It’s that time of year again! Time for the 2017 Pet Blogger Challenge, brought to you by Go Pet Friendly. This is one of our favorite blogger challenges, as it centers around pet bloggers and what we dream for the future of our blogs. Bloggers answer a series of questions about their blogs and get to know other blogs in the process.
Let’s get right to it!
1. When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for 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 started Walks With Rama in 2014. It was a continuation of my previous blog, Raising Rama, which chronicled the life of my first Cane Corso. Walks With Rama was born out of the life changes that occurred when Rama came to me and shortly thereafter (personal difficulties and health issues). I discovered that through the simple act of walking with this dog, my life began to improve and my outlook on things changed. I discovered hiking and the restorative power of being active with your dog in the woods; how immersing yourself in nature literally improves your mental as well as your physical health.
While initially the blog did begin as a storytelling tool, it has slowly morphed into a resource for those who may be finding themselves in the same life struggles or share the same passions. We underwent a re-branding not long ago, choosing to focus more on the positive aspects of getting outside and moving with your dog, on my own search for wellness and better physical and mental health, and ways that we can promote these ideas and help others.
2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?
My proudest blogging moment of 2016 was when we were able to take the blog overseas. We went to several different countries and were blessed to hike in some stunningly beautiful places. I still have so much material from that trip that I haven’t even published yet!
3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)
My favorite blog post of 2016 was Serenity In The Hills, because it was about a trip I took to one of my favorite places on Earth with all 3 of my children. When time-sharing with another parent, it’s hard to get everyone together sometimes. With my oldest son graduating high school, I saw future family vacations differently. I wanted one last trip with all of my kids together before the oldest went out into the world. This post was about that trip and sharing my favorite city and the inspiring natural beauty that surrounds it.
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 narrowed my niche. I worked hard at distinguishing myself as more of a lifestyle blogger than a pet blogger. Obviously Rama is a huge part of the package (the blog is in fact named after her), but I began to focus more on the original idea for the blog rather than being a blog that only covered dogs and dog-related products and issues. It was originally so much more and I returned to that and saw quite a bit of growth.
5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?
The post that got the most traffic was the aforementioned post which also happened to be my favorite of the year. Serenity In The Hills got the most traffic (though not necessarily the most comments). As of late the most popular posts seem to have something to do with wellness.
6. What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)
This is a difficult one. There are so many blogs that I admire greatly. It was difficult to narrow the list to just one. I think I would have to say it is You Did What With Your Weiner. Jessica is an avid hiker who hikes with her small dogs in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Obviously the hiking with dogs aspect first attracted me to her blog, but she is also trying to dispel stereotypes about what makes a hiking dog, and perhaps without knowing it, women who hike and backpack alone in the wilderness.
Having dogs that are often discriminated against because of their size and appearance, I can relate to a lot of what she writes about with regard to people questioning her decision to hike with the dogs she chose. As someone who also likes hiking and backpacking alone, I enjoy reading her posts about her solo experiences in a landscape that is nothing like my own. Through reading her blog, I have been inspired to seek out different environments in which to hike with my own dogs.
7. What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?
I think it might surprise people to learn that despite loving the outdoors, I was not always the outdoorsy type.
8. What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?
To have confidence in yourself and your value. To not be afraid to put yourself out there. Try new things and be brave.
9. What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?
I would like to grow the blog. I know this might sound cliche and everyone says it, but I experienced some lulls this year and really had to re-discover my motivation. I am going to treat the blog more like the full-time job I want it to become. I’d like to reach a point where the blog brings in a livable income. I also want to get more serious about video content and raise more awareness of the benefits of movement and nature in managing depression.
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 that you’d like input on?
My biggest challenge has been to put together my newsletter. I am not particularly tech savvy and I have as of yet been able to successfully get one going. How do you generate a newsletter? Do you have to literally piece one together, or is there a plug-in or service the will auto-generate one for you? I have Mailchimp and SumoMe and so far can’t figure out on either one how the newsletter stuff works. Anyone who can shed some light on this, please email me!
That sums up our 2017 Pet Blogger Challenge! Click on the badge below to visit GoPetFriendly and see all the wonderful bloggers who have participated in this challenge. I’m so excited to re-connect with so many blogging friends I’ve not visited in a while! Thank you to GoPetFriendly and all the participants!