It’s time for the annual Pet Blogger’s clearing house and setting goals. If you’re not a blogger, you might want to skip on over to another post, whatever catches your fancy. Fellow bloggers, I’m in this again, determined to clarify what I have here and what I aim to do with it. And to post a new photo of CindyLu and me. That last one’s crucial, isn’t it?
Hosted by Amy of GoPetFriendly.com, the Pet Blogger Challenge is an annual event which encourages bloggers to take a good look at what they’ve been working on during the past year, formulate their goals for the year ahead, and in general define and describe their reason for blogging. A gargantuan task, and a very worthy one.
There are questions Amy has posed for us to use as guidelines. Phew…the ADD so many of us bloggers suffer from would have us roaming the globe for stuff to talk about in this post, if she didn’t provide us with some boundaries! So, thank you, Amy!
And now on to the questions:
I began blogging in August of 2010. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long! CindyLu’s Muse is a site that provides stories, reviews and giveaways, and general information pet owners might be interested in.
We also have a bit of an advocacy streak in us, and often highlight people, causes, or organizations that involve the welfare of animals – pets in particular.
2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud.
2014 was, for the most part, a lousy year for the blog. I didn’t write much, I had too many other things going on and the blog suffered. But…I’m really proud of having switched over to WordPress from Blogger – and created my own self-hosted website. That’s huge!
Kim takes a bow
3. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own blogs?
Be yourself. Be authentic. Be vulnerable.
Write about what moves you the most, don’t worry about what’s in the headlines or what’s popular.
Care. Care about your subject. Care about your readers. Care about your fellow writers.
You’re important and you make a difference. No matter what you write about, and no matter how small or large your audience is – you matter. Your words are important.
4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
Triberr is a fantastic tool for sharing, particularly on Twitter. Social media in general, whichever your favorite avenue is, but especially Facebook. For all its flaws, it’s still the place where everyday people congregate.
And of course, the very foundation: quality content.
5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you that it was your most popular?
My most popular blog post this year was by far one I did over a year ago about how to make a sweater for your small dog out of an old sweatshirt. Surprise me? Knocked my socks off! I couldn’t believe how popular it’s been. And it still is, I regularly get visits to that page. It’s a great idea, and CindyLu still wears that lil’ ol’ piece of handywork of mine – but wow, it’s been quite a surprise.
6. What was your favorite blog post to write this year?
I have a couple, actually – one I wrote about our rescue organization taking in a bunch of dogs from an Indian reservation in desperate straits involved some fascinating research. Then there was the happy day I was able to report that Puppy Parlor was closed. That was the pet store my friends of CAPS had diligently protested every day for over a year.
There’ve been some exciting things happening in the world of animal welfare this year – and some great news!
7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?
Yes and no. I’m still insisting on a minimum of product provided for both my personal review, and for a giveaway. I won’t do a review without a giveaway. And I won’t publish a review if I don’t have positive things to say about the product.
However, I’d rather get into some more serious business deals, I’m just working on my traffic numbers first. They were severely crushed by moving my site – but I have full confidence I’ll not only return to those numbers, but far exceed them this year.
If you do reviews, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?
I have found that reviews on their own seem to simply help add to the search engine results for the manufacturer. Incorporating a giveaway with a review gets much more traction, both for the product and for my blog. And provides my readers with a “gift” of sorts for reading the review.
I do enjoy letting my readers know about things I find that are really great – but I absolutely would not do a review if it were not a positive one. I don’t want to be writing negative stuff, and I don’t want to give the impression I’d recommend a product I don’t find to be in the above-average to stellar range.
If you don’t do reviews, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?
(We can skip this one!)
8. What’s your best piece of advice for other bloggers?
Don’t worry about what others are doing. Do what comes naturally for you, and write about what’s important to you.
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?
Oh lordy, as always – too many. Hah! Let’s see…
- Write more often
- Finish redoing the blog – notice the About Page and some others are not redone?
- Increase traffic numbers
- Increase subscribers
- Increase communities on social media
- Seek out sponsorships
- Keep spreading the word about issues and telling the stories that are important to pet loving people
10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
Help! I’ve worked diligently at providing great material, shared regularly, on my social media sites. Still…my numbers aren’t great, the following is minimal. How do you best increase your followers on Facebook (without paying ahem), Twitter, G+, Pinterest, and Instagram??