Friday, January 10, 2014

Pet Blogger Challenge- The good, the bad and the bloggy

Every year, thanks to our friends at Go Pet Friendly, and co-host Will My Dog Hate Me, we're invited to take a deep look inside, jiggle our brains until they hurt, and ask WHY AM I DOING THIS?!!

So here we go, The Pet Blogger Challenge 2014:

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. 

I never remember the exact answer to this question, but the general answer is about 7 or 8 years. Peggy's Pet Place hopes to be a place where pet lovers meet and support each other. I share my experiences with rescue dogs, interesting news and helpful tips for pet parents, and of course cute photos of Kelly and Ike, and all other animals I happen upon.

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
My goal was to step it up and dig deeper, and I think I made progress toward that with many more posts about pet adoption and pet fitness, and a new blog hop about canine cancer (be sure to check out the next one, on Feb. 6th!)  

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?

I changed the weekly pet roundup to monthly, because I had so much other content I wanted to get in each week. Otherwise, I don't think anything changed too much this past year. I see it as climbing a mountain and sometimes slipping, but forever climbing up and up, slowly. There is always so much to learn, that will never stop. 

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 personal-- The blogs I like best go beyond basic pet news and also share what they're thinking, how they react to things, and what they're doing to help others.

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

If you leave a comment on my blog, do you prefer I reply to your comment on my blog, or go visit and comment on your blog? I'd love to do both, but can't seem to find the time to do everything I'd like to do! Also, short of switching to Wordpress (which will happen some day!) how can I get blogger commenting to make it easier for people to leave their website link? I've tried Disqus and other services, but nothing seems to work.

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

Everyone seems to love a giveaway. Also joining together with others for a common cause is a great way to bring more traffic to the blogs, and support each other. I co-host FitDog Friday, K9 Kamp, and Give Cancer the Paw.

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?

I spend a couple hours each morning reading blog comments, visiting and commenting on other blogs, approving posts in Triberr, visiting FB pages, etc. I used to spend at least 4 hours a day and this was better for results, but I just can't do it any more. I have to meet my work deadlines!

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

The only way I know to judge is by the comments. I'm not much for checking my stats, but when I do and I'm happy that they continue to grow. If something took a dip down, I think I'd stop and try to evaluate what happened.

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?

Maybe if no one seems engaged. Also, if your heart just isn't into it anymore, then it is time.

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

If the blog post touches upon something I'm experiencing, or have experienced recently, I"m more likely to comment. If it makes me smile or laugh, I'm also more likely to comment.

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

Look at all our loot to review!!

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

I've found it depends upon the product. If it's a valuable product or one that people are interested in, somehow word gets out. If it's kind of  inexpensive, less people bother. (Although people seem very interested in poo bags!)

One of my goals for 2014 is to be much more selective about what I review this year. I only review products I truly like, but I receive so many requests to review, and I don't want the blog to become one big advertisement for stuff. In addition, I think my time is better spent blogging about other topics.

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

I usually have the opposite problem, too many ideas and not enough days in the week!

11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go? Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?

The only thing that gets me down is about how time consuming it is to do it well. I wish there were more hours in the day. Most--if not all--of us still need to work to make a living!

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

Just one big goal- to connect with people better. It's wonderful to be a part of this blogging community. I've seen how we all support each other, and this challenge is one example. I wish I had time to comment on the multitude of blogs in my Feedly every day. But I'm going to engage more with others, get to know what is on their minds and help when I can. And, I plan to visit a new blog at least once a week.

Join the hop!

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!


  1. one person's viewJanuary 10, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    That picture of Kelly is just too much!

    I would also like a better comment feature on all blogs. I hate subscribing to comments on blogs, because it's hard enough to keep up with posts, never mind every comment, but I'd like to know if the blogger has responded to my comment without having to check back. If you could combine the automatic emailed reply with comment-luv, it would be perfect.

  2. Hi Peggy. I haven't stopped by for a while, but great to say hi. FitDog Friday sounds like a bit of a new years resolution, so I might need to get on board with that. :) I'm also one with too many ideas and not enough time to blog on them all! (Though you wouldn't guess it with my sporadic blogging schedule...) All the best for 2014. :)

  3. I'm also on Blogger and threaten to switch to Wordpress every day! It seems so involved at this point, doesn't it? Your blog is great!

  4. We have always been on WP and are happy with it. I'm sure something else will eventually come along that is better, but right now Mom works on five WP sites and really likes it. Time is the biggest problem. The longer you blog, the less time you have because you post more and you subscribe to more and more blogs. I guess unless my comment really begs for a reply, I would prefer someone come to my blog and comment, but we struggle with that as well. That real job is what really puts a damper on things!

  5. Wow, many of your answers are similar to mine (but you were more concise and that is always better :)). I like to visit other people's blogs if they leave comments on mine. I know there are probably times I miss some, but I do try. Because I try to visit other blogs, I can't reply to comments on my blog because I run out of time. I do try to respond to questions in one way or another. :)

  6. Hi Peggy, yours is a blog I've been reading pretty much since I started though I rarely post comments. I agree, I do enjoy the personal posts -- though it's always nice to have information about exciting new products. You've always struck a nice balance.

  7. WE love your blog and we appreciate all the NICE comments that you leave on other blogs. It does take some extra time to LEAVE YOU A COMMENT because for some reason we ALWAYS have to FULLY TYPE our Name and Email Addy to be able to comment. THAT is not meant to be a complaint.

  8. Great photos - thanks for sharing! Stopping by via the Pet Blogger Challenge! Looking forward to read and getting to know you better!

  9. Great answers Peggy.

    Speaking only for myself, I prefer that you come by my blog and check it out. Unless I have left a comment with a specific question, I rarely come back to see a response to a comment. If I have something really specific, I will often times just shoot an e-mail to the blogger.

    If you ever figure out the balance....writing/reading/commenting please share the secret!!

  10. Hi I like your give Cancer the Paw hop idea and will be looking for it to jump on the wagon as Cancer affects too many of our beloved pets. Love the picture of Kelly with the glasses. As for the links to follow back using blogger if you click on the commenter's name it should take you to their site if they gave it when commenting. Have a Chittering Good Day. Jo

  11. I love how different everyone's responses have been!

  12. I, too, favor blogs that "go beyond basic pet news and also share what they're thinking, how they react to things, and what they're doing to help others." News is news in so many other areas of this information age. Pet blogging offers the chance to be different, to connect with our hearts rather than just our minds. That's the gift of doing this gig. I'm glad to hear you've been digging deeper, as per your goals, and that your ideas are abundantly overflowing!

  13. I'm proud of our new cancer hop too! (I haven't done my PBC post yet though! Hopefully I'll get to it today.)

  14. Pamela | Something WaggingJanuary 10, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    I love your movie inspired title so much I got distracted from reading your answers. :)

    I did not remember that you had been blogging so long. You're competing with the Poodle and Dog blog for longevity. Does that make you two pet blogger matriarchs?

    I use a plugin that sends an email to everyone whose blog comment at SW I respond to. When I first installed it, I waited for the angry complaints from people who didn't want junk in their mailbox. (Personally, I hate email.) But it never happened.

    I think people like use to visit their blogs so they get traffic. But if they write a really special comment, I think they really appreciate a reply. Perhaps mentioning their comment on your blog when you visit theirs is a good compromise.

  15. Tenacious Little TerrierJanuary 10, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    I'd prefer comment replies on my blog. I do go back and check blogs sometimes for replies to my comments but I don't always so it's easier that way. When you figure out the perfect comment system, let me know!

  16. Wow! Peggy! I didn't realize that you have been blogging for that long! That is awesome! Great question on the replying to comments! I reply to comments but I think most people don't know that I am replying!

  17. Vicki Stringfellow CookJanuary 10, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    Holy woof Peggy - 7 or 8 years? I'm impressed. I don't know if I could keep at it that long and still maintain the same level of passion. I love my blog, but some days it doesn't love me!

  18. Hi Y'all!

    I've tried disqus and different Blogger comment formats. When I had compatibility problems and people emailing they were having problems commenting I returned to the old format. I did switch to Google +, but I find myself frustrated because people don't have their blog sites posted so they are easily accessible. I posted by blog site address under "about". Problem is, people have to know where to look to find the link. The old format made it much easier to locate an individual's blog.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  19. Wow! 7 or 8 years? That is AWESOME!! (that's a lot of words!!) Congrats!! I like your goals for 2014, they seem very manageable :)

  20. I love the photo of the dogs and the products for review! Great post :)

  21. I always love coming here Peggy, even if I'm the pits at commenting. I've seen a real change in your blog the last few years, as you've shared more of yourself and I do love it.

  22. I love your analogy of climbing a mountain. That is absolutely how it feels like, especially the slipping part! I think I'm going to steal your goal of visiting one new blog a week. That's such a great idea and a worthy effort. I look forward to seeing where your blog goes in 2014!

  23. I was a but surprised that you didn't mention pet fitness in #1 because I see it as a very big part of what your blog is about. Then I saw you did touch on it in #2.

    I don't comment on other people's blogs just so that they will come visit mine. I mean, it's nice but I comment to hopefully have a conversation. Sometimes though, I leave a comment that is more of a statement and does not warrant a reply. My policy is that if a person's comment on my blog inspires a reply, then I at least respond to their comment on my blog. I visit their blog to see what they are up to if I have time. If their comment on my blog doesn't require a reply (or something to keep the conversation going) then I don't and go visit their blog instead.

  24. Jan K, Wag N Woof PetsJanuary 11, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    We're definitely on the same page for #10 and 11.....not enough time for it all. Darn having to work for a living! Think of all the things we could do if we just had that time free.
    I'm unsure on the commenting's hard to find one system that will do everything you want it to.

  25. I so hope you come to BlogPaws. I have been a long-time fan and really enjoy your books, Peggy!

  26. Great interview and love the photos you added. Have a great 2014

  27. I'm so glad to have found your blog in 2013! I love the pet fitness posts -- it's something that a lot of us need to read again and again. One of my Labradors (the one in my profile pic) was released from the service dog program because he was predisposed to arthritis. 10 years after his release, we're starting to see it in his everyday activities. I'm committed to keeping all my dogs at the lighter side of their normal weight, as I want to keep them pain-free and mobile for as long as possible before giving NSAID's. I've found that once the weight is off, it's easy to maintain (kinda like people!), but I'm always interested in pet fitness because of our arthritis issues and our aging dog family.

    Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more of your great posts in 2014!

  28. It's all about the poop, haven't you learned that already? ;-)

    I also have struggled with the question over which is more important, responding to comments or commenting on other blogs. I usually only have time for one or the other. It's a tricky balance. If you do find one is more helpful appreciated than another, I'd love to know your opinions!

  29. This is a great blog and thank you for sharing your answers. Personally, I love it when people reciprocate comments, but I don't expect it at all. I know that we all have blogs that we connect with and there are only so many hours in the day.

    Great question to ask of us :)

  30. You've always been such an inspiration to me, Peggy. One of the things I love about your blog is that it does go beyond the basics - you really shine through, and I love getting a sense of your thoughts, of your perspective, and of YOU!

  31. I very seldom go back to see if someone has replied to a comment I left on their blog, so my preference is a comment on my own blog. That is a problem with blog comments - it's difficult to have a conversation with the time delay. I've gone to a Facebook commenting system, which notifies people via Facebook when I reply to their comments. It's worked great for me, though some people have said they can't comment because they don't have a Facebook account. There really doesn't seem to be one perfect answer. Thanks for taking the challenge and I hope your 2014 is fantastic!

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