Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pet Blogger Challenge 2013

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10And so begins another year...

I can tell because it's time again for Go Pet Friendly's Third Annual Pet Blogger Challenge.

Have I really been blogging long enough to get to answer the "Repeat Offenders" questions? To be honest, I never thought I'd stick with it this long.

If you haven't heard about The Challenge before, it's a chance for pet-bloggers to reflect on the "State of the Blog" over the last year, assess how well (or not) things are going and set some goals for the coming year.

It's also permission to publicly navel-gaze a bit while connecting with, and learning from, others who face the same challenges, fears and hopes. If you've never participated before, there's still time and I encourage you to give it a look.

Questions for Repeat Offenders

  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.

    My first post was published August 7, 2011 and here's a link to last year's Challenge post.
  2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post.

    I didn't really set out any specific goals last year but I was 1) considering accepting review offers and 2) wanted to get back to telling Bella's story more.
  3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?

    How did I do? Well, I did a couple of reviews this year but I don't think it's ever going to be my forte. I'm a story-teller, not an authority figure. I think other people do a better job at fact-finding/information-sharing than I do. I'll probably still continue to do reviews for products that strike my fancy (I have a book review coming up) but don't think I'll be getting rich off the blog any time soon.

    I do think I got back to telling Bella's story better last year. It hasn't been an easy one to tell but people seem to respond to it. I've got to get back to that now that holiday madness has passed. We're getting to the point where she really begins to succeed in over-coming her fears and issues and I'm looking forward to telling that part of her story.
  4. How often do you post?

    I try to post at least 3 times/week but that's kind of misleading since two of those posts are just picture posts. I'm trying to improve my photography skills (as well as Bella's modeling skills) so hopefully those picture posts are still interesting but admittedly, they're not as much effort to put up.
  5. My only real goal is this:

  6. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed? If you publish on a schedule, why? How strict are you about your publishing deadlines? What do you do for inspiration when it feels like you’ve covered every topic?

    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?”


    I post on a schedule, or try to anyway. I do it for myself mostly, in part because I respond well to deadlines and in part to keep focused. Since I'm telling a story, mostly chronologically, I worry if I go too long between updates, readers will have forgotten where we were.

    As long as I have Bella, I will never 'cover every topic'. I haven't even gotten us all caught up on her story yet and she's making new ones every day. I'm not running out of things to blog about any time soon.

    And as for knowing what is "post-worthy", it's all just a guess for me anyway - I never expected so many people to be interested in Bella's story to begin with so as long as they are, I'll keep telling it.
  7. 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.

    I'd love to hear other people's tip about "staying on top of it all" because I'm failing miserably. I spend too much time writing my own posts (it's an OCD thing), probably 8 - 10+ hours/week, and not enough visiting other blogs.

    I try to carve out a few hours a week to do nothing but go visiting but I still don't feel I can keep up with everything that's going on with everyone or let people know how much I appreciate them and their stories.
  8. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)? Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions?

    I'm not honestly sure. I like to look at the numbers and recently my page views have gone through the roof which is fun but my comments aren't reflecting that. Comments mean a lot more to me than page views and, to me at least, are more indicative of the success of a post.

    But it's the content of a comment that tells me whether or not I've made the point I wanted to, if what I've said resonated with someone or if I totally blew what I was trying to say. The fact that anyone stops by to read what I have to say still kind of blows my mind so taking an extra moment to say hi as well is pretty much all I need to write another day.
  9. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

    See # 6. "Share your tips for staying on top of it all." I don't know how people do it. My blog isn't a business. It's never going to be so maybe I'm measuring it by standards that don't apply.

    But I don't know how others manage to post every day, comment on a hundred other blogs, participate in every campaign and event, utilize all the various social media outlets, run contests, blog hops and give-aways and still have time for the dog in their life that they're blogging about. It's a pretty impressive feat.
  10. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?

    I think my goals going forward are going to be the same as I've always had: just tell Bella's story. Try to make it connect with people. Make it funny. Make it sting sometimes. Hope it helps.



As I said last year, it's been fun playing in this sandbox. Thanks for letting me and for joining me. The community here in Blogville is truly awe-inspiring and I am honored to be a part of it.

Enjoy the rest of the blogs participating in today's event by clicking on the links below.





29 comments:

  1. Pamela | Something WaggingJanuary 10, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    I have such a big grin on my face right now. You said some of the same things I did but so simply and elegantly. 

    I need to take a big dose of kaopectate before I write. :)

    As for question #6, I think you've found the right answer. None of us are doing all we'd like to. But we don't have to. :)

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  2. We love your blog & think you do a wonderful job!

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  3. Looking forward to more of Bellas story in 2013!

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  4. Georgia Little PeaJanuary 10, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    I understand where you're coming from with the chronological posting and gaps in posting. I have stories that I meant to tell and now never will because the time has passed. Bella's story is a good one. It's hard to go past a dog that is nervous of flies ;) I'm as nonplussed as you over bloggers who find time to take part in every activity and still have a life. I'm sure there's something they're not telling us. Maybe they're attached to a caffeine or red bull drip. I know why I'm not on top of things. I write comments that are too bloody long! :D

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  5. You are a fantastic storyteller, I just have to say. :) I really enjoyed reading about Bella's story throughout the year - you have a great writing style and I am always drawn back here.

    I agree with Pamela about #6. It's kind of reassuring to read everyone else's posts and realize that I'm not alone in facing down the time management challenge!

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  6. Mom and I really love reading about Bella and how much you love her and all the progress she is making. We are really excited to hear about what happens next...that already happened :) And also what happened next that hasn't happened yet at all. If that makes sense...

    Also, having looked at pretty lot of pictures her, I have to say that Bella is an excellent model and that your are an excellent picture taker!

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  7. Like the other commenters, I enjoy reading Bella's story! I don't know how to stay on top of it all either. The only thing that's helped me is Google Reader because I can toggle through all my favorite blogs while I eat my breakfast. It sounds like you have a great set of goals for 2013, and I look forward to following your (and Bella's!) progress!  

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  8. I'm not sure how I keep on top of it.. I guess I have genius writing moments.. between the handmade posting calendar and setting reminders and having a schedule it just comes together somehow.. like organized chaos.

    Oh.. I guess I shouldn't give you one more thing to keep up with.. 3 blog awards..

    Stop by my post - here -> http://peacelovenwhiskers.com/2013/01/10/good-things-come-in-3s/  to claim them. 

    Congrats! 

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  9. Well, I don't think I need to tell you I thoroughly enjoy Bella and you butt okay... I luvs yaz :D

    I kind of buck the unwritten visiting protocol - visit a lot of blogs frequently - I so enjoy each blog I follow that I prefer to 'sit on their porch' for a while and only visit a few each day. It's one of the reasons I only post once or sometimes twice a week so I don't feel pressured to bounce all over Blogville making sure I 'promptly' visit every furiend who visits me. Honestly, I just don't have that kind of time. And I have no idea how some furiends manage it - BOL I've never asked them how they do - I think because I don't want to know Ha! :)

    So, if I were to give any fellow blogger a tip, it would be, enjoy yourselves, do what makes you happy and blog on :)

    Waggin at ya,
    Roo

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  10. I love your blog and I totally understand about the time issue. Thankfully Maggie keeps me on a schedule. So I have to answer my emails before the morning walk, I need to write, read and social before the afternoon walk and then I've got a few hours to wrap things up before her night walk...or so it seems. Looking forward to more Bella stories in 2013

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  11. you hit the nail on the head here: But I don't know how others manage to post every day, comment on a hundred other blogs, participate in every campaign and event, utilize all the various social media outlets, run contests, blog hops and give-aways and still have time for the dog in their life that they're blogging about. It's a pretty impressive feat.

    i do struggle with finding time for the blog, but i can't even count how many times i was actively ignoring my dog in order to do something for the blog. makes me want to bang my head into a wall when i think about it.

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  12. One thing that helps me stay on top blogging is to create a schedule. 

    In the morning, I check/respond/organize email. 
    Then I head over to Triberr to share posts and read a few posts (if I have the time). 
    I return to my blog and share my posts on social networking sites; I like to do this manually so that I can add a blurb.
    I read blog posts on Sat/Sun, but only for an hour each day. 
    I write when an idea hits me - if I can't draft out a post, then I carry around a spiral that I write notes in to remind me for later. 
    I add a question to my FB page a couple times a day - checking in with everyone in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
    I promote via Tumbler and YouTube on the weekends.

    It seems like a lot, but it really doesn't take much time.  If I'm not feeling it, then I move on.

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  13.  As I'm (slowly) making my way through the blogs in this hop, I'm really seeing the same questions coming from all bloggers, "how do you manage everything."   I'm hoping someone has the answer. :-) 

    Keep up the great work though, I love reading about Bella and the dedication to her that you and Jan have.

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  14. I am so glad you participated this year and that you are still sharing Bella's story. I think it's great that you realize where your interests lie so you can focus your writing on the topics you care about most. Many bloggers get lost when they try to cover too much. It seems to me, the more focused the niche, the better. You do a great job of remaining true to your voice and I think that is why so many people have gravitated here. That and all the gorgeous Bella pictures. She truly is a stunner and you do such a wonderful job of capturing her personality.

    I used to wonder the same things. How do people do it all? The truth is, I think they only make it look like they do. No one is doing it all, it's impossible. But if you do a bit of everything every once in a while, when it's fun and you can be sincere, it's more than enough. I'd rather do one thing really well than one hundred things half-heartedly.

    I can't wait to see how your blog grows in 2013!

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  15. Great responses! I completely agree with your perspective on comments vs pageviews (though I brand new, and would be happy with either!). And your response to #8... very well said!

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  16. Just stopping by to say "hi." :-)

    "I think my goals going forward are going to be the same as I've always
    had: just tell Bella's story. Try to make it connect with people. Make
    it funny. Make it sting sometimes. Hope it helps."

    You've been doing a great job. Keep at it Leslie!

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  17. Vicki Stringfellow CookJanuary 12, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    I think you bring up a very important point. Hobby bloggers really shouldn't compare themselves to professional bloggers who post everyday, run events, participate in blog hops, etc. The average person has to work their blog in around their "real life", which is why they only post 1-3 times per week (or less). It's like comparing apples and oranges!

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  18. Thanks for this Vicki.  I think that's something I really needed to hear.  

    I spend 10 hours a day at work, more time on training and education (for myself), come home, take care of my family and Bella, volunteer with animal rescue when I can and then try to find time to take pictures, write blog posts, comment on other blogs and support various events.  

    I know others do the same and yet the common thread I'm reading on almost every blog in this hop is we're all beating ourselves up because we're not 'doing it all'.  Heck yeah, we are.  It's an ambitious bunch, hobbyist or not.  Thanks for the reality slap.  :)

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  19. Woof! Woof! We missed this challenge (we wished we joined) but enjoying reading the posts. It was great knowing you even for a short time. Yes it can be overwhelming. we never get caught up especially with all the blogs we follow. For the past year we are in a temporary location (my mom have a hard time with the time zone(5hrs behind EST) but it helped with our commenting. We comment  mostly in the morning and evening (this will change soon as we return to our regular time zone soon.) Many times we just read blog posts, commenting is just impossible. So don't feel pressure that you have to comment on all posts. Golden Thanks for sharing. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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  20. That is a  beautiful picture of Bella!  Your blog is awesome and I think you do a great job with it!  I never get caught up and I really don't know others do it!  Sometimes it is just overwhelming!

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  21. Staying on top of it all: I think, firstly, you can't stay on top of it 'all'. Instead, you can hope to stay on top of the elements that are important to you. If you like blog hops, do that, if you like challenges, do them. Or mix and match. Trying to do it all is impossible! And it's stressful to try to do the impossible.

    Otherwise, I try to split my time up: I want a new post up about every second day. I try to write it one day, proof read the next day and then post. This means that I have a day to then browse other blogs and try to get involved in other things. If I see something coming up that I want to be involved in (like this pet blogger challenge), I make a note of it and try to fit it into my existing schedule, instead of making an extra post for it. This is for my sanity and for the blog's longevity - if I feel overwhelmed, I'll probably just stop blogging, so slow and steady suits me better.

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  22. Glad to hear I'm not the only one behind on all the reading. I feel like I'm constantly missing out on great bloggers. This is one attempt to play catch up, lol.

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  23. Sorry I didn't get a chance to read this earlier.  Keeping on top of it all really is impossible, unless you're at the computer constantly.  My only advice there, is "Don't sweat it".  Do what you can, when you can.  Everyone has their own needs and priorities. It's a pleasure getting to know you here and on my blog.  Thanks for the visit and have a wonderful year.

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  24. I love that you're doing what you love - blogging about Bella and helping the rest of us as you do. Honestly, given your response to Vicki, I have no idea how you're doing all that you are! Don't beat yourself up - just prioritize what's important to you and let everything else go. No one ever carved on their headstone, "I wish I'd read more blogs." =)

    Thanks for taking part in the Challenge and all the best to you and Bella in 2013 - I'm looking forward to hearing about some of Bella's successes!

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  25. I love that you're doing what you love - blogging about Bella and helping the rest of us as you do. Honestly, given your response to Vicki, I have no idea how you're doing all that you are! Don't beat yourself up - just prioritize what's important to you and let everything else go. No one ever carved on their headstone, "I wish I'd read more blogs." =)

    Thanks for taking part in the Challenge and all the best to you and Bella in 2013 - I'm looking forward to hearing about some of Bella's successes!

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  26. I love that you're doing what you love - blogging about Bella and helping the rest of us as you do. Honestly, given your response to Vicki, I have no idea how you're doing all that you are! Don't beat yourself up - just prioritize what's important to you and let everything else go. No one ever carved on their headstone, "I wish I'd read more blogs." =)

    Thanks for taking part in the Challenge and all the best to you and Bella in 2013 - I'm looking forward to hearing about some of Bella's successes!

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  27. I love that you're doing what you love - blogging about Bella and helping the rest of us as you do. Honestly, given your response to Vicki, I have no idea how you're doing all that you are! Don't beat yourself up - just prioritize what's important to you and let everything else go. No one ever carved on their headstone, "I wish I'd read more blogs." =)

    Thanks for taking part in the Challenge and all the best to you and Bella in 2013 - I'm looking forward to hearing about some of Bella's successes!

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  28. I love that you're doing what you love - blogging about Bella and helping the rest of us as you do. Honestly, given your response to Vicki, I have no idea how you're doing all that you are! Don't beat yourself up - just prioritize what's important to you and let everything else go. No one ever carved on their headstone, "I wish I'd read more blogs." =)

    Thanks for taking part in the Challenge and all the best to you and Bella in 2013 - I'm looking forward to hearing about some of Bella's successes!

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  29. LOL - Thanks Sugar, but you and your mom are among the bloggers I'm in awe of! You seem to be able to visit every blog and leave some comment luv. It's inspiring to see the relationships you've built as a result. If there's anything I miss about not being able to get to everyone's blog all the time, it's that - the missed opportunity for a friendship.

    We're going to give some thought this year as to how to get better at this.

    Sorry we missed your Seeing Beautiful this month. I am going to add that to my calendar so I don't forget next time.

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