Home > Best Blog Posts, Blog Stats, Pet Blogger Challenge > The Third Annual Pet Blogger Challenge (2013)

The Third Annual Pet Blogger Challenge (2013)


Today is the 3rd annual Pet Blogger Challenge, hosted by the wonderful, inspiring, and adventurous Amy Burkert of GoPetFriendly.com and GoPetFriendlyBlog.com

Last year, Amy and Edie Jarolim (from Will My Dog Hate Me? and Freud’s Butcher) kicked off the 2nd annual Pet Blogger Challenge with a whole host of questions for new and old bloggers alike.  The result was a series of fun, insightful and interesting blog posts written by a wide variety of pet bloggers, all with differing perspectives and insights. I learned so much about my fellow bloggers, and in the process, learned even more about blogging!

I have come to love this annual event. I hope you will find it fun and interesting and enlightening. I know I do.

Not writing a pet blog yet? Maybe you should!

Click on the Pet Blogger Challenge link below to join the challenge. To read some of the other responses from other pet bloggers click here.

Here are this year’s blog challenge questions (and my answers):

1. How long have you been blogging and provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

I have been blogging for 4 years now. I started blogging about my puppy mill rescue dog Daisy at Daisy the Wonder Dog back in October of 2008, but created this blog, No Dog About It, in 2009 for my pet sitting business. Here is a link to last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge.

2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?

To be more focused in my blogging and to be blogging less.

3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?

Yes, but I would have to say that it didn’t really happen until the end of the year. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was in a bit of a fog last year and I just now am coming out of it and realizing that I enjoy blogging but for reasons that have nothing to do with money or notoriety. I just enjoy writing. Will my blog be more focused in 2013? I don’t know, but I hope it will be more personal.

4. How often do you post?

6 days a week

5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed?

No. I still write when the spirit moves me, I just have less time to do it now than before. On some days I find the words aren’t working for me yet or they are still weaving together in my mind, on those days, I let my pictures do the talking and go back to the writing later.

If you don’t publish on a schedule, why? How do you think your decision affects your audience? How do you know when a topic is “post-worthy?”

Yikes. That’s a tough one. I don’t publish on a schedule because often my best writing comes when I am most “feeling” a story and not when it is most convenient to write. To be honest, it drives me crazy sometimes, but that seems to be how my mind works. I think there are times when a post I am writing is still formulating in my brain and when I go to write it and find that it’s not quite ready for me to post yet. Those are the times when I choose a less controversial topic or less emotional issue that I have saved as a draft for just such an occasion. For me, knowing whether a post is worthy of posting comes down to two things – most of the typos and run-in sentences have been eliminated and my gut says “Go.”

6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your  tips for staying on top of it all.

Ir depends. Some days I spend an hour working on a blog post and on others I spend several hours. How long it takes me to write one post determines how much time I have to go visit other blogger’s blogs. One thing I failed at this year was visiting some of my favorite bloggers. It’s something I am hoping to rectify this year. Jen, Kristine, Kelly, Alex and Miss Little Pea – I owe you an apology!
7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?

I think I measure by comments to some degree, and traffic is definitely great to watch, but what makes me feel like it was a good post is if people share it or ask to share it and it makes a difference. The post I wrote earlier this year about why your lost dog may not run back to you hit a chord with people and was shared widely. But, to me, it’s a great success if it helps someone to get their lost dog back.

Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions? I don’t really look at the numbers much. I like to know when there is a spike in my numbers (most often it’s one particular post on a good pitbull story), but other than that I don’t look at them much anymore. I like the interaction more.

8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

I would love to know how other bloggers write on a schedule. I think this is perhaps the thing I have had the most difficulty with as I have gone back to a 9 to 5 job again. Balancing work, my dogs, my blog and managing a life for me can be hard at times. I would love to know how others manage this issue.

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?

To be more personal, more real and more connected. After living the last year and a half in a fog, I am ready to get back into writing in a way that connects with my readers. I am hoping I will also be less reactionary on certain issues (puppy mills, animal abuse, etc.), but no guarantees. There are simply some hot button issues that will always get my ire up.

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

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  1. January 9, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    As someone who *always* reads every blog you post but infrequently comments (more often on Facebook), let me just say that I look forward to your posts and very often you lead me to think about something in a new way or to appreciate my dogs in a new way. Thank you for taking the time to write! (and to post photos – those always add so much to your posts)

  2. Jen
    January 9, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    This year is my second Pet Blogger Challenge, and I love reading everybody’s responses!

    My “schedule” is fostered by the fact that I bring my laptop to work, and thus get some of my web-walking and commenting done then. That will frequently spark the ideas for the posts that I write, and I schedule them ahead. I certainly didn’t used to blog ahead, and in general started it so that I would have the time for NaNoWriMo.

  3. January 10, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Blogging on a regular schedule would certainly be difficult, when you have a 9-5 job as well. Luckily for me, I work from home.
    To Jen; Thanks for the idea of blogging ahead.; a great time-saver, I’m sure.

  4. January 10, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    I also have a hard time with keeping a schedule but thanks to Lena West and her statement about having an editoral calendar I am hoping to post more and on the days I want to post.

    I need to get into the habit of reading the blog posts of the blogs I follow and comment on them more.

    I am loving the responses to the questions of this hop.

  5. Elizabeth Bergesen
    January 10, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    I like how you measure the success of your blog. Sometimes success is not always about the numbers. ;0) I also like your goals – To be more focused in blogging but to be blogging less. Let me know if you figure that one out! 😉

  6. January 10, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    “I hope it will be more personal.” I like the sound of that, Mel!

    No apologies required. I’ve been slack myself last year, passing through a phase when I had no more ideas of how to continue writing a DOGblog and losing touch with some of my old friends.

    I have posts that were written in a huff, or in the middle of a big bawl, that are still sitting in draft LOL. And there may they RIP. I wish I had something intelligent to say re: posting to a schedule but…. ! That said, I’m doing a 30 day challenge this month, posting every day. I thought it’d be a pain, but so far, it’s actually been enjoyable. I think, because they’re short and can be about anything. If I had to write on a specific subject, say DOGS, day in and day out….I’d go mad. Is that useful information? Terrible thing to say on a dogblog hop eh 😉

  7. January 10, 2013 at 4:11 AM

    To be more real, more personal, more connected? I’ve always felt your posts were real and personal! I understand being in a fog though – that happened to me right after Bunny died. I felt like I was on autopilot for about six months. And don’t apologize for caring about issues like puppy mills, animal abuse, etc. – we’re pet bloggers, remember? We’re supposed to care (and write) about stuff like that!

  8. January 10, 2013 at 4:48 AM

    When I blog on a schedule I just make sure I finish a blog post before I go to bed every night. This year I’m going to try and get the majority of my blogging done on the weekend. We’ll see how it goes.

    I used to have a wordpress plugin that kept an editorial calendar on my dashboard, but late last year I started having issues with my server and had to cut back on the number of plugins on my blog.

  9. January 10, 2013 at 5:15 AM

    This is the first year I’ve participated in the challenge and, so far, your responses most hit a chord in me. I share your feelings about hot button issues. More often than not, they simmer in my brain (sometimes for days) and then I put them aside. Afraid my opinions will put others off and/or get caught up in “life” and never get my thoughts together. Have to say, I love how your passion comes through in your writing and I try hard not to miss a post.

  10. January 10, 2013 at 5:54 AM

    I usually jot down ideas in my notebook about post to write and then add points to them, and see what research I need. From there I pick out 2 or 3 and start them in WP. Then I usually leave them, while I think about them and once the fog has lifted I will go back to finish them. However I am still working on my voice. When I visit your blog, I do hear your voice and I really like that.

  11. January 10, 2013 at 6:18 AM

    Oh, I love seeing my content shared as well! I have recently started to share my posts on ‘Research Blogging’, and on my first go I simply submitted it and went to bed. The next day I noticed that 10+ people had tweeted the story – this is actually a lot of tweets for my lil’ blog! The buzz I had when I went on twitter and searched the site for my blog post, it was pretty special.

    For writing on a schedule around work: I normally get up pretty early and write blog posts before going to work. I’m very much a morning person, so this works especially well for me. However, I only post every second day, but this normally means I write a post one day, then proof read it the next day. Another option is to write a bunch of posts at once, and have them queued and ready to post on a daily basis throughout the week. (Though I try to steer away from this automation because, for me, I just don’t enjoy it as much!)

    Happy blogging. 🙂

  12. kenzohw
    January 10, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    You are kidding right? If you and this blog are not connected and personal, I don’t know who is. Sorry to hear it have such a fog year for you, hoping you’ll soon are on top of that again. When you mentioned “I just enjoy writing” I thought that said a lot. Something I always find when visiting here, that somebody – Mel – enjoys what she is doing. Would love to give you some schedule advice, but I am not very good at it as well, but I am sure you’ll get some great advice!

  13. January 10, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    I have loved this challenge, mostly because of all the great information I am learning from my fellow bloggers. I didn’t realize it but I too have trouble when I’m not ‘feeling’ the story. Many times the post I start out writing turns into something completely different. There are other times when I start the post and just can’t wrap my head around it, so I leave it in the dashboard for another time. Sometimes I think it might be that I’m too caught up in the issue and just can’t focus.

    And don’t worry about the emotions, Mel. We are all passionate and I love to see that! Great post.

  14. peggyspetplace
    January 10, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    I always look at you as someone who isn’t afraid to share what she feels. Which is great! You also are great at connecting with people.
    How to schedule when working 9 to 5 is another question. Are you a night owl? I’m usually up past 1 am. If I wasn’t, there would never be enough hours in the day!

  15. January 10, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Newbie to your blog but I’ve been following along via your fb page. I love to see my posts shared as well. If not only to say they thought it was good enough but also to say that they believe in what I was writing. I can’t get on the blog schedule thing. I’ve tried but you know, life gets in the way sometimes and I just can’t stick with it. If something exciting happens, I’ll blog about it. Great to meet you!

  16. January 10, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    It is hard to blog when you have a 9-5+ family+ dogs+ life in general but I’ve found that if I keep a notebook or list of ideas at work I can write them down (along with a link, picture, etc.) and write later that night. Also, the advice of keeping a calendar for the year and writing down posts you like to do or a series really helps keep me motivated and on track. Honestly, i do most of my photography and writing on the weekends because it is too dark when I get home right now. I read that even if you write one post a week and make it great, that will keep people coming back. I like your intention of being more personal and real- heck, we’re all real and we all have ups and downs so it’s nice to know other people aren’t perfect.

  17. January 10, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Hmmm…might take you up on that challenge.

  18. January 10, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Connected and personal? I have to agree with Kenzo – I actually love the personal feel of your blog and I always feel very connected to you through your posts. You have a giant heart and your genuine care and compassion comes through loud and clear.

    I wish I could help on the schedule thing, but I’m struggling with that myself, so I’ll be keeping an eye on these comments for ideas as well!

  19. January 10, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    I am right there with you in terms of feeling kind of foggy. That was how I felt the last few months, but I’m doing my best to stick with new years resolutions/goals… whatever you want to call them. Being more personal and injecting myself into my writing is something that I am slowly but surely learning to do. I know that’s what makes me connect with other bloggers.

    As for scheduling… heck if you get any help, want to share it? That’s a work in progress for me, too. Best of luck with everything! I can’t wait to see what you do going forward.

  20. jan
    January 10, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Life in a fog isn’t always such a bad thing. It kind of takes the hard edges off of part of it. You have always seemed to have a personal touch to your writing, something I have tried to get in my own blog but haven’t always been successful. In spite of what you call your fog, your joy of writing always comes through. And that is the most important.

  21. January 10, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    One of the things I love about your blog is when you write about your hot button issues! There’s definitely no fog when you’re on a roll. I’ve felt a little foggy too for the past couple of months – maybe it’s astronomical. For not being on a schedule, you’re posting really consistently and I think that’s great. Remember, this is supposed to be fun … if putting yourself under deadline makes it not fun for you then it’s not worth it! Thanks so much for taking the Challenge and I’ll look forward to reading you in 2013.

  22. January 10, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    I know you say you’ve felt that you’ve been in a fog, but your posts never came across as being written by someone in a fog. They always seem very real and, depending on the subject, quite personal. As for advice on sticking to a schedule… I say don’t put the added pressure on yourself. Attempt to create a schedule for yourself that works with your full time job, but if you miss some days here or there, no one’s going to stop coming around. Everybody needs a break here and there. Do what’s achievable and realistic and, most of all, still enjoyable for your schedule. 🙂

  23. January 10, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Having a strong reaction to an issue that you are passionate about is a good thing and it makes for interesting reading. I’ve been a little foggy myself, these day…

  24. January 11, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    I find your blog very focused. And I think the personal feelings and passion you bring to animal welfare are what makes your posts interesting to read. When I think of blogs who bring a special and unique perspective to animal welfare, I think of two: yours and RumbyDog.

    As for the schedule thing, you already do one thing I’d suggest. Assign certain topics to certain days.

    I know I’ll find a cool video at your site on Friday and a dog park picture on Wednesday. I also save Monday for Good for the Dog; Good for You (formerly Puppiness Project) and Thursday for my occasional reviews. Just having those things in mind helps bring some order to my mind and keep me to a schedule.

    Look forward to all you have to say in 2013.

  25. January 11, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    I hear you about the “feeling” thing when it comes to writing! Some days I have a ton of ideas where I just to write them all down or I’ll forget, and sometimes there are days when I am just left staring at a blank blog post trying to find the words!
    I feel that I spent most of last year in a fog too. Nothing was clear about where I wanted to go and I was all over the place, maybe that’s good, but maybe that’s bad, I’m not sure. I still feeling like I’m in a bit of a fog, but feel that the clearing is near!

    You don’t owe me an apology, I feel I owe you one for not being worthy:)

    Best of luck this year Mel:)

  26. AJ
    January 11, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    I have the same struggles as you do… it’s so hard to blog on a schedule! I find that I spend most of the winter months in a fog, and I’m more prone to blogging during the sunny summer months… which is not ideal, living in cold, snowy Canada!

  27. January 11, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Thanks for sharing your blogging facts! I blog on a schedule, because I have so much going on just like you. My entire life has been by a schedule so it’s natural to me. I work on blogging/social networking on my train ride to and from work, for an hour after I get the pets settled when I come home and on the weekends.

    I also write for 2 other sites and manage a blogging tips newsletter – you can say that I’m a little nuts. But each of those tasks has a day of the week – I don’t bother with it on the other days.

    Setting “work hours” keeps me from neglecting the rest of my life. Best of luck in 2013!

  28. January 12, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Thanks for sharing! This is my first time to participate in the Pet Bloggers Challenge and I have learned so much from the few blogs I have visited! I love your blog and am glad I found it! My biggest problem is keeping up with all the blogs and seriously, I don’t know how you keep up with everything working a 9 to 5 job:)

    • Mel
      January 13, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      Welcome to the challenge! I am still making the rounds after getting the flu this past week. Today is the first time I have been able to write and read without my eyes going all googlie. The truth is I don’t keep up with all the blogs. I try, but I can’t. So I visit the ones I find interesting and those bloggers I love to read. I just finally added everyone’s blogs to my Google Reader. I am hoping that will lessen the number of emails I get and make it easier to hop from blog to blog. We shall see!

  29. January 13, 2013 at 3:55 AM

    Well, it’s interesting that you say that last year your goal was to blog LESS, because most bloggers I read say the opposite! – ‘Must blog more!!’

    I can’t help you with the schedule thing, because it’s not the way I work, either. I think if I had to blog that way the fun would go out of it pretty quickly, and it would become just another task to do.

    • Mel
      January 13, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      LOL! Well, one can have high hopes Jay. 🙂
      I agree. I think I do better when I don’t have a schedule. However, I also recognize that I then become a slave to my blog more than I want. I want it to be fun (like you). I think I just need to find the right balance. It’s a work in progress. 🙂

  30. January 13, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    I love your question to the other bloggers. That’s the exact thing I can’t figure out. I know some folks either don’t work at all or work freelance or work part time and THAT is how they get all those things done, but I cannot for my life figure out how people with households to run, dogs to care for, full-time way-more-than-40-hours-a-week jobs they’re obligated to, and family/friends social obligations to attend are also getting it all done. HOW?? I am befuddled.

    • Mel
      January 13, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      Exactly!!!! How do they do it Lauren???

  31. January 16, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    If life in your fog produces posts with so much feeling and detail, I say gimme some of that. Your fog is clearly better stuff than mine. Mine debilitates all creativity. Don’t worry. I’ve got fans blowing it back this way. Just stand downwind.

    I have no idea how you manage all that you do and a blog so much on top of it. I posted 28 times in 2012. It was a rough year, but still. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If we aren’t doing this for money, we darn well better be doing it for enjoyment!

    PS: Those people who can do it all are part of a secret club with access to a time machine. If they were confined to a 24 hour day, they’d be griping just like us.

    • Mel
      January 16, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      Thanks for your kind words Kim, but I fear if you dig deeper you will find many posts lacking in much value at all. In many cases I was just going through the motions. That’s why I wanted to make a new commitment to blogging about things that really matter and bringing more of myself to my blogging.

      You were doing a heck of a lot last year too! And, on top of a really tough year for you too! I can only hope the winds of good fortune are now headed your way and leave you feeling renewed and rejuvenated. You certainly deserve it. I am looking forward to your writing this year.

      P.S. I don’t think I want to be a part of the secret club after all. I I were able to do it all I wouldn’t have any time to enjoy the successes in between. 🙂

  32. January 16, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    I find it almost impossible to blog on a schedule, but I never would have guessed you don’t schedule! Your posts are always so well thought out and put together. It looks to me like you have it all together. I agree with Kim. If this is your work in a fog, then I’ll take a thick blanket of it PLEASE.

    • Mel
      January 16, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      LOL! Are you telling me I’ve got it all together? Ha! How have I managed to fool everyone into thinking that? 🙂
      I honestly don’t schedule my posts. I wish I could. I write when the words overtake me and I can’t do anything but write. That’s why I often find typos days later. I’m too busy writing to see them all.

      Seriously though, thank you for your kind words. I really was in a fog last year. Maybe it don’t show as much as I thought it did after all. 🙂

  1. January 23, 2013 at 10:05 PM

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