It’s the perfect time of year to look back and set goals for blogging. I’m so proud to be a pet blogger, and my first year has been a blast. Without further ado, here’s my answers to the questions from the 2016 Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by GoPetFriendlyBlog.com.
1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone who is visiting for the first time, please give a quick description of the subject of your blog.
I launched Little Dog Tips in June 2015. I actually just needed a place to showcase my dog-related writing for potential freelance writing clients, but the blog has taken on a life of its own. At first, I wrote on random topics, but as the blog evolved, I narrowed my focus to positive based training for small dogs – though many of my readers are medium to large dogs.
2. What is the one thing that you accomplished during 2015, either on your blog or because of it, that made you most proud?
I became part of the BlogPaws community. At first, I thought I would never attend the yearly conference. I thought it was too expensive, and that I just wasn’t serious enough about pet blogging to do it. As I connected with the community, I began to felt that I belonged, and the opportunities for networking and becoming a better blogger were too good to miss. Plus, it’s in Arizona, so it won’t be too hard for us to drive there. I’m so excited.
My business networking has greatly improved since I committed to being a dog writer. Dog people are so easy to connect with. I feel really good about reaching out to people because I know we’re all living that dog life. It’s like one big family.
3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)
I really loved writing about teaching Matilda to fetch in How To Train Your Chihuahua to Fetch Like A Retriever. Teaching her to actually bring things back and place them nicely in my hand is our biggest training achievement this year. I had no idea that a small dog could learn to do this, especially when it seems much more fun for them to run off with a toy.
4. A common theme from last year’s challenge was that many of us wanted to increase the size of our audiences. Whether or not we intend to monetize our blogs, it seems we’d all like to reach more people. It feels good to know that we’re connecting with others, sharing a laugh or supporting a cause, and it’s motivating to see those numbers grow! What is one thing you’ve done in the past year that has brought more traffic to your blog?
I created an opt-in ebook, “5 Cool And Easy Tricks To Teach Your Dog” and encouraged people to sign up for it before the blog had even launched. I’m brainstorming an even better ebook, and hoping to create more and more resources that dog owners will find helpful.
I’ve been promoting my posts on Facebook a lot – there’s no shortage of dog lovers there.
5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? Why do you think it was so popular? (Please include a link.)
That would be Near Perfect Recall: 10 Tips To Teaching Your Dog To Come. It actually got the most traffic because I submitted it to a big blogging boost, where I exchanged comments with 50 other bloggers. I attracted a lot of new subscribers, but I wouldn’t do that particular boost again – most of the other bloggers just weren’t my style, most of them write about parenting, which is very far from my life goals right now. Even so, weirdly enough, I think many of the parents could use the recall tips on children.
As a matter of fact, positivity works whenever you want anyone to do anything. It takes time and patience, and a lot of sacrifice, but it really, really works.
6. What is one blog that you read religiously – other than your own – and what makes you such a devoted reader? (Please include a link.)
Oh goodness. I don’t read any other dog blogs religiously, but I think it’s time to change that in 2016. I need to pay more attention to other blogs in my niche and make connections with their writers – working together is what really makes blogging fun. I do, however, religiously follow blogs about blogging like BoostBlogTraffic and Social Triggers, but I think I know the basics of blogging enough that I no longer need to focus so much on reading about it. I highly recommend those guys, though.
7. What resources do you rely on to enhance your technical, writing, photography, social media, or other skills that improve your blog?
BlogPaws has a lot of tips on their site, especially for pet bloggers. I also follow quite a few blogs about blogging and social media, more than I could name, but QuickSprout is great for creating better content. Socialmediaexaminer is another good one.
I need to improve my photography. I only have my iPod Touch at my disposal, but plenty of lighting (especially outdoors) leads to decent photos. Still, it’s about time I invest in a nice camera.
8. What is the best piece of advice you can offer other bloggers?
Start submitting your work to other blogs as guest posts, and even magazines. I’ve only written a few guest posts, and while I haven’t gotten any traffic or subscribers from them, it’s so important to get published elsewhere if you want to be taken seriously if you have big goals.
9. What is your vision for your blog in 2016? Do you have specific goals?
I’m supercharging the information I provide my readers. It’s not enough for me to Google up a few things and write. More advice drawn from my personal experience, plus expert interviews are on the horizon.
Another thing – I write about positive-based training. It’s more fun than yelling at your dog or punishing them, and dogs learn better when you’re working with them, not against them. I’ve never used tools like shock collars and prong collars – they’re illegal in many countries – and I’m having a huge crisis with myself trying to figure out how I feel about them. I want my readers to know what’s best for their dog. I want to help them form their own opinions. It’s so hard when the trainers I speak to online about them are all biased, and that’s to be expected of course, but I want the truth. For you guys.
10. You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there one blogging challenge you’d like help with, or one aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?
Finding better information and interviewing experts to help provide the highest standard of information on dog training – boiled down in simple terms so even beginner dog owners can learn everything they need to know from my blog.