Something Blogging This Way Comes – Pet Blogger Challenge 2012

Golden Retriever and mixed breed puppy

The inspiration for this blog and her foster brother, Buster.

The highlight of the 2011 Blogging Season was the camaraderie of the Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Amy Burkert of Go Pet Friendly and Edie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me.

I’m thrilled to be back as an alumna. And very tired. So let the post begin.

1. Provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

Okie dokie. My 2011 Pet Blogger Challenge post is here. But I also wrote about what I learned from the Pet Blogger challenge after reading all the entries.

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

I gave three reasons for blogging last year, to:

  • document my life with Honey,
  • hang out with other “doggy” people, and
  • explore if blogging could be a piece of a new way of structuring my life.

I’m living my life with Honey whether I document it or not. If Pam and Honey take a walk in the forest and no one is there… well, you know the proverb. So I guess that’s not too important.

I do feel as though I’ve come to know people in the dog blog community much better. Meeting some of you at BlogPaws was a piece of that. But I’m very fond of many of you who I know I’ll never “meet.” And I’m pleased to share a part of your life as you share in mine.

That’s relationship and community so I hate to call it a goal. So that leaves figuring out if I can find a more flexible life that includes blogging-related work. I guess this is important because it’s related to time and values and money which we all know is the most important thing out there (is there a heavy sarcasm emoticon?).

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

This is the area in which I’ve learned the most.

white puppy

Had to wait for this little guy to tire himself out before I was free to write. Boy, puppies have a lot of energy.

I assumed that there is nothing about the dog world that could ever benefit me financially so I decided to start a second blog directed to first time home buyers, called Hands on Home Buyer. The topic has potential to be lucrative. Except my values keep getting in the way.

I’m facing the fact that I’m a conflicted capitalist reluctant to make money. I’m married to another conflicted capitalist who is reluctant to ever save money so we’re a deadly combination. But thinking about using either or both blogs to support income-earning projects has led to all kinds of reflections:

  • Why have my sister and I worked our entire lives in nonprofit organizations despite being the daughters of a banker?
  • What does it mean about my worth as a human being that I’m 46 years old and have yet to earn the median starting salary for a college graduate?
  • How much am I willing to do without to craft a satisfying life?

Can you see this is something only years of therapy will clarify?

So I took one baby step toward producing income by creating a my first Squidoo Lens on Building a Strong Bond with Your Dog. And yippee, I made a little bit of income the very first week. I haven’t put a down payment on that Island Packet Estero yet, but breaching the psychological barrier was tremendous.

 If anything, recent success and utter exhaustion at working 14 hours a day, every day, doing paid work and blogging has made this goal even more important. Stay tuned…

4. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed?

I still keep a rough schedule. My most regular feature is the Puppiness Project appearing Mondays, almost without fail. I try to post an average of 4-5 times each week on Something Wagging This Way Comes.

I post every weekday morning on Hands One Home Buyer.

Since my alter ego is Inertia Girl, I can’t afford to post “as the spirit moves me.” If I ever took a break for a few days, I’d never start up again. So I keep plod, plod, plodding along. I only hope my writing doesn’t read like plod. Or should that be horse plods?

5. Do you still worry about lost traffic, momentum, etc?

Heck ya. I’ve seen it first hand.

In August my schedule was very disrupted when I attended BlogPaws followed shortly by week-long sailing lessons on Lake Ontario. Who’d have thought it would be tough to get a wireless connection in the middle of a huge lake?

And even when we landed  in civilization like Kingston, Ontario, I found myself too exhausted to keep up with two blogs. My traffic plummeted, especially for Hands on Home Buyer. It took me more than two months to recover.

5. Are you generating income from your blog?

No, I’m not generating income directly from my blog. But I’m starting to generate some income from blog-related activities.

I’m currently generating plans for making income from both my blogs. Right now, pure exhaustion is the only thing holding me back.

6. Have your likes and dislikes about blogging changed since last year?

Golden Retriever and white puppy

C’mon, tug.

I still enjoy the collaboration with other bloggers the most. I love learning from other bloggers and being challenged to think of things in new ways. I appreciate the kindness of people who stop by my site. I’m astounded that although I get four times the traffic that I did last year, I still haven’t attracted mean people.

I’m not crazy about the tech aspects of blogging but I feel my skills have gotten stronger and I’ve learned a lot. I’m also thankful that my husband has worked through some technical glitches for me.

7. Overall, are you pleased with the progress you made in 2011?

I’m very pleased to have reversed the free-fall in my stats that happened in August of 2011. I exceeded my goal for monthly visits and am a top 100 Pet Blogger on Technorati (#1 as of when I wrote this). I’ve decreased my Alexa ranking (lower is better on Alexa) and it continues to drop. (See I do have a competitive side that slips out sometimes; stats bring it out in me.)

I’ve learned to be more sanguine about not accomplishing all I want in the limited time available to me.

My progress is not as fast at Hands on Home Buyer. But I’m being approached by top websites to write guest posts. And I have a loyal and appreciative readership who keep their praise entirely to themselves unless they’re pressed. And then they’re wildly enthusiastic.

So I have no complaints.

8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?

I’d really like to redesign both blogs. I used the same theme for both to make my life easier. I think it was a good, if a cheap decision. But it’s getting tired.

By this time next year, I’d like both blogs able to at least cover their costs (hosting, postage, tech help, etc.)

My blog goals are related to my life goals. I want to simplify my needs so I can live on even less income and create more flexible time. The support, pleasure, and platform I get from blogging will be a piece of that.

Because of my other blog, I lurk in the world of personal finance blogs. These bloggers have created some amazing structures for supporting and promoting each other’s financial goals, like the Yakezie Network. I wonder if we could create something comparable for the pet blog world. Or if the fact that our primary interest is  relating to animals instead of making money makes such a collaboration a non-starter.

Or maybe I’m not the only conflicted capitalist out there.

Let’s see what the year brings.

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  1. Yay- congratulations on the success of your blog :) My husband always accuses me of not wanting to make any money – oh well, as long as we’re happy, right? I love the Puppiness Project and enjoy all of your posts – so happy you are a dog blogger :)

  2. Pamela you disappoint me. I expected one of your goals to be “Bring world peace.” :) I know you can do it.

    If I had to pick one word to describe you it would be “honourable.” If I’m allowed two words, the second would be “deep.” You’re the thinking person’s blogger. Honesty, integrity, intelligence, with a dash of silliness (poo balls, anyone?)… Something Wagging is something special!

  3. At last! The arrival of the one I’ve been waiting for. People in your part of the world sure do get up late!

    I’m glad to see we have something in common [that being a conflicted capitalist]. I’m the daughter of a stockbroker and now I’m a fulltime bludger. Go figure.

    Sounds like your blog is not the little one that you talked about last year anymore. All these rankings and stat counters that I’ve been reading about in the Challenge posts are getting me worried. Is it possible that I’m the only non-achiever around in the petblogger community? Anyway, congratulations on that elevated status because you hugely deserve it.

    Off to read some other late arrivals now. Have a great day :) x

  4. I know you’ve been crazy busy at work, sick, and hosting a foster puppy so I was wondering if you were going to have time to participate in the Challenge – I’m certainly glad you did!

    Four times the traffic in just one year is awesome! This is one of my favorite blogs and I’m glad to see that you’re brilliance is spreading across the blogosphere. If you were to take a little vacation from your blog, we’d make sure you started up again. =)

    I’ve never done anything with Squidoo and I’d definitely be interested in ideating a way for pet bloggers to support each others financial ambitions. Moving toward covering my hosting costs is definitely on my radar for 2012.

  5. Loved reading your post for the Challenge… I’m very impressed with the growth in your stats! That’s fantastic. Your blog is definitely one of my favorites – your posts are always thought-provoking and the perspective you bring to various issues is always enlightening.

    I also think the idea of some sort of collaboration for pet bloggers is a great one… it’s always nice to have a support system, after all. :)

  6. Congratulations Pamela, you’ve done a wonderful job with your blog! You are also one of my favorite reads and someone I aspire to be like.

    The resources you find, (what the hell is Squiddo anyway?) are amazing. I would love to know how to find such things!

    Like Amy I would be interested in finding a way for pet bloggers to support each other’s financial ambitions. I know I would like to find a way for my blog to generate some income as my goal is to completely write for a living. If you are thinking of a way I would love to be involved.

    Keep up the great work.

  7. You are definitely not the only conflicted capitalist. Your lack of ambition towards making money and your husband’s lack of ambition towards saving money, sounds eerily similar.

    That said, I think you do have so much to be proud of as a blogger and a human being. Not only are you putting all this work in at home and online and at your job, but you are also taking care of yet one more foster puppy. There isn’t much you do that does not benefit others. I strive to be more like that, if only my love of lazing around on the couch didn’t get in the way. I’ve never checked the stats – and refuse to do so for my mental health – but I would be stunned if you weren’t in the top ten. You right up there on my personal list.

    Congratulations on all your success! Like the others, I am definitely interested in some sort of collaboration or support system. In these times, we could all use a little boost, no doubt. I’ll feel guilty about it later.

  8. Not a conflicted capitalist here. We need to make money to support our training/hunt test habit. It is more addictive than crack I tell you, (and sometimes just as expensive). lol

    Congratulations on the success of your blog!

  9. Very exciting to read this. It sounds like you discovered a lot more this year on what place the blog should have in your life. It is very brave of you to look what you need less, instead of more, to make place for a new lifestyle where there is better room for the blog(s). I only know few people that even dare to ask themselves the “less” question.

    I feel like I have get to know you a lot better and it explains why you sometimes seem to push yourself to the limits, and have such a firm and ambitious schedule.
    Wish you all the best and may your dreams all come true.

  10. Wow! You’ve really come a long way, baby! That’s amazing growth. I’m not even a little bit surprised! I am obviously not doing things nearly as right as you are, either. :)

  11. I am jellus of your 2 blogs, how do you find the time? BTW congrats on making money with Squidoo!! I tried my hand at making a lens many moons ago & it was pretty tough. I never made a cent :(

  12. Your blog is consistently good and one of my favorites. I especially love, love, love the Puppiness Project, and if you want to write a book on this idea, please contact me and I’ll answer any questions you may have, because I think it’s a winner!

  13. Pamela, I bow down to your two-timing blogging ability. That takes serious determination. And while real estate isn’t on my radar in the least, I’m guessing that I’d love reading your take on that as much as I enjoy reading your enchanting posts here. I love your writing. But I suppose that’s a rather impotent statement. What I really mean by that isn’t to comment on the words you’ve strung together, although that certainly counts. Your writing embodies unique perspective and keen observation. I suppose, when I get right down to it, I love the way you think.

    Congrats on your impressive success in 2011 and best to you and yours in 2012. I’m looking forward to it!

  14. I love S_wagging, especially the Puppiness Project! And like others have already mentioned, I love your writing style. And, and, and…

    Congrats on your success with both your blogs! I’m sure you will move forward with your financial goals in 2012.

    I too am conflicted about the financial side of blogging – and won’t even go so far as to call myself a capitalist. Kind of strange for someone with an MBA, don’t you think? 😉

  15. One of the things I love the most about your blog is it’s name! I think it’s very clever and sophisticated. It’s nice to hear that you are using some blog tracking tools, like Alexa and Technorati too. I’m a bit puzzled by them, but I hope that, if I visit enough, I’ll get less perplexed over time…
    Happy blogging for 2012!

  16. Congratulations Pamela. I am not surprised that your blog has grown in all your stats. You are a thoughtful blogger and I love coming to your blog because I know I will always leave thinking about something. Good for the brain!

    I loved your comment: “If Pam and Honey take a walk in the forest and no one is there…” Made me laugh. So true!

    I think you hit on something that I was trying to get at in my post, but didn’t quite get it across – conflicted capitalist. This is exactly my dilemma. I think I almost need a brand (how I hate that word) and a clear focus to generate revenue, but I’m not sure I really want to do that. I like writing when I am moved to write (although this past year I kept a schedule). I am finding that most successful blogs seem to have a brand of some sort, but maybe I am overthinking this?
    Thank you for giving words to my conflict. I am so glad I met you and get to read your blog. Wishing that all your goals come true in 2012!

  17. BTW – I did several Squidoo lenses and never made a scent. Congrats!

  18. four times the traffic from a year ago? holy smokes! also, this alexa thing, i semi sort of looked into it, but i still don’t understand what it is or why i need it. maybe one day i’ll figure it out…

  19. Congrats on how well your blog is doing! I’m still new to blogging and have been so caught up in the technical aspects and figuring out all the little details that I’m just finally lifting my head and can see the big picture a little better! It’s so nice to get to know everyone else’s stories and learn from their experiences. I too am a conflicted capitalist but that’s a story for another time and place! I appreciate the comments you left on my blog and I left you a reply about getting in touch if you want to IM or Chat about WordPress themes and blog redesigns, etc.

  20. Hi Pamela,

    I was just catching up on the comments people have left on my blog from the Challenge and came over to check yours out. This is great. I love to read your musings and also love the fact that your in Philly (I grew up in Bucks County). It sounds like you’ve got lots of great projects going and under development, congratulations. And muchos congrats for the excellent traffic and rating for your blog! I’m still pretty new to the blog world, but really liking the doors it is opening up and the great group of people out there. I am hoping to make it to BlogPaws this year, and if so would be looking forward to meeting up. Be well.