I've always loved to get to know my favorite bloggers better through these types of surveys/questionnaires. I haven't been blogging for very long, but was excited to see that I started in time to participate in the Third Annual Pet Blogger Challenge. As much as I'm looking forward to sharing my answers with other pet bloggers, I was pleasantly surprised to learn more about myself and organize my thoughts on where I hope my blog will be a year from now.
Here are my "first timer" questions and answers:
1. When did you begin your blog?
December 8, 2012
2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
I wanted to find honest reviews on dog products and training techniques. It was kind of hit-or-miss: I usually only found reviews of products that were very popular, or the reviews were parts of personal blogs that generally had nothing to do with dogs. Reviews on vendor sites tend to be excessively positive, or scathingly negative. I find that bloggers tend to have a more balanced viewpoint. My initial purpose was to outline my day-to-day life with Penny, and also review some of the weirder products that weren't getting much attention.
3. Is your current purpose the same? If not, what’s different?
Not quite. I still want to write about my general experiences with Penny and our experiences with dog products. However, as I got deeper into the companion animal community, I decided that I wanted to spread awareness for important dog-related programs (like the wonderful Warrior Canine Connection), rescue efforts, and lost dogs. I'm hoping to gain enough of a readership that the lost dog alerts and animal rescue calls for help I post here on the blog or on Penny's Facebook or Twitter pages will one day make an impact. Social media has really changed how we can communicate, and it's amazing who you can reach with one post.
4. How often do you post?
I've only been going for a month now, so I'm kind of erratic. I've had blogs before and always had trouble keeping up with them and being consistent. Right now, I'm trying to go for once a week, just to make sure I get something up without pressuring myself too much.
5. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?
More as the spirit moves me. I find it difficult to write if I don't really believe in what I'm writing.
If you don’t publish on a schedule, why? How do you think your decision affects your audience? How do you know when a topic is “post-worthy?”
I have my loose "once a week" schedule, but I don't want to give myself a strict one until I have more faith in myself. I have a lot of other projects going on in my personal life and tend to shut down when overwhelmed. I want to make sure I keep doing this! I think this affects my audience in the same way I am affected by other bloggers. I LOVE it when good, thoughtful bloggers blog every day. Bloggers I like who post less frequently are kind of nice too, because it's like you get a bonus at the end of your day when you find that they've updated. I'm not saying I'm so great that I can uplift someone's day, but I hope that I can be a pleasant surprise once a week to the people who do follow Penny and my adventures.
How do I know a topic is "post-worthy". Hmm. I write about what I'd like to hear about, things I find funny, or things that are bothering me. I want to be honest in my writing because I know that I have as much to give back to the pet community as they have to give me. I almost didn't post about Penny's eating issues because it sounded like such a boring problem, but I'm so glad I did because the encouragement and advice I got was so valuable.
6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your tips for staying on top of it all.
Hmm...I would say around 5 hours a week? I love going through my blogs at the end of the day. It's my quiet time. I stay on top of it with Google Reader. I don't know what I would do without that wonderful application!
7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?
Right now, not very successful! I have something like 7 followers on Penny's Facebook page, ha ha. But I've only been going for a month and Beth and Gizmo from Terrier Torrent helped bring some more readers in with their wonderful post about Penny and me.
Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions?
I haven't quite figured this part out yet. Aside from wanting to help rescues and folks with lost pets out, I want to be satisfied with what I write first, before placing value on how many people are visiting and commenting.
8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
This kind of contradicts what I just answered above, but I'd love help with getting more followers on Penny's Facebook and Twitter pages! Those are the ways I will be able to reach out and help the causes I believe in most.
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?
Mostly, I'd like to keep posting consistently.
I'd like to write about what is on my mind and foster discussion.
Take more pictures.
Participate in community activities like Wordless Wednesday and blog hops.
Start posting recipes for homemade treats.
Write more about senior care (even though I have a puppy--senior dogs will always hold a special place in my heart).
My shoot-for-the-stars goal is to start fundraising for dogs who need help. By this, I mean dogs in rescues/shelters (and I wouldn't be opposed to other companion animals, either) as well as dogs who need help but whose owners are down on their luck. We haven't gotten to a place where health care is affordable for our companion animals, and it's unfortunate when a loving family has to let go of a pet because they simply cannot afford the special diet or surgery.
Here's a photo of a cute puppy butt, since long wordy entries aren't always pretty to look at:
Thank you to the Take Paws Blog for hosting 2013's Pet Blogger Challenge! Make sure to visit the linky list to read about all of the other bloggers participating today.