Pet Blogger Challenge 33 1/3


Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10
Oh, Pet Blogger Challenge, you old devil, you. This year, I have to say I’ve been both anticipating and dreading writing you. Anticipating because I get a lot out of reading everyone else’s posts. Dreading because I’m still grappling with all the same old things. I’ve been blogging for almost three years and not a lot has changed. Blah, blah, blah. I just feel a bit older.

Then I went back and re-read my challenge piece from last year. And then I read the one from the year before that. I was struck by how positive I sounded in both posts. I also realized that I’ve actually reached all of my goals! Granted, they were vague in nature but it stands that I accomplished them.

Golly, who’d have guessed that?

1. I wanted to meet some fellow bloggers in person.Β 

I achieved that and then some.

2. I wanted to keep the essence and authenticity of my blog intact.

I don’t see any gigantic ads taking up space, nor have I received a dime from sponsors writing posts for me. Not that either of those things are necessarily bad when done right. Apparently I was worried last year about doing them very, very wrong. Fortunately, the only meaningless drivel around these parts is one hundred percent mine.

Woo hoo?

So clearly a shift in perspective is needed. I don’t know why I get so down about my lack of success when I haven’t defined my version of success in any measurable way. Silly pet blogger. Once again I have fallen into a tangle of over-inflated expectation based on absolutely nothing.

If three words could describe all the mistakes I made last year they would be:Β  Missing! The! Point!

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via

This year I am going to work hard not to do that. How I am going to measure my success at this I don’t know. Maybe see if the permanent dent in my forehead has healed?

ANYWAY… I’m supposed to be answering questions so let’s move this steam engine along!

I still try to post every week-day. Except when I don’t.

This was my hardest blogging year yet. There were times it was grinding to no end. I was getting so stressed out about not having enough time to do anything and about how inane I felt my ideas were that I almost went on hiatus. Permanently. However, I really enjoy the practice of writing. The idea of quitting depressed me. So I pushed through the blockage and you had to put up with some pretty boring posts in the meantime. Thanks for that. Eventually I realized if I was going to have a hope of writing anything decent ever again something needed to change.

That’s when I took the pressure off. I don’t make any money doing this. The only reward I get is a personal one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a hefty motivator! But it’s not worth what is left of my sanity. Once I gave myself permission to take a day off if I was too busy or just plain didn’t feel like blogging, I felt a million times better. I found I spent more quality time reading other people’s blogs as opposed to rushing through to get it all done. These days if I don’t get to every blog I follow every day, or even every week, I don’t sweat it. We’re all busy. People understand and don’t hate me for not commenting on every single thing they write. Imagine that. It was a hard lesson for me to learn but a valuable one. The blog-life balance has been restored and I have much more fun!

Did someone say fun?

Did someone say fun?

I guess that’s my long-winded way of answering several questions on the list. I no longer publish on a schedule though I do try to post at least five days a week. If I don’t get to it one day because there was something else going on, I give myself a break. I find it works better for me this way for now. We’ll see if it changes back to something more structured in the future. Right now it’s all about flexibility!

If there have been repercussions for my new relaxed attitude as far as my audience is concerned, I haven’t noticed any. My traffic has remained consistent enough. In fact, I think it has improved. Probably because I now try to write when I have something to say, as opposed to writing for writings’ sake. Although, I am still wrestling with the latter. Inspiration doesn’t hit me nearly as often anymore. I don’t always feel comfortable writing about certain parts of my life and when there is nothing going on I do feel comfortable sharing, it’s difficult to put something “post-worthy” together.

Not that I have any idea of what is truly “post-worthy”. That deserves a whole article of its own! I am really looking forward to seeing how others define this. Is a grainy video of my dog really post-worthy? On a personal blog, does it matter all that much? There are bound to be a few duds, in my opinion. One of the things I love so much about this platform is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. I just put it out there and hope for the best.

Kind of like fostering a kitten, with less bite-marks

Kind of like fostering a kitten, with less bite-marks

Ultimately, I am no longer willing to lose sleep over any aspect of my website. I will not stay up until three in the morning replying to comments. I will not turn down invitations to stay home and fiddle with plug-ins. I will not pass up things I enjoy because I have yet to post something that day. I will not spend more time online than I do with my family. If this was my full-time job I would give it a lot more effort. Unfortunately, I have one of those that I need to perform on top of whatever personal responsibilities are on my roster. For now, blogging is just a small part of who I am.

Quite likely if this offends someone, he or she isn’t going to stick around. I am okay with that.

The last three questions are the hardest for me to answer. I don’t know how to measure the success of a post, or even of my website as a whole. Numbers are, I suppose, the most scientific way. I don’t have the digits I probably should. They aren’t that impressive when compared to many, perhaps even all, of you. Again, I am okay with that. I don’t do the work so I can’t expect to get that kind of reward. I don’t know anything about Technorati or Alexa. Rating systems are so completely off my radar they fit right up there with NBA statistics. Heck, I can’t even really tell you how many page views I average a month. It hit me when I went to BarkWorld that I should probably know these things. I should probably care about them and quote them often.

But is that really all that matters when measuring success? Am I missing the point again? Help!

I guess this enables me to answer the penultimate question. If I could ask my fellow bloggers for assistance with just one issue it would be this: how should I measure the success of my website? Should I start looking at numbers? Should I figure out SEO? Do I need to know anything about Alexa? Is a blog worth anything without these things?

My goal for this year is to figure it all out.

I think I am happy with keeping this a personal gig without mucking it up with calculations or competition with other bloggers. That’s not my style. The pet blogging world is a warm, supportive community and I like to think I have something to offer it beyond big, traffic-generating articles. I don’t want to constantly be eyeing up my friends, plotting ways to edge them out of the ratings while putting myself higher. It doesn’t sound like fun, nor does it sound like what pet bloggers are really about.

Not that this is what I think others are doing! One must be clear! But it’s probably what I would turn into – or at least I worry it’s what I would turn into. If I allow myself, if I think I am good at something, I can be overly competitive. I’d rather be on the sidelines, helping others reach their goals. It’s a much kinder, happier place to be.

Now that’s an interesting thought, indeed…

I guess that’s it for my third edition of the Pet Blogger Challenge! My sincerest thanks to Go Pet Friendly for running it again this year and for coming up with some thought-provoking questions. Thanks as well to everyone who participates! I can’t wait to read every single one of your posts!Β 

26 thoughts on “Pet Blogger Challenge 33 1/3

  1. This might be a long comment, Ms T! What does 33 1/3 mean? Welcome to flexibility and not stressing YAY. What is NBA? Kidding. I don’t understand why you don’t comment on every single post I write. It makes me cry. I think you’re lying about your stats. I think you’re mega. And if success is measured by the number of friends you’ve made blogging and the good things you’ve done and are doing…why YOU’RE A SUCCESS! That head banging thing… Not good. You might have to put some concealer on now. Hooroo! Thanks as always for being my friend! Just reminding you…don’t forget to comment okay? X

    P.S. I didn’t sleep too much last night. Too many links on the linky link. Did I rabbit on a bit?

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  2. Just keep on doing what you are doing. I think you are superb. You bare your soul, you are real, your writing is beautiful, it has heart, it has depth. It is a breath of fresh air.
    There are many (including ME) who can learn quite a bit from YOU!

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  3. Everything you’ve written in your post tells me what a big success you are. I think coming to terms with blogging as one piece of your life and feeling ok with it is absolutely huge.

    Maybe the year of zoomery is really about meeting some goals, feeling good about it, and giving yourself permission to not always pursuing goals.

    And I’d caution you against getting into the stats thing unless you have a reason you have to. You could learn just as much by judging the speed of Shiva’s wag after you publish a post. πŸ™‚

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  4. I must have missed some of your posts because I can’t remember a boring one. How can a blog about a dog like Shiva be boring? And the love the two of you share is so wonderful to read about. You have brought a personal touch to your writing that most of us never will. I hope you don’t make any changes or bang your head any more. I am getting a vicarious headache. πŸ™‚

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  5. “But it’s not worth what is left of my sanity.” Amen, sister! That is a HUGE lesson I’ve learned over the past year. Although, I have to say, you’re one of the bloggers I admire most because I do think you post really great stuff on a really regular basis. I don’t know how you do it! That being said, your own happiness (and Shiva’s, obvi) is always going to be far more important that some silly stats, so I applaud your focus for 2013. It sounds like you’re spot on!

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  6. Hi Kristine, you over-achiever you. Come on back to the coast. It’s way too harsh back there. I’ll share some of my treats with Shiva and you and PH can have drinks with my peeps. Sound good?

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  7. Congratulations on finally realizing you actually met your last year’s goals. You are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too hard on yourself. I’m glad you are discovering that it’s okay, beneficial even, to stop and smell the roses sometimes.

    I am always flabbergasted that you don’t realize how great your blog is, how entertaining a writer you are and how absolutely adorable Shiva is to the point where you could probably just post videos of her eating dinner and you would still have a following.

    As for your question – I think the only way to measure any success in life is does it make you happy? Does it add value? I think only you can answer the first question but I think we need to do a better job of answering the second for you. (FTR, that answer is yes.)

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  8. I think not posting every day can work for some blogs, especially blogs like yours where you like to write in depth posts. If a post is the ‘new’ one for a few days it gets more exposure, and then perhaps it will reach a wider audience?

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  9. I think your blog is very successful, and it’s always a warm and encouraging place to visit. I’m as lost as you are on stats and how to measure success! You always seem very motivated and on the go to me, which is one of the things I like about you. I’m not sure how you ever get any sleep in from the sounds of all you do.

    Last year as Lilac was nearing her final days and then as Kuster came into our lives as a little fur ball, I realized that I didn’t want to miss the things that are really important because I was always on the computer. I gave myself permission to not always comment, and it was really liberating. I also think some people forget that if you don’t get out and live life, you don’t have much to blog about!

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    • I like that “…if you don’t get out and live life, you don’t have much to blog about!” I probably need to get away from the keyboard more often πŸ™‚

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  10. A+ on the Naked Gun reference!!

    Blogging should be about having fun. There are plenty of days that I miss posting stuff, but I don’t sweat it. As for SEO, if you really, really want to learn some stuff, head on over to Problogger and read a few posts. In my opinion, SEO is pretty overrated and as long as you use a few relevant keywords in your post and/or title, you’re good to go.

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  11. Hey, Lady. I thought Americans were one toe way over the over-achievement line. Our culture hates sick days, personal days, taking time to smell the roses, allowing for real vacations. Produce, produce, produce until you drop or you’re unpatriotic.

    Aren’t you supposed to be more laid back in Canada? Did you grow up too close to the US/Canadian border or something? I did. And from the moment I could drive, I crossed into Canada to RELAX (and to visit a skanky strip club for my 18th birthday at the beckoning of my friends. Please don’t judge.)

    I’m glad to see that, this year, you’re becoming more appreciative of what moves you in the moment, and not letting some false sense of what you should be doing boss you around. You go, Girl! You HAVE achieved great things. It’s okay to celebrate that! I’ll help – with no strip clubs involved, I promise.

    Congratulations to you and a happy 2013!

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  12. I think your a big success! And I think it’s because your posts feel like someone is actually talking, and in a way that is completely honest! I run into so many people every day that are just doing what they can to please everyone, a lil honesty wouldn’t hurt!

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  13. I think your blog has already reached levels of success by just be known. “Rescued Insanity” (seemingly, to me) is a well known name in the blogosphere. I don’t think you need to measure success in numbers (unless you want to :)).

    I’m glad to know you’ve found peace in occasionally missing a blogging day, and you’ve made blogging just part of your life. It sounds like running a blog for you was sometimes stressful, and I really hope that this is no longer the case. I’ll enjoy reading your blog whether you blog daily, weekly, or monthly.

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  14. So many links, so much to read and learn…But yours is one i search out because I admire your blog, your writing and your honesty…thanks for sharing your conflicts and they are some of the same things I’m working through…Gizmo left you a little something over on his blog this morning πŸ™‚

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  15. Your blog is already very successful when you think of all the comments you always get. To look at the stats would only make sense if you like to engage more new people or want to have a different type of audience that mainly reads. Although blogging for engagement or stats doesn’t necessarily mean they are different. It would have a look at your stats if I were you, just to see if there is something you could learn about your blog out of it. I wouldn’t go into details, if quickly gets quasi scientific. I also think stats are a good indicator in general how the blog is doing. Once a month checking stats is fun! Maybe to many people are obsessed by them and check them regularly, that is not healthy.

    On the SEO, if you post on a subject, see if it has 2 or 3 central keywords. If yes, make sure they are in the title (also the url, but the title is also the URL so they probably are the same) and repeat them 2 to 3 times in the first 2 paragraphs. Then you are done with SEO for 80%. I wouldn’t invest more time in it, to reach the last 20%. And of course when those keywords are not around don’t try to write SEO, it will make your text look artifical.

    Have a great blogging 2013, and please relax, you don’t always have to comment on other blogs, we know you love us.

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  16. Hehe… 33 1/3? Surely you’re referencing The Naked Gun? πŸ˜‰

    Seriously though, you are absolutely awesome. You’ve achieved amazing things on this blog, and I can’t think of a single time I’ve visited and not really enjoyed what awaited me here. You are definitely way too hard on yourself! You have a brilliant writing style and a real knack for posting interesting, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Your blog is, without a doubt, one of my absolute faves – so cut yourself some slack! πŸ™‚

    As for measuring success, I’ve been thinking about that a lot as well. I don’t know that getting caught up in numbers and views is all that helpful or good for our mental health sometimes. Maybe just how do you feel after you publish a post? Did you say what you wanted to say? Did it provoke some interesting comments or discussions? Are you happy with your blog-life balance? If those things are a yes, then that sounds like a giant success to me. You have a pretty awesome blog here – let yourself enjoy that for a bit. πŸ™‚

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  17. Hey! Where did you get that video of me banging my head on the desk! lol!

    I read your post last night but was to exhausted to comment, so I’m back again!
    My hopes for you this year is that you will realize that you’ve already got it.
    You are an awesome pet blogger, writer, and pet owner and you really need to believe that. :)))

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  18. I think that it’s safe to say you’re doing well, even without analyzing stats or learning SEO tricks. Rescued Insanity is a pretty well-known name, and – oh, yeah – you won an award for Best Blog Writing! πŸ™‚

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  19. I think a big part of measuring your success is simply what are you trying to accomplish with your blog. When I first started my only goal was to share information about my adventures training a guide dog puppy with my friends and family. I didn’t care about traffic or stats.

    Things are different today. I’m not really sure exactly what I want to do with my blog, but I do know that because I’d like to monetize that stats are important.

    Best of luck accomplishing your goals this year and please let me know when you figure it all out because I’m working on that one too.

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  20. This was a wonderful post Kristine, but I always enjoy your posts. I’ve been struggling with a lot of the same issues that you mentioned when it comes to blogging. It started taking up too much of my time, I felt pressured to comment on everyone else’s blog posts and got upset with myself if I missed one. I started worrying about what type of writing would bring in more readers (mine or Toby’s LOL!) and then all I ended up accomplishing was getting sick of all and taking a month long hiatus! Not a good way to end last year. This year, I am taking a much more relaxed attitude when it comes to the blog. There is much more to life than sitting in front of a computer screen. πŸ™‚

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  21. I love the candor you write with Kristine. While this petblogger challenge has been introspective and insightful, blogging all comes down to individuality. What you want for and from your blog. If you are happy, that is what matters!

    I think if I worried less about where my blog was going, I might actually see what I’ve accomplished.

    Good for you for cutting yourself some slack, you are way to hard on yourself sometimes. πŸ™‚

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  22. It sounds like you were being bullied by your blog … precisely the reason Edie and I started this Challenge in the first place! I’m so glad that you’ ve let go of that pressure – it’s definitely not worth what’s left of your sanity. =)

    I do check my stats once a month – but I only compare them to my past results, never to anyone else’s blog. We’re all different. We blog differently with different goals and different levels of engagement and different styles. It would be like comparing apples and oranges. So, if you do decide to check your stats, don’t let it be something you stress about. It’s just another piece of information – not the “be all end all.”

    I think you know that I’m one of your biggest fans. You’re blog is at the top of my Google Reader and I’m always jumping over here to see what you and Shiva are up to. My goal for you in 2013 is that you see yourself the way the rest of us see you … real, wonderful, and very, very talented. Here’s to a 2013 full of more joy!

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