Friday, January 10, 2014

Pet Blogger Challenge 2014

Today is the 4th annual Pet Blogger Challenge, hosted by and Will My Dog Hate Me? This is my first year to participate and I'm so excited to read, learn, and be inspired by my fellow blogger's answers!

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 started blogging in August 2011. Mochas, Mysteries and Meows is for everyone who enjoys the cozy things in life: curled up on the couch with your hot beverage of choice, a great book, and a cat (or three) on your lap! I call it a cat blog with literary flair and a book blog with a pet-centric twist.

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.

I'm the most proud of the fact that because of my blog, I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of being accepted as a member of the Cat Writers' Association.

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 started blogging as a hobby, now it is my passion. Writing about my two favorite things in life, cats and books, makes me incredibly happy, and the fact that I'm able to earn a little extra money on the side is just icing on the cake ;)

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?

I would love for my readers and fellow bloggers to contact me with suggestions about things they would like Truffles and I to blog us come up with fresh, fun ideas!

5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

Comment, comment, comment on other blogs. People won't know about your blog until you get out there and be social! Pet blogging is such an awesome, supportive community and through it I have formed the most wonderful online friendships.

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 take time each day to promote my posts on Facebook and Twitter, but I really need to make the effort to become more active on Twitter. It's an amazing method of communication, but I'll admit that it intimidates me a bit :)

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?

I gauge whether or not my posts are appealing to my audience by page views and comments, as well as overall blog traffic. Thankfully I haven't had it happen yet, but I would probably put a feature or theme on the back burner for awhile if any of those numbers were decreasing significantly.

8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?

For me personally, it pretty much comes down to whether or not I feel that I have something relevant to say. In my everyday life I'm a pretty quiet person but online I try to come out of my shell more.

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?

Yes, Truffles and I *love* doing product reviews and giveaways. I enjoy informing pet parents about new products on the market and at the same time giving Truffles the chance to have fun trying them out! Our favorites are toys and treats...Truffles is a treat junkie!

10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?

Usually making the rounds of all my favorite pet blogs inspires me.

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?

No, I haven't taken a break and hope to never have to! I can't imagine quitting...blogging has become a part of who I am!

12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?

I hope to continue to gain readers by writing posts that appeal to my book loving, cat lover friends. I also want to build relationships with large and small pet brands.


Jessica @ said...

I have been blogging for three years and, although I never planned to take a break, I have taken several breaks from 2 weeks to a month. Sometimes I just needed to get my blogging Mojo back and other times I had unfortunate life circumstances that demanded all of my attention. Just so you know, those breaks didn't hurt my blog at all in the long run so don't fret it someday you do need to take a break.

Life Student said...

Nice to meet you-- found you on the hop! See, networking does work!

You are blogging about my two loves as well. I have three cats (as well as a dog), and a Master's in English Lit. So I'm going to try to come around (no promises, my life is so nutz I only put up one post a month!) because you've intrigued me, and I want to read more!

Anonymous said...

Very cool post :) I love that you have only become more passionate about writing as you write. I also love how Truffles has become such an inspiration to you. We all have our muses; they might as well be cute and furry. Your whole blog is very creative and heartfelt. I know I am not always the best at getting around and commenting to everyone, but I really do enjoy coming to your blog.

Leema said...

Hello, nice to meet you. :) It makes me happy to read a happy post about the enjoyment you get from blogging. Congratulations on being at a comfortable and joyful place with your blogging. Keep it up.

Vanessa Morgan said...

I'd say, just continue what you're already doing, because I very much enjoy reading your blog. Have a lovely Thursday.

Sweet Purrfections said...

Keep up the good work.

I've been blogging for almost 6 years and the only break I took was when Sweet Praline went to the bridge in 2011 and before Truffle and Brulee came to live with me.

The Island Cats said...

We've been blogging for 6 years now. We love all the great bloggers we've met through blogging.

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

Melissa you are doing a fantastic job!!! I posted some blog links in the BlogPaws Community under "Blog Talk" that will show you how to become more involved with brands. better be at the Conference in May! :)

Anonymous said...

Stopping by via the Pet Blogger Challenge! Nice to meet you! I'm looking forward to reading more this year and getting to know you and your blog better!

Cathy Keisha said...

Whoa! They are nosy! I say comment on everybuddy’s blog cos we like visitors. I wish we could visit more but find that we can only see the peeps that comment on my blog as I get more comments. I wish that wasn’t true cos I’d know that’s a way to build an audience unless you’re having 3 giveaways a week.

Unknown said...

Nice to "meet" you on the Challenge!
While my blog is mostly dominated by my two dogs, we also have two cats who make the occassional appearance/photobomb.
And even though I like to consider myself a bookworm, I find myself reading more blogs than books these days, and my to-read pile is stacking up. How do you balance it?!

Anonymous said...

Great interview and awesome answers that inspire us! Can't wait to see more in 2014! Purrs...

Talking-Dogs said...

Congratulations re: the Cat Writers' Association - that's fantastic! I agree with so many of the other comments - your enthusiasm is wonderful :-)

da tabbies o trout towne said...

truffles...we see yur mom iz takin credit for all de stuff EWE rite about.....
:) !!!!

hay , conga rats two her on bee inn accepted inta de at writerz hall
o fame association...thatz way kewl hay, N hope ewe haza cod kinda caturday
anda salmon samich sunday !!!

Pamela said...

I love hearing from other bloggers that they never consider giving it up. Sometimes I feel like a freak because I can't imagine getting tired of it. Glad to know we're both in the same pet blogger boat. :)

jen said...

Such great answers and very encouraging! I agree that commenting is a great way to gain followers. Sometimes it takes time, but it pays off in the end!

Mickey's Musings said...

What a great post! It is pawsome for this visit to be one where you are answering neat questions.
We get to know you better this way ;)
Purrs Georgia and Julie,
and Angels Tiger and Tillie

Thank you for your kind thoughts and purrs
when our Tiger crossed the Bridge.
She was a sweet kitty .

M. K. Clinton said...

Hi Melissa~ I always enjoy your blog, not just the great content but your colors and graphics are just so sweet. I always feel better after my visit. Keep up the great work!

Julie said...

Hi Melissa! I'm always impressed by bloggers that have no desire to take time off - you must have a pretty special kitty to keep you so motivated! Nice to meet you!!

Kolchak Puggle said...

Can I join in if I like a hot beverage, a great book and a dog (or two)? Nice to "meet" you!

Nature by Dawn said...

Congratulations on being a member of the Cat Writer's Association. Sounds fun. :) BTW, I am still trying to get a hang of Twitter too.

FidoseofReality said...

Nice to see your blog growing and doing well - I am a fan and hope to see you in May at BlogPaws!

Kristine said...

Congratulations on achieving your goals! Joining the association is no small thing!

I am also a fairly quiet person and I am sure the people who know me in real life would be stunned by all I reveal online! There is just something so much easier about writing than about communicating in person. I am so glad you have found a format you enjoy and I look forward to finding out where this adventure leads you!

Maxwell, Faraday and Allie said...

I know I've said it before, but welcome to the CWA! We've never found the time to participate in this but plan to do so next year. What fun to read all your answers - and please don't worry if you ever *do* feel the need to take a break. That'd just mean you were human (I know, Truffles, humans are a bit less hardy than we kittehs, but we just have to deal! MOL!).

Unknown said...

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