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Pet Blogger Challenge 2012

January 9, 2012 31 comments

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10
Today is the 2nd Annual Pet Blogger Challenge, hosted by the wonderful, inspiring, and adventurous Amy Burkert of GoPetFriendly.com and Edie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me?.

Last year, Amy and Edie kicked off the 1st Annual Pet Blogger Challenge after Amy posted a piece called Bullied By The Blog. Figuring that they couldn’t be the only ones bullied by their blogs, they created the Pet Blogger Challenge and asked other pet bloggers to join in. Each blogger was asked to answer eight questions designed to introspectively think about their blog – from the reason they started it to where they saw it going.

The result was a series of fun, insightful and interesting blog posts written by all kinds of pet bloggers with all sorts of pet perspectives. I learned so much about my fellow bloggers, and in the process, learned a lot about blogging too. So when Leo of Kenzo the Hovawart and Viva suggested that Amy and Edie make this an annual thing, the response was a resounding chorus of “Yes!”

So without further ado, here are the answers to this year’s 8 questions (I should mention that pet bloggers new to this challenge have a different set of questions – which are the same ones from last year.):

1. Provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.
Here is last year’s entry into the Pet Blogger Challenge.

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

My goal last year was to blog more about those things I thought might interest my clients (including doing more product reviews). Although I had initially started my blog to share pertinent information with my clients, I found myself blogging more about topics that interested me. My goal was to get back to a more client-focused blog and be a resource for my clients.

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

Yes and No. After a lot of thinking and self-reflection, I decided to close down my business in April of 2011 and go back to work in the corporate world. It was a really tough decision and one I’m not really sure I am able to accept, even now.

As a result, my goals for my blog changed quite a bit. Instead of being client-focused, my blog became a sort of hodge-podge of the serious and the fun – pet ponderings, videos, pictures and deeper examination of some important animal welfare issues, etc. To be honest, I feel like my blog has a bit of an identity crisis, but then again, so am I. I’m still trying to decide what I want I to be when I grow up and I think my blog has been a reflection of that this past year.

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

Which are you doing now? I am blogging on more of a schedule now whereas before I used to blog whenever the spirit moved me. It’s been quite a change for me and I’m not sure I like it. I’ve actually been giving this issue a lot of thought lately because I’m not sure I am happy blogging 7 days a week. In fact, blogging on such a regimented schedule leaves me feeling less satisfied and feeling more like I am being bullied by my blog than I ever did before.

Do you still worry about lost traffic, momentum, etc? I never really worried about traffic and momentum last year since the purpose of my blog was not to gain a huge list of followers but to be a resource for clients. I didn’t become concerned with traffic until I joined Triberr. Suddenly, I was seeing stats I had never seen before and I felt the need to keep maintaining those numbers. I cannot tell you why.

However, I am starting to rethink this whole Triberr thing and the need to increase my stats. I find that I am interacting less with the people I used to love talking to on Twitter and instead, I find that I am using it more to just spread my blog posts around. I’m not sure that is where I saw myself going last year. Now, I am rethinking everything. What is it that I want to get out of blogging? Is it numbers? Or interaction? Can it be both?

5. Are you generating income from your blog? No

Has this changed since last year? No. But, I also haven’t really tried.

If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how? Maybe. This is something I am still exploring. How much time do I want to dedicate to this? It’s a question that goes round and round in my head. I still haven’t decided on an answer yet.

6. Have your likes and dislikes about blogging changed since last year?

Not much. I still like the fact that blogging allows me to express myself creatively. It also feeds my need for doing research – something I love doing. It also gives me a voice and a way to interact and learn from others. I have been so lucky to have so many wonderful followers who have left comments that made me think or made me reconsider my view/approach or who have inspired me to want to do more. I still dislike blogging on a schedule and trying to meet a deadline.

7. Overall, are you pleased with the progress you made in 2011?

Yes and No. I think I wrote some powerful posts that stayed with me for days and I think I’ve written some crap too. I feel very much that my blog has lost it’s way and I need to redefine it before I can look back and know if last year was a year of progress.

8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?

I hope to have a more focused approach and be blogging less. We shall see!

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Dogs and Dying – Do You Know What You Would Do?

April 24, 2011 10 comments

Once in a while a story comes along and just tugs at your heart strings full force. This one brought tears to my eyes.

I recommend reading the whole story because it is touching one (and yes, a sad one too).

Here is a synopsis:

A man is diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only a short time to live. He has two rescue dogs that he promised he would always care for and now he knows he will not be able to fulfill that promise. So he seeks help to find them new homes.

It reminded me that a while back, Amy Burkert (@GoPetFriendly) and I had been talking about the importance of creating a will for your pets and knowing who will take your pets if you were to suddenly pass away. Amy wrote a great piece about her process here.

My question for you is this… If you were diagnosed with cancer today and told you only had a short time to live, what would you do with your pets? Do You Know What You Would Do?

By the Way – Acee and Reesee are still looking for their new home. I hope someone with a big heart will give them one.

The Pet Blogger Challenge!

January 10, 2011 31 comments

Pet Blogger Challenge

Recently Amy Burkert from Go Pet Friendly and Edie Jarolim from Will My Dog Hate Me shared how sometimes they feel bullied by their blogs (you can read them here and here). Truthfully, the need to constantly “feed the beast” can be a challenge at times. I think many of us feel the pressure to offer new and interesting content to our readers on a consistent basis to keep them interested and engaged. I know I’ve certainly felt that way at times.

It was out of this discussion that The Pet Blogger Challenge! was born.

What is The Pet Blogger Challenge? It’s a challenge for pet bloggers across the blogsphere to share what they’ve done with their blogs (take a look back) and share where they want to go with them moving forward.
They even came up with a list of questions!

So without further ado, here are my responses. Let me know what you think.

1. When did you begin your blog?
2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?

I began my first blog (Daisy the Wonder Dog and How She Found Her Inner Lab) in October 2008 after attending a seminar given by Mr. Social Media himself, David Meerman Scott. What I heard him say inspired me to use social media as a way to build my business, but it also made me want to start a blog as a way to catalog my puppy mill dog, Daisy, and her progress from a cowering and fearful dog to a Lab that enjoyed life. (I had no idea what I was doing when I started!)

Over time, I realized that Daisy’s blog was fun, if not a little emotionally challenging at times, but it did not allow me to address those issues or topics that might be of interest to my pet sitting and dog walking clients. So, in February 2009 I started No Dog About It Blog as a way to encompass those topics as well as a few topics that I have an interest in like animal welfare, puppy mills, etc.

3. Is your current purpose the same? If not, what’s different?

Unfortunately, I haven’t written as much in Daisy’s blog as I would like, but the purpose is still the same.
For No Dog About It Blog, I’d have to say No. Somewhere along the way, I started to focus on more of the issues that interested me and less on those things that might interest my clients. I had actually begun revisting what I wanted my blog to be about when this challenge came up. This year, I plan to blog more about those things that might be of help or interest to my clients and less on those issues that just interest me. I will still blog about some of the issues I care about, but I also want to be a resource for my clients. I believe my blog can fill both purposes.

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you? If the former, how often — and what techniques do you use to stick to it? If the latter, do you worry about… well, whatever you might worry about (e.g. losing traffic, losing momentum)?

I do have a schedule for some items, like Wordless Wednesday or Wednesday Winners and Favorite Video Friday, but often I just blog when the spirit moves me or when a topic gets stuck in my brain. Sometimes, I just stumble upon something of interest, and like a dog with a bone, I just can’t let it go until I blog about it. To be honest though, I do feel like I have to blog about something at least 3 times a week even though I don’t have it scheduled in my calendar, I do have it scheduled in my brain.

5. Are you generating income from your blog? If so, how (e.g. sponsor ads, affiliate relationships, spokesperson opportunities)? If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how?

I do not currently generate income from my blog (hard to do when hosted on WordPress’ site), but I would like to in the future.

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular (bragging is good!)?

Being a creative person, I enjoy blogging because it allows me to express myself. It gives me a voice. It also means I get to learn from others and learn about their own experiences. I love that!

Now for the bragging part – What I have tried to do with my blog is make it both fun and informative (being serious all of the time can be pretty boring dontcha think?), and I think I have done that. I also like it when I am able to write something that resonates with people. It’s really rewarding when someone takes the time to add their own experiences or thoughts and then shares it with others.

7. What do you like least?

Two things: 1) Trying to meet the deadlines I have imposed on myself for the Wednesday and Friday items and 2) feeling like I need to post at least 3 times a week to keep people interested.

8. How do you see your blog changing or growing in 2011?

In 2011, I intent to focus a little more on topics and issues that I think would interest my clients. I’ll do a few more product reviews, interviews and share information on pet healthcare and health issues for both dogs and cats. I also hope to migrate my blog to my website and host it myself.

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