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Lessons Learned From The 2015 Pet Blogger Challenge

Dog on ArmrestWow – what a weekend it was! So much so that I took off on Monday to continue reading entries in the Pet Blogger Challenge … and I’m still only half way through!

I did allow myself a quick detour this morning to visit one of my favorite blogs, and found that Pamela had written another amazing post! In this one she bares it all, in response to a common theme she saw in the Challenge posts.

Sidebar: Let me quickly thank all my readers who are not bloggers, and are not captivated by the motivations and tribulations of blogging. I appreciate your patience, and I promise that we will return to our regularly scheduled pet travel programing and the adventures of Ty and Buster later this week.

There are three sentiments that have struck me by their consistency in the 2015 Challenge:

Number 1: We are a wonderful community of thoughtful, generous people – ready to help each other wherever we can. We understand that we’re not competing against each other, and that we can all succeed together.

Number 2: We have learned that we need to write from our hearts about the things that we love and make us happy. Writing for any other reason is laborious, doesn’t appeal to our readers, and stabs our creativity in the heart. Being authentic and unique is the key to longevity and a devoted audience.

Number 3: Many of us would like to increase the size of our audience. Even those who have no intention of monetizing their blogs would like to reach more people. It feels good to know that we’re connecting with others, sharing a laugh or supporting a cause, and it’s motivating to see those numbers grow!

That last point is the one Pamela addresses in her post. She notes that, while many of us hope to increase our traffic, very few of us share our blog stats publicly. She eloquently describes the fallout of that secrecy this way:

“When we only see glimpses of each other’s stats, we focus on the parts that make us feel bad about ourselves. And we don’t get enough information to think about what works and doesn’t work when we pursue our own goals.”

Getting naked (statistically speaking) has never been difficult for me. For years I’ve made my traffic, growth, page ranks, and social media following public. Why would I hide it? What harm can they possibly do me?

Dog and Laptop

The reason I’m not embarrassed is that I have a firm grasp on what the numbers show … and more importantly, what they do not.

I’m in a peculiar niche – more of a travel blogger, but with the unusual mission to cover only the pet friendly aspects of travel. My entire potential audience exists where “love of travel” crosses “love of pets,” because my readers need both. So, expecting my statistics to be on par with Frommer’s Travel Blog would be ridiculous – and that’s fine!

What the straight-up numbers have difficulty quantifying is that my audience is dedicated, devoted, passionate, and committed. They appreciate what I’m doing, and I love them because they care deeply about their pets, and are striving to include them in more aspects of their lives. The relationship each blogger has with their audience is as unique as the number of blogs out there, and measuring reader loyalty and enthusiasm isn’t easy.

So what if we pet bloggers did get naked, as Pamela suggests? I see it as a fantastic opportunity to learn and another opportunity to celebrate the support that is so evident in our community. If we desire to increase the traffic to our blogs, revealing our secrets could help. Working together, we might analyze the numbers and identify successful techniques that will help us reach our goals.

And we’d have to help each other keep the statistics in their place. We’d need to keep in mind that the numbers are just a tool. They can’t give a new blog the clout of one that’s been around for seven years overnight, and they can never capture the unique value you bring to the world with your blog. So use the stats if they can help you – but don’t let them cause you to question your worth as a blogger.

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
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