Every year for the past four years, January 10th is dubbed the annual “Pet Blogger Challenge” wherein we, the pet bloggers, share a bit about ourselves, you get to know us more, and in turn, you can get the inside scoop on us. My heart beats dog™, so without further ado, here’s some things about me, our blog, our lives, and we’d love to hear your feedback.
QUESTION: 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.
ANSWER: Dogs are kids to me and I’ve always said, “my heart beats dog.” So when I decided to switch careers several years ago, I knew in my heart and gut that incorporating blogging into my life was a must. In fact, in 2013, I trademarked the quote “My heart beats dog™.”
I was hired by a dog magazine years ago in order to increase their social media numbers and create a blog for them. As a result of the blog and presence on Twitter and Facebook, their numbers grew by the thousands within months. Under my blog management and leadership, we won a dog blogger award within one year of the blog’s formation. I am very proud of this.
Since moving on to bigger and brighter things, I formed my own canine-centric online magazine dog blog where dog lovers of the highest order unite™, Fidose of Reality. Not your ordinary dog lover blog: Fidose of Reality is all about extraordinary dog lovers.
I have always been a writer, so blogging was a natural evolution for me.
QUESTION: Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
ANSWER: I was the #1 Technorati blog in the Lifestyle/Pets Category at one point.
However, I am most proud that Fidose of Reality serves as a catalyst for my dog fundraising efforts, the formation of Wigglebutt Warriors, and is the inspiration for my book this year.
QUESTION: 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?
ANSWER: This is my first ever pet blogger challenge, but in terms of blogging itself and how it has changed over the year: I see the impact pet bloggers have on the pet industry and the purchases and decisions made by pet parents. Thanks to BlogPaws being the catalyst for all this, many pet bloggers are viewed as rock stars. We are influencers, our voices are being heard, our opinions are being taken seriously, and our time has come. We have arrived and the sky is now the limit.
QUESTION: What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?
ANSWER: I have learned SO much from other pet bloggers. I am constantly amazed and educated by fellow pet bloggers, including folks like Keep the Tail Wagging, Kols Notes, My Brown Newfies, The Lazy Pit Bull, BlogPaws, and so many more. My advice is to use a blog following tool like BlogLovin and make time at least for a bit each day to read what these pet bloggers are writing. I have learned I am not alone in this great big world where we are all coming together to share information and help pet parents.
QUESTION: If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
ANSWER: Hmmmm, any of this info I ask on the BlogPaws free Community and I get my answers there. I would definitely encourage folks to join the free BlogPaws Community and participate in the forum with over at http://community.blogpaws.com. It is because of joining there, going to the yearly conferences, and interacting with the bloggers and brands that my blog and career are growing.
QUESTION: What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
ANSWER: Networking, networking, networking. Read and reply to other blogs both within and outside the pet sector. Be in the BlogPaws Community: I cannot stress this enough. I have been an active member for years, and if you want to connect with other pet bloggers and microbloggers and ask questions, get advice, and grow your blog: It is there. Also social media has been a Godsend. I love the way that Instagram is growing and how using social media effectively, at the right time with the proper content will help a blog grow.
QUESTION: How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?
ANSWER: I consider all my actions on social media indirectly promoting my blog in some way, and I am on there a lot. I follow a blog business plan and so that dictates my time.
QUESTION: How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
ANSWER: If people are talking about it, sharing it, and I follow Google Analytics.
QUESTION: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?
ANSWER: I pretty much follow a set guideline for myself and I have not had this issue. I write, I attempt to educate and inform, make people think and laugh, and I let something go when I feel the point and purpose has been made.
QUESTION: When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
ANSWER: I have a habit of reading something and moving on and I’ve learned to start commenting. We are all so busy and leaving a quick comment to let someone know you stopped by is really helpful to a blogger. I know from experience, and I plan to do more of this for 2014 and beyond.
QUESTION:Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?
ANSWER: Yes and I have one going on now for a “My Dog and Me Selfie” contest: Come see —-> http://fidoseofreality.com/dog-selfies-photo-contest/
QUESTION: If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?
ANSWER: I have not had a problem with reviews or contests not working.
QUESTION: When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
ANSWER: If I feel writer’s block seeping in, I walk away. I get these bursts of energy/ideas in the weirdest places and times, so I’ve learned to carry a tablet (yes, the good old fashioned kind that you actually write upon with a writing instrument and not a stylus), and I jot ideas down. For some of my most creative work, it tends to flow better with a pen and paper. If I am dog tired, I simply don’t write at those times.
QUESTION: Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?
ANSWER: Other than the Christmas holiday, no. Writing is in my blood, so it never feels like “work.”
QUESTION: Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
ANSWER: Never. I have a solid blog business plan in place with goals and things to come. My passion for it makes me stay. The fact that I want to help dog parents be better informed and help their dogs as well as their own lives keeps me here. It always will.
QUESTION: What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
ANSWER: Growth, bringing the alternative living element into it, and if you haven’t seen my announcement that feels oh so good to have shared, here are goals for the blog. Also, I am writing a book! I also plan to monetize more thanks to being in the BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network. Folks can join that who are interested in monetizing their blogs as well.
Happy Blogging and thanks for hosting this!