When did you start blogging and what made you decide to blog?
I started blogging in March of 2004. What made me decide to blog was my dog. He was a pretty horribly abused, malnourished puppy when we got him. Because of that and his poor immune system he not only didn't thrive with traditional veterinary care, he was in fact ailing. Through a series of events, my passion (and at the time my anger) fueled a need inside of me to get out the word about natural animal care - the only thing that had helped my dog get into a much healthier state because it focuses on the whole dog not symptoms. Anyway, I had been reading online "geek"e-zines for a couple of years so I knew about "blogging" - but didn't quite get it. However, when I was submitting an article to an article bank I found out about a blogging software called "Quikonnex" and I thought that it would be far easier to do than a newsletter and also much more viral. I had no idea what I was really doing but I learned and was helped by generous souls who took me under their wings and taught me. I now also do a monthly email newsletter...fancy that! I've also since moved to a different blogging software that has allowed me to be more versatile with the blog.
What kind of blog do you have?
Do you make money from your blog?
Really the opportunities to earn from your blog are as endless as your imagination. AND more importantly if you have good content, then your ranking will grow and you will have advertisers asking you to allow them to advertise on your blog.
What do you do to network/promote your blog to bring in readers?
Well I promote my blogs on my website, and I also have mentioned it on my podcast quite a lot. I also cross-link all my sites. Also I blogroll other bloggers who's blogs I like and most of the time they reciprocate. Other times I am approached and asked if they can link to my blog. I always check to make sure this is a blog I want my blog linked to first. Plus blogging affords pingbacks and tagging from others. Another way I promote it is on social networks I belong to.
How do you balance blogging and family?
Family comes first. I'm not a mom - unless you count being a dog mom. But I am a wife, so I make sure that I am offline by a certain time each day. What I've discovered (after much trial and error) is that the world will not end if I don't blog. Also what I do is often spend part of a day blogging all sorts of news that has been sent to me, and then post them up in drafts for those days I don't have time to blog. Then I can just put up a post that has already been written that day. It's all about priorities. I used to spend way too much time online doing this and then I had to get a grip and realize that my family life deserves as much if not more focus. With Web 2.0 and all this social networking I think it can get out of hand. There are only so many hours in a day so we just have to prioritize. Sometimes a YouTube video or a photo with a few words can make a really great blog post - and it won't take up so much of your time if you just have to feed your blog craving!
How frequently do you post?
Do you own a business and blog about your business?
What do you recommend to blog about?
I blog about natural dog health and care. I blog about dog welfare and dog issues such as breed specific legislation. I also blog about cool things that are being discovered in science about dogs or about cool new dog items. It is rather eclectic but with a central focus on natural dog health. Why? Because these are what I am passionate about and know about. So blog about what you know or enjoy! That always makes for the best blogging anyway in my opinion. The top bloggers are opinionated and passionate!
Have your readers influenced you in any way?
I would have to say that the positive comments have encouraged me, while the negative ones have honed my responses. Sometimes I don't think those comments warrant a response other than to ban them, especially if they use words that show an utter lack of command of the English language. Readers have often sent me links to news I wasn't aware of or asked me questions so then I can blog about my response to that...or shall we say my DOG's response :-) To answer your question then I'd have to say that yes, my readers have influenced me.
Has blogging changed your life in any way?
In a word: YES. Blogging helped me to fulfill a dream of writing. I never thought I could write but longed to write a book someday. I've always been an avid reader, and very interested in self-education as well. Blogging has afforded me an outlet for my angst and passion...I just had to get over myself which translates to my fears of what others would think. It doesn't matter what they think, it just matters if we do it or not because you'll never know if you want to do this unless you try it. It's not easy to put yourself out there for the world to read. People can be cruel when they can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet using pseudonyms instead of their real name like I do. But to me, it's been worth it just knowing I've helped even one dog owner have a better life with their dog. And I've been able to face down and conquer fears and grow from that. Plus, I've also learned that everyone has an opinion and whether or not they agree with me isn't the point, especially since they are still allowed to have their own thoughts about things.
Who are your favorite bloggers?
My favorites are friends blogs like The Whole Dog News by Dr. Jeannie Thomason, MMilani Blog by veterinarian Dr. Myrna Milani, Pet Sit USA blog by Therese Kopiwoda, Dog Politics by Barbara Haywood, and Pet Connection with Gina Spadafori whom I don't know personally but I sure like her style!
What is your blogging style?
Well goofy and funny at times and other times edgy, laced with veiled sarcasm. It's just that I have my viewpoints about things but that doesn't mean they are right. It just means I have viewpoints on things. So I share that, from a dog's eye view. I get into what I think is the mindset of what this world might look like from a dog's viewpoint and how they possibly view us humans. How much simpler things are for them without agendas or power plays or economics to concern themselves with, but more about just being who they are (when allowed and afforded that liberty). That's my style.
What do you do when you get writer's block?
I'll do a couple of things: read some news I know is going to annoy me (grin) stoking the fires of passion in response OR go lay down beside my dog for a furry hug OR go hang outside in the sun with him and remember why I started doing all this in the first place.
Do you have any advice for newbie bloggers?
Would you like to be my next victim-er, I mean interview?
Comment on this post and I will stalk you and peek in your windows to watch your family eat dinner just like the Australian guy that follows that gecko character on Geico-Or, I'll just send you an email with a list of interview questions for you to answer.