Friday, 10 January 2014

Pet Blogger Challenge 2014

I'm really excited to be involved in another blog hop. This one is the Pet Blogger Challenge, which tasks pet blogger's to answer some questions about blogging. It's a great hop as it's a fun way to read about why other people blog and to pick up some tips that you could incorporate yourself. So, without further-ado, here are the questions...
1. How long have you been blogging? And, if you’re stopping by for the first time, please tell us why you started blogging and give us a quick description of what your blog is about.

I've been blogging for nearly a year now. I've had other blogs in the past but decided to start one about my dog, Del.  I started blogging not only to document his life, but also to interact with other dog lovers- to get advice and to be able to look at other adorable pictures of dogs all the time. I feel like I know some other blogger's dogs now, which is lovely. A quick read of one of my favourite doggy blogs is sure to put a smile on my face. 
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you the most proud.

I've started to get a good stream of people visiting my blog on a regular basis who also leave comments, which is a great achievement for me. It means people actually like to read what I have to say and like to look at pictures of Del. Making new friends this way really fills me with pride. 
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?

I didn't start this blog until February, so I didn't take part in the Pet Blogger Challenge. 
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?

Sometimes I experience times when I think I've got nothing to write about (or have any good pictures to post), which is fine. You don't have to blog a certain amount of times per week, just whenever is best for you. But I find that by simply keeping up to date with other people's blogs is really important. Not only will it give you ideas of what to write about and keep you in the loop about hops, competitions and campaigns, but you will almost always come away with inspiration for a new post of your own. 
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

ALWAYS Tweet/G+/Facebook your blog links to your social accounts. This is a pretty obvious one, but it goes a long way. 
6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog — and do you think you should spend more or less time next year?

I always try to put my blog posts on my social accounts, but I should probably spend more time trying to promote it. I find that I have little time to do so after I've finished my day job (which is also in the online space, so I often feel "Interneted-out"! I will definitely try and spend more time doing this in the new year. Although, blog hops are a great way to get your blog out there and a fab way to come across new blogs for your reading list. 
7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience? And 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've got Google Analytics plugged in to my blog, so I take a look at the traffic stats and bounce rates for each post. Certain posts just don't get that many visits or much interaction, which tells me to stop writing/posting about certain topics.

I think the amount of comments you receive is also a sure fire way to gauge how successful a blog post is. If people feel compelled to comment (whether positive or negative), you know you've made an impact. 
8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?

I like posts which end in a question. Pamela from Something Wagging is fantastic at doing this. She always ends on a question to allow you to tell her about your experiences about what she has written about, and then takes the time to read them and always responds. I like to feel like I'm interacting with someone when I leave a comment, so this method always makes me comment.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?

I'm yet to do a giveaway, but I've done a few reviews. I've done some reviews of items I've bought myself and some reviews where I've had things sent to us, which I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity. 
I'd love to do a giveaway next year, as a thank you to everyone who visits my little blog. I'm just thinking of what product would be best :) If anyone has any suggestions, leave me a comment!

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

I alluded to this in a previous answer, but simply reading other people's blogs really gives me the motivation to carry on. I'm not saying that you should read another blog and copy their ideas, I'm saying that having a look around the blogsphere can really help to give you some much needed inspiration.
11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?

Not for long. Perhaps a few weeks, but then Del will do something funny/naughty/crazy and I feel like I have to share :)
Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
Not YET. I think it would be a shame to give up.

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

I'd like to make more friends. Simple really.