PET BLOGGERS CHALLENGE 2014

 

PBC

 

Today I’m joining the fourth Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Go Pet Friendly and Will My Dog Hate Me.

CathyBoys-4

1. How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.

May 2011,would be my official “start date” however I really didn’t know what in the “doodle” I was doing!

I started because there has always been a tremendous interest in our two Goldendoodles – wherever we go. People constantly stop us to talk, play and take photos of The Boys. Harley & Leo love to be “out and about” and without fail there’s always an adventure to follow. In the beginning I would write once or perhaps twice a week, and that was it. I had absolutely no in depth knowledge of the extensions to social media. I didn’t tweet, or do anything else. I just wrote occasionally and posted. Amazed and inspired that total strangers were reading my stories, I decided to explore the blogging world, and then began to “dabble” with other social media tools.

Describing Groovy Goldendoodles™ BLOG is easy! It’s the Chronicles of Harley and Leo. A blog about fun canine adventures.

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.

The website!

After meeting an incredibly talented web designer in mid 2012, we collaborated and created the site you see today and it launched in 2013. This decision wasn’t easy. I was about to begin a journey based entirely on faith, supported and encouraged by my family. In 2013 I officially started to “live my dream.” 

I love to write, and I adore writing about My Boys. They are incredible life teachers, and they make so many people smile.

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?

Sorry, I wasn’t aware of last years 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?

Be true to yourself. Identify, understand and embrace your niche.

If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

Bounce rate! I have a “learners permit” level of knowledge with Google Analytics and for the life of me I cannot seem to get my bounce rate percentage down. I don’t look at it as much anymore because it was causing me to gain weight. I’d look at it, get depressed and eat pizza! I would love for someone to share strategies on different techniques to lower numbers.

5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

I am not as consistent as I should be with updating my photo gallery. I can see where people have been driven to the gallery, but they don’t stay there long. I need to be more diligent in making that a priority. I must find a system to where I can upload on a more regular and frequent basis so people would visit the gallery more often. Working on that for 2014.

6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?

Weak area for me! I carry business cards but rarely give them out. I must improve that aspect of my life. I’m writing for a few online magazines now, affording me a link back to the blog. I am trying to lean forward in 2014 and become more aggressive in this area, perhaps attending more pet events in 2014 will help as well.

7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?

By their comments.

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 don’t do many themes, so they are rare which in turn seems to hold interest.

Leo and I participated in a six week Agility Training Course w/o Harley! I was pleasantly surprised that our readers were engaged the entire time. Occasionally I would slip a video in there to show our improvements or failures. I do like to write f/u posts and I unintentionally have several weeks lapse between posts. When I do finish the f/u they seem to do fine.

8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?

Content, creativity, and emotion! I personally love comments. When I’ve finished reading a post, based on any one of those three categories, I try to comment, even if it’s just to say “really enjoyed this post today.” 

9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?

Product reviews, yes.

If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?

Product reviews just started for us in 2013. I am selective to which ones I accept because I truly have to believe each product is “right” for my Boys. I don’t really have a preference (toys vs. treats), both Harley & Leo are great testers! We have a lot of fun with products, and I enjoy writing the reviews.

Giveaways have not worked for us in the past 🙁 therefore I’ve not pursued them, and since we haven’t really done many, no one has pursued us!

If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?

Not really sure. I imagine it would depend largely on what the giveaway would be.

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

This seems like such an appropriate answer to the question: SOMETIMES THE BEST MOMENTS IN LIFE ARE THE SIMPLE ONES. LIKE HAVING CHEESE DOODLES, AND WINE.

Even though the writer probably meant “cheese doodles” as in the snack, I and the person who shared this both believe “a little cheese, lots of love from a doodle, and a good glass of wine!” are the best moments in life. This is enough to get my motor running again.

11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?

Not yet.

Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?

Not yet. I am having entirely too much fun right now, everyday with these two is ridiculously amazing!

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

I’d like to become more organized. Sometimes I think I’m all over the map with my topics. I often wonder if I tailored my content to specific content on specific days if that would be of interest, like on the first of every month post about new recipe, etc… It’s been on my mind.

 

6 Comments
  • emma
    January 11, 2014

    Great job! We need help with google analytics for sure and figuring out how to change what isn’t doing well. We need a class for that! One thing I am hoping to attend in April is WordCamp which is a 2 day seminar put on by WP all about website stuff. From what I hear lots of real tech people attend and are willing to help others. They have them all over the country and world, so see if there is one near you. The site is: http://central.wordcamp.org/ That and going to BlogPaws should overload my Mom for 2014!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2014

      Thanks Emma – Yup our mom would definitely agree a class on analytics would be PAWsome! Mom’s attending WordCamp in May. It’s in Charleston SC and that’s where our dads peeps are, so we’ll tag along and a make it a family affair!
      She has a conflict this year, so no Blog Paws for us. Make sure your mom takes plenty of notes so she can share.

  • Kimberly Gauthier
    January 12, 2014

    One of the things about being a blogger is that many of us have to accept having a high bounce rate, because most readers visit us through a link, they read the post, then move on. Our sites don’t really encourage browsing even with our related posts links.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it 🙂

  • Cathy Bennett
    January 12, 2014

    I’m becoming more and more convinced about that Kim. Talk about driving a sister to drink! Whew!!!

    Going to attend the WP Conference in Charleston SC in May, looking forward to learning more about stats, and numbers. Thanks…

  • Jen@MyBrownNewfies
    January 13, 2014

    I’m so glad that you joined the challenge the Cathy! I love reading how other bloggers think!
    I love your blog, pictures and writing style!
    I can’t really offer any good information on the bounce rate, mine has never been that great so I stopped worrying about it a few years ago!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 13, 2014

      Hey Jen, WOW! your comment/compliment just made my night!! Thank you. I adore your blog as well. Sherman is my kind of Newfie!!! I’m learning not to obsess so much anymore. It was crazy! I’ve decided to focus on having fun in Doodleville and keep on loving the blogging life. Take care my friend!

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