I’m thrilled to be back as an alumna. And very tired. So let the post begin.
1. Provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.
Okie dokie. My 2011 Pet Blogger Challenge post is here. But I also wrote about what I learned from the Pet Blogger challenge after reading all the entries.
2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?
I gave three reasons for blogging last year, to:
- document my life with Honey,
- hang out with other “doggy” people, and
- explore if blogging could be a piece of a new way of structuring my life.
I’m living my life with Honey whether I document it or not. If Pam and Honey take a walk in the forest and no one is there… well, you know the proverb. So I guess that’s not too important.
I do feel as though I’ve come to know people in the dog blog community much better. Meeting some of you at BlogPaws was a piece of that. But I’m very fond of many of you who I know I’ll never “meet.” And I’m pleased to share a part of your life as you share in mine.
That’s relationship and community so I hate to call it a goal. So that leaves figuring out if I can find a more flexible life that includes blogging-related work. I guess this is important because it’s related to time and values and money which we all know is the most important thing out there (is there a heavy sarcasm emoticon?).
3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?
This is the area in which I’ve learned the most.
I assumed that there is nothing about the dog world that could ever benefit me financially so I decided to start a second blog directed to first time home buyers, called Hands on Home Buyer. The topic has potential to be lucrative. Except my values keep getting in the way.
I’m facing the fact that I’m a conflicted capitalist reluctant to make money. I’m married to another conflicted capitalist who is reluctant to ever save money so we’re a deadly combination. But thinking about using either or both blogs to support income-earning projects has led to all kinds of reflections:
- Why have my sister and I worked our entire lives in nonprofit organizations despite being the daughters of a banker?
- What does it mean about my worth as a human being that I’m 46 years old and have yet to earn the median starting salary for a college graduate?
- How much am I willing to do without to craft a satisfying life?
Can you see this is something only years of therapy will clarify?
So I took one baby step toward producing income by creating a my first Squidoo Lens on Building a Strong Bond with Your Dog. And yippee, I made a little bit of income the very first week. I haven’t put a down payment on that Island Packet Estero yet, but breaching the psychological barrier was tremendous.
4. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed?
I still keep a rough schedule. My most regular feature is the Puppiness Project appearing Mondays, almost without fail. I try to post an average of 4-5 times each week on Something Wagging This Way Comes.
I post every weekday morning on Hands One Home Buyer.
Since my alter ego is Inertia Girl, I can’t afford to post “as the spirit moves me.” If I ever took a break for a few days, I’d never start up again. So I keep plod, plod, plodding along. I only hope my writing doesn’t read like plod. Or should that be horse plods?
5. Do you still worry about lost traffic, momentum, etc?
Heck ya. I’ve seen it first hand.
In August my schedule was very disrupted when I attended BlogPaws followed shortly by week-long sailing lessons on Lake Ontario. Who’d have thought it would be tough to get a wireless connection in the middle of a huge lake?
And even when we landed in civilization like Kingston, Ontario, I found myself too exhausted to keep up with two blogs. My traffic plummeted, especially for Hands on Home Buyer. It took me more than two months to recover.
5. Are you generating income from your blog?
No, I’m not generating income directly from my blog. But I’m starting to generate some income from blog-related activities.
I’m currently generating plans for making income from both my blogs. Right now, pure exhaustion is the only thing holding me back.
6. Have your likes and dislikes about blogging changed since last year?
I still enjoy the collaboration with other bloggers the most. I love learning from other bloggers and being challenged to think of things in new ways. I appreciate the kindness of people who stop by my site. I’m astounded that although I get four times the traffic that I did last year, I still haven’t attracted mean people.
I’m not crazy about the tech aspects of blogging but I feel my skills have gotten stronger and I’ve learned a lot. I’m also thankful that my husband has worked through some technical glitches for me.
7. Overall, are you pleased with the progress you made in 2011?
I’m very pleased to have reversed the free-fall in my stats that happened in August of 2011. I exceeded my goal for monthly visits and am a top 100 Pet Blogger on Technorati (#1 as of when I wrote this). I’ve decreased my Alexa ranking (lower is better on Alexa) and it continues to drop. (See I do have a competitive side that slips out sometimes; stats bring it out in me.)
I’ve learned to be more sanguine about not accomplishing all I want in the limited time available to me.
My progress is not as fast at Hands on Home Buyer. But I’m being approached by top websites to write guest posts. And I have a loyal and appreciative readership who keep their praise entirely to themselves unless they’re pressed. And then they’re wildly enthusiastic.
So I have no complaints.
8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?
I’d really like to redesign both blogs. I used the same theme for both to make my life easier. I think it was a good, if a cheap decision. But it’s getting tired.
By this time next year, I’d like both blogs able to at least cover their costs (hosting, postage, tech help, etc.)
My blog goals are related to my life goals. I want to simplify my needs so I can live on even less income and create more flexible time. The support, pleasure, and platform I get from blogging will be a piece of that.
Because of my other blog, I lurk in the world of personal finance blogs. These bloggers have created some amazing structures for supporting and promoting each other’s financial goals, like the Yakezie Network. I wonder if we could create something comparable for the pet blog world. Or if the fact that our primary interest is relating to animals instead of making money makes such a collaboration a non-starter.
Or maybe I’m not the only conflicted capitalist out there.
Let’s see what the year brings.