1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
I started blogging just over 4 years ago. When I wrote my first novel ages ago and signed with my agent back in 2008, she encouraged me to start a blog. I didn't want to because I didn't know what to write about. (Most authors I know write about writing, and I didn't want to do that.) Well, then I ended up starting the blog in 2010 because it was the easiest way to keep friends and family in the loop on our previous dog Abby's bone cancer journey. Even though I was blogging about cancer-related stuff a lot of the time, I tried to keep the blog light and funny.
Now that Abby is gone and we have Rita, I'm keeping up with that "light and funny" stuff. I mostly just blog about silly things that I hope will make people laugh. (I do sometimes try to sneak in helpful info. Three topics that are near and dear to my heart are: rescue, canine cancer and living healthy.) Anyway, I now realize my agent was right! The blog is a great way to stay in touch with other dog lovers, which is great since dog lovers are the ideal readers for my Fido-friendly fiction. (Hey, did I mention my award-winning novel Rescue Me, Maybe is on sale for 99c through the weekend? I guess I just did. Sorry about the shameless self promo. I actually hate self promo, but I like connecting with y'all.)
Um, as an aside, January 10 is the anniversary of Abby's death. It's 3 years now. I still get all weepy when I think about it. In fact, I think that's why I skipped this hop last year. I started doing my post and then was just too sad after looking at old posts. Miss that crazy girl.
|Our beautiful, nutty girl. (Stealing a persimmon.)|
2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud.
This isn't super exciting, but since I'm only techy enough to be a danger to myself and my blog, I'm most proud of two SUPER MINOR tech things I did this year: (1) I added my pretty little row of pale turquoise social media icons on my right sidebar, and (2) I dropped the "blogspot" from my URL to become simply PoochSmooches.com. Yah! (Both these things took me way more time, sweat, and tears than was necessary.) I owe this all to Elizabeth at Chronicles of Cardigan and her handy list of her most-read posts! (Well, I don't owe the sweat and tears to her. That's just due to my own non-techiness.)
3. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own blogs?
I think I might have finally learned to just focus on what I love about blogging and not on the things I don't. Since I don't monetize my blog, I don't really worry too much about my stats and page views and all that kinda stuff. As long as folks leave happy little comments, I'm happy. A simple "LOL" comment makes my day. Sometimes I forget and get hung up in thinking 'wow - that person gets so many more comments/has so many more Facebook likes/etc. than I do", but ultimately it's not about the #s for me. It's about enjoying what I'm writing (sometimes I just crack myself up!) and staying connecting with my other bloggy friends.
That probably doesn't help anyone who IS trying to monetize their blog, but if you're like me and mainly blogging for fun and the connection to other pet-lovers, well, when you get down on yourself/your blog, just remember WHY you're doing it, and remember that it's about the FUN!
4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
Oh, see now here I just said I didn't care about driving traffic... I mean, sure I want folks to see what I'm writing or else what's the point, but I'm not great about doing the things you're supposed to do to drive traffic (like sharing stuff on Pinterest or Instagram or whatever). And I don't really look at my stats to see where the traffic comes from, so... I don't really know what's most successful other than just getting out there and commenting on other blogs so they'll stop by and check out your blog. And hopefully they'll like it, and come back!
5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you that it was your most popular?
|Alt. title: Two Rat Bastards of Verona|
This post gets TONS of spam comments on it (which blogger is very good about marking as spam, so why can't they keep that spammy stuff out of my viewing stats?). I'm just guessing here, but I think it gets a ton of spam because it has the word "rape" in it. (I guess we'll test that theory next year cuz now THIS post has the word rape in it.)
Now you're asking yourself why a humorous dog blog post has the word rape in it. (Now it has it multiple times.) It's Shakespeare's fault. Let's just say some of his early works may have been a little bit misguided. (I mean, seriously. The play was supposed to be a comedy.)
Anyway, to get back on track, I think the post that REALLY was the most popular (a high number of views, but I never get spam comments on this one) was: Why to DNA Test Your Dog. It doesn't surprise me that this is a popular post since I know a lot of folks who have thought about getting the testing done. It was fun!
|Turned out she wasn't a sheagle!|
This is a tough one, but I think it was this one about how I jinxed myself saying Rita doesn't sleep next to me, and then she started sleeping next to me! It was called When Bed Dogs Become Bed Hogs, and, as my sis said, it combines three of my favorite things - dogs, math and drawing.
A close runner up is this one about 3 Things to Love About a Reactive Dog, a humorous ode to my crazy girl.
7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?
Since I don't monetize the blog, I rarely do a review. This year I did even fewer I think. It's usually only if I happen upon something new that I really love and want to share. As for giveaways, I do them every once in a while for my books, but I feel like everyone who reads my blog has probably already read them by now if they were ever gonna, so I haven't done one in a while.
Remember why you are doing it! If it's a business/side-business, great. Go for it and keep after that goal. But if it's just for fun, then don't worry about stuff like stats or taking a little bloggy break, etc.
|I just wanna make y'all giggle. Hopefully this at least elicits a smile!|
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?
Simply to keep at it. This year I was happy to (mostly) stick to my twice/week posting schedule. Since I was writing/editing a new book last year, it was hard sometimes but I usually managed to make the time. (I had to take a few breaks for family emergencies and vacations, but that worked out okay and most folks came back.) This year I have another new book to write (and finish so I can start editing it, which I think is the fun part!) so I hope to be able to make the time to keep up the twice/week posting.
10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
Really the only "challenge" I have is feeling bad when I can't get around to visit everyone's blogs often enough. I know a lot of folks post WAY more often than I do, but since I only post 2 times/week, I tend to also only 'go visiting' 2 times/week. I know that folks understand (cuz they must be in the same boat) that it's impossible to visit all the blogs you want to, but... still I feel bad when I don't read/comment "enough". Just like I feel bad when folks stop coming here. Was it something I said?? I know there's no real answer to this - but I guess I'm just hoping you'll all commiserate with me on this!