I am excited to be able to take part in this year’s third annual Pet Blogger Challenge, for the first time! Thank you to Amy Burkert, of GoPetFriendlyBlog.com, for arranging this. I am looking forward very much to reading what my fellow bloggers have to say as well.
My job is to answer all the questions put forth for us “first timers”:
1. Q: When did you begin your blog? A: August 2012
2. Q: What was your original purpose for starting a blog? A: I had closed my pet sitting business in March 2012 (where I was mostly the business manager in a partnership, doing occasional backup as a pet sitter), and even though I have two other part time jobs, I needed a third to replace the income I had lost from that business. I wanted to do something that had to do with animals. I ruled out anything that was going to require me to go away to school to train for. Blogging had come to my attention as a way I could make some money, as well as being able to do something animal related. Since I was an English major in college, with the goal of becoming a writer (which never came to fruition), this did seem like the natural choice.
3. Q: Is your current purpose the same? If not, what’s different? A: Well, yes and no! I would still like to make money doing this, but it has become more about the writing and the enjoyment of it, and about advocating for animals. Making money has been put on the back burner for now, though I still need additional income! There is so much more I want to do with the blog, and I still have a lot to learn about the technicalities of some of those things. For example, I’d like to make it look more pretty, things like that. Making money is still one of my goals, but it is no longer the #1 goal.
4. Q: How often do you post? A: 3-4 times per week. My original plan was to post 3 times/week. Then I discovered that I had a lot to say in just one blog post, and research to do in some cases, so that it took more time than I expected. So I was posting 2 times/week in the beginning. Now that I have discovered great things like “Wordless Wednesday” and “Black & White Sunday”, I have been able to add those on sometimes, as well as my “Life in Photos” blog series. The photo focused blogs take less time, so I’ve been able to add 1-2 of those types of posts per week now.
5: Q: Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you? If you publish on a schedule, why? How strict are you about your publishing deadlines? What do you do for inspiration when it feels like you’ve covered every topic? A: I am mostly on a schedule, though it has changed from time to time because of other things coming up, like the holidays. Mostly I work on my blog posts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. That works around my Monday, Wednesday and Friday bookkeeping job outside the home. I am fairly strict about my publishing schedule, but I allow myself some flexibility if other things are going on in my life that interrupt it. I am not nearly to the point where I feel I’ve covered every topic. I have pages in a notebook of potential topics, and I usually come up with others that I end up doing first.
6. Q: 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. A: It’s hard for me to give an exact amount of time, because I don’t necessarily sit down and do it all at once. I am sometimes working around my at home bookkeeping business. I might start a post in the morning, and then come back to it in the afternoon; or maybe start it one day and finish or actually post it another. If I had to guess I’d say at least 6-8 hours/week, depending on how much research time I have for a particular post. I probably spend an hour or less per week reading other blogs. That is not nearly as much time as I’d like to. There are so many great blogs out there, and I don’t have as much time as I’d like to read them all. I do not feel like I am staying on top of it all! I will be reading everyone else’s answer to that question to get some tips on that!
7. Q: How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)? Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions? A: I’d have to say mostly by comments and some by “shares” on my Facebook page. I have not really spent much time yet looking at my stats. When I look occasionally and it seems as if the numbers are increasing overall, then I am satisfied, for now anyway. I know I will need to pay closer attention to it if I get to the point where I want to add advertising. Sometimes I start to despair that no one is reading it at all! Then I get a very nice comment from someone new and I feel better. I am doing this for my own enjoyment now, so I am really not as focused on my how to measure my success, not at this point anyway.
8. Q: If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be? A: What is the best way you have found to increase your readership? What can I do to get more people to come to and read my blog? And keep coming back?
9. Q: What goals do you have for your blog in 2013? A: My chief goal is to figure out how to make money at this. My route to get there is less clear: I want to just keep plugging away at it, hopefully add some more bells and whistles to my website, spend more time on photography, and eventually add that advertising. I want to continue to go on as I have been….advocating for animals, and writing fun stories and sharing photos of my own pets. At some point maybe I’ll get more specific about numbers and stats and set specific goals there, but for now I am content to just keep it going the best I can.