Monday, January 11, 2016

The 2016 Pet Blogger Challenge!

Hey, everyone!



It's that time of year again: the Pet Blogger Challenge, hosted by GoPetFriendly.com, is here! This challenge is open to all pet bloggers (dog, cat, whatever animal you fancy), and gives a list of 10 questions for you to answer. I love seeing everyone do this challenge, so let's get right to it.




1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone visiting for the first time, please give a quick description of your blog.


I've been blogging on Dachshund Nola since March of 2011, so nearly five years now. This blog is my first foray into blogging, but I did start a book blog over the summer and I love that, too. 

Dachshund Nola started as a way to chronicle life with my first dog. I never imagined it'd become what it is today, trite as that sounds. It's still a a diary of sorts, but now I steer my focus towards everything from training to travel to fitness, all geared towards small dogs. I enjoy showing that the small pups can do just as much - if not more! - than their larger counterparts. I also enjoy showcasing my life and adventures with my very best friend, as well as sharing my thoughts on food, gear, and other parts of the dog industry. 




2. What is one thing you accomplished during 2015, either on your blog or because of it, that made you most proud? 


For on the blog, I'd have to say that saving Roxie, the emaciated and neglected pit bull, is something I am incredibly proud of. 
A little more off-screen, but I'm also proud of how my views as a dog owner have shifted and solidified over the past year. I've become more confident in myself in a lot of ways when it comes to that, and it makes the experience of dog owning and being heavily involved in the dog community that much more enjoyable. There will be a post on that in the next week or so!

For something I'm proud of because I started Dachshund Nola, I'd definitely say starting my book blog, Good In The Stacks, is at the top of the list. I freaking love book blogging, and it's a great way to let out my inner nerd. ;) 


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

I have a few! One of them is Six Things No One Told Me About Owning Small Dogs. It's a humorous post that a lot of my fellow small dog owners empathized with! 
Another was a Monday Musing post asking Are You Happy With Your Breed Choice. It was great to share my thoughts on the topic, and so interesting to see where everyone stood with their choices.


4. A common theme from last year's challenge was that many of us wanted to increase the size of our audience. Whether or not we intend to monetize our blogs, it seems we'd all like to reach more people. It feels good to know that we're connecting with others, sharing a laugh or supporting a cause, and it's motivating to see those numbers grow! What is one thing you've done in the past year that has brought more traffic to your blog? 



I haven't done too terribly much to specifically grow my numbers, but there were a few things I've done that had a by-product of increasing my traffic. Posting a few thought provoking or debate-type posts each month brought people out of the woodwork, and really increased conversation. In a similar vein, doing some light hearted and funny posts also drew more attention. Utilizing Facebook and Instagram has also grown my following. 



5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? Why do you think it was so popular? (Please include a link)


All of the posts on Roxie were heavily viewed. The favorite posts I listed about, along with a few reviews, also brought in a good chunk of traffic. Giveaways always generate tons to traffic, too!



6. What is one blog that you read religiously - other than your own - and what makes you sure a devoted reader? (Please include a link)


There's a good handful I read religiously! I don't think I can pin it down to one.

My Rotten Dogs - Rebekah's dogs are absolutely beautiful! I also love reading about raw food for dogs, without having it shoved down my throat. It's refreshing to see a raw feeder like her!

DZ's Adventures - I love seeing these two adorable pit bulls, and where they live. It's so wildly different from my home in Florida. 

The Dogs of Greenhill Farm - My favorite blog when it comes to the photography! Stunning, just stunning. 

ZoePhee - I love Lauren's outlook on training, and watching her girls preform! 



7. What resources do you rely on to enhance your technical writing, photography, social media, or other skills that improve your blog?



For seeking out material to better my skills....none? I don't really actively seek out material to improve my blog. Shame on me, I know. If I need to know something, I Google it. I do absorb information in passing from various blogs and Facebook groups, but nothing specifically sought out.

For things like editing, I'm addicted to PicMonkey, and have started toying with Canva. I'll probably suck it up and buy Lightroom this year. Editing is not my strong suit, ha. 



8. What is the best piece of advice you can offer other bloggers?



Let your blog grow, let you grow, and follow it. If you don't, you'll more than likely become bogged down and frustrated. This is experience talking, ladies (and any stray gentlemen). 

Don't blog if you don't enjoy it more often than not! Blog for you first and foremost. 

Don't compare yourself to others, be social, and don't be an asshole. 



9. What is your vision for your blog in 2016? Do you have specific goals?



This year, we're getting back to the blog's namesake: Dachshund Nola. In the past year or I've felt some drifting from what I want for this blog; it's Dachshund Nola, not Nola and Co. Despite how much I love and enjoy the rest of the gang, this blog is about life with my first dog, my best friend, and my heart dog, and I am reaffirming myself to that. I don't want to look back on times way down the road and think, this is fine, but what was my journey like with my first dog? As such, I'm once again turning my focus 100% to Nola, and our adventure together. I want to remember every single thing about this. 
I may, at some point, start another blog with the other dogs, but running two blogs right now keeps me more than busy enough. 

Aside from that, I'd really like to try and shoot more video, share more training, and better my photography. I'd also like to try more in regards to customizing my blog design! Nola and I also may take some Fenzi courses, or try for some virtual titles like tricks or Parkour. 


10. You have the attention of the pet blogging community - is there one blogging challenge you'd like help with, or one aspect of your blog you'd like input on?


Can anyone recommend a good video camera? I shoot a Nikon D3300, but I hate taking video on it, and my iPhone isn't the quality I like.
I'm also toying with the idea of having a logo designed for the blog. Since this is something I have no talent with, do you have anyone you've used and trust?


- Dachshund Mommy 





17 comments:

  1. Exciting to read you're thinking of taking some Fenzi classes. We have LOVED every one of them we've taken. Good choice!

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  2. I love your blog. It's nice to hear some of the stuff that is behind the scenes.

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  3. Always enjoy reading your blog and seeing the beautiful photos!
    Lynne x

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  4. First off, thank you for saying such lovely things about my blog. I was sitting on the quad with Jess, very tired and grubby from a day lambing sheep, and your words brought a smile to my face.

    Your blog is a joy. It's wonderful to visit. All the best in 2016. :D

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  5. Great advice, great answer to #8.
    As for a blog header, my daughter is talented and reasonably priced. She designed the header for my blog originally (Training Toby). You can email her at tradeddreams@gmail.com., see if she's a good fit and has availability.

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  6. I love your blog!! We made your list, how fun!!
    Little Nola is certainly a fave of ours, we love your pics! And Roxie was such a great story. :-)
    I'm the same way, not so good with editing pics...that's hubby's strong suite but he can't always help me so I try.
    We're also getting back to our name, I need a break from fostering for a while - it's so exhausting!
    Happy 2016!!

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  7. Fenzi classes are the best! :D Thanks for mentioning us! :D

    I wish I had an answer for the video camera and the logo. I need a video camera, too. You're very right. Filming on the DSLR is such a giant pita.

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  8. I love this: "Don't compare yourself to others, be social, and don't be an asshole." That sums things up beautifully, haha!

    I have a feeling that I've stumbled upon a jewel here with your blog and I'm looking forward to coming back soon to check it out a little more. I hope the new year brings you lots of exciting adventures!

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  9. I'm addicted to PicMonkey too! I haven't tried Canva yet but I've heard a lot of great things about it. I have no idea on video cameras, I just use my iPhone right now! Looking forward to your journeys with Nola this year!

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  10. We use pic monkey for making photos pinteresty. We are trying to figure out Canva, but so far, it doesn't work well for us...I think we are missing something because it should be easy. Great advice on enjoying blogging or maybe you should not be doing it. Readers can tell.

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  11. I would like to grow my blog this year but at the same time it is fun to write and I don't want to lose that excitement.

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  12. I want to get back to video too. The last time I shot video for the blog I used my flipcam, but technology has changed quite a bit since then. I haven't kept up to date on the latest video cameras and I will probably use a combination of my iphone 5s and my Canon Rebel T4i for any upcoming videos. All the best to you in 2016!

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  13. It's no secret your blog is another favorite of mine. Nola is the sweetest. Good luck on your goals for this year. I used GloGirly for my blog logo and artwork. I can't say enough about how awesome she is. Tell her I sent you!

    I get it about drifting from the original focus your blog. I struggle with this, too. But it's all about growth. You'll do great. :-) I'll have to stop over and check out your book blog!

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  14. I love your blog. It's one of the first I started reading. You are the reason I became more serious about pictures, decided to purchase a newer camera, and my beloved 35 mm lens! Thanks for sharing My Rotten Dogs!!

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  15. As far as my favorite blog post goes, it is hard to pick just one. I really enjoyed following sweet Roxy's story. I know it didn't end the way anyone expected, but you took her in, gave her love, nursed her very much back to a health she has not seen in god knows how long, and for that, I praise you!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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  16. I'm excited to see more of your adventures with Nola. Your pictures are always awesome so I am sure you will make the places you go look spectacular!

    I purchased a subscription for Lightroom a month or two ago because one my goals is to improve my photography (it took a huge leap when I upgraded my old Nikon to a D 7100) but I have yet to sit down and try and figure it out. I think I need to set aside one of my days off just for that because it always seems to get pushed aside for other things.

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Thank you for commenting!