Today I’m participating in the Pet Blogger Challenge – conceived of by the talented Edie Jarolim, author of Am I Boring My Dog. The idea for the challenge came to Edie after reading a post I wrote a few weeks back called Bullied by the Blog. Thank you, Edie. It’s been a pleasure helping you organize and publicize this blogging event. I also want to thank the fantastic Kim Clune, author of This One Wild Life for the great badge she designed for the event. Thanks, Kim! You’re the best.
I hope all the participants had fun with their answers and that we all learn a bit in the sharing. And so, without further ado …
1. When did you begin your blog?
Our first post appeared on June 1, 2009. It was written by my husband and partner, Rod. Back then I was up to my eyeballs launching the GoPetFriendly.com website, adding content, and doing research. Rod loves to write and has a great sense of humor, so he took charge of the blog. About a year later, I started making “guest appearances” on the blog. Now I draft most of the posts and Rod edits, polishes, and corrects my horrendous spelling.
2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
We knew from the beginning that a blog would be part of the GoPetFriendly concept. Of course, we wanted to spread the word about the GoPetFriendly.com website, but there was a lot more to it than that. We wanted to give people the opportunity to get to know us, travel along with us – if only vicariously, and learn from our mistakes. And, we thought if people could see this crazy average couple traveling around with their less-than-perfectly-behaved dogs, they’d know they could do it too!
3. Is your current purpose the same?
The current purpose of the blog is still the same – to inspire others to travel with their pets, but we’ve added a new objective too.
If not, what’s different?
We’re developing a kind of encyclopedia of pet friendly locations. As we travel, we write detailed blog posts about our destinations – what we did, where we stayed, and our overall impression of the pet friendliness. We also receive guest posts about places we haven’t visited. My hope is that when our readers are planning their next pet friendly vacation they visit our blog and find a destination they’ll enjoy.
If so, how do you feel you’ve met your goals?
I think we have inspired people to travel with their pets. I remember one woman telling us that she had not been on a vacation in seven years because she did not want to leave her dog and didn’t think it was possible to take him along. She was using our site to plan her long-awaited vacation. Those are great days!
And, there are many, many people out there that have never heard of us. If we’re going to reach all those folks, we’ll have to keep traveling, blogging and spreading the word – which is fine with us!
4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?
Perhaps is was because Rod and I were both trained as accountants, or maybe it goes back to both being raised by meticulous mothers, but somehow we’d gotten ourselves on a strict blogging schedule. Meeting self imposed deadlines had us writing when we should have been spending time with family and friends. That’s what lead by my post about being “bullied” by the blog. I’ve made the following commitment to myself for 2011: I’m going to savor the experiences that come with traveling in the Winnebago in 2011, and I will not sacrifice that enjoyment to meet an artificial deadline I’ve imposed upon myself. For the next year, we’ll post several time a week, but not on any particular schedule.
If the latter, do you worry about… well, whatever you might worry about (e.g. losing traffic, losing momentum)?
Yes, I worry about losing traffic. Yes, I worry about losing momentum. I worry that not having a deadline will allow my inner procrastinator to take over. I worry about these things and lots more. But, I don’t want those fears to control me. I know that at the end of my life I will not likely have any regrets for enjoying myself too much. So, what I’m telling myself is that the blog will be better when I’m not scrambling to meet deadlines. We’ll have to wait and see how that theory pans out over the next several months.
5. Are you generating income from your blog?
Yes, we have generated some income over the past year, though we’re no where near covering the expenses of running the website, much less the travel costs. We’re hoping to grow our revenue to a level that allows us to continue to travel full-time.
If so, how (e.g. sponsor ads, affiliate relationships, spokesperson opportunities)?
Most of the income we received was for banner ads placed on the website and blog, and from a relationship with a pet food company we had for part of last year. In the future I see us moving more toward affiliate relationships and spokesperson opportunities. We’re long past the time of making a living from banner ads. Developing your expertise in a niche and then working with other companies in that market toward your mutual success is the best Internet business model I’ve found.
6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular (bragging is good!)?
I have made some fantastic friends and met some wonderful people through blogging – people I’m better for knowing. That’s the very best thing that has come from starting this blog.
I really love sharing our travels – showing our readers places they’ll eventually enjoy visiting. I imagine people on the other end of the Internet connection saying, “Hey honey, you’ve got to see where GoPetFriendly is now. I’m planning a trip for us to go there!”
I also love that I get to spend every day with Rod and the boys, doing what most people only get to do a week or two a year. There is so much to see and experience in the United States and Canada. We’re really blessed to be living this life.
7. What do you like least?
The numbers – the pressure to grow traffic, looking at the relative success of each post and dissecting what made one more popular than another. Also, I hate doing the software updates. I’m always afraid I’m going to break something.
8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2011?
Abolishing our blogging schedule will be a big change in 2011, and we’ll be traveling full-time (hopefully soon!!) so we’ll be adding information on a lot more destinations. I’d also like to do more collaboration with other bloggers in the coming year – more than just exchanging guest posts . I’d like to do more events like this one!
So, there you have it. Don’t forget that there is still time to enter to win the SturdiProducts Car-Go giveaway – and be sure to follow the links below to read more blogger’s posts for the Pet Blogger Challenge!
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