1. How long have you been blogging? (And for first-timers, what is your blog about?)
I have been writing Second Chances since last spring. It hasn't quite been a year yet, but we're getting close! I started the blog primarily to share information and news about animals in need, but it's expanded somewhat to include funny stories and photos - mostly of my dog, Riley!
2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished during 2014 that made you proud.
This isn't exactly blog-related, but getting published in the October issue of Dog Fancy magazine was definitely a big deal for me! It was a short article on the very last page of the issue, but we were super pumped to see my name (and Riley's!) in print.
3. What lessons have you learned this year that could help us all with our own blogs?
Make connections and be friendly. The Internet can be a not-so-friendly place sometimes, and it's nice to have found a little niche where everyone is incredibly kind and encouraging. I have also learned that the best way to get people to come to your blog is by going to read their blog. If you enjoyed an article...tell them! Better yet, shoot them an email and tell them why it stood out to you - it can really make a difference and even help begin a new friendship!
4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog?
As I mentioned above, visiting other blogs, commenting on posts, and sharing great articles are easy ways to bring traffic to your own site. I also like to tweet my fellow bloggers or share things with them on Google+. Guest posts can also be incredibly helpful. If you're doing a product review, tagging the company on Facebook or Twitter when sharing your post can also bring new readers to your blog.
We got lots of new readers when we reviewed Travels with Casey!
5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you?
My most popular blog post was a Tuesday's Tails post that featured two elderly adoptables: Beau and Chachi. I was in love with these two and shared their story multiple times. The fact that this was the most popular isn't too surprising to me - I was very close to their situation and so was able to share some personal details that made the post more intimate. What's more, I am so glad that it ended up being my most popular post, because Beau and Chachi finally found their forever home - perhaps, in part, due to your shares, who knows?! A close second was my post titled "The Angels Who Save Animals". I wrote it as a tribute to shelter employees who change lives - canine, feline, and human!
6. What was your favorite blog post to write this year?
I don't know that I have one specific favorite, but one of them was definitely my letter to Riley's former mama - it was fun to write and, surprisingly, brought up a lot of emotions for me! I also loved writing the posts that give people tips on how to give back to local animal shelters and rescues; two that come to mind are my list of great gifts that give back and a list of ways to show some love to animals in need. Plus, I always enjoy writing the Tuesday's Tails features!
7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?
No; I don't do many product reviews, and I have yet to do a giveaway. Though a giveaway is definitely in the works for the next month or two, I will continue to do only a couple of product reviews a year. There are lots of products that I just don't feel would be all that relevant to people wanting to read about animal rescue, and I never want my readers to feel that I am just shilling things I don't really believe in.
8. What's your best piece of advice for other bloggers?
Believe in what you are writing. Enjoy what you're writing. If you don't, it comes through in your writing and will be quite obvious to your audience. So far, I have loved blogging...and if, for whatever reason, I wasn't enjoying myself anymore, I would stop - or at least take a break. Having passion for what you are writing about is key to becoming a great blogger.
If you don't love what you do...why do it? (Print from here; quote by Sylvia Plath)
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?
Honestly, I just want to continue making a difference. I want people to read my blog and be inspired to adopt, volunteer, or donate. I also want to make people smile by sharing funny Riley stories or cute photos of my shelter/doggie hotel dogs. Basically, I'd love to just continue what I've been doing - only bigger and better!!
10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you're having with your blog, what would it be?
Hmm. I don't have anything particular in mind, but of course, all advice is very much appreciated! I just really enjoy connecting with other bloggers and like-minded people in the rescue community, and I'd love to continue doing that - any tips on meeting more people? I can't wait for BlogPaws for this very reason! :)
As always, thank you to my amazing readers. <3