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Friday, January 9, 2015

Pet Blogger Challenge 2015

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
Keeping it Fun With Doga
For several years now I've been participating in the Pet Blogger Challenge, created and hosted by Amy at Go Pet Friendly. Today's answers to her list of questions take a very different approach to my prior years' versions. Having been dealt a fresh, yet unwelcome hand, I'm on a new track to focus more on my readers and less on my bank account. Bottom line; this seems to be taking some of the stress off of me, while I work to heal myself in other ways. Hope these answers are helpful to someone out there. Here goes:

1. How long have you been blogging? All Things Dog Blog was launched as an experiment in 2009, a spinoff of an organic living blog I started prior to this one. When All Things Dog Blog took off several months later, I decided to make it my primary focus in 2010.

2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud. Working with a professional yoga instructor, I developed a set of short, instructional yoga videos designed to help beginners learn simple yoga poses while engaging their dogs in joining in with them to form a stronger bond. Currently I am expanding the poses by sharing modifications to ease each of them. You'll find links to all of these posts at my Doga page.

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?  Balance is needed in life! While I don't regret pouring 12 hours a day for the past 4 years into this website, I'm now seeing that I've created a situation that is hard to course-correct. Intertia has me involved in a daily routine of blog management. I now am working slowly at redesigning my days to incorporate more time for things like yoga, doga, cooking, walking and camping with hubs and my dogs.

4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content? Create truly UNIQUE content. Event Barkers' Twitter Parties and exclusive Doga instructional series bring an unprecedented batch of unique content to All Things Dog Blog. We're trying to help our readers find new and relaxing ways to bond with their dogs, stay in shape, and win prizes. Our Fido's Freebie Friday giveaway linky is also beneficial for our readers to find all of your giveaways. 

5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you that it was your most popular? Surprisingly, it was 8 Things I Learned from Practicing Doga. This post is now in my top 3 of all time. Who knew?!!!
Bonding, Stretching and Working on Balance
6. What was your favorite blog post to write this year? No great surprise here. It was the same post: 8 Things I Learned from Practicing Doga. The inherent lesson here is that when we do what we are passionate about, our words are more compelling to our readers.

7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year? While I am slowing up a bit on product reviews, I'm requiring better giveaways when I do these. By better, I mean that I don't run one without a minimum number of winners, or a more substantial prize. I want it to be worth my readers time to enter my giveaways.
If you do reviews, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all? I do require a giveaway in order to run a review, and I always pre-check the product to assure that I'll have a largely positive message. In other words, I don't waste my readers' time with negative reviews. I take a pass on products that I don't like and hand select my reviews carefully.

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 108. What’s your best piece of advice for other bloggers?  If you're in this to make even a part time income, you'll need to do something seriously different in order to make a go of it. Think outside the box to create a site that offers something no one else has; then find a way to create it. Invest reasonably in your site if you plan to make it a long term, income-producing blog, while keeping in mind that what you offer must be desirable by the pet-owning public. Measure that interest and match it to your need for growth. By using surveys, you may be able to quantify interest in a specific segment of your writing that will help you bring a sponsor onboard. Finally, if you're trying to monetize your blog, you should be behaving like a professional. Enough said.

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?  All Things Dog Blog is good therapy for me as I move through some troubling health issues this year. I need something to focus my energies on, and this is where my focus remains: (1) Doga is good for me and my dogs, so we'll continue to share this journey with our readers who would like to work out at in the privacy of their own home and bond with their dogs while they enjoy their practice. (2) Event Barkers Twitter Parties continue to be a big hit. I'm proud to be a founding partner and happy to have expanded my partnership with Paris to include a new associate, Diane Silver of We look forward to seeing this venture continue to grow and prosper. (3) Finally, I'll continue to write about what I set out to share when I first began this site--tips on dog care that help to maintain a healthy lifestyle for both you and Fido. This includes training, nutrition, lifestyle articles, physical activities and more.

10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be? Great question!  I'll gladly offer a phone conference consultation to the person with the best answer to my dilemma: As I continue to develop my Doga series, I need to zero in on ways to help my readers get past their body image issues and worries about not being able to accomplish a particular pose in the way it is photographed. I'm trying to get the message across that yoga is a journey, not a destination. The goals are simple: (1)  Gain strength and flexibility through incorporating a regular yoga practice into your lifestyle, and (2) Include your dog into your practice to build your bond with him. By making it fun for you and your dog, you're more likely to continue to work at your yoga practice frequently, while continuing to bond more deeply with your dog. It's a Win-Win! The comment link is open; I invite your thoughts and ideas.

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