Take a look at me now… again

Pet Blogger Challenge
You know I love any excuse to engage in some omphaloskepsis. (A hat tip to Pamela from Something Wagging for teaching me that fun word.)  Luckily, Edie from Will My Dog Hate Me and Amy from Go Pet Friendly created the Pet Blogger Challenge, which means that at least one day of the year, my navel gazing is sanctioned… even encouraged.

I participated last year, so first and foremost – here’s the link to last year’s post (which I also started with a Phil Collins reference … apparently it’s a tradition). The post below builds off of some of the items I discussed in that post.

Now, on to the questions.  Amy and Edie have posed a series of questions, which those of us participating in the challenge will be answering on our blogs today.  I’ll be answering the questions for those who participated last year.  (There’s a separate set of questions for those taking the challenge for the first time – you can find both sets here.)

For some reason, I like to tackle this challenge in a narrative format, rather than in a list. I realize that this preference probably seems odd, especially given my general fondness for all lists. Bear with me – I get pretty wordy ahead…


Assessing my 2011 goals:  My goals for last year were simple – I wanted to maintain a consistent posting level, add some photography posts to the blog, and become more involved with local rescue groups. I’m not sure I’d say that any one of these goals was more important than the other – however, I’m fairly pleased with the progress I made, particularly towards the first and second goals.

Last year, I posted 228 times, compared to 123 in 2011.  I began to include more posts about photography – in addition to occasional tips, I conducted my first interview with Seth Casteel, a professional photographer who also takes photographs of shelter pets. These photography posts actually informed my volunteer work – I contacted a local rescue group and visited the shelter to take some photos for its website.  I plan to make volunteering at the shelter a regular event, and will be sharing my adventures with you along the way.

Moving the goal posts:  In addition to the goals above, I do think that my goals changed throughout the year. I set a few new goals for myself along the way – including moving the blog from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress. I did some of the research (with help from some of my blogging pals) and considered my options, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. My new goal is to complete the move sometime before June (although I hope it will be before then). This past year, I also wanted to feature adoptable pets on my blog – I’ve turned it into a weekly feature.  Finally, I wanted to make more use of Facebook and Twitter to promote the blog, and I’ve definitely used these on a more regular basis.

How many posts does a blogger post:  Last year, I explained that I didn’t have a very strict schedule (other than Wordless Wednesday and No Frown Friday).  At the time, I was trying to post three times per week.  I still try not to slip below that level – although I’ve now added a regular Sunday post as well (the aforementioned adorable adoptables).  So, I’m slightly more schedule-driven than in the past, and I think that these regular posts help me keep my momentum going. However, I’m actually trying something new this month – I’m going to try to post every day in January.  I may try to continue daily posting after that, but I wanted to start with a more manageable goal.

(Don’t) show me the money:  I still don’t generate income from the blog.  I have been approached by various companies, but I’m not quite ready to take that step. I’ll probably reconsider that plan as opportunities come my way, but I don’t feel any pressure to decide right now.

The Good, the Bad & the Furry, revisited:  I think my likes about blogging have remained fairly consistent. One of my favorite things about blogging is still the sense of community. My connection to the pet blogger community grew by leaps and bounds this year. I became involved in more events (like K9 Kamp and Social Media for Social Good) and began to correspond with other bloggers through email and other channels. I became a more active member of the BlogPaws Community site and signed up to participate in the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Challenge – so many valuable discussions!

However, the biggest change on this front was probably the fact that I finally met several other bloggers in person, thanks to the fact that BlogPaws 2011 happened to be in my ‘hood.  Meeting other bloggers and participating in the conference has had a significant effect on my connection to the pet blogger community. Rather than just other bloggers, I now think of many of these wonderful people as my friends.  It’s a nice feeling.

My dislikes, on the other hand, have evolved a bit.  My least favorite thing at this point is probably the technical side of things. I’d like to become more savvy on this front – if I could increase my skill level, I think my dislike would fade.

Back to the future:  I’m fairly pleased with the progress I made in 2011.  As for 2012, I see a few changes – including that long-desired move to self-hosted WordPress. I’ve set a goal to volunteer at least monthly, so that work may influence the blog content as well – and now that my eyes have been opened to the possibilities of shelter pet photography, I anticipate future posts on that subject. This past year, I also refined the focus of the blog a bit – humor with a dose of heart – and I hope to continue to find my niche.

I also want to use this year to really think about where I see the blog going in the future – whether it’s to maintain this space as a purely personal one or to take it to another level.  I have been tossing around a few ideas, but nothing concrete. Perhaps by the time next year’s Pet Blogger Challenge rolls around, I’ll have a better answer to this final question.

Want to read other entries in the Pet Blogger Challenge?  Visit Will My Dog Hate Me and Go Pet Friendly, or check out the list below!

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46 thoughts on “Take a look at me now… again

  1. WHAT? No lists? strange indeed ;p

    i've always found your posting to be very consistent. i also wonder how you manage to find so many random juicy titbits. "humour with a dose of heart" is a good description i think.

    moving to WP. wow! i feel so left behind but am way too chicken to even consider it. good luck with that!

  2. I have been following your blog since I started blogging and I think that that you have done a fantastic job this year! I love that you have incorporated more photography and your posts continue to always put a smile on my face:))
    I am right there with you on the WordPress thing, I will let you go first:)))

  3. georgia little pea – I know! I'm such a list addict, yet for some reason I find my navel gazing better suited to a narrative. :) (As for those juice tidbits – I think that just means I spend too much time on the Internet!)

    jen – Thank you so much. :) I'll definitely be there for both you and georgia little pea if you decide to make the move. I can share my war stories. LOL.

    Edie – Aw, thanks! I should have mentioned that the song parodies will continue as well. I need somewhere to share my extreme dorky side, after all!

  4. I enjoyed your answers! Moving to WordPress sound to be very scary! Good luck! I will be back to visit more! :o)

    ~Higgins

  5. I moved from Blogger to WordPress (though not self-hosted) and it was easy-peasy. Never looked back.

    I love your humour and your consistency, and consider you one of my favourite people out there. Go from strength to strength!

  6. Nice job, isn't it amazing what you have accomplished when you look back at the year.

    Being in total charge of your blog sounds really scary to me! I thought about it once (briefly in passing) but not sure I can do it. Kudos to you!

  7. I loved your post on Steve Casteel, especially because it tied into your own photography interest and that made it really personal. I'm honored that you've been a participant in k9kamp and Dieting with my Dog book tour. I wonder what mischief we'll all dream up this year?

  8. I am glad I am not the only one who didn't use the list format! I was beginning to feel like I had screwed something up. There's another thing I love about this community: acceptance and validation, you are never alone.

    Anyway, I want to wish you the besk of luck in making the move to self-hosting. I did it last yar and it wasn't nearly as frightening as I expected. If I the luddite can do it, you can too.

    I can't wait to see what you accomplish in the new year!

  9. I've really enjoyed the focus on photography that you've added and I'm excited to see where photographing shelter pets will take you. It's something I'd like to do as well, though being traveling full-time makes that a little harder. I'll look forward to reading about your experiences in 2012!

  10. To me you are one of those amazing bloggers that can post so much. And now you even go to a daily schedule in January, good luck!
    btw. Why would you want to move to WordPress?

  11. Patrice and Higgins – Thank you!

    Life Student – Well, that's good to hear. :) The move does make me nervous. (And thank you so much for the nice words!)

    jodistone – I think that I just need to dive in. Maybe it'll be like when the water's really cold? Better to just go for it? LOL

    Peggy – Thank you. I look forward to future mischief making with you!

    Kristine – I like the validation too! Glad I'm not the only one who ended up with a narrative instead of a list. :) (You're my self-hosting hero – your site looked amazing after the move!)

    Amy – Thanks! I wasn't sure if people would be really interested, but I'm glad they are!

    Bassetmomma – Thanks! :)

    Kenzo – Aw, you're too nice! I feel like many others put me to shame with how much they post. :) As for the WordPress move, I'd like to be able to customize things some more, which Blogger just doesn't really allow. I've also just had issues with Blogger eating some of my posts and acting up, which was why I initially started thinking about a switch.

  12. Great job! I have only been at this 100 days and each day is a learning experience. I blogged the Christmas Wish Countdown – which was an everyday commitment during a busy time…it was fun, but not sure I'd commit to that everyday post again…

    Thanks for all the great info and inspiration all you savvy bloggers bring to us newbies!

    Great job! Great goals!

  13. That's all great stuff. I love your photos especially. Self hosted wordpress is the way to go. See ya' round!!

  14. Happy 2012! Congratulations on a very productive year ;) I loved your interview with Seth – I hope I can get back into photography in some way, and taking pictures of shelter pets would be my first choice. I have never used blogger – I am a WordPress girl – I hope your move goes smoothly!!!

  15. Moving to WordPress and self-hosted isn't as hard as it seems! I always love your posts, especially the Friday ones. And you know what, a reflection picture would have been perfect! :P I love your pictures as much as your writing!

  16. I'm with Edie on the song parodies. You make me feel more "normal" since I thought that I was the only person that did this. Maybe we should start a "Dog Singers Anonymous" :p

  17. Your blog is pretty darn awesome as it is, I'd love to see what you can do with WordPress. Just do a bit of research and take the plunge. I went straight to selfhosting from Blogger and that went very smoothly. It's not all been plain sailing but I managed to stuff up my Blogger blog from time to time too:)

    Good luck with your hopes and plans for 2012 and I'm looking forward to reading more photography posts

  18. I was almost disoriented to find no list post! LOL, I was counting on it. Your no-frown Fridays rock my world and i always love coming here for a few smiles. Go ahead and make the move to self hosting! You can do it (LOL and then you can hold my hand while I do it. I'm scared witless!)

  19. Scrappy – Your Christmas posts were really fun. :)

    Mary, Roxy & Torrey – Thanks so much! I hope the move is relatively painless when I switch.

    BeBe – Thank you for always stopping by and commenting! :)

    Julie – I need to work on my technical skills, however. I'm still learning this darn camera, and I've had it a year!

    houndstooth – Thanks for the words of encouragement. :) I really appreciate it!

    Karen – Why do we need to be anonymous? Dog Singers Awesome is more like it. Hehe. I do agree – it's nice to know I'm not the only one!

    Greyhounds CAN Sit – You give me hope that I can make the switch to self-hosting! Thanks for your nice comment. :)

    Kolchak – My apologies… I'll make it up to you with some good lists in the near future. LOL. Sounds like you're another one who needs to join our "wants to move to self-hosting" support group! Strength in numbers, right? :)

  20. My tail is wagging as I read your blog! (And can I add that I love all the puppy prints?!)

    Keep up the tail-wagging work!

    Tootsie

  21. Love your blog! Congrats on the decision to move to self-hosted WordPress! One reason I started my blog (besides my love of dogs and deals) was to give myself a big new challenge: learn as many new Web and Technical Skills as possible. It's scary and frustrating (and lonely) at times, but oh so satisfying to DIY and to be able to help other bloggers. I'm no expert but am happy to share what I've figured out from getting my own blog up and running!

  22. I am deeply impressed with your engagement in the pet blogging world. I hardly read a blog you havn't comment on, a link you have not found or know about. Maybe it just me, or coincidence :)
    Drop me a message if you need help on the techy part. I like that stuff, and we use the same platform, so maybe I could help.

  23. Thank you for visiting my blog Enlightened Ferret and Your post has given me some things to think about. I've kind of thought about the whole self hosting aspect but not sure if it is right for me just yet.

    Have a Chittering Good Day,
    Jo

  24. Tootsie – Thanks! :)

    Liz – Thanks so much! I think that's how I'm trying to approach the move to self-hosted WordPress – as another challenge and a chance to learn some new skills. I will definitely be thrilled to have those who've been through it – like you – there for guidance along the way. :)

    Kenzo – Thanks you so much. I try hard to make time to visit and comment on other blogs (after all, I know how great I feel when I get comments and how much I enjoy reading everyone's thoughts). I don't always visit as much as I'd like when life gets in the way, but I do try. Also, thanks so much for the offer of tech help – I may be taking you up on it if I get overwhelmed! :)

    Jo – I know what you mean. It's going to be a big change, I think!

  25. I just gloated all over the place about you in response to your comment on my post, so be sure to go there too… But I now have to add that I'm looking forward to more shelter petography and your volunteer accounts. You are such a generous person, always with your eye on being helpful, and you have a memory like a steel trap, always hanging on to who taught you what word, who said what in response to something, not to mention (but I will) who wrote posts that moved you. We've talked a bit about ways to remember and why it matters. Your memory and generosity combined make you such an amazing person and friend. Congrats congratulations on 2011'saccomplishments and cheers to a terrific 2012!

  26. You're going to make me blush over here (and I'm so pale that it'll be really obvious).

    Seriously though, thank you so much for your comment here (and the one on your blog, which I just read and am about to reply to). It really means a lot to me. I think you're one of the most kind people I have ever met – you're so welcoming and warm that I can't help but smile when talking to you.

    I do have to say, I've always been kind of lucky when it comes to my memory – it definitely helped me in school, and has proven useful in my job as well. Although I'm sure my husband would note that it can be pretty annoying when I never forget anything… ever… and bring it back up in a later disagreement. =P

  27. I still remember the first post I ever read over here (the Oscar post – with all the famous dogs in movies). It might have been my first Sat. blog hop and I felt like such a peon. I was quite blown away when you commented on the blog post I so eagerly posted in your comments. :) Now look; I've pestered you ever since! :)

    You have me intrigued about the ideas you've been tossing around for the blog. I love a mystery. And this space. Please don't change your identity – it was hard enough getting you out the first time.

    P.S. Blogger rolled out threaded comments today. Only catch is one's blog feed cannot be set to partial. Here's where I found out: http://buzz.blogger.com/2012/01/engage-with-your-readers-through.html

  28. Through no action on my part… guess I was just lucky my settings were the right way or I might have never even known it was possible. LOL. However, one of my beefs with Blogger was the lack of threaded comments, so it's a welcome change.

    As if you pester me… it's probably the other way around with me pestering you (you know, like stalking you at the end of that one BlogPaws session so I could meet you and the boys… LOL). :)

  29. Hey! Thank you so much for your comment over on my blog.. Yeah we have only been running since July.. That's when I came home with my daddies.. :)

    We always love looking at your blog, your photography is awesome, sorry if we don't comment that much though.. We are a bit crazy here sometimes.. I love this post of yours though! Glad to see you are hitting some of your goals and hope that it continues! :)
    xo
    Luna

  30. Great post! I've been debating the Blogger/Wordpress move, too. But, I'm so not tech savvy and don't have the money to pay someone to do it. Good luck!

  31. I've stopped by your blog in 2011 and hope to continue doing so in 2012. :) I can understand that your move to WordPress must be daunting if you're not really into the HTML and technical side of things. I really like WordPress, and it can be as complex or easy as you want to make it. All the best in finding the motivation for the switch. I really like your template, and I hope you manage to preserve it when you do move.

  32. Tegan – Thank you so much! I will have to keep that in mind when I move things. There are definitely parts of my setup here that I do like. :)

  33. I love your site Pup Fan! Especially the puns! I mean the puppies! I mean the lists…and the cupcake link…and the paw print background…

  34. I love your blog AJ. I love your sense of humor and fun and whimsy too. I agree. The blogging community is what I like best. Congrats on continuing to grow. I am also technically challenged, which is why I haven't tried moving my blog to my own hosted site. It seems so overwhelming. I'm thinking if I take some classes I will feel more confident. I look forward to seeing what you do on this end.
    I also will be interested in seeing how you feel about posting every day. I'm thinking of cutting back a bit. It will give me time to read your blog and others more!

    BTW – I don't think I'm making much progress on the pet blogger challenge. I spent almost all night reading all your posts! LOL!

  35. Wooo hooooo! Threaded comments!

    You have a lot to be proud of this year. You've certainly been productive. I can't wait to see what you come up with in 2012.

    Do you think attending BlogPaws gave you a real lift in commitment to your blog?

  36. Thank you so much, Mel. You are too nice – I really appreciate the kind words. :)

    I need a class to learn the technical side of blogging too… I don't know where to find such a thing, but it would definitely be helpful!

  37. It's like Blogger knew I wanted to switch platforms and was throwing me a bone… =P

    You know, I think BlogPaws really did give me a boost – I definitely think that I began to take it more seriously after that point.

  38. I've always wanted to get more into photography with my puppies. I've seen so many great pictures throughout the dog blogosphere (including pics on this blog) I know I can do better. I think I'll take a page out of your book and try posting every day for a month…maybe February since I've already missed out on January.

    I'd be interested to hear how moving from blogger to self-hosted wordpress goes for you. I've always been interested in the technical aspects of blogging. I know there is an import feature in WordPress with "Blogger" as an option, but I've never tried importing Blogger posts to WordPress. Best of luck with the move and all the best in 2012!

  39. So glad you stopped by… posting every day has been a bit tough so far, but I'm still hanging in there. I don't know if I'll manage to keep up with it every day though! :)

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