Monday, January 10, 2011

Question and Answer (Pet Blogger Challenge)

I saw this questionnaire posted on Champion of My Heart and thought it'd be fun to play along.  It's a part of the Pet Blogger Challenge, in which we're to think critically about what we want to get out of blogging.


1. When did you begin your blog?
Wednesday, January 21, 2009.  The day has no particular meaning; I toyed with the idea of starting a blog for a long time and after securing the URL name and everything, finally wrote my first post.  I didn't have consistent readership for a few months after that.

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
It was solely a place for me to log my training progress with Marge.  I was just finishing Beginner Obedience at my dog club and aspired to do so much more (and ultimately was able to do so much more.. in a shorter period of time than I originally anticipated).

3. Is your current purpose the same?
In many ways, yes.  I try to have posts about all of the "big" things Marge and I do.  That varies from agility class, to Rally trials, to trips to new places, and lots of things in between.

But, at the same time, it's definitely changed somewhat... because I do enjoy when my comment box becomes an online auditorium for debate and discussion with fellow dog enthusiasts.  I also greatly value the many relationships I've made with people through my blog and enjoy reading their stories and seeing what they think about mine.  So, the "social" element of my blog is something that's evolved and is still evolving.

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?
Mostly whenever I want to.  I admit, I do get a little antsy when it's been a couple of days and I have no new material to put up, but I'd much prefer not blogging than putting up a post about something I haven't given a lot of thought to.

I average around 15 posts a month, but they usually come in bursts (and then I go silent for around a week or so).  I'm trying to increase the number of posts I put up and be more regular in my posting this year.

5. Are you generating income from your blog?
Absolutely not.  I would be interested in advertising if a company whose products I like approached me, but I don't think I'm "big" enough yet for that.

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular (bragging is good!)?
The things I like the most about my blog is the richness and variety of the content.  I never post "just to post."  And, I like to vary things to keep a diverse readership; I post pictures some days, and others my posts are more wordy and technical. Sometimes I talk about fear issues, other times about dog sports, and  now I've begun incorporating the story lines of some other animals who influence me - Layla and Taco.

This may help or hurt readership - I'm not sure which.  Sometimes I think that some behavior/training and dog sport folks overlook my blog because I post about many topics and not JUST those things.  Other times, I think that my decision to have a lot of dog and animal related topics brings more people from all different walks of life to read my blog.  Marge's life is part pet, part recovering fearful dog and part athlete.  I want that to show through my blog.

What I like most about blogging in general is the community that develops; there are lots and lots of people whose input and comments I greatly value, and they've helped me to grow as a dog trainer.  It's also heartwarming during times of need when all blogging animal lovers seem to come together and give each other support.

7. What do you like least?
I don't like when blogging becomes a popularity contest.  If I comment on your blog, that means there is something there that I truly enjoy.  Be it a picture, a common interest, a thought-provoking post, or even just an interesting activity that I've never been able to do myself.  I want my readers to feel the same about my blog; I want them to be reading because they enjoy learning about Marge.  Sometimes, I see comments on blogs that seem to scream, "I didn't really read this post, I'm just commenting your blog so that you reciprocate and comment mine."  And I don't think that's cool at all.

In terms of my blog, the thing I like least is the fluctuations in the amount of time I can devote to my blog.  There are some days where I am able to visit other blogs every few hours, and other days where my reader piles up with new posts that I won't get the chance to look at.  Such is the nature of the life of a college student!

8. How do you see your blog changing or growing in 2011?
In 2011, I hope to continue to diversify my content and get on a more regular posting schedule.  I hope to continue to meet like-minded dog owners, follow their adventures and learn from them (and maybe them from me).  I want to do more series of posts (multi-week posts about specific topics) and continue things like Tuesday Training more frequently. I'm toying with the idea of giveaways and/or contests as well.

That's about it.  I'm very happy with how my blog has grown.  If you have any suggestions about what you'd like to see on MargeBlog in the future, please do not hesitate to let me know!

28 comments:

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart January 10, 2011 at 8:22 PM  

OK. I (now) know you hate comments about photos, but I'm not sure I've ever seen one of you with your hair down. :o)

Thanks for the mention. I think it's terrific that you took on this Q&A.

I cannot remember which of my writer friend's sites posted the quote recently, but the advice went something like ... "Stop trying to be 'all that,' and just be yourself."

I think all bloggers benefit by doing what they like and what they do best, rather than trying to keep up with what others do.

Lavi January 10, 2011 at 8:27 PM  

Hello and thanks for dropping by my blog. Yes, I'm pretty new at blogging and only have a few posts up but see, you're already my 12th follower. It means I might be doing something right :D

I read your challenge post too and I like your ideas. Also, I hope that Marge will overcome her fears... Maybe all the exercise helps.

Will be back to read more if I have time.

Sam January 10, 2011 at 8:31 PM  

Oh, Roxanne, you're so silly! I love photo comments, and all comments.. just not when it's totally obvious that the person has not read the post and is simply commenting just because they feel obligated to. I never want any one to feel obligated to read my blog just so that I'll comment back to them.

That photo's rather old.. pre-MargeBlog, I believe!

And yes, doing the Q&A, although it was a spur-of-the-moment decision, has really helped me to organize my thoughts and think about the directions in which I'd like MargeBlog to go.

hornblower January 10, 2011 at 8:35 PM  

oooooh, I think I've found another blog to follow! I love reading about rescue dogs & what they accomplish.

My guys are rescues and I foster for rescues so it's a big part of my life.

Pup Fan January 10, 2011 at 9:04 PM  

Stopping by on the hop... enjoyed reading your answers!

KB January 10, 2011 at 9:34 PM  

Just a quick thought. My blog isn't "big" but I approached a small company whose products I love about advertising. They jumped at the opportunity (they're the only advertiser in my sidebar). So, if you want to advertise for a company, it's worth asking them about it regardless of whether you think your blog is "big" enough or not.

I enjoy the variety in your blog...

houndstooth January 10, 2011 at 9:36 PM  

I've had a lot of fun learning more about people through this questionnaire today!

While I don't get a lot of the technical ins and outs of agility, I do enjoy learning more about how other people spend time with their dogs. I think that there's something to be learned, even if it's what not to do, from other people's interactions.

Frankie Furter January 10, 2011 at 10:26 PM  

Hi Marge... I saw your comment on Daisy's blog about a chicken neck. We are NEVER EVER supposed to have chicken or turkey bones.
they can totally obstruct our internals... OR WORST YET.. they splinter something awful and can pierce our internals. BEEF or DEER bones ONLY.... PLEASE..

Sam January 10, 2011 at 10:34 PM  

That's not what I've heard from others who feed raw - - I know lots of people who feed uncooked chicken parts - but I'll look into it for sure! Thanks, Frankie.

Sue January 10, 2011 at 10:37 PM  

Good for you. I looked at that challenge and felt it would require too much thought. I guess I was just feeling tired. Maybe I'll give it another thought.

ForPetsSake January 10, 2011 at 11:27 PM  

Well thought out responses to tough questions (for me at least). Your post got me thinking about my own blog and what purpose/goals I'd like to accomplish. Thanks for sticking that bug in my ear...I hope the new year will see you meet your goals. More posts? I'm all for reading more!

ForPetsSake January 10, 2011 at 11:30 PM  

Almost forgot, we're raw feeders here. Let me know if you have any questions ;)

Stella January 10, 2011 at 11:55 PM  

My reason for blogging was only to find other rescues and people who feel like I do about my dog. I probably only do from 4 to 8 blogs a month. I try for some meaning to those, and sometimes I manage.

One thing I have managed is to help Stella be a better dog. She was totally untrained when I got her and now she walks on a leash like a champ, no more jumping people, just charming and sweet unless its thundering when she still becomes manicial! A friend I only see every couple of months, said "You are working with Stella, aren't you." I said yes, and he said, its really showing. So little things I do daily are helping her and people can see it. Thats good!

Are you still thinking about a pedigreed dog?

Cheers and hugs,

Jo and Stella

I agree with you about the chicken/turkey necks, I have heard they are some of the first things to try with raw food feeding. Maybe more for bigger dogs than Mayor Furter, though!

Stella January 10, 2011 at 11:56 PM  

My reason for blogging was only to find other rescues and people who feel like I do about my dog. I probably only do from 4 to 8 blogs a month. I try for some meaning to those, and sometimes I manage.

One thing I have managed is to help Stella be a better dog. She was totally untrained when I got her and now she walks on a leash like a champ, no more jumping people, just charming and sweet unless its thundering when she still becomes manicial! A friend I only see every couple of months, said "You are working with Stella, aren't you." I said yes, and he said, its really showing. So little things I do daily are helping her and people can see it. Thats good!

Are you still thinking about a pedigreed dog?

Cheers and hugs,

Jo and Stella

I agree with you about the chicken/turkey necks, I have heard they are some of the first things to try with raw food feeding. Maybe more for bigger dogs than Mayor Furter, though!

Sam January 11, 2011 at 12:05 AM  

Jo, I'm not thinking about adding another dog at all right now. Marge is very much enjoying single dog status :) The Breed For Me post was just for fun. (I do think that, in my lifetime, I will have both purebred dogs and rescued dogs, though. NO idea what my next dog will be!)

CindyLu's Muse January 11, 2011 at 12:46 AM  

I feel like I just learned so much about you! Your blog is great! And the diversity, plans for varying more, sound like it would fit you perfectly - which is absolutely what a blog should do! (Hi, Marge :D)

Life With Dogs January 11, 2011 at 12:49 AM  

I am so psyched that you got in on this! Can you see yourself doing this two years ago? :)

You are growing and it's wonderful to see, even if we don't meet as often as we used to. I knew that was one of the risks I would run with growing - but I never forget...

Priscilla January 11, 2011 at 1:00 AM  

I enjoy reading your blog and this interview indeed let me know more about you.
Everyone has his / her own reasons of start blogging and it is interesting to know about it. I started blogging because of my daughter. She studies in the UK and I used to write her emails every day telling her about our dogs and our life back at home (I thought I would email her less if I started blogging but I still email her a lot everyday : ) )
I'm glad I came to this blogging land and I've met so many good friends here. It's amazing there are so many people who share the same interests and who care about each other too.
I like what you said about giving comments. I think there should not be an obligation that you have to just leave a comment in order to get comments back from that blogger. We give comments because we enjoy reading that blog and we have something to say about it.

Aragon greyhounds January 11, 2011 at 1:50 AM  

Your post gave me pause for thinking about my own. I agree with a lot of your comments. It is hard to reliably have time to post and come up with things that will interest readers.

However I do think varied topics are more interesting than just I did this or I did that. It is interesting to learn about the dog and owner/handler and the obstacles they have to overcome to achieve their goals.

Keep at it!!

Sara January 11, 2011 at 6:23 AM  

I've read a bunch of people's versions of this challenge. What everyone seems to have in common is the fact that their blog has connected them with people who they've grown to care about, appreciate and learn from. Something they didn't really expect when they started.

What an amazing use of technology.

Kristine January 11, 2011 at 9:10 AM  

I just found your blog recently and I really like the diversity of what you have written so far. I kind of feel like I am struggling with similar things. Right now my blog is just kind of a mix of different things: my dog's issues, my dog's successes, my own personal issues and successes (and failures). Like Marge, Shiva is part pet, part fearful dog, part athelete. I am not sure where I fit in or if I should just focus on one thing. So I focus on nothing and just babble (hopefully not completely) incoherently.

Kinda like now.

Anyway, I have really enjoyed reading everyone's challenge submissions. It has given me a lot to consider about my own writing, as well as helped me understand where everyone is coming from. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Kathy January 11, 2011 at 10:22 AM  

Really great post, those were great questions and it was really interesting to read your thoughts! Glad you did those.

BRUTUS January 11, 2011 at 12:42 PM  

Loved this post. Wish I had time to do likewise, but I fear it would take me hours to write - generating so much text that no one could ever endure the whole thing!

You make so many good points! The "reciprocal commenting" thing gets me too. I do try to make sure I visit the blogs of the people who comment on mine, but sometimes I just have nothing to say about the post! I try to keep my blog diverse too, agility/obed posts sometimes, things from our daily life others, or something I've found that's worth sharing (a quote, website, service, ect.). I get a kick out it when dog-related companies contact me to do reviews, but I'm pretty picky about what I'll take on. Never want it to look like too much of an obvious plug, just woven into the storyline of a post. Have to admit, we've gotten some cool freebies along the way!

Michelle

Amy January 11, 2011 at 3:38 PM  

Thanks so much for participating in the challenge. This is my first visit to your blog, but any friend of Rox's is a friend of mine! Also - I couldn't agree more with those comments from people who clearly didn't read the post.

Gus, Louie and Callie January 11, 2011 at 5:21 PM  

You are doing a great job.. We love hearing about how Marge is doing.. We also enjoy all the comments..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

To Dog With Love January 12, 2011 at 11:35 AM  

Enjoyed reading your post. Since we also do agility AND my blog topics tend to be all over the place, I look forward to the diversity of topics you talk about! I can relate to everything you said!
Diane and Cosmo

Vicky January 12, 2011 at 11:04 PM  

Love your answer to #7. I agree - I want people to comment because I said something they enjoyed reading, not just because they want me to comment back. I agree that branching out beyond a narrow niche post is daunting, as I've felt the same way. I tend to write whatever's rattling through my mind at the time and I'm not all that great at maintaining a defined purpose. I've come to the decision that people can read what moves them and leave the rest, because you never know what people will enjoy. Nice to meet you!

Anna the GSD January 13, 2011 at 11:56 AM  

I love bananas too!!

Wait, you didn't write about bananas? Well, comment me back, kay? LOL I kid! I kid!! :)

I love hearing about Marge, as another scardee dog I love reading how we can overcome challenges with out peoples!

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