Archive for January, 2013

Pet Blogger Challenge 2013

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

Thank you again to Amy of Go Pet Friendly for hosting this, the third annual Pet Blogger Challenge!

And Dr. Edie, I miss your Frankie stories and love your new blog, Freud’s Butcher!

Here are this year’s Pet Blogger Challenge questions, and my responses…

1. How long have you been blogging?  

I have been blogging here on Riley and James since September 2006, so a little over six years.

I have a comic (a blog of sorts I suppose) called “When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Vet.”

I have also blogged at Wagging Tail, dvm360, Life with Dogs,, Smart-Pet Guide and CareFRESH and done some guest blog posts.

I am helping start a professional blog in 2013 for the veterinary hospital for which I work, Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals, which I am very excited about!

Provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

Here is my Riley and James Pet Blogger Challenge post from last year:

Pet Blogger Challenge 2012

2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?

The purpose statement of Riley and James is “To Promote Preventative Care of Pets in Order to Enrich the Lives of Pets and Their People.”  THAT is still the most important goal of this blog.

3. Have you made progress toward this goal, or have your goals changed over the past year?

I HAVE made progress toward that goal – more in Real Life lately than through the blog.  I started working at Gentle Doctor part time in September 2011 and moved to full time in May 2012, and that has taken up ALL of the time I used to spend writing!  I love my job and my coworkers and the clients and patients.  I miss writing as much as I used to, but it has definitely been a very positive change.

4. How often do you post?

Currently I am only posting a couple times a month.  Life got busy!

5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the Spirit moves you changed?

Nope, I still do not blog on a schedule, but I love reading blogs of people who do post on a schedule, especially bloggers who post daily or even more often, and I admire their organizational skills!  I will post on a schedule for the hospital blog, and have for professional assignments, but it is fun to keep Riley and James low key.

If you don’t publish on a schedule, why not?

I think my attitude online mirrors how I deal with Real Life – I don’t talk much, but I will if I have an important thing to say, or a fun story, or a picture I want to show someone!

As far as sharing on a schedule, I do great sharing pet specific and general veterinary information with clients every 20 minutes all day, and I love it, but it exhausts me!

Likewise, I am capable of blogging on a rigid schedule, and working hard no matter how I am feeling, but it takes much more energy!  Still rewarding – both in Real Life interactions and online writing –  but a different feel.

How do you think your decision affects your audience? 

Without a schedule, it is probably difficult for readers to know when to check back.  I announce posts on facebook and twitter, and send an email to my Dad whenever I write something, so I know what I write is being read by people I care about :)

How do you know when a topic is “post-worthy?”

My loose and informal post-worthy tests:

  • Do I feel strongly about this?
  • Is this an important pet topic?
  • Do I have a different take on this topic (whether or not it is pet related) than others?
  • Is this a fun or pretty or cute picture? :)
 6. How much time do you spend writing your blog?
Each blog post takes me between two and twenty hours to write.  Medical posts take me the longest.  Picture and story posts take the shortest amount of time (unless they are “Short Stories” – Those actually take me longer to get under 50 words!)  Most of my time is spent revising rough drafts.  I don’t even count anymore, but I usually have over 20 rough drafts of each post.
How much time visiting other blogs?
I spend as much time as I can visiting other blogs, mostly about pets, but also about spiritual topics, gardening, and other things.  Many are written by friends, and those that aren’t written by friends are written by people I feel could become friends.  I love to read, and I love what you write!
Share your  tips for staying on top of it all.
Decide what you want from blogging.  It is very fun, but can become overwhelming.  You can’t read ALL the posts, or even ALL the blogs.  You can’t write ALL the things.  Sometimes you just have to link to excellent things others have written, or trust your readers to find what they need to learn more or save topics for another day.  If it is not fun, back up and figure out why, readjust and continue.  Most of blogging is self-imposed scheduling and direction, so be nice to yourself, and tweak things so it is fun.  It will shine through in your writing.

7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?  Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions?

I have not checked Riley and James statistics over a year, and have loved having this site as an escape of sorts.

When I return to blogging professionally as a part of my work, I will measure blog visits, interactions and learn how to measure return on investment somehow, maybe by new client visits?

Some aspects of blogging – affecting people’s attitudes towards pets, causing someone to think, making someone smile with a cute picture, shaping my reputation online, meeting and getting to know great people – are not measurable but are some of the most rewarding parts about blogging, so…short answer…I don’t know!

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

You guys post great stuff, you show up and support me, you send me fun projects and include me in fun group projects.  You love your own pets, you support other people and their pets and you rescue the pets who are not yet to their forever homes.  You are the best of the best and you already help me more than you could ever know.  So that.  THANK YOU.

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?

This year, I would like to continue to promote preventative care of pets in order to enrich the lives of pets and their people.  Oh, and home every Omaha cat.  And also shut down puppy mills.

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