would suggest just reaching out to a company you truly love and introducing yourself. I'm looking forward to seeing where your blog goes in 2014!

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    1. I often say if I was able to donate blood it would probably be 3/4 caffeine. My counter has a Keurig, a coffee grinder and an espresso machine all lined up. Does that sound bad? LOL!! Other bloggers have also recommended contacting companies that I use, so that is where I believe I should start. Thank you so much.

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  14. You are doing great! I think you have figured out a lot of things much more quickly than I did. The technical aspects always challenge me, and every time I figure out how to do something new, I'm so excited!
    One thing I don't see here is a subscribe by email button (let me know if I'm just missing it). That's how I follow blogs, otherwise I just can't keep track of everyone. I follow on FB and Twitter but if I'm busy and don't get on there then I don't know about new posts. Thx!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. Janet, Thanks so much for pointing out that my email subscription button is missing! I took it off earlier this week because my feedburner decided to stop working. It got over its snit, got happy, and started delivering my blogs again. I forgot to put the widget back in place. I'd love for you to visit again and sign up. I appreciate the follows, I am sure I'm already following you! I love your Wag 'n Woof blog <3

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  15. I can totally relate on the comment thing - when I first started, I felt like that too. I was a commenting machine. Sadly, I don't have as much time for reading/commenting now, but I still try to do it when I can. :)

    Glad you joined the pet blogging community and the challenge - enjoyed reading your post!

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    1. Thanks! I do try to leave a comment but there are some hops that have so many bloggers, there isn't time to visit and comment on each one. Still being new though, most of the blogs are so interesting and I learn from them, that I have to say something! : )

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  16. Didn't realize you haven't been blogging long. I love what you have done with your sites. Might have to pick your brain on designing social media buttons as I haven't figured that out yet or put any on my sidebar. Good luck writing your third book.

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    1. Just let me know! Are you on Blogger? You can email me and I'll send you the link. It is surprisingly easy!

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  17. I didn't realize that you were an author as well as a blogger. Kudos! I wish I had time to comment on all the posts I leave. As much as I would love to, it's just not realistic and I figure reading and not commenting is better than not reading at all. Maybe?? I think after a while you come to realize that it's OK to only comment when you have something to add to the conversation and that frees you up to do more social media and blog reading!

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    1. I agree with you. There are some of the hops that have so many participating that I can't get through all of them. I am going to have to just learn to read and leave. I do have so much to learn and I find myself spending so much of my time online. Time management is something I am trying to get a grip on. I'm starting my third book in The Returns series so I have to free up some time. : ) You are echoing many of the experienced bloggers opinion so I am learning. Thanks so much!

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  18. Ha! I love coffee as well. I seriously don't know how some people get through the day without it. The idea of cutting back is just ridiculous.

    Congratulations on figuring out the technological side of things. Don't worry, that is something that troubles most bloggers. I used to think I was such a dunce but I realize now we are all just kind of muddling through, enjoying the things we are good at, and pretending we know what we are doing with others. In the Petosphere you will find there are lots of people who will help you, all you need to do is ask. :-)

    Best of luck with your future ventures! I look forward to seeing where you take it!

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    1. Your words of reassurance and comfort mean the world to me. Thank you so very much.

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  19. Typically, wonderfully put! Much love!
    Wolf says hi to the gang. :)

    Oh & wave, wave. ;)

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  20. Thank you so much! The gang says "hey" and gives Wolf a high five paw bump!

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  21. Your blog is great and especially for being such a new blog. I have not thought of espresso for inspiration...lol. I will have to give that a try!

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    1. Thank you for the compliment. It means a lot to me! Espresso is considered the elixir of life in my home! Hahaha! I have a serious caffeine addiction...is there a group for that? : )

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