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2014 Pet Blogger Challenge

Author: MayaAndPierson
January 10, 2014

Pet Blogger Challenge Badge

This post is inspired by the pet blogger challenge hosted by Amy with Go Pet Friendly. For this challenge, she has asked us to answer 12 questions. Here they are, along with my answers.

1. 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.

I started blogging in June 2008 in order to promote the pet travel products on my PetAutoSafety.com website. At first I was intimidated by blogging but now I love it. I love it so much that I started my AmericanDogBlog.Wordpress.com just for fun in September 2009.

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013 that made you most proud.

Thanks to you, traffic has doubled in the past year. Also, when people have questions about traveling with their dogs, they search Google and usually find one of my informative blog posts.

3. 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?

This is the first year I am participating in the Pet Blogger Challenge. I have been more involved in the dog blogging community this past year.

4.a. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?

In the past, my posts have been very technical. I am learning to be more fun, spontaneous, and have been trying to bring a more personal element into my posts. I’m not a faceless business hiding behind a 1-800 number. I am a dog lover dedicated to providing the best for my beloved furry family members. And to prove it, I feature Maya and Pierson in almost every post. These two and my dearly departed Sephi are at the heart of why I run this business.

4.b. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

How on earth do you all keep up with reading and commenting on everyone’s posts? How do you manage to post something nearly every day?

5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

The cuteness of Maya and Pierson. Seriously, how can you resist?

6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?

Writing a post can sometimes take an hour. Taking and editing photos can take quite a bit of time as well. Reading and commenting on other blogs takes at least an hour, if not more. Other social media sites take another hour or so. Browsing the internet for pet travel news, looking at other products, gathering information for posts, and so on can take anywhere from an hour to several hours, depending on how much time I have. I don’t think I will change the amount of time I spend on promoting my blog, just the way I spend it. I would like to learn how to be more effective.

7.a. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?

By the number of comments. Page views are great too, but comments tell me people either learned something from my posts or enjoyed reading them.

7.b. 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?

When I don’t get any comments and only a few visits.

8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?

Cute stuff, insightful posts, posts that ask questions at the end.

9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?

Yes. Generally for the products I sell, but occasionally for other products. The dog seat belt giveaways have been a huge hit. The recent figurines giveaway, not so much.

10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?

I find that if I force myself to blog when I am burnt out that my content is lame. By taking a week off every now and then, I get recharged and write great content.

12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?

My goal is to gain a more regular following and spread the word about travel safety for our pets. I would like for my blog to be the go-to place for anyone who has any questions about pet car travel. Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews has recommended a great book to help me with promoting my blog. I just received it from Amazon and will be reading it soon. Thanks Flea!

One more quick thing… Today is Pierson’s Gotcha Day. After checking out the blog hop for the pet blogger challenge, hop on over to my AmericanDogBlog.wordpress.com blog to read a tribute to my fluffy boy and to say Happy Gotcha Day.

Me and Pierson February 2012

Dawn and Pierson – taken February 2012

While you’re here reading this, let me ask you all some questions:
– When you visit my blog, what inspires you to comment?
– Which of my posts do you enjoy reading the most?
– What would you like to see more of?
– Any tips on how I can reach my 2014 goals?

Thank you for stopping by everyone! And thank you Amy for hosting this blog hop. :) I look forward to reading everyone else’s answers on their pet blogger challenge.

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18 Responses to “2014 Pet Blogger Challenge”

  1. Christina Berry:

    What a great post – thanks for sharing! Your dogs are gorgeous!

    I would love to talk about you doing a guest post on my blog, in regard to pet travel safety! I’ll try to shoot you an email in the next few days!

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Sue at Talking Dogs:

    First, Happy Gotcha Day to Pierson! Great post. One of my problems is finding the time to visit all the blogs I follow, let alone leave a coherent comment. Over the past year I’ve bookmarked a number of yours because the information was so helpful to me. Thank you!

  3. MayaAndPierson:

    Thank you, Sue! :)

  4. MayaAndPierson:

    That would be great, Christina! I’d love to do a guest post. I haven’t seen your blog before so just checking it out. It looks like you have a lot of great information. Subscribed! :)

  5. Ann Staub:

    I love reading all these posts. It’s great to see everyone’s goals and thoughts on blogging. I like reading more of the personal stuff, as you mentioned you try to be less technical. I too try the same thing these days, but it’s hard for different posts.

  6. Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes:

    OMD! You can write a blog post in an hour! What, are you super woman? I’ve gotta learn your tricks for speeding up my writing.

    Since I don’t have a car, your personal blog is usually more interesting to me. But I’m glad you’re giving people ways to keep their pups safe in the car.

  7. MayaAndPierson:

    Some posts are longer or shorter than others, Pamela, but an hour is about average. That doesn’t include research time for ideas, though. I love how you don’t have to use a car. I drive perhaps once or twice a week, if that. My husband car pools four times a week. It’s great!

  8. MayaAndPierson:

    Thanks, Ann :) The technical side is great for bringing in new traffic from people who have questions about traveling with their dog. But the fun side helps to keep people coming. So I need both elements. Besides, in talking about pet travel safety, I don’t want to lecture people. Joining the dog blogging community is a way for us all to exchange ideas and share different ways of doing things.

  9. Glogirly & Katie:

    Hi Dawn! This was so much fun to read…what a terrific idea this blogger challenge was!

    I’m also very impressed that you can write a blog post in an hour! ; ) I’m sure it’s no surprise that I love reading personal and funny stuff. I appreciate so very much all your sweet comments you leave on my blog.

    Keep up the terrific work!
    xo, Glogirly

  10. Laurie Luck - Smart Dog University:

    What a cool concept for a blog! How have I missed this? So glad I found you through the blog hop. I love that there’s a site dedicated to safe pet travel. It’s a sorely underrepresented topic on blogs! Looking forward to reading more!

  11. Jodi Chick (+ Kolchak & Felix too):

    “I’m not a faceless business hiding behind a 1-800 number.” I love this. I don’t read many business-related blogs and those that I do are always the ones who invite me into their lives.

    I’m not a driver, though we do travel with my dogs occasionally, and I know I’ve landed here at least once with a google question, so thanks!

  12. Jessica @YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner:

    Keeping up with reading and commenting, and posting almost every day are huge challenges. When I first started out blogging I read and commented on around 15 blogs. That number grew (as did the sheer number of pet blogs out there) and I now have almost 500 blogs in my reader. Unfortunately, it has forced me to focus more on the blogs whose niche is similar to mine or that offer tips and tricks we can use. Even so, I can’t comment on all of them. I comment when I can and keep up a conversation with them on social media (usually Twitter) so they know I am lurking about.

    As for posting nearly every day, I don’t know how people do it either. I’ve blogged once a week and I’vev blogged 7 times a week. I found that my comfort zone lies somewhere in between 3 and 5 posts a week. Still, sometimes life gets in the way and I can only publish two.

  13. MayaAndPierson:

    Thanks, Jessica. :) I feel so bad that I can’t visit everyone’s blog. But I know I follow you and others on Facebook and that sometimes makes it easier to stay in touch. I love it when posts on Facebook or on blogs have a like button. It lets them know I stopped by or saw them without having to try to come up with something clever to say.

  14. MayaAndPierson:

    Glad I could help, Jodi! :) I think Pamela with Something Wagging also doesn’t drive. I will choose to walk if someplace is within walking distance. I can’t take the dogs with me when I walk to the grocery store because I don’t want to leave them outside. But sometimes if I have to ship something through UPS, I can take the dogs because our UPS store allows them inside!

  15. MayaAndPierson:

    Thank you, Laurie! Somehow I’ve never seen your blog either. On my way to check it out! :) I love how these blog hops introduce us to new animal lovers.

  16. MayaAndPierson:

    Thanks, Glogirly! :) I think if you include research and the photo taking and editing of photos, putting together a blog post takes a lot longer than an hour. I can definitely see that with your posts, with all the clever pictures you take and the cute graphics you add. Having a little (emphasis on a little) computer graphic skills myself, I know it is a lot more difficult to do than most people think.

  17. Tegan:

    I am one of your readers that Googled something, your site popped up, and then I added it to my reader. I have a bit of an interest in dog car safety.

    To answer your questions:
    -I normally comment when I disagree with the content, or if I feel that the blog post articulates something I have been thinking for a long time… So something I strongly agree with!
    -I’ve only been reading your blog for a short time, but what originally attracted me was posts on restraining dogs in the car safely. This is the kind of post I like and want to see more of.
    -I think, considering your posts are already showing up in Google, you’re doing pretty well. If people want to know about a particular product, they Google it – and if your review of the product comes up, then you’re home free.

  18. MayaAndPierson:

    Thank you, Tegan! I don’t know about home free, but I agree it is important to get the the information out there. I’m so happy you found us using a google search. :)

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