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 our blog in July 2012 when I was training my dog Barley for the therapy dog test (spoiler: we didn't pass) to keep track of our training progress and our hikes. The focus is still mostly stories about our adventures or about training with a few reviews here and there.
What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016? I don't know if I can pick a proudest moment. This year felt like one of those years where we were just trying to get through. One of my proudest moments--though not entirely blog related--was getting foster pup Sal adopted, though. I was so happy to be able to share his happy ending with everyone who had followed our fostering experience.
Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.) I have a couple I really love. One of my very favorites was one of the earliest posts of 2016--our friend Emma had made a comment on another post that inspired "It Must Be Frustrating," a post about what it's like to live with a reactive dog and I think it was probably the best job I've ever done at expressing that. I always also love the posts I write on adoption days and birthdays for Barley (here and here) and Soth (here and here) because I get all mushy and I think they're the most real posts I write all year.
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? This actually isn't a big goal for me, so I haven't actively done anything to increase traffic to the blog. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to see big numbers of views on posts, but for me, this blog is a way to record moments I don't want to forget and a way to connect with other people because it can be lonely to live with a reactive dog when you don't get to hang out with other dogs and their owners in real life. So, if that connection is with 1000s of people, that's incredible, but it's also ok with me if it's only with one or two people or just my mom (love you!).
Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) The one with the most traffic was our recent giveaway, which isn't surprising. The second most popular, though, was "Rediscovering the Geneva State Park"--I'm not really sure what drove the traffic to this one because it's not noticeably different from any of our other posts about visiting parks, but it's one of our favorite places to visit, so I'm glad we were able to share it with so many people.
Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts? Over the last few months, the most popular posts--not just with a lot of views, but that people have spent the most time viewing--are the ones in the series of training Barley and Rye (here, here, here, here, here, and here). I think stories about reactive dogs really resonate with people now--when I first got Barley, I didn't know that there were so many other people going through similar struggles. It's comforting and reassuring to know that there are other people who have reactive dogs with full lives, so think stories like these draw people in and they're very engaged in the posts and write the most thoughtful, heartfelt comments.
What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.) I don't know that inspirational is the best word for how I view any blogs (inspirational might be too sentimental for me)--but the ones I gravitate the most towards are ones that share regular stories about their lives with their pets, such as Wag 'N Woof Pets and 2 Brown Dawgs. Reviews are fine--I've found some great products to try through them--and lists can be fun and informative (and I've done both on my blog), but for me, the blogs that I come back to over and over again are the ones that tell a good story, a story where I feel like I was there for the experience and that I know their pets. When I first starting blogging, it seems like that's what most bloggers were doing and I miss that. Blogs like that remind me that there's still a place for quirky stories about what my menagerie does throughout the year.
What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them? This is a tough one--I feel like I'm pretty much an open book. One thing I might not have mentioned is that it wasn't love at first sight when I met Barley. I walked by her kennel several times before she really caught my attention. There was a 6-month-old purebred golden retriever named Feather a few kennels down from Barley that I was in love with but she was listed as unavailable on the info on her tag (maybe as part of the 72-hr. stray hold? maybe because she'd just been spayed?)--as I walked up to the front desk to pay for Barley, they took off the unavailable sign on Feather's kennel. If that had happened 15 minutes earlier, my life might look very different today.
What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers? As I said earlier, this year was just one that I felt like I was getting through, so I don't know that I have any real words of wisdom to pass on this time.
What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017? This isn't exactly blog specific, but I want to get back to more adventures. I want to visit new places with my girls and write about that. The months that I struggled with writing were the months when the days all seemed to run together, so I want to spice things up again and find more of that desire to write.
|Expect a lot more of this in 2017.|
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? I guess the biggest thing I'd like input on is the content: are there topics you'd like to see more of? What are you favorite types of posts that show up here?
Be sure to stop by all of the other blogs participating in the challenge to see what people accomplished in 2016 and what goals they're setting for this year! You never know, you might just find your new favorite read!