Hello friends. We are first-timers to the Pet Blogger Challenge. We were in existence when the last time it happened but we were too busy learning how this bloggy thing worked to look into what the challenge hubbub was all about.
Our world has expanded a lot over this last year. Will My Dog Hate me and Go Pet Friendly are the homes of some of our favorite people and dogs. My fingers perked up right away when we heard the challenge was coming again this year.
To take the challenge, each blogger answers questions about their blog and how they got started. We then share our post with all of the other bloggers at the blog link up.
I took the liberty of leaving out a couple of questions and combining a few of them so that they would make more sense for us. Here are our answers to the questions:
When did you begin your blog?
We shared our first post with the world on November 29th, 2010. It was right after we adopted Gretel.
What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
My original purpose for starting the blog was to share the adventures of Chester and Gretel with our friends, family and the world. We hike and showshoe with our two miniature dachshunds all of the time. Every time we are out, we encounter at least a couple people that are surprised to see two small Dachshunds coming up the trail at them. Many of them question whether the hike is too hard on them or whether they “actually made it up here my themselves”. We wanted to show the world how tough Dachshunds are and what great little outdoor companions they can make.
Is your current purpose the same?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Our primary purpose remains the same but as our blog audience has grown, so has the scope of what we cover.
If not, what’s different and how do you feel you have met your goals?
We have expanded to be the voice for small, active dogs everywhere and to be THE resource for hiking with your small dog. Our main focus is still Dachshunds but we realized that there are other small dog that like to hike too. There is no resource out there aimed specifically at them. Underlying all if this is the mission of breaking the stereotype about small dogs – that they are capable of so much more than most people give them credit for.
We provide aim to inspire our readers with our own stories, talk about other small active dogs in the news, share hiking and snowshoeing tips, review products and dog-friendly places and share any other tidbits that we think our readers would be interested in.
It is clear that we have met our goals by the number of fans that support us. They leave comments all the time about how much they love reading about our adventures, how much they appreciate us giving active, small dogs and voice and the value they get from our reviews and tips.
Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?
I primarily blog on a schedule but allow for some flexibility. I may post on an off day or twice in one day if I have too much to share or am too excited to wait. I take breaks in the schedule occasionally too. I may take a break for the holidays, if we are out on some crazy adventure that keeps us too busy or if life just gets too overwhelming.
If the former, how often — and what techniques do you use to stick to it?
We are a high-tech family. I run our blog, a Facebook page and Twitter profile for the blog, a personal Facebook Page and another blog so my family and friends can follow my wedding planning adventure. Together my Fiancé and I own two smart phones, two flat screen TVs, two laptop computers, a Samsung Galaxy tablet, an iPod and a Zune. However, the method I use to schedule blog posts is about as low tech as you get.
First, I print out a blank calendar for each month. I write a topic at the top of the column for each day of the week I post. I then pencil in what I plan to post for each day for the next month or so…or however many months my ideas fill 🙂 I write it in pencil because I am always changing and rearranging the posts.
I have this funny system where I pencil in ideas. Then when I finish typing up the post I put a small circle in the top right corner of the day on the calendar. Then after I process the photos and schedule the post on the blog, I put a check mark in the circle. That is how I can see at a glance where I am at with everything.
If the latter, do you worry about… well, whatever you might worry about?
We don’t do the “latter” and solely post whenever the spirit moves us but I think this question is still relevant. I think everyone worries about something at least a little.
I started the blog for fun. I am still in it for the fun but now I run the blog more like a business. The goal is to become a widely known and popular blog so traffic does matter. Blog traffic has been on an increasing trend but it can be hard to not let a slow traffic week get you down. I try to keep an eye on the future and try not to panic.
I approach the whole thing as a learning experience. I aim to find out what works, what doesn’t and the natural times of year that people read and comment on blogs less. Seeing a drop or sharp increase in numbers helps you sort that out.
Are you generating income from your blog?
I intend to but am not at this time. The offers have started rolling in but I haven’t found anything yet that we use, believe in or can stand behind that I want to advertise. I take pride in our blog and what we stand for. I would rather be selective about who I promote than worry about the all-mighty dollar….although I admit the dollar can be tempting sometimes.
If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how?
We are open to all opportunities.
We dream of being paid to be spokespeople for popular outdoor brands like Zuke’s Performance Nutrition or Ruff Wear but don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon. We are open to affiliate opportunities as long as we can control the ads that appear on our blog. What we are really interested at the moment is sponsor ads.
Since we have never advertised on our blog, we need to learn how to manage ads. Our initial plan is to create a few banner ad spots and then offer a free month of advertising to our favorite brands. Our “payment” will be learning from the experience.
Over that month we will watch the numbers to see which ads are most popular, which posts generate the most ad clicks and the like. We will also offer a free summary report at the end of the month to our advertisers. Like I said, we are open to offers so (warning: shameless promotion ahead) if this is something you might be interested in please contact us.
What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular?
Well, I would say the thing I like most about our blog is that I MUST get outdoors and have fun to have stories to share! Having fun is my job. It’s tough but someone has to do it. Basically, I get to write about what I love – Chester and Gretel, having fun with my dogs and gear and products I have researched and tried.
With blogging in general, I love connecting with other people with similar interests…or expanding your mind and learning about different perspectives. I like that a blog can be used to share your unique view of the world with others.
What do you like least?
Like I said, we are primarily in this for the fun but also run it like a business. We try to go heavy on the fun and less heavy on the business part. However, it is really annoying when something goes wrong with our site and I don’t have the knowledge to fix it myself or the money to pay someone else to do it. I have to roll up my sleeves and hope to learn what will get me by in the shortest time possible.
How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?
In our recent birthday post, I wrote about how our blog is going to change in the upcoming year. Click on over to find out how.
Check out the other blogs taking the Pet Blogger Challenge with us