Playful Kitty has decided to take the Pet Blogger Challenge! This is a blog hop to celebrate the blogging successes of pet bloggers in 2013. Even though Playful Kitty is fairly new, we have plenty of successes to talk about. A big thank you to the gracious hosts of The Pet Blogger Challenge 2014 – Go Pet Friendly and Will My Dog Hate Me. Stop by and give them some purrs and headbonks for hosting such a great blog hop!
1. How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
I (Robin) have been blogging on and off for a few years. I had another blog called Life According to Robin which was sort of like a strange public diary for me and had a strong spiritual aspect to it. The blog is still up, but I haven’t touched it in a long time.
Playful Kitty was just started in September 2013 (right before my birthday). I started it in response to a few people who told me that I should try to earn a few dollars through affiliate programs, but quickly became way more than that. Animals (and in particular my cats) are a real passion for me. I have always wanted to a niche where I could help animals. Playful Kitty has become a great venue for educating people about cats and pet ownership and promoting adoption.
Playful Kitty is about everything that has to do with cats. It is an exploration of cats and how they have affected human culture. My cats, Cinco and Manna, show up in many of my posts. A few of my favorite topics include Cats in History, Cats in Art, Famous Cats, and Cat Breeds. Every Saturday I post a Playful Kitty puzzle (they have been word search puzzles mostly but this may change) and every Sunday I post a Funny Cat Picture.
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
Oooh…just one thing? Considering Playful Kitty is only 4 months old, I feel that I’ve accomplished a lot of things. I suppose I am most proud that I have been able to get to a point where I post something everyday. That aspect has been pretty consistent since October.
3. When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?
I was not a part of last year’s challenge. The part about blogging that has changed most for me is that I am blogging regularly.
4. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?
If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
One lesson that I have learned (and which surprised me quite a bit) is that people like to see my personality in my blog. Even though I’m an odd ball, people actually enjoy “hearing my voice” – reading about me and my experiences. Another lesson is to stay organized. Something that people have told me they appreciate about my site is how easy it is to find things. I make sure to categorize everything.
There are so many questions! Please feel free to give me constructive criticism on anything about Playful Kitty. I promise not to think you’re mean. One of my big goals (I assume a lot of people have this goal) is to increase readership. What are the best ways to use social media to promote your blog?
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
The biggest thing I’ve found to bring in more traffic is to visit and interact with other blogs. Pet bloggers tend to be really awesome about visiting your blog if you’ve visited theirs. The other thing that I think is really helpful is having as many presences on the web as you can handle (Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin’, Networked Blogs, etc). People want to follow you with the tools that they already use rather than having to sign up for something new.
6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?
I try to fit in a couple hours per week of publicizing my blog. I think I need to spend more time on publicizing.
7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?
For the most part I look at the amount of “likes” and comments that the article gets. The comments tend to get a little more weight because I figure that some people may like the post without even reading it just as a friendly gesture to me. If people are actually reading the whole article and commenting on it, then it was pretty interesting. I also use the ratio of visitors to page views. I would think that the more pages the average visitor looked at that day, the more likely they were interested in whatever they saw first. If neither of those options works, I ask people whose option I trust (like my husband) if the post was any good.
Considering how new Playful Kitty is, I haven’t had to let go of anything yet. I guess that I would let go of something when I felt that the readers were no longer engaging with it.
8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
I comment almost every time I visit another blog. I am most inspired to comment on a post when it is something that I can really relate to; when I feel like I’m having a conversation with the author. I love to be able to say “I’ve had that experience too!” Things that cause me to just move on are: material that I find offensive, non-original material, and posts that are difficult to read either by layout or poor language skills.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?
If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?
If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?
I’m glad you asked! I am working on my very first product review as we speak. This is a first for both me and the brand. Any advice? I would love to do do more product reviews and start doing giveaways. These are all things that are in the works for Playful Kitty.
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
I have a few techniques for when I’m stuck:
- Read through other pet blogs and see if anything strikes a chord with me.
- If I have time, I take a break from my writing and do something else for a while to clear my head.
- When all else fails – just write anything. Anything at all. If I’m sick or tired, I might just post a cute photo or a youtube video about cats with a little explanation of why I like it.
- I use a lot of free writing and free association. Sounds weird, but it works.
- Eating. Yes, I’m one of those people that will work so long and so hard that she forgets to eat. Turns out a full stomach is much easier to think on.
- Naps. If there is time for a nap, that almost always does the trick. Turns out that not only do I need to eat, I need to sleep too.
11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?
Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
I haven’t taken any breaks from Playful Kitty yet. I’m always thinking of new ideas for the site and cooking up new posts. The best days for Playful Kitty are still to come! The more I blog, the more I love it. I think I will be doing this for a long time.
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
Playful Kitty is still so new that there a ton of goals to hit! I am a very ambitious person.
- Moving over to self-hosting and securing a domain name.
- Increasing readership and followers (still working on a feasible specific number to attach to this goal)
- Learn how to best use social media to promote Playful Kitty.
- Spend more time reading and interacting with other blogs. I spend A LOT of time writing articles and I run out of time to visit as many blogs as I would like.
- Start doing product reviews and giveaways.
- Get plugged in with pet brands.
- Join the Cat Writer’s Association
- Join BlogPaws Professional Bloggers group (I am already a part of the community).
- Continue to add creative elements to Playful Kitty to give it a unique style.
Thank you for stopping by!
Please make sure to check out the other blogs in the hop. There is a lot of great information! Just click on the Pet Blogger Challenge logo below.
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