For the second time I’m doing GoPetFriendly’s Pet Blogger Challenge! The first time I did it S’moredogs was barely out of the box and still had that new blog smell! This year I might actually have something to talk about!
1) When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?
I started Smoredogs.com a little over a year ago. It went live on January 4th, 2016. It’s mostly stories about my pets (well…MOSTLY about the dogs) either in written or picture form. There are some training ideas I’ve had and shared, but mostly it’s about my critters and myself.
2) What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?
Can I name two? (Of course I can! This is my blog and my responses!) The first was when I took newest dog Marsha to the Blog Paws Conference in Arizona. She had hardly been out of the neighborhood, never mind out of the state before, and it was a complete unknown as to how she would react to a long drive, days away from home, and so many new people and animals. She was awesome! She was a rock star! After spending many of her formative months virtually abandoned in the neighbor’s backyard she seems quite happy to go new places and meet everyone she can!
The second is when a regular reader left a comment telling me how well The Mighty Bell (my idea for not being harried by dogs about their supper) had worked for her when giving her own dogs medication. Sharing that idea was a driver to start blogging in the first place, so I was very pleased to find it had hit home for someone.
3) Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)
I’d say the most fun to do was “The Cattery Pt. 2.” It was a playful mix of photos, information, and snark.
4) Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?
My traffic definitely spikes when I participate in BlogPaws “Wordless Wednesdays.” That might have had something to do with the fact that there were months when Wordless Wednesdays were ALL I did, but even when I have new content during the week WW is responsible for driving the largest number of eyeballs my way. (ew.)
5) Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?
Ironically, having just said Wordless Wednesday brought me the most traffic, the single most viewed entry was “Dear Flick,” a ‘gotcha day’ letter to my cat who died earlier in the year. I think much of that traffic came from the blog’s Facebook page, where it “reached” (whatever that means) nearly 400 people. The common theme across the most viewed posts, the Wordless Wednesdays, is the fact they are on a Blog Hop, so it’s easy for people find.
6) What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)
I hadn’t really paid attention to pet blogs until one day on a whim I googled “Oh My Dog,” (puns, the source of my only weakness) and discovered Maggie Marton’s blog of the same name. I read, I commented, Maggie responded to my comments, and over time we became friends. She gently prodded me in the direction of doing my own blog, which is why I am now answering these questions.
7) What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?
Marsha and I are the only two mammals in the house who like bananas (but I’m the only one who likes strawberries). Everyone else seems to think we’re insane.
8) What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?
Keep the momentum going! I was doing pretty well at posting regularly, then it fell off and so did the number of people reading it. Planning ahead is probably an important part of that (see below).
9) What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?
I would like to write at least one new piece a week, and hopefully no less than one a month, as well as keeping the Wordless Wednesdays going and throwing in some Throwback Thursdays as well. Thinking ahead, planning stories out, and not waiting until the last minute to try to do something is probably key to this goal, so that’s in there too.
10) Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?
On backing up: I’m on WordPress which has a handy feature to let me back up the entire blog (I’ve done it twice in the last year!), and save it on my laptop. In addition to the file on my computer I have an Apple Time Capsule which regularly backs the whole of the computer up. Anything else I need to be doing to protect what I’ve been doing for the last year?
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20 thoughts on “2017 Pet Blogger Challenge!”
Thanks so much for participating in the Challenge again this year – you and I both find Maggie inspirational, which really isn’t a big surprise. And congratulations on getting your first year of blogging under your belt! I love your story about taking Marsha on a road trip, because you learned exactly what I try to show people with my blog — traveling together strengthens the bonds between humans and pets. Unfortunately, I can’t offer any advice on backing up – I’m on WP Engine and they take care of all of that for me. I wish you all the best in the coming year. I hope 2017 exceeds all your expectations.
Thank you! I wish you all the best in your up coming court case. Wouldn’t it be nice if large corporations behaved ethically? As for the trip, if you would like to read even more about it I added a link in the story above. I thought I’d already put it in, but writing close to 1000 words I guess it slipped past me! That’s the nice thing about blog writing, you can go back and fix things AFTER you’ve published!!
I’m a new reader to your blog thanks to this challenge! I just went back to read Marsha’s story and I’m so glad her backyard was next to yours. It sounds like you’re just the person she needed. I can’t wait to read more!
Hi Beth! Thanks so much for reading. I’m very glad I could be there for Marsha when she seemed destined for a sad and lonely life. I wish her life could be a bit better (she and Hershey have…issues sometimes) and there are some interesting, though not exactly pet related developments, at her old house. Both of those are fodder for new entries, so keep reading!
I also like participating in the blog hops. They are a great way to discover new blogs and bring new folks to your blog as well. Also, fun then when you go to BlogPaws and meet the people behind the blogs in person.
Yes! It’s been fun meeting people on line and in person!
Oh I love Marsha’s story! Naturally, it was too tempting not to read it. It saddens me how so many people treat their ‘pets.’ And even though I live in the Northeast, where by all accounts, animals are treated very well, there are still a number of dogs in my neighborhood I’d love to ‘foster.’ Thankfully, the Hubby keeps a tight rein on me, elst I might be called that crazy dog lady.
As for backing up, (well first, I have to find that Time Capsule you mentioned). I was using Backdraft ( think that is what it was called) but it did cost me $9 a month.
Yeah, I’ve got to tell myself repeatedly “you can’t save them all,” but I do what I can. The number of little dogs people allow to run around here is incredible, and annoying. They tend to be territorial and feisty which doesn’t makes walks easy. I’ll look into Backdraft, thanks for mentioning it! I hope with backing up the blog regularly and the Time Capsule I’ll be pretty well covered.
I love how your personality really shines through your writing. What a pleasure to read your posts! I hadn’t read the post about Marsha before, but she is such an amazing dog and I’m glad she had such a great time at the Blog Paws Conference. Keep up the great work in 2017!
Thank you! Two of my favorite authors are Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut and I’ve gotten comments saying what I write reminds them of both! Marsha’s life was ‘supposed’ to be very different from what we turned it in to! I’m glad I was next door when she needed me! I’ve already got some ideas for posts for 2017 so keep an eye out!
I love that you just mentioned Kurt Vonnegut in your comment above because I definitely see a similarity there. As far as doing backups I have the free version of Updraft, and I make new backups once a week. I guess the only problem is (or blessing perhaps) that I haven’t had to actually use them to see how easy they are to restore. I’m just waiting though, I’m sure one day with all my css tweaking I’ll break my site & have to try it out.
Looking forward to more of your posts in 2017.
Well, I looked into Updraft (frankly ‘Backdraft’ would make more sense as you’re backing up your drafts, but not my call) and I have to wonder if I could use it. My blog is hosted by WordPress and they seem incredibly twitchy about the plug-ins you can use.
I discovered Vonnegut somewhere around High School…No, wait. My father mentioned him when I was in grade school. Didn’t read him until later though! My Mom must have had a few of his books laying around the house.
Ah, right, thank you for the reminder, it was a while since I backed-up mine.
Happy to unintentionally oblige!
A great read – glad I joined in the fun this year as it’s a great way to connect everyone. I like the feedback on Wordless Wednesday, I’ll have to check that out.
WW is a great way to find new blogs and hear from new people! Thanks for reading!
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Thanks for sharing your story and welcome to the pet blogging community. I hope you keep the momentum going because as you’ve already experienced, there’s no better high then when you hear that you’ve helped someone by sharing your own thoughts and experiences.
Have a fabulous 2017!
Thanks! You too! I’ve got a docket worked up for the month already and a couple of pieces half done. Watch this space!
I really enjoy your sense of humor. I immediately had to read the dog dinner bell post and shared it with my hubby too. Genius!
I use Updraft to back up my blog. It does it daily and goes into my Dropbox account.
Thanks Denise! If it weren’t for the work I did with Hershey to get her over her abject terror of the broom I would say The Mighty Bell is my best training accomplishment. I hope you find it useful!