Pet Blogger Challenge
When I ventured into the world of pet blogging, I had no idea what I was really getting myself into or where it would lead me. I could not have predicted that I would reignite my passion for non-profit work and begin my journey into animal rescue or that I would meet (online and in real life) some of the most incredible, dedicated and talented people I’ve ever had the good fortune to know. I am so excited to be participating in my first GoPetFriendly Pet Blogger Challenge! It is not only an opportunity to share some (hopefully) interesting information about me and Sarcastic Dog but it is also a wonderful way for readers to learn about some of the incredible pet bloggers out there writing about everything from dogs and beer to pet health and wellness, nutrition and so much more!
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?
In 2013, I was asked to be the pet writer for a fledgling Boulder, Colorado online magazine. I wrote several pieces but the project never launched so I had these posts all dressed up with nowhere to go. I was also dealing with some challenges with my rescue dog, Simon, so I decided to start my own blog.
I launched Sarcastic Dog but then life took a very different turn and the blog was largely (completely) ignored until last year when I redesigned the site and recommitted to the blog. The tagline–wagging our tails with uninhibited joy–was inspired by Simon, my eternal optimist.
Left to right: Zora, Simon & Piper
Initially, I wanted to share my adventures and challenges with Simon and my older lab, Zora. Then I started fostering puppies, adopted Piper and everything changed. Initially, the plan was to tell funny stories and share resources and cute pictures. My focus has become more about rescue, education and advocacy, particularly in relation to pit bull type dogs.
What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?
My series on changing the conversation around pit bull type dogs was my proudest blogging moment. Pit bull rescue and advocacy is a subject near and dear to my heart so I was humbled, grateful and proud to have received the response I did to the series. Advocating and educating on behalf of bully breeds will be a continuing theme on Sarcastic Dog.
My other proud moment was collaborating with the awesome bloggers A Dog Walks into A Bar, My Life with Dogs PDX, The Broke Dog, The Daily Pip & Denise Gruzensky and more than 20 brands for an extremely successful holiday gift guide and giveaway.
Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)
Without a doubt my favorite post of 2016 is the one that kicked off the Changing the Conversation about Pit Bulls series, Myths and Misconceptions: Bronwen Dickey Changing the Conversation About the Misunderstood Pit Bull
I had the distinct privilege and pleasure of interviewing the author, Bronwen Dickey and it was a turning point in the direction for the blog. (Look for more interviews and reviews in 2017!)
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?
Attending the Blog Paws Conference was absolutely the most significant action I took for my blog in 2016. I met and have collaborated with some amazing women as a result of attending the conference and have formed several incredible friendships for which I am grateful. The conference gave me confidence in myself as a blogger and encouraged me to take the next steps in growing my blog. Plus, I got to love on other people’s puppies!
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?
I find it hilarious that my most popular blog post of 2016, by a lot, is my DIY Ball Pit for Dogs post because I am what is generally referred to as “DIY Challenged”
What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)
There are so many blogs that I enjoy both in and out of the pet blogging world. Kristin Avery of The Daily Pip is both my DIY challenged spirit sister as well as sharing a passion for rescue and advocacy. Carol Bryant from Fidose of Reality provided the tools I needed to make progress with Piper on overcoming her fear of the car. It’s still a work in progress but Carol’s advice and guidance was instrumental in the progress we made. I am constantly inspired by the incredible images Beth Patterson shares on her blog The Daily Dog Tag.
(I could go on and on listing humor blogs, health and nutrition blogs and more but since you’ve read this far and there’s still a little ways to go, I’ll refrain….for now 😉 )
What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?
I’m pretty open about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to my dogs and my life but I don’t think that most of my readers know that I used to sing professionally. I was part of an acoustic duo up in Summit County, Colorado in the early 90s. We did the whole après ski circuit for several years.
I also used to own a bakery, The Little Fig Baking Company, here in Colorado. (Yes, we did also make dog treats!)
What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?
If you are blogging with integrity and personal focus, blogging is not a competition. We all succeed when we support and encourage one another. Also, collaboration is not only fun but it can be an incredible way to grow your following.
What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?
Grow my Instagram following and email list, be more consistent with my posts, improve my presence across social platforms and learn to take better pictures. I would also like to become a brand ambassador for one of my favorite brands.
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?
Unless someone has a formula for cloning myself or winning lottery ticket numbers, I would love to hear how others balance full time work with putting in the time and effort necessary to build blog traffic, improve social media presence and create a consistent content. I would also love some tips on writing a blog post in fewer than 8 hours 😉