Dog trains man

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Yikes, It Is Alive

Finally, the Great New Year's After-Party is here. The Pet Blogger Challenge!

To be absolutely honest though, we are, like Viva on the picture, a little hangover when we look at the results. We didn't reach our goals from last year. We didn't even come close.

The thing is we achieved the opposite of what we set out to do. We wanted engagement and put stats aside, what we got was doubled stats while scoring an all time low on the engage-o-meter. What can I say? I am definitely not complaining.

Can you still remember what sparked the whole Pet Blogger Challenge event? In 2010, Amy and Edie had a feeling of being bullied by their blogs - here and here. That's exactly how I now also feel. The blog seems to follow it's own path, despite of what I intend it to do. Maybe this blog is doing more than bullying. Yikes. It is alive. This is creepy.

***

Let's give the blog a final chance to start listening, so let's go to this years questions:

1. How long have you been blogging and provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

We have been blogging for 2½ years. As long as there have been Pet Blogger Challenges, last years post is here.

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

My secondary goal around travel was a wild-card anyway, as I didn't know how our travels would evolve. And as it turned out, it didn't. But I still had my main goal which was to have fellow Hovawart lovers engaged with the blog. Have them write for the blog, comment and discuss. In short, more engagement.

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

I loved the contributions we got from Hovawart lovers for the Hovawart School of Witchcraft & Wizardy. I can't thank Kelsey, Nolan, Astrid, Deanne, Marc and Cheryl enough for participating. They are some of the most popular reads on the blog, Kelsey's post even made it to the top 10 of most read posts. Their contributions are so important for people to get to know the Hovawart, based on real-life stories and experiences, and not by the usual fairy tales you hear.

I'd hoped for a lot more though, probably my expectations were too high.

And on the bright side, the engagement was there, it just didn't take place on the blog. I had some controversial posts, like "Why The Hovawart Must Never Become Popular" and "The Forgotten Hovawarts", that were discussed a lot on Facebook, in forums, and got me the highest numbers of private Facebook messages and mails ever

4. How often do you post?

Ah, my weak spot. On average I only post once a week. We really have to remedy that.

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

I still blog as the spirits moves me. I try to find a good balance between keeping my readers interested and to continue to enjoy what I do. Although I write as the spirit moves me, I "publish" in what appears to be a more scheduled rhythm. I think some type of schedule is important if you want to keep your readers interested.

I have one - very selfish - measure to determine if a topic is "post-worthy". Would I like to write about it? Have an urge to say something about it? Need to express my opinions? And, would my readers possibly think it is interesting? Other than that, it should be about dogs.

6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your tips for staying on top of it all.

It usually takes me an hour to write a post, and another hour to edit it. Even for the Hovawart TV series, which in itself is just a video and a caption, I spend an hour just to search, watch and select the video. Some posts are tougher though, and need more research. In which case I write them finished in the weekends. A couple of posts even took me the whole weekend to finish.

I have a number of blogs from which I always read every post. They are on my blog roll, so a couple of times a week, I go through them and read what they posted. I have a wider selection in my reader of other blogs I stumbled upon that I skim through once a week. I try to keep the number of blogs below 50 at all times, as that really is my limit.
In all, I think the reading also takes around two hours a week. So in total, I spend at least 4 hours blogging and reading every week.

7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?

Something I always struggle with. The measure of success for us is how much searches on Hovawarts send people to the blog and how long they stay. Or even better, return. And best, if they would contact us with a question, or leave a note they appreciated the blog.
Of course in the end, it all leads to more traffic, and although it is a number you can't draw many conclusions from, it is the strongest indicator of how the blog is doing.

8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

What a great opportunity. What always is nagging me is there tend not to be a lot of focus here. We post in a wide range, like cute pics and video's, write about BSL, puppy mills and of course Hovawarts. And everything in between. Do you think that is positive thing? Or does the lack of focus actually works counter-productive?

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?

Definitely BSL. July 2013, the BSL laws in Denmark are taken under the loop and there is a danger 13 more breeds are added to the banned breed list. But it also gives an opportunity to have the whole BSL madness repealed. Our goal is to play our part in getting BSL repealed.

The other goal is already decided by you, my readers. I received requests for more frequent and regular Kenzo and Viva updates. You really want me to blog more about them, the actual stars of the blog. And true, I blogged only 31 times about Kenzo, and 29 times about Viva. A very thin harvest for 2½ years of blogging.

And finally, I really have to get my act together and post multiple times a week. Maybe when I start blogging more about Kenzo and Viva, that shouldn't be so difficult after all. They shower me with daily tidbits already.
That should be feasible, even for a creepy blog that is alive. I hope it is listening this time.
Share:

42 comments

  1. Hello; it's nice to meet you, (through the PBChallenge linky). I think most of us have trouble reaching our goals at one time or another. Love the beautiful Goldens!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goldens? Where? You are just teasing me right? :)

      Delete
  2. We say just enjoy it and things will happen. We have no goals. Maybe we should? Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No goals sounds good! I wonder what my blog would do with that, I fear it will misuse it for total anarchy :)

      Delete
  3. You're too funny, Leo. You and your creepy blog. BWAH haha!

    I don't find you or your posts unfocussed at all. If anything, you're very clear about what motivates you...Hovies and that damned BSL and how to kill it. Based on how many other Hovie owners you've engaged, and how much awareness you've created of the breed, I'd say you're a very successful blogger!

    I hope you get more holidays this year. I want more too ;)



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that :), and if it is perceived as focused, I have nothing to worry about.

      Delete
    2. I agree with Georgia and her typist, the last word I would use to describe your blog is unfocused. I find you bring a fresh set of eyes and a different perspective to a lot of the issues you right about. There are a lot of things I would never have known if not for your blog (plus I never would have discovered the Hovawart!)

      I didn't even realize until tonight that I read 90% of your posts in my feed reader and therefore, NEVER comment on them. My apologies - I'll try to be better. Might I make a suggestion if your looking to bring more people into the discussion? Using jump breaks a paragraph or two into the post means we have to click that read more button and come to the blog to keep reading. My commenting when way up when I started using jump breaks.

      Delete
    3. Ah, how nice to meet a feed reader! Wow, if you have read that much of my posts, pls keep on enjoying it the way it works for you, no need to comment !

      Delete
  4. Our blogs really do have a life and personality of their own, don't they? Sort of like your dogs (and my cats) - so I guess we'll just have to work with them! BTW - keep those BSL posts coming. It's important to share what's happening, and I was happy to see that Thor is still alive!

    ReplyDelete
  5. If you hit on the solution for finding more time to blog, please share with the rest of us! :) That's something I really struggle with. I'm impressed you can keep up with 50 blogs!

    To me, it doesn't sound like you have a lack of focus. Instead, you have a number of specific topics to focus on, which can be a good thing because you'll never run out of things to write about. I do appreciate your BSL posts. I focus a lot on that from the US, so I appreciate following the international issues!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's too much credit :) I just skim through them, I only read the blogs on my blog roll always and that's only around 15 blogs.

      Thanks for appreciating the BSL posts, I promise they will continue. Would they stop in July, it would be good news, as that means the breed ban in Denmark is repealed!

      Delete
  6. I think having a wide range is definitely a good thing. You and your Hovawarts are varied and fascinating in many respects, and your posts reflect that. I look forward to visiting more often this year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Peggy, good to hear coming from you!

      Delete
  7. WOW! The biggest thing that caught my eye was your last one..... "Our goal is to play our part in getting BSL repealed." Amen sista! As a pit bull owner, BSL is a hated word and I one I stand firmly to fight against. As for your ups and downs, ahhh, we can't win em all, right? We try our best, push ourselves a lil more, and hopefully make it happen. Find inspirational friends to help motivate you if you must. I was checking out your blog and like what I see. Gonna add it to my reader. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, also for your support on BSL. Sometimes I wonder if spreading the word from this small blog helps, but then when yesterday Cesar Milan linked to one of my guest posts I wrote for Blogpaws on BSL, boosting the whole effort ... There is always hope, and the only thing I can do is fight with what I have available.

      Delete
  8. Although you write as the spirit moves you, and you "publish" in what appears to be a more scheduled rhythm. That sounds like a nice balance to me. I have always found that when I widen my focus/content too much I do not get a lot of response from it. I think defining your focus/content first will allow you to branch out in areas and be successful at it. At least that is what I am working on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, that sounds like a good principle!

      Delete
  9. If writing when the spirit moves you works, then why change it. for this challenge I needed to look at my stats and I realized the posts that had the most views, were the ones that were sillier. I'm not sure I want to write silly all the time. :-)

    BSL sucks and I do hope you can work on repealing it, what is has shown thus far is once you ban one type of breed, then people get started on another. It is so wrong and such a shame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what stats do, they foremost confuse :)
      Thanks for your support on BSL, and as you say, we have all seen it before. That's why I am so angry with Denmark they think they can invent it all over, yet it evolves like the number so many BSL story, while dogs are suffering.

      Delete
  10. That photo of Viva is perfect for this post!

    I love your Hovawart School posts - do you think you'll continue it in the future? It's especially cool that it inspired those discussions on Facebook.

    I don't really feel that you're all over the place. I think that there's a common thread uniting all of your posts - the love of Hovawarts. :) I find the BSL posts very educational and interesting, and I think that Hovawart TV and posts about Kenzo and Viva help reinforce the idea that BSL is stupid because you spotlight some absolutely awesome pups.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, glad you noticed the photo.
      The Hovawart School post's continue, but I will stop actively trying to persuade people - read beg - to write something. And the Hovawart TV I have to continue, the Hovawart Facebook groups would riot if we stop!

      Great to know you see a common thread, it must be not that bad as I thought.

      Delete
  11. It's ALIVE! It's ALIVE! How frightening it is when the blog takes over.

    I actually like that you have been back and blogging more regularly the last couple of weeks. I thought maybe you were traveling more and couldn't blog as often. After all, Kenzo and Viva did get some serious beach time this summer. :)

    I love your stance on BSL, on Hovawarts and on Kenzo and Viva. Truth be told Leo, I learn from you all of the time. I don't know if you have heard this about us Americans, but we can sometimes become myopic and have a hard time seeing the world beyond our own. You educate me on what's going on beyond our borders. I like that.

    I also happen to love Kenzo and Viva, so any posts on them (or cure pictures like the one above) are most welcome! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heard about that :) I think we all suffer of it though, not just Americans. It is so refreshing to look over borders.

      You will have no shortage of cute K&V pics in the time ahead :)

      Delete
  12. I like the name Hovawarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry very cute.

    I'm not a regular reader, but it doesn't sound to me like your blog lacks focus. I think writing about puppy mills and BSL are a natural extension of being a pet/dog blogger.

    However, I do know that when you're concentrating on search engine optimization it's a lot easier to rank for keywords if you're topic is laser focused.

    Good luck with your goals in 2013!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true, I don't do too much with search engine optimization, it distracts me from writing. Although I always do a check when I edit text, the main subject (2 or 3 keywords) are in the title and the first paragraph.

      Delete
  13. I wouldn't beat yourself up about not blogging as much as you like. You own a business and the paying jobs always come first. Since you are my only European dog blog connection, I always find your BSL posts interesting and newsworthy. I look forward, sort of because BSL news is never good news, to reading more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I shouldn't. But I doesn't have to be a lot of work sharing some more on K&V. I'll give it a try, let's see where it ends.

      Delete
  14. Your sense of humor is a total kick, Leo! I love the after-party picture of Viva and that you "achieved the opposite of what we set out to do" because your blog has a scary, independent life of its own. Funny how we've all learned that together over the years.

    Thanks for everything Hovawart and BSL related in your posts. I hope you find more time to write, if only because you clearly enjoy it - and I learn a great deal about breed struggles in Denmark and a dog breed I've never heard of until you came along.

    Happy 2013! Goals, shmoals. Just keep loving what you do.

    ReplyDelete
  15. You doubled your stats - that's great, Leo! Sometimes I think that engagement and traffic run in opposite directions and I have a hard time finding a balance between the two. I think that's why I'm focusing on posts I'm passionate about this year - it may mean less traffic, but I think it will result in more engagement and my primary goal is to incite people to travel, after all!

    I also think you're being a little hard on yourself. It sounds like you have some great engagement! It may not be the way you were hoping or what you expected, but you're definitely reaching people! I'm looking forward to seeing where 2013 takes us both - wherever that is, I'll be along for the ride. Thanks for taking the Challenge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amy! Looking forward on how your blog will evolve and how many, not if, people you will inspire to travel.

      Delete
  16. Thanks so much for posting some of your favourite past blog posts. I really enjoyed reading them and I'll be sharing a few on Twitter soon. I really enjoy learning about different breeds, and you do a fantastic job on Hovawart education. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words, and glad you found something on Hovawarts you wanted to share!

      Delete
  17. I've actually wondered if lack of focus might be a problem. I know that some of my more *cough* impassioned or pleading posts (For fundraisers, specific rescued dogs in need) seem to get hardly any comments, and I wonder if it's because it's far too specific, or because there's little to say on the matter. But then Wordless Wednesday posts will get comments from entirely new people, and a lot of comments. It's very strange to me, though I guess there's less pressure involved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is so much easier and more inviting for people to comment on a funny pic, than on the "heavier" subjects. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you.

      Delete
  18. Love your comments and your site! Don't sound so downtrodden! I'm a newbie and you're impressing the hell out of me (on all counts)! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Terrific post! I like the idea that you keep the blogs that you read regularly at a minimal. That is something I think I might have to do too!

    Best of luck this year!

    ReplyDelete
  20. We're fighting the fight against BSL, too - keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I would never call your blog unfocused either. I know, when I find a new post in my feed reader, that it will either be a passionate plea for animal welfare or the personal expression of that in your life with Kenzo and Viva. It all hangs together.

    As for feeling bad about not posting more--the blogs are supposed to be an expression of our love of dogs. And if you're taking Kenzo and Viva to the beach, giving them stimulating days, or taking them to the vet, then you're not neglecting the blog. You're fulfilling one of the passions of your life.

    I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in 2013.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Stopping by for the first time to visit your blog. Am looking forward to visiting your blog more often and good luck with the fight against BSL!

    ReplyDelete

Blogger Template Created by pipdig