Pet Blogger Challenge 2015

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Welcome 2015!  Many thanks to Amy at GoPetFriendlyBlog.com for once again hosting the Pet Blogger Challenge.

It was a bit rough blogging in 2014 especially the last few month.   However, I actually got a lot done in 2014 with the exception of blogging.  A few highlights last year:

  • I sold the condo I lived in for 14 years.
  • I bought a new home in an Eichler neighborhood I’ve been stalking for the past 6 years.
  • I moved.
  • I sold the Eichler house I lived in for just over a year
  • I bought an Eichler house just down the street.  The yard is twice as large and the doggies love it!
  • I moved
  • I got engaged!

We’re still in the process of moving.  Picture this: boxes all over the house.  Half painted interior.  Jungle in the backyard.  Half removed light fixtures.  Removed baseboards…it’s a work in progress.  I’m slowly getting back to blogging, but I have to emphasize “slowly”.  So hopefully I can hit my blogging groove again in the coming weeks.  Now that I have internet back I have no excuses.

So lets get it on…with the 2015 PBC!

Pet Blogger Challenge Q&A

1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about.

We started blogging in July 2007.  I guess that means we’ve entered our 8th year!  Things haven’t changed much since the beginning.  It’s all about sharing our puppy training tips and experiences raising and training guide dog puppies.

2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud.

Unfortunately, it didn’t have much to do with content creation last year, but one thing that I did do was I improved my technical expertise as my blog was hacked several times.  I learned a little bit more about the WordPress backend database, file structure, permissions…yep, all the boring stuff…

3. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own blogs?

Stepping back to question 2.  I believe the reason why I had more issues with hacking is because I wasn’t logging into my dashboard often enough leaving WordPress and Plugin Updates hanging for long stretches of time.  I’ve read that some of the most common ways for WordPress blogs to get hacked is when hackers exploit vulnerabilities from blogs that have not been updated.

However, on the flip side I’ve been bleeding edge and ran updates almost immediately which has also broken my blog.  I guess you have to try and find the happy medium.

4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

It’s always been search traffic on this blog.  If you look at my most popular posts they are all about solving some kind of problem.  If you want search traffic think of problems in your niche and write a blog posts that solves that problem.

5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you that it was your most popular?

My most popular blog post is always decided by Google.  This year was no different: How To Handle Your Puppy’s First Night At Home – 73,066 page views.

6. What was your favorite blog post to write this year?

One of the final steps in our journey as puppy raisers is returning our puppy in training to their school where they start “college”.  A few month back we wrote about Adelle’s next steps in her adventure to become a service dog:

Guess Who’s Going To Service Dog College?

7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?

Our policy on product reviews has not really changed, but we haven’t accepted any new products for review in a couple years.

If you do reviews, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?

We’ve had good success with some of our video reviews.  Here’s an example of one of our video reviews for the ComfortFlex Sport Harness.  I’m also a fan of doing multiple blog posts when writing product reviews.  I know we’re all very excited to write a review as soon as we get that shiny new toy, but how does it stand up to the test of time.  Are you still using the product 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months after purchase?  Did it break?  Was it made much cheaper (or better) than you originally thought?  Your opinion may change in a follow up review.

Not to say it doesn’t work at all, but not mentioning the product or not being descriptive of the product in your title can sometimes hurt your review.

If you don’t do reviews, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?

Not Applicable.

8. What’s your best piece of advice for other bloggers?

I always go back to forming good habits.  If I can do it for 30 days straight it will stick.  It worked last year when I started diet and exercise.  I lost 25 pounds over 6 months.  This year I plan on doing the same with my blog.

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?

JUST BLOG!  With a measly 27 posts in 2014 I’d like to get back on a consistent schedule.  Time to get in the groove.

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

Blog products.  Have you created one?  Has it been successful?  Please tell me more about products you’ve created for your Pet Blog.

And that’s a wrap!

Here’s to 2015!  I can’t wait to see you all in the Pet Blogosphere!

Top Picks For Our Puppies

  1. BEST PUPPY TOY
    We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
  2. BEST DOG CHEW
    We Like: Best Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
  3. BEST DOG TREATS
    We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
  4. BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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14 Comments

  1. Hi Colby! First, I want to thank you for your thoughtful comments on the rest of the PBC posts – I think you wrote on every one … and you beat me to it! I just want you to know that it means a lot to me that you took the time to do that.

    Secondly, congratulations on your engagement and on the new house, and other new house. I’d suggest you consider an so you could move without unpacking, but it sounds like you’ve found a great spot to settle into. =)

    I’ve not created any blog products, so I’m afraid I can’t be any help with that. If I do start moving that direction, I’ll be sure to touch base so we can compare notes.

    I’m glad to see you’ll be back at the keyboard this year – I wish you the best of luck, and thanks for taking the Challenge.

    1. Thanks Amy! I miss reading other blogs and writing to my own. I put together a schedule and plan on getting back into the groove this month. It’ll be great to be back around so many wonderful pet bloggers!

  2. Welcome baaaaaaaack Colby!!! So good to see you.

    I have no answers for your question as I have never created anything for the blog. I’ve heard a few bloggers mention something of the sort, but don’t know anyone who has done it.

    Good luck on your upcoming marriage and don’t worry about the boxes, I still have some from when I moved over 7 years ago. 😉

    1. Hi Jodi! We moved from a two car garage to a one car garage with a carport. The garage is currently stacked to the ceiling with boxes 🙁 We’re working on it, but it’s probably going to be a while (maybe summer) before we’re all settled in.

      I have an idea of something (a product type thing) I’d like to do on the blog, but projects always seem so overwhelming in the beginning. Right now I’m just trying to get in a blogging rhythm.

      Thanks on the marriage! I’m trying to stay out of all the wedding planning.

      I’m glad you stopped by! Take care!

    1. Thanks! I’m still working on the navigation and updating a few pages, but let me know if you or Teddy have any questions. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hope things settle down soon for you, never knew how hackers get in the blogs, guess that won’t happen with me blogging once a day. 😉 will be looking forward to your future post, how cool you raise and train pups for guide dogs.

    1. Things are settling down a little bit, but I’m still unpacking plus the new house is a fixer so lots of non-bloggin projects around the house. Hopefully you never get hacked. It’s a big pain in the butt. We’re in between puppies right now. We’ll probably have a new puppy in the coming months, but I’m not too sure yet if it will be raised as a service dog or guide dog. Stay tuned 🙂

  4. Glad to have found your blog Colby! Raising a Guide Dog puppy is on my list for this year or next- it’s been a dream of mine since I was 9 or 10 years old- time to get on it!!! 😀

    1. That would be great if you raised a guide dog puppy! Let me know if you have any questions. I’ve raised 4 puppies for the guide dog school and 1 puppy for a service dog school. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. The good news is I still had a lot of stuff in boxes from the first move. The bad news is the most recent house is much smaller then the previous house with a lot less storage area 🙁

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Wow, your 2014 makes the last decade of my life look dull by comparison. No wonder you didn’t do much blogging.

    I have not developed products for Something Wagging. But it’s something I’ve thought about.

    IRL I teach classes for first home buyers so I’ve checked out some of the new platforms that allow you to set up classes and workshops for people. They’re pretty cool and look about as easy to work with as WordPress.

    Maybe expanding on your problem-solving puppy posts to create a class from the content you already have would work for you.

    BTW, congratulations on your engagement!

    1. Packing…Unpacking…Repacking…Unpacking…I’m not planning on moving again for another 20+ years!

      What platforms have you checked out and have you found one you like best?

      I do have some ideas similar to what you’ve mentioned. If you don’t mind I’ll probably bounce some of these ideas off you when I have it better planned out.

      Thank you! I’m leaving most of the wedding planning to my fiancé, but I’m sure some of the wedding stuff will creep into my blog posts.

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