Monday, January 10, 2011

The Pet Blogger Challenge

The folks at Go Pet Friendly are hosting a Pet Blogger Challenge and asking other pet bloggers to share our thoughts about our blogs and blogging in general. Go Pet Friendly supplied the questions I’m answering.

I began my blog in January 2008. Prior to starting the blog I'd spent a few years writing a semi-regular pet column for a community paper. A few folks were kind enough to tell me they enjoyed what I wrote and I thought a blog would be a great place to practice my writing skills and to meet people who share my love of critters.

Three years later I believe, for the most part, that I want the same things from my blog as I did when I began. I still love meeting people who share my passion for pets, I still enjoy writing a great deal and I still enjoy it when people tell me that something I wrote made them think or laugh or cry. My writing for the community paper was drastically cut back when the format of the product changed, so the blog gives me a corner of the world to indulge my creative side.

I’ve thought of blogging on a regular schedule and have even gone so far as to create a subject template so that different days of the week would be dedicated to specific topics. I believed if I created a more “formal” presence I might be able to generate more followers but, alas, I am hopeless when it comes to putting any sort of real structure in my blog. I work full time, have a family and do some volunteer work. The more I thought of maintaining a blog schedule, the more it felt like one more chore, rather than the positive experience I want it to be. I do worry that my blogging style costs me followers and, at times, momentum, but I believe if I were to hold myself to a schedule the quality of what I put on the site will suffer because I’d feel compelled to put posts out there just to say I did, rather than writing when I’m feeling it.

Currently I generate no income from my blog. I would love it if at some point in the future I am able to generate income through sponsorships or advertising, but thus far I haven’t tried very hard to learn about growing that side of my blog. That’s an area I hope to improve on over the next couple of years, but it will always be secondary to the writing and sharing aspects.

My favorite thing about blogging is the ability to share information about groups, events, websites, news stories and personal interests with other people who might find them interesting or insightful. Plus, I have to admit, there are times I write something and after coming back and reading it I can say to myself, “Hey, that was pretty good stuff.” It doesn’t happen every day, or even every week, but when it does I’m glad I got it out there.

I find the most challenging aspects of blogging to be the inevitable writer’s block that creeps in from time to time, finding a peaceful place to get writing done when I want to write, and the space in my head that exists between what I want my blog to be and where it currently stands. Sometimes I’ll view the blogs of other pet bloggers and just go, “Wow. There’s no way my blog will ever be that creative/interesting/interactive/cool. I should hang it up.” Then some lovely person will say something nice about my site or a post and I try and get my perspective back and keep on typing.

My plan for 2011 is to continue what I started at the end of 2010, namely to be more proactive at networking my blog where I can find a larger audience, connecting with more people who blog about pets to learn more and grow my own blogging experience and to continue to try and narrow the gap between my mental vision of my blog and where I see it today. If we do this again next year, this post will be a great progress marker.

Thanks to Go Pet Friendly for hosting this event. Check out some of the other participants by clicking the links below.

25 comments:

Pup Fan said...

Enjoyed reading your answers... I totally understand that feeling of insecurity and how one nice comment from a reader can get me back on track. :)

Kristine said...

So glad you participated!

I love your blog - not just because it is gorgeous - and am sad I only found it recently. Your style is brilliant, easy-going, and I bet probably a lot like you are in person. I am looking forward to getting to know you and the Doodlebug more in the future.

Trixie, Lily, and Sammy-Joe said...

Hihi! We did the Pet Blogger Challenge too! We love your blog and we hope you won't "hang it up." If you want to try sponsored posts, Blogsvertise and PayPerPost are the best. You've been blogging longer than us, so you'll probably get a lot more opportunities on those sites than we do! :)

Lori @ According to Gus said...

The layout of your blog is beautiful! Did you design it yourself? That's one aspect about our blog that needs tending to...I'd love to have such a visually appealing layout. I enjoyed reading more about your blog!

Vicky said...

Thank you so much for all of the kind words! I'm working today so I won't have much opportunity to explore everyone else's posts until this evening, but I'm definitely looking forward to it, as you all provide such inspiration for me.

As to the blog design, much as I'd love to take credit I had someone else design it for me last year. I wanted something that would be more "me" but not so "girlie" that I'd drive off the men folk :) Alas, the person who did it, Sour Apple Studios, no longer does blog work, so I can't send you her way. I believe if you click on the link to Sour Apple on the left side rail you'll get the company who took over maintaining her accounts. I am thrilled with what she designed and found the blog design rate quite affordable, especially as she also created my badge and my Twitter page.

Back in touch with everyone this evening!

Amy said...

Great post! I loved reading your answers to the questions. And I really like the design of you site. Not too girly - fun without being cutesy.

Caren Gittleman said...

Just want to say I think you are WAAAAAAY too hard on yourself! I love your blog and you are as good as MANY that I have read!

xoxo

Kenzo said...

One of the most insightful posts in the challenge so far. Glad that I have found you and your blog.

Vicky said...

Caren - you are too kind! Any chance you're going to BlogPaws?

Kenzo, I appreciate your comments and look forward to seeing your work later this evening.

Amy - Thanks so very much for stopping by and for organizing this event. I'm loving it even more than I thought I would!

Life With Dogs said...

That writer's block thing is a monster - do let me know if you figure out how to conquer it! :)

Kim Clune said...

The idea that scheduled posts are better for keeping followers engaged as opposed to composing when you're moved to write with passion is a tricky line to walk. I think there has to be a bit of both at work and it sounds like you're doing that just fine. Terrific blog and happy to meet you!

Shauna (Fido and Wino) said...

Your blog is very pretty :)

The "Hey, that was pretty good stuff" love that! Feels so great... like figuring out a complicated math problem or something :)

Vicky said...

LWD, if I could cure writer's block I could rule the blog world!

Kim - Nice to meet you, too! I'm making the rounds so I'm sure we'll see each other around :)

Shauna, you're exactly right --- it does feel a lot like solving a math problem (sometimes it's like solving a word problem, my least favorite ones!)

Snoopy and Annette said...

It was cool to read your answers, it's been such a great way to get to know all the other pet bloggers out there......

By the way, I just looked and there are now 99 blogs in this challenge, woohoo!! Come on number 100!!

Snoopy and Annette :)

Lavi said...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment on my blog!

I read your profile before this and thought "wow, this person really did a lot of things for animals". I'm really impressed and I hope you still have the time and energy to keep all that up.

And don't think that your blog might not be as good as others out there. It looks very nice and as far as I've read around, your posts really say something. And to show you that you're writing a good blog, I'm going to follow you.

Banjo and Millie said...

Hi Vicky! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love yours - the design is so cute! I also really enjoyed reading your Pet Bloggers Challenge answers. I'm pretty new to pet blogging, so I thought it would be informative and lots of fun to attend Blog Paws. Hope to see you there!

CindyLu's Muse said...

Hi, I'm so glad this gives me a chance to find out about you! I love your writing, and what you've said here I could connect with so closely. I look forward to reading what you write!

Briese said...

I'm glad you stopped by my blog and enjoyed looking at yours.

Peggy Frezon said...

Hi it's great to meet you on this challenge. I really like your blog. One of my fav parts of visiting other blogs is seeing their adorable dog photos!

Banjo & Millie said...

Hi Vicky! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm pretty new to pet blogging, so I thought it would be informative and lots of fun to attend Blog Paws. Hope to see you there!

Vicky said...

Thanks everyone! I'm still working my way through all of the blogs, so if I haven't mentioned anything yet, I'm still getting there.

I truly appreciate the input. I've been horrible at networking and am only getting started this year, but I'm hoping to be an active force for good in the blogosphere :)

Deborah Flick said...

Your blog is gorgeous! The graphics are delightful. So glad to have met you and your blog.

Chandra said...

I'm happy to have found your blog through the Pet Blogger Challenge! I enjoyed your Q&A! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate your kind comment!

-Chandra at Daley's Dog Years

Pamela said...

The attractive and professional look of your blog really drew me in; the content keeps me coming back.

As for the writers block? Take two puppies and try again in the morning.

Vicky said...

Thanks all! This has been far more fun than I imagined when I signed up for the Challenge.

 

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