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2017 Pet Blogger Challenge

Ruby leaping into 2017 (favorite photo of 2016)
Happy 2017! To reflect on the year that has ended and look forward to the year ahead, I am participating in the 7th Annual Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by GoPetFriendly.com. The challenge is a great way to learn from and support fellow pet bloggers. So here we go ...

1. When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for the 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 have been blogging on and off since 2011. I originally started the blog with my dog Pip as a way to raise money for his Rescue shelter. When he passed away in 2013, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue blogging without him. I returned to blogging in 2015 with our new dog Ruby, but kept the original name in Pip's honor.

The Daily Pip provides resources, support, and humor for rescue families. I am a huge advocate for rescue and adoption especially for animals with special needs. I am definitely more of a storyteller and strive to balance serious with funny, but always heartfelt.

2. What was your proudest moment of 2016?

Without a doubt being nominated and then winning two BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose awards for Best Cause Blog and Best Written Blog Post. I was also recently nominated for an award from the Dog Writer's Association of America. For the record, I have never won anything in my life. I am not someone who wins, is nominated or even recognized so all this is pretty crazy and new for me and I am beyond grateful. 

Winning at BlogPaws also forced me to face one of my biggest fears - public speaking. I managed to walk on stage without falling down, throwing up, or passing out. This was huge for me and probably the biggest win of all. 

3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why?

2016 was a great year for me and truthfully, I am not sure I will ever be able to top it. My two favorite posts are A Rescue Dog and His Heart Girl and Fur-Busting: How to Keep Clothing Fur Free (Almost). Although very different (one serious and one funny), both celebrate the human-animal connection and rescue experience at its finest (and funniest).

Biggest 2016 accomplishment - learning to photograph cats

4. 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?

I am not by nature a planner. I work best at the last minute under deadline and most of my posts are written spontaneously. This year I forced myself to plan ahead, maintain an editorial and social share calendar and it worked. I also learned to be much more strategic and assertive with my social media strategy. I have several segments of my audience and I know what works best for each. 

In the past, I kept my blog life separate from my real life. For example, I never shared blog posts on my personal Facebook page for fear of bothering people with my posts. In 2016, I merged the two and as a result, gained many new followers from my so-called real life. Ironically, my blog self is probably my most real, authentic self, but that's the subject of a future (funny) blog post. 

5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?

My rescue posts generate the most Traffic though not always the most direct engagement (comments). I get the most page views on my rescue posts, but the most comments on my funny/cute posts mostly from regular readers, fellow bloggers, and friends. 

By far, my most popular post was Lessons in Forgiveness from a Rescued Fighting Dog. This post had almost double the traffic of any other post and was a nice way to finish the year. Edwin, the featured dog, is a hero in the dog rescue world in Chicago and as a result, his post received tons of shares. 

6. What blog do you find the most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog?

Too many to list, but here are few: photography, The Broke Dog and Tales and Tails; humor, The Chronicles of Cardigan; mission, Three Chatty Cats and Sarcastic Dog; and training and health information, Pawsome Cats and Chasing Dog Tales. 


Ruby just being Ruby 
7. What is one thing your readers don't know about you or your pets that would surprise them?

Probably that I have lived a rather weird and unconventional life. I have lived in 10 states, moved about 30 times, and growing up attended five different elementary schools. Although I have lived in the Chicago area for many years, I do not consider it my home. I feel most at ease in New York and San Francisco as well as along the ocean - either one will do!

8. What is something that you have learned this year that could help other bloggers?

For many years (like 20), I put my hopes and goals on the back burner, waiting for the perfect time, my time, to pursue them. I believed that eventually my responsibilities and stress would magically disappear and I would finally be free to pursue what I wanted in life. About two years ago, I faced the cold, hard truth that this was never going to happen. I had to start doing what I wanted to do in spite of the world around me.

I now get up at three or four every morning, even on weekends, and work on my stuff (blog, writing, photography) two to three hours before going to my day job. Pre-dawn hours work for me, but I realize they might not work for everyone. My advice is not to wait - carve out time every single day, no matter what else is going on, for your own work and priorities. It's difficult, takes some sacrifice (and good humor) but it's totally worth it!

9. What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?

I hope to expand my audience and continue to help change the perception of rescue animals especially those with special needs or those considered less adoptable. I also want to branch into video and eventually some virtual reality stuff - a big dream that will probably not happen this year.

I am also starting a new series on the human animal connection and looking for stories of dogs and cats who guide, comfort and heal those with physical and mental health issues, visual impairment, depression, PTSD, addiction, autism, loneliness, loss, major life change, etc. 

10. 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 you'd like input on?

I'm thinking about starting a monthly newsletter. For those with newsletters, how does it impact your site and page views and what service do you use?

Thanks to GoPetFriendly.com for another great year and challenge!


This post first appeared on The Daily Pip, please read the originial post: here

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2017 Pet Blogger Challenge

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