Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017 Pet Blogger Challenge

I wasn't originally planning on participating in the 2017 Pet Blogger Challenge, but when I was reading through a lot of my favorite blogs the past two days, I really enjoyed reading all of the answers. So I decided that, since the weather is horrible and I'm stuck inside, and I am totally sick of cleaning and organising for the moment, I would take some time and answer the questions myself.

Corvallis Jan Snow-2623
Just a cute picture of Ptera in the snow yesterday

When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?

I started blogging on May 30th, 2010. That is over six and a half years ago. My blog is much the same now as it was then: a story of my life with my dogs. I like to focus on the active parts of our lives, including flyball training, hiking, and adventures. My other main passion is photography, so I love sharing photos of the various things we do and places we go.

What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?

Honestly, I think the proudest blogging moment for me is just making it through the year with my blog still active. Regular readers may have noticed more photo posts and reviews and fewer word-heavy posts about our lives. I've been in something of a blogging slump, and something of a slump in the rest of my life in many ways (I injured my wrist in August and am still in a brace and going to physical therapy, and that has taken a lot out of me and caused a lot of stress). So just having made it through the year without abandoning the blog entirely, even when I could barely type for months, and holding my camera caused horrible pain and swelled up my entire hand and arm for hours, is a huge thing for me.

Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

Honestly I think it is either Ptera's Flyball Debut or Another Tournament, Another Title and neither of them has much to do with the post itself, and everything to do with how proud I am of this tiny, crazy dog I welcomed into my life this year. We have come such a long way in such a short time, and I couldn't be happier or more proud of her and what we have done this year.

UOD Ptera-3071
Ptera running like a rockstar at her second ever flyball tournament

Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?

I honestly didn't focus much on increasing traffic this year. The two things that I have tried to do are pretty simple. I tried to post regularly, and I make sure to comment on other blogs when I visit them. Not only do the writers of those blogs often stop by mine as well, but other people reading their blog will read through the comments and click through to my blog. I notice that when I make a point of commenting on blogs I read that day, or that week, that I get a not insignificant increase in the views and comments on my own blog. I guess that is part of what makes it "social media" though, right?

Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?

My all time most popular post, and most popular this year, is Metal Allergies in Dogs. I think this is because there are practically no resources on the topic, so my blog is one of the top results. I have written about the topic a few times, actually. A follow up post was Dealing With Metal Allergies in Dogs where I wrote about finding collars, bowls, and other dog equipment that doesn't contain metal. I learned just in the last two months that Koira has a second rather strange allergy for dogs, and am planning on writing a post about that in the near future. I know a lot of people have found so much help in my posts about metal allergies, and that makes me want to provide as much information and helpful advice as I can to people dealing with similar problems.

What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)

Oh man, this one is hard. I think it is hard for everyone. Like many bloggers, I also read a ton of blogs myself. Some of them stick around for years, and some are shorter lived. I honestly can't pick and choose what one I am most inspired by. Never Say Never Greyhounds is a favorite, for her writing style, her bold choice of greyhounds as agility dogs, and for having a good mix of sharing her sport without making it so technical that those not involved can't follow along. Kol's Notes this year inspired me for maybe a strange reason- the realization that even if a blog doesn't have new posts for sometimes months at a time, loyal readers are out there who will be overjoyed when a new post arrives. A Collection of Madcap Escapades's tales of endurance riding and horse training reminds me that you can have friends you've never met, who are into totally different things from you, but greatly enjoy the stories of their adventures.

What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?

I share a lot of some things, and not much of others. I mentioned above that I have had a wrist injury since August, and I don't know that I've mentioned it on the blog before. I broke my neck a few years ago, and I'm not sure I mentioned that much either, though I know that it changed a lot of my habits and ways that I do things- I became much less active after that, first due to pain, and then because I had lost the habit. I share a lot of my dog related life, but try to keep things positive on the blog, keeping my personal issues and problems more to myself and less out in the world.

What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?

Sometimes you have to do it before you feel it. That is actually a somewhat mangled quote from a book from my childhood (anyone else read a ton of Lurlene McDaniel while growing up?), but it is also true. Some posts, some weeks, this year have been happening out of a thought that if I do it, I will feel it.

What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?

I would like to get back to some more adventure posts, more day to day life, that kind of thing, instead of more single photo posts. I always am disappointed when I click through to a blog and it is just one picture and that is it.

Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?

I guess my question is- what kind of posts do you most enjoy? Do you like informational posts, like the ones about metal allergies? DIY posts? Just a cute picture being shared? Wordy posts about an adventure? Want more flyball training posts? What would you like to see more of here?


  1. This is my first time stopping by and I love your pictures. In terms of what to post, I think as long as posts are honest and authentic - whether pictures or longer posts - they will ring true with readers.

    That second photo is so amazing and has such a story to tell. I will absolutely return to check out some of your other posts.

  2. I totally understand the blogging slump. :) I go through periods of a few months where I don't post anything for a variety of reasons. But you're right, there are blogs that I follow that I'm over joyed when they get back to posting. Mostly, don't beat yourself up over it. Life happens. People will be happy when you're able to post.

    As for what posts you should do more of? I think a combination of everything that you listed is perfect! Keep it changing and the variety makes it more interesting.

  3. I really enjoy reading your posts! I really like the adventure posts as well as the training posts.

  4. I love adventure posts! And that picture of Ptera doing flyball is AMAZING! Such joy--I don't know much about flyball, so I'll have to go back and read some of the posts I missed on that! I was definitely in a slump this year, too, so hopefully 2017 is a better year for both of us!

  5. I have never heard of metal allergies in dogs; I'll be clicking over to read more. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh yes, we've been in a bit of a writing slump too. I'd love a DIY dog coat post! We love the coats you made for the girls!

  7. Thanks so much for joining us - this is way better than cleaning and organizing, right?!

    It sounds like you've had a rough year - being injured really puts a strain on all areas of your life, so I'm glad that you were able to keep chugging on the blog. Hopefully you've set yourself up for a terrific 2107.

    No surprise, I imagine, but I'm all about the adventures! I hope you have many this year, and that you and the dogs enjoy them completely. Waggin' trails!

  8. I'm glad you got out of the blogging slump. A couple years ago I was in the same boat and I was happy to get out of 2015 with my blog still intact. As far as my favorite posts. If you have some easy DIY posts in mind I'd love to see a few of those. Unfortunately, I'm not too handy so a complex DIY would probably overwhelm me. Here's to a great 2017!

  9. I found you earlier this year and I stuck around for the pictures. Ask anyone snd they will tell you I'm obsessed with pictures!

    And I hear what you're saying about keeping your blog free of your personal life. I like to think of my blog as a little bright spot in an internet with too much shouting, arguing and rudeness.

  10. Ahhhhh. This sounds similar to how I was last year. I was just happy that the blog was still somewhat active.

    I'm sorry to hear about your wrist.

    I like a mixture of posts!

  11. Wow. Sorry to hear about your neck and wrist. I hurt my back really bad years ago and regularly deal with back pain still today. It definitely put a damper on my "active" life... so I can relate. Here's to hoping 2017 is a better one filled with more adventure!