Pet Blogger Challenge 2018

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Pet Blogger Challenge 2018
Pet Blogger Challenge 2018 – Every good blog post should begin with a picture of an adorable puppy 🙂

WARNING! Today’s blog post is about blogging and not our usual cute, adorable, cuddly puppies. Fear not! This is just a glitch in the Matrix and we will be back to our regular programming shortly. If you love the ins and outs of blogging then you’re in for a treat…please continue reading…

It’s that time of year! The holidays have come to an end, New Years resolutions are in full force, and of course the pet blogging community comes together to share their most intimate blogging secrets during the Pet Blogger Challenge!

Well, maybe not our most intimate secrets, but if you read through all your fellow pet bloggers posts then you’ll definitely find at least one piece of advice to help you along your blogging journey.

If you’re a pet blogger then please come join the fun by answering the same 10 questions I’m answering here today, join the linky party, and read/comment on your fellow pet blogger’s posts.

As always a special thanks to Amy at for hosting the 8th annual (8 friggin’ years!!!) Pet Blogger Challenge.

Pet Blogger Challenge 2018

1. For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic?

I published my first blog post on on August 1st, 2007! I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for over 10 years now. The main topic hasn’t changed:

“We share our puppy training tips and experiences as service dog puppy raisers.”

2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2017?

My proudest blogging moment of 2017 was finally finishing up my series of blog posts on raising a litter of Golden Retriever puppies. It just so happens I published the final blog post in the series on the puppies first birthday 🙂 It was fun way to showcase some of the adorable pics of our 6 little fur balls.

Guess what? A new litter of potential service dogs has arrived! We’ll be chronicling their journey to become service dogs starting with our whelping checklist blog post.

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

A trip down memory lane. I did a recap post and listed the 11 puppies (and pics) I raised over the years. If you want to know a little more about our puppies then check out Meet The Puppies (at the very least you’ll enjoy some adorable puppy pics)!

4. In terms of your blog, how do you measure success?

“Fortune and glory kid, fortune and glory…” –name that movie!

I’m an analytical mind so things like number of pageviews and subscribers are important metrics. One metric that I find very important that has eluded me is engagement. I’m still searching for my 1,000 true fans.

5. In what ways has your blog changed during 2017?

The biggest change to my blog in 2017 was changing ad management companies moving from Google AdSense to MediaVine. This was a game changer for me and made me realize that I can make a full time income from blogging.

The minimum requirement to join MediaVine is 25,000 Sessions/Month. If you’ve reached this threshold and you’re okay running ads on your site then I’d highly recommend MediaVine.

6. What was the biggest blogging challenge you overcame in 2017, and what did you learn that could help other bloggers?

Luckily I haven’t had too many challenges in 2017. Most of my major hurdles have gone smoothly.

However, when it comes to blogging I’m a DIY guy. This year (per Google’s request) I wanted to secure my blog by adding an SSL certificate. I wanted to ensure that everything went smoothly so I employed a WordPress specialist to take care of all the technical details. Needless to say everything went flawlessly. No headaches, no worries, no problem!

So, what did I learn? It’s a good idea to get help when you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. I’m pretty good with the technical aspect of blogging, but I’m not an expert.

7. When things get hard, what keeps you blogging? (Question submitted by Pamela Douglas Webster of Something Wagging This Way Comes)

This is a great question. If you’ve been blogging for any period of time then you’ve probably been hit by trolls, received a DoS attack on your server, or even had your database hacked by someone in China.

Yes, all of these things have happened to me over the years and it’s depressing. I seriously contemplated quitting after getting hacked and losing my blog for nearly a month. 🙁

Not long ago I decided to put together a testimonials/thank you page that contains positive thoughts from some of my readers. When I’m feeling down about blogging I visit this page which reminds me that I can and do make a difference for at least a handful of people.

8. Looking forward to 2018, what are you hoping to accomplish on your blog this year?

My big goal for 2018 is to put together another video series following my next service dog puppy in training. Last time we were able to raise and donate $1,150.00 to Guide Dogs of America.

This year we’re hoping to do more and we would like to partner with bloggers, brands, and readers to help educate people about service dogs and puppies in training.

If you’re interested in partnering with us please leave me a comment or send me a message through my contact form.

9. In addition to what you’d like to accomplish, is there one specific skill you’d like to improve or master this year? (Question submitted by Jodi Chick of Kol’s Notes)

Narrowing it down to one skill is difficult. I have more of a top 5 list:

#5. Photography
#4. Video
#3. Pinterest
#2. Engagement
#1. Email List

I’m enrolled in an online course called Elite Blog Academy to help improve #1 – #3 on my list.

If we’re only talking about one skill then it’s definitely improve everything about building and utilizing my email list. I have over 5,000 subscribers. It’s getting expensive and I’m not seeing the ROI. Someone please give me some tips on building and utilizing an email list!?

10. 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? Share it here, and we’ll answer you in the comments!

Would you be interested in a partnership?

In 2018 I plan on raising another puppy to be a service dog and I’d like to partner with other bloggers to help promote the series of blog posts and videos. In exchange I’d be happy to do similar promotion for your blogs, videos, and social media.

If you’re interested leave me a comment or message me through my contact form.

Okay folks, that’s a wrap.

If you’re a pet blogger be sure and join the party!

If not, my apologies for such a boring post about blahhhhhgging…

Top Picks For Our Puppies

    We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
    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.
    We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
    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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  1. WOW, Great post. Pet Blogger challenge 2018 was wonderful, Next time I’ll surely join. I have gone through all of your answers & I came across a lot of information which is very helpful for me. When will you publish your mini video series on dog puppy in training? Your guide is very helpful for bloggers. I’ll contribute as much as I can. Thanks for your answers! Cheers!

    1. The original plan was to start the video series this past February, but we had some road blocks come up that has delayed our launch date. Now we’re looking at either end of 2018 or sometime in the beginning of 2019. We’ll keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thank you for mentioning us, Colby!
    We’re so glad you came to us in 2017 and CONGRATS on 10 years of blogging. What an accomplishment!
    I’m Jenny, the Marketing Associate for Mediavine, and we’re here to help digital content creators passively monetize their content with programmatic display ads. As you mentioned, our threshold to join is 25k monthly sessions.
    We started out as publishers and we are still publishers with our own sites, so we really believe in publishers being compensated for their awesome content.
    We’re here to answer any questions at
    Thanks again!

    1. No problem. We’ve really enjoyed our short time with MediaVine. I just wish we could have gotten into the conference next month. Maybe next year.

  3. You should really pat yourself on the back for keeping this up since 2007. That’s seriously impressive! Most people who decide to “start a blog” probably post like 3 times and then never post again, so sticking with it for over 10 years is really something.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I’ve seen a lot of blogs come and go. There a few that have been around for over decade, but not many. The big think I need to work on is get more consistent with my posting. Have a great 2018!

  4. Thanks for stopping by! We’ve been raising service dog puppies for the past 10 year mostly teaching basic obedience skills, socialization, and good house manners. Right now we have a litter of Golden Retriever puppies that are prospective service dogs. We’ve been working with the puppies everyday since they were born. Our goal is to keep one to raise and train as a service dog then donate him free of charge to an individual with a disability.

    We used to volunteer as a foster with our local rescue and we adopted our first dog, Linus many years ago. He’s a great dog, but wouldn’t be able to work as a service or therapy dog.

    Best of luck to you on your journey rescuing your new dog this year. By the way, one thing I’d be interested in reading on your blog is how you go about finding a rescue dog with the right temperament to be a therapy dog and a service dog.

    Happy 2018!

  5. I am so excited to follow you! I didn’t realize the service dog aspect and signed up immediately to your E-mail list. Shasta was our senior rescue and helped me launch our local hospital’s Pet Therapy program (he was the 1st Pet Therapy dog with them and the hospital made a video
    We will be sharing our love for Harley and Shasta by rescuing another this year and I want to make sure they will be able to work as a Therapy Dog and Service Dog for my PTSD. I’ll be blogging about it but can definitely use the advice you and your blog have to offer!

  6. It’s been amazing watching your blog coming along and it’s truly gorgeous and filled with amazing information. Thank you for sharing the great work you’re doing.

    When it comes to my mailing list, I know what you mean about the cost Two years ago, my list topped 10,000 subscribers and cost me $100/month to maintain. I went through and looked and saw lots of spam emails – I have no idea what they gained by doing this, but the emails were real because they had to be confirmed.

    Well, I sent one final email but only to people who had opened the last 3 newsletters, and told them that I was starting fresh for the new year and gave them a new subscriber link. A few weeks later (you have to wait before you can delete a list) I deleted the 10,000 list and started fresh.

    It grew to 4,000 subscribers and I repeated the steps last month. This helps to keep my list fresh, inexpensive, and I know people who have subscribed actually want to hear from me.

    Have a wonderful 2018!!!

    1. Every year I remove everyone who hasn’t opened an email in the past year. However, this year someone told me it was a good idea to not remove anyone from your list. Reason being was she never opened emails from a fellow blogger she followed. One day she opened one of the emails that caught her attention, signed up for one of the online courses offered, and became a huge advocate and affiliate for her fellow blogger. I can see this being a possibility with my email list since it’s about puppies and puppy training. People may revisit when they get a second or third puppy which may not happen for year. It’s definitely one of those things where I need to weigh the pros and cons.

      Thanks for stopping by! Happy 2018!

      1. You’ve probably already thought of this, but whenever I unsubscribe a bunch of people I save their info for future marketing like for Facebook ads, etc. I also save the info of people who have voluntarily unsubscribed. If they signed up once they may sign up again at some point.

  7. Congratulations on ten years! That is a wonderful accomplishment. So many bloggers fade off after a few years! I can’t believe we are not familiar with your blog! That hacking stuff scares us. We read about another blogger who was also hacked from China and her site was down for a month or so. The SSL certificate is important. Our WP guy did it for us this fall. What a fun thing to blog about puppies. We have blogged a lot about each of my younger sisters when they came to us. There is so much to raising a puppy and many people really have no idea.

    1. Thanks! It’s tough to keep it going. We fade in and out with our blogging, but we’re hoping to have a big 2018! It’s fun to raise an blog about puppies plus we get a new one every year. The only sad part is letting them go when it’s time for them to start their careers as service dogs. Come by more often if you want to see more pics of our puppies!

  8. Wow—you lost your blog for a month? I really don’t know what I would do if that happened. I take every precaution I know of—but none of us is invulnerable. Good for you for coming back from that.

    Love your testimonials page idea! I have a “kudos file” on my computer—um, why didn’t I think of publishing it?

    1. Yes, and it was not fun! It was a SQL injection attack and its still affecting my blog today.

      The testimonials page is always fun to look at.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I also think the testimonials page is a great idea. Even the most confident of us (and that’s not me) need some encouragement once in a while and that way you don’t have to wait for it!
    Thanks for the tip on MediaVine – my numbers aren’t there yet, but now I have something to shoot for!

    1. I love looking back at the testimonials page from time to time. I’d recommend starting one if you already haven’t. Definitely try MediaVine once you hit 25K Sessions. I wish I had when I first hit that number.

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