Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our First Pet Blogger Challenge

today is the 2nd Annual Pet Blogger Challenge, hosted by Will My Dog Hate Me? and Go Pet Friendly. last year at this time, i was neither a blogger nor a pet parent, so i not only didn't participate, but i also had no clue this challenge even existed. i'm excited to play along this time around.

basically, this challenge is a chance for us to all get to know each other better, but if you did participate previously, it's also a good chance to see how things have changed in the past year. i look forward to that opportunity in 2013!

Questions for First-timers

1. When did you begin your blog? on tuesday, april 5, 2011, this blog officially went live under its original desmondforge.blogspot.com address.

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog? to babble incessantly about my dog in hopes of the following:
A) not becoming obnoxious to my friends & family and personal facebook news feed
B) keeping an online diary of how our lives changed and what we've learned because of desmond's arrival
C) finding other folks who "get it" and would not mock me for being obsessed with my dog
D) avoiding having to constantly repeat myself when answering the question, "How's Desmond?" 
(what is with people, anyway? they always harp on one specific thing at a time, don't they? you're single: how's the love life? you're partnered up: when's the wedding? you're engaged: how's the planning going? you're married: how's married life? you're buying a house: how's the house hunt going? you live in a house: how's the house coming along? do any work on it lately? you're pregnant: how are you feeling? you had a baby: how's the baby? i wish folks would try to find some common ground instead or talk about current events or something. i find this a very odd practice, unless the person is really, truly interested in that particular topic--and you can always tell when they are and when they just know nothing else about you and therefore have nothing to talk to you about. some people just love telling their same stories again and again, but i do not. it gets me very annoyed and makes me feel self-conscious. i don't want to be the girl who talks only about x, y, and z. this is making me sound insane again, isn't it? i'm stopping now.)

3. Is your current purpose the same? absolutely positively

If so, how do you feel you’ve met your goals? i've met all but goal D (well, i hope i've met goal A. i'm very self-conscious about it). people still ask me this question on a regular basis. i wish they would either just read the blog or simply not ask me this question because i doubt they are actually interested for really real anyway. this sentiment excludes plenty of people (say, my grandmother) who are definitely not going to ever read any blog of any kind. i realize there are some folks who are genuinely interested that i will have to speak to in person. that's cool, and i love that. i just really don't want to be the girl who talks only about her dog (or wedding or house, etc.) whenever she's out in public. (hence, the blog)

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you? as you may know from the week prior to christmas, i attempted the posting-every-day thing. it wasn't for me. this is also why i don't have the goal of becoming a full-time blogger. whenever i start to feel like i have to do something, i no longer want to do it. i've been this way as long as i can remember. (i loved reading as a kid and still do, but once a book was assigned, forget it. it took me forever and i rarely got through them entirely. forcing me to read 150 pages of a novel in two days is not going to make me feel excited about reading, especially when i didn't even choose the book.)

some people feel pretty strongly about needing to post on a schedule of some sort so that their readers will know when to come back. i'm sure there are plenty of folks who really do check their blog lists that way, but i feel like there are also plenty who have their preferred blogs set up in an RSS reader--no need to know when a post is coming; it just shows up and quietly says, "hi." you can save it for later or read it right away. it's like the DVR of blogs. it's also fun to watch your feed reader subscriptions change as your interests change. when i first set up my google reader account, it consisted almost exclusively of celebrity gossip; now it's all dogs, home renovation/DIY, and television (yes, i not only watch too much TV but also read about it afterwards).

in any case, i firmly believe your traffic will come from somewhere as long as you have content that people want to read and you're promoting your blog without being too in-your-face. that's why i'm not super worried about losing readers. not that there would be much i could do about posting on a schedule anyway--my life just doesn't work that way; so it is what it is. this is supposed to be fun, and i like to think i'd be writing it even if i didn't have any readers besides my mom. (hi, mom!)

5. Are you generating income from your blog? i'm generating some pennies here and there from two different ad networks: google's adsense and the BlogPaws | BlogHer publishing network. i figure if i can offset some of the costs of paying for a custom domain name, that's wonderful. one day, i hope to have this blog be an offshoot of my professional dog training website and maybe it will help me gain or retain clients. or maybe people will read my crazy posts and skedaddle in the opposite direction. perhaps i should rethink that plan...

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular (bragging is good!)? i talked about this a little bit before, but mostly it's the freedom go on and on about desmond whenever i please. and i try to make sure my blog sounds like me and not some professional version of me or something. this is how i think and talk. this is my voice. and, seemingly, you guys are enjoying that, so it makes me feel good. i like that my blog doesn't pretend to be something fancier than it is.

the other best part of blogging is the community. there are so many of you that i would love to meet in person. maybe one day i'll get my butt to a conference.

7. What do you like least? i think it's cluttered and ugly and it loads too slowly and i'm not sure that i picked the right platform when i started. i desperately need to make that redesign happen. i also would love to post more informative articles instead of just my stories and whatnot, but i don't have the time to bust out my old journalism skills, and i'd want to do it right.

8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012? i'd like to talk more about my future training career and training, in general, but i feel like i can't or shouldn't while i'm still in school. i would love to do more reviews and giveaways. i hope to continue to grow my audience by getting involved in more blogging events, and i'd really love to meet some locals through all of this. where my long island/queens people at?? oh, and i want to transition out of the all-lowercase typing. it's absolutely how i type all of my informal communications--email, chat, FB, twitter--but i feel like i should show some respect around here.

now that you've sat around at least long enough for an at-home dye job to set, please share some more of your time with us and check out these other bloggers who are taking the challenge:

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