Pet Blogger Challenge 2013

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

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 began blogging in 2007 on my blog Pet Product Review. I started afFURmation a few months later and am now blogging on my new blog NEPA Pets. Here my post from the Pet Blogger Challenge from 2012- Second Annual Pet Blogger Challenge (and if you’re curious my post from 2011- Pet Blogger Challenge).

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

I think my main goals were getting better with social media, writing around a more consistent set of topics and finding my writing voice.

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

If you visited my post from last year and then came back here you might notice my goals changed over the last year because you’re on a different bog than last year.

Last summer, I began wondering how my blog was different from other blogs, why was I blogging and where I really wanted to take it. I was seeing my site traffic increase, but was feeling like a very small fish in a very big pond. One of the things I’ve wanted to do with my blogging is inform and educate other pet owners. I did feel like I was doing that, but there were times I felt like I was saying the same things as other bloggers to almost the same audience.

After some thinking, I decided to start a new blog, one that while has information for pet owners everywhere has a lot of focus on pet lovers in my area of PA. I could have done that on afFURmation, but thought it would be better to have a site address people would remember and find easier.

4. How often do you post?

I have been posting daily for the last month, but that has been due to the holidays. My goal is to publish at least 3 times a week on a regular basis. I would like to up that to 5 days, but will start with what I know I can do.

5. 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?”

My opinion hasn’t changed. I’m not on a schedule, but want to get on a one. The main reason being that I work best with a deadline. I also want my readers to know when they can expect certain topics, plus my traffic is better when  I post consistently.

I haven’t reached a point where I feel like I’ve covered every topic. I blog about all kinds of pets not just 1 species, plus I think even though I niched down to being hyperlocal which sounds like that would be restrictive it actually gives me more areas to blog about. I have a lot of ideas for features, but I’m trying to take it slow.

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.

Hmm, I don’t know how much time I spend writing. I tend to do it in drips and drabs, by working offline on breaks at work (like I’m doing this, loving Windows Live Writer for this), and doing some more at night and on the weekends. There’s also time for researching, preparing pictures, etc. I can’t even guess.

I read a lot of blogs in my feed reader offline and don’t comment as much as I would like or should. I try to spend more time on the weekends, but it’s also not as much as I would like. Something else I can’t measure.

I have no tips for staying on top of it all. In fact, usually I’m the one asking for advice on it!  I’m trying to make weekly goals for accomplishing what I would like to do on my blog including social media.


7. 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?

Success for a specific post I usually look at traffic and then comments.

Right now I have been so busy working on building up my blog and readership that I haven’t really thought about how I would measure success of NEPA Pets.  I haven’t really thought about what I will consider success. I want to educate and promote adoption. I’d love to make a living on my blog. But right now I don’t have any measurable goals in mind that would tell me it’s a success. One area I think I will look to determine if I am heading in the right direction moving toward my goals is return visits and length of visit. My goal is to build this blog as a resource where pet owners especially those in my area will continue to return for information.


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

Well right now I can’t think of an issue I need help with, but I know when I have an issue or a question I can post it on the BlogPaws Community and there always seems to be someone willing to lend a hand or share an idea. It’s one of the best parts of belonging to a community of like minded people.


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

As for goals for this coming year- I want to get myself on some sort of a schedule for posting and doing the social media stuff. I also want to get some features started to help the homeless pets in my area. Starting a new blog has really put my brain in overdrive thinking of everything I can do with so my main goal is taking it slow and building it gradually. I don’t want to burn out before I reach my goals and I don’t want to do it sloppy.


The Pet Blogger Challenge was started by Amy at Take Paws- Go Pet Friendly and Edie of Will My Dog Hate Me? as a way for pet bloggers to meet each other, learn about each other’s goals for our blogs and find support for our blogging. This is the 3rd year and the number of bloggers joining in grows each year. Thank you to Amy for continuing the Challenge!

26 comments to Pet Blogger Challenge 2013

  • OMG Dawn – how did I not know you started another blog? I’ve thought about starting a Pittsburgh-based pet blog, but right now I do my Pittsburgh pet writing through I like it because it’s given me some really good contacts in the community. Unfortunately, between Bunny’s Blog, and, I don’t think I would have time to start up another blog. Good luck with your goals for 2013!
    Vicki Cook recently posted..Third Annual Pet Blogger ChallengeMy Profile

    • Thanks Vicki! I’ve only really gotten busy on here before Christmas. I’ve been so busy with school and work or work and more work that this will give me the chance to get active in the local pet community again.

      One blog can keep you busy enough, so I’m not sure how you do all of your writing! Good luck to you too and I hope to meet you at BlogPaws this year!

  • I like how you focused your blog to dogs in Pennsylvania, I think that is an excellent idea and one that I have thought about myself. However my life style keeps me on the move so its different. Good luck with Nepa and all the best for 2013
    Maggie recently posted..Maggie’s Travel Journal…83 days to go!My Profile

    • I am a regular homebody so this should work great for me. Although it does me if it’s a huge success I can never move. Hmmm, I better get on teaching these dogs how to shovel snow then. Thanks for stopping by Maggie!

  • It just astounds me that you’ve been blogging for so long. Way to go. I love it! Isn’t the BlogPaws community amazing? I joined when I started Keep the Tail Wagging and then just let it sit there. When I started using it regularly I couldn’t believe I had this valuable resource that I wasn’t using daily. So glad I rediscovered it and all the cool bloggers on there!

    ~ Kimberly
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted..Pet Blogger Challenge | Checking Under a Blog’s Skirts and SmilingMy Profile

    • I took a bit of a break toward the beginning when the company I worked for sold to another company that moved it out of state. I ended up working 2 jobs for a few months before going back to school full time to finish up my HIT degree while I was working. It all left little time for blogging. But I really got back into in 2011 especially after attending BlogPaws. There are times I regret not taking advantage of all that lost time, but oh well.

      I was so excited when I found out BlogPaws was going to do a community that I probably signed up 3 times thinking they lost my info. I like being a part of a great group of pet bloggers.

  • Congratulation on starting the new blog! I’d like to start another blog on a related subject, but I just don’t seem to have the time. I don’t feel like I have enough time to properly work on 1 blog!

    By the way, are you still writing to afFURmation or Pet Product Review sites? If not, are you going to maintain the two sites?

    I agree the BlogPaws Community is a great resource for pet blogging questions.

    I’m glad things are going well with NEPA Pets. I’m sure you’ll get have much success in 2013!
    Colby recently posted..Pet Blogger Challenge IIIMy Profile

    • Thanks Colby! NEPA Pets is really the only one I work on right now and the one I want to really concentrate on. I’m not writing at afFURmation although I do think about starting the blogger interviews up again. I enjoyed learning everyone else who blogs about pets in some way. I’m trying to think of a way to automate it more. Pet Product Review I write on sporadically. I do pretty in depth reviews so it has to be something I can really review.

      Looking forward to having you join us more on the BlogPaws Community.

      • I enjoyed the blogger interviews on afFURmation I think you should keep it up. I always wanted to do interviews on my blog, but never got around to it.

        I’ve been trying to get over to the BlogPaws Community more often. There’s lots of great information and advice there.
        Colby recently posted..Pet Blogger Challenge IIIMy Profile

  • Good luck with your goals for 2013! It was interesting getting to learn more about you as a blogger. Thanks for sharing Dawn!
    Ann Paws recently posted..Show Dog Toys from Kidz Entertainment Inc.My Profile

  • I really enjoy your new blog – it’s been fun to watch you develop it and grow it this year. Looking forward to seeing what 2013 brings!

  • Not burning is a key point and one that I struggle with!

    I like that you changed things up and I know exactly what you are talking about with posting the same topic to the same circle of people which is why I have been trying to put a different spin on things and try to come with new topics, but that is quite difficult!

    Looking forward to more of NEPA Pets this year!
    Jen@MyBrownNewfies recently posted..Cautiously Optimistic. A Sherman StoryMy Profile

    • You do a great job at coming up with new topics. I love how you can take moments in your life and make a post out it. That is something I’m not good at (mostly because I have no life!). I can’t wait to see what you have in store for this year Jen!

  • Gosh, I wish your blog ad been around when I was living in the Poconos! Congratulations on the be beginning, thanks for taking part in the Challenge, and the best of luck in 2013. I’ll be looking forward to reading about our former “home.”
    Amy@GoPetFriendly recently posted..Friday Photo Challenge – Now Your Pet Can Be The Star!My Profile

    • I’m always surprised at the number of people who have lived here or been here for a visit or have relatives here. It a small world online and off!

      Thanks for stopping by and for hosting the challenge this year, Amy!

  • Thanks for including that little mini-history. I remember visiting your afFURmation blog (from following a link on BlogPaws), but had no idea that you had changed to NEPA pets. Nice to re-find you and all the best for blogging in 2013.
    Tegan recently posted..DO SOMETHING! Make a submission!My Profile

  • It’s interesting that you felt like a little fish in a big pond…this is how I often feel. Thanks for your insight and good luck in 2013.
    Loy Cerf recently posted..A Baby Boomer and 30/30 Challenge Part TwoMy Profile

  • I’ve been watching your transition to NEPA pets with a lot of interest. Many people I know locally don’t follow blogs or know what they are. I find my blogging community is from everywhere. So the potential interactions between NEPA pets and other local media — radio, newspapers, etc sounds really exciting.

    Are you finding more of your traffic coming from NE Pa (the region)? Or are you still attracting an audience from all over the country?
    Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes recently posted..I Blame Canada for Making Me Turn (to) TricksMy Profile

    • Hi Pamela! Right now my traffic is from all over, but I haven’t done much local marketing yet. People here are also not familiar with blogs, although we do have a small local blogging group (they featured NEPA Pets on their site last week! ). I think referring to it as a website will help keep people from being confused. It is a website, it just happens to have a blog on it.

      I have plans to do some marketing offline and Facebook seems to be the social media platform many local people are active on so I will get more active there. Plus I have some plans to add more local content over the next few months. It’ll take some work. I don’t have unrealistic expectations like having a deluge of traffic, but that’s okay. I can grow slowly which I think will be better for me and the blog.

  • I think you’ve done a nice job with changing your websites and can see the advantage to posting about a specific region. I bet there are so many things going on in your community which probably gives you lots of topics to blog about. I too have found that many people don’t know what blogs are. 🙂

    I was surprised by your social media response though, I actually thought you have a pretty good handle on the whole thing. Particularly I’m envious of your knowledge in using BlogPaws, for some reason I’m just not sure how it all works. I sure hope they have a session about using their website at the next conference. 🙂

    I wish you the best of luck in accomplishing your 2013 goals.
    Jodi recently posted..Monday MischiefMy Profile

    • Thanks Jodi! It’s a big enough region that it should keep me busy.

      Social media is my nemesis. Pinterest I love although I don’t really use it much in a social media way. I am starting to like G+ especially the communities, but just don’t get Twitter to much. Maybe because I don’t speak much, but when I do I tend to be quite verbose! 140 characters won’t do. Facebook I find very messy to follow and I hate that they keep changing things.

      I love forums the best, I find them the easiest to follow and join in discussions. I’ll be at BlogPaws so if they don’t have a session on using the community, I’d be happy to show you!

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