I’ve admired goPetFriendly.com since I found it when researching for both this site and http://www.dogtrotting.net. Four years ago, accountants Amy and Rod Burkett sold their house, bought a Winnebago and now travel North America writing goPetFriendly.com. Crazy, but inspirational.
Today, January 10, they throw down the friendly gauntlet and challenge fellow pet bloggers to share the following information with both readers and other bloggers.
For most people I know, their horses are pet, if not family (same thing really). So here goes, I’ll be answer the Burketts’ questions on both http://www.horsetrotting.net and http://www.dogtrotting.net, and hopefully meet some new readers and fellow writers in the process:
1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
It’s the second year for horsetrotting.net and the first year for dogtrotting.net. Clearly they are sister publications branded under the ‘trotting.net’ identity. And yes, cattrotting.net is in the works.
Horsetrotting combines a love of horses with a love of travel and features places around the world where people can trail ride with respected outfitters and visit horse related shows, events, museums, etc. Dogtrotting.net is about dog-welcoming places to visit, hike, and travel with Fido and random encounters with dog-related places of interest.
2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud.
First, increasing the readership of horsetrotting.net. Second, launching, full throttle, http://www.dogtrotting.net and getting almost 200 readers in the first week.
3. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own blogs?
Write well, apply rules of journalism but also focus on tone – upbeat and conversational. Personality is what differentiates blogs from print, especially when traditional print media is cutting columnists.
4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
Other bloggers find my blog through wordpress.com, for one. But I also directly soliciting potential readers directly – just like traditional media solicits subscriptions.
5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you that it was your most popular?
Writing about Medieval Times show in Toronto (love it even though I’m old), which didn’t surprise me because people were likely reading reviews before buying tickets. But a short piece about the Canadian Cowgirls got reblogged, which did surprised me – likely an act of patriotic pride.6. What was your favorite blog post to write this year?I loved riding in Iceland and I believe that shows in one of the first blog entries I wrote. (I also use Icelandic pony images to brand my site).
My fav on dogtrotting.net is coming up: it’s about my home town, a (not so) secret leash-free site and why my municipality needs a dog park! Getting a little political, but … bring it.
7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?
I don’t do product reviews. I’m planning some contests to attract more readers.
8. What’s your best piece of advice for other bloggers?
Learn principles of good writing, journalism ethics, and focus on a niche. A lot of the principles of print publishing apply to online publishing.
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?
I plan to increase readership, perhaps change hosting, expand content of both blogs by adding guest writers (let me know if you are interested), and expand the trotting.net brand to include cats.
10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
Monetizing and developing this idea as a business. Taking a leave from my job and travelling the countryside with the pets in a Winnebago sounds romantic – crazy, but romantic. Travelling the countryside on horseback, even crazier, but more romantic.