Saturday, January 10, 2015

I'm Taking the 5th Annual Pet Blogger Challenge!

It's January 10th, and most of you will know what that means - it's time for the annual pet blogger challenge!  This fun community event gives us all an opportunity to get to know our fellow bloggers a bit better, as well as to to inspire others by sharing some background info about our blogs and how far we've come.  Please feel free to click the links below to read more wonderful animal-related blogs, and join in if you'd like!

1.  How long have you been blogging?  (And for first-timers, what is your blog about?)
I have been writing Second Chances since last spring.  It hasn't quite been a year yet, but we're getting close!  I started the blog primarily to share information and news about animals in need, but it's expanded somewhat to include funny stories and photos - mostly of my dog, Riley!

2.  Tell us one thing that you accomplished during 2014 that made you proud.
This isn't exactly blog-related, but getting published in the October issue of Dog Fancy magazine was definitely a big deal for me!  It was a short article on the very last page of the issue, but we were super pumped to see my name (and Riley's!) in print.

3.  What lessons have you learned this year that could help us all with our own blogs?
Make connections and be friendly.  The Internet can be a not-so-friendly place sometimes, and it's nice to have found a little niche where everyone is incredibly kind and encouraging.  I have also learned that the best way to get people to come to your blog is by going to read their blog.  If you enjoyed an article...tell them!  Better yet, shoot them an email and tell them why it stood out to you - it can really make a difference and even help begin a new friendship!

4.  What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog?
As I mentioned above, visiting other blogs, commenting on posts, and sharing great articles are easy ways to bring traffic to your own site.  I also like to tweet my fellow bloggers or share things with them on Google+.  Guest posts can also be incredibly helpful.  If you're doing a product review, tagging the company on Facebook or Twitter when sharing your post can also bring new readers to your blog.

We got lots of new readers when we reviewed Travels with Casey!

5.  What was your most popular blog post this year?  Did it surprise you?  
My most popular blog post was a Tuesday's Tails post that featured two elderly adoptables:  Beau and Chachi.  I was in love with these two and shared their story multiple times.  The fact that this was the most popular isn't too surprising to me - I was very close to their situation and so was able to share some personal details that made the post more intimate.  What's more, I am so glad that it ended up being my most popular post, because Beau and Chachi finally found their forever home - perhaps, in part, due to your shares, who knows?!  A close second was my post titled "The Angels Who Save Animals".  I wrote it as a tribute to shelter employees who change lives - canine, feline, and human!

6.  What was your favorite blog post to write this year?
I don't know that I have one specific favorite, but one of them was definitely my letter to Riley's former mama - it was fun to write and, surprisingly, brought up a lot of emotions for me!  I also loved writing the posts that give people tips on how to give back to local animal shelters and rescues; two that come to mind are my list of great gifts that give back and a list of ways to show some love to animals in need.  Plus, I always enjoy writing the Tuesday's Tails features!

7.  Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?
No; I don't do many product reviews, and I have yet to do a giveaway.  Though a giveaway is definitely in the works for the next month or two, I will continue to do only a couple of product reviews a year.  There are lots of products that I just don't feel would be all that relevant to people wanting to read about animal rescue, and I never want my readers to feel that I am just shilling things I don't really believe in.

8.  What's your best piece of advice for other bloggers?
Believe in what you are writing.  Enjoy what you're writing.  If you don't, it comes through in your writing and will be quite obvious to your audience.  So far, I have loved blogging...and if, for whatever reason, I wasn't enjoying myself anymore, I would stop - or at least take a break.  Having passion for what you are writing about is key to becoming a great blogger.

If you don't love what you do...why do it?  (Print from here; quote by Sylvia Plath)

9.  What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?
Honestly, I just want to continue making a difference.  I want people to read my blog and be inspired to adopt, volunteer, or donate.  I also want to make people smile by sharing funny Riley stories or cute photos of my shelter/doggie hotel dogs.  Basically, I'd love to just continue what I've been doing - only bigger and better!!

10.  If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you're having with your blog, what would it be?
Hmm.  I don't have anything particular in mind, but of course, all advice is very much appreciated!  I just really enjoy connecting with other bloggers and like-minded people in the rescue community, and I'd love to continue doing that - any tips on meeting more people?  I can't wait for BlogPaws for this very reason! :)

As always, thank you to my amazing readers. <3  

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10


  1. Nice to meet you. Very good answers too. I like that your goal is to help shelter animals, that's awesome.

    1. Thanks, Mary! I have been a silent reader of your blog for a few months now, and I really love your photography! I'll have to stop on by and check out your answers :)

  2. Hi Chelsea, I love that you write about rescue and loved your poster - I write only because there is a voice inside me that will not be stilled. I love that! Is that your quote? I would love to know who to attribute it to and use it if I may.

    1. Hi Val! Thank you so much for your kind words! The quote/poster isn't mine - I found it on Pinterest. After some hunting, I found out it's a print that can be purchased on Etsy (search for seller CreateDestroyCreate), and the quote is by Sylvia Plath. If you search the quote on Google Images, some pretty neat images come up! :)

  3. Glad you're finding blogging fun. I also love it and can't imagine not having things to write.

    For another way to help shelters and rescues, I'd also add fostering. I've found it really rewarding and fun. Maybe your readers would enjoy interviews with some of the bloggers who foster dogs and cats. And it might get someone interested in helping out themselves.

    Hope you have a great 2015!

    1. Thank you, Pamela! I very much admire fosters and what they do. I SO wish we could foster, but Riley can be aggressive :( I am definitely hoping to do a couple of posts about fostering in the future, so stay tuned ;)

  4. Riley is so cute!! I love your blog!! :D I agree with you that it's best to be friendly! :D

  5. Nice to meet you and congratulations on having your article featured in Dog Fancy magazine.

  6. I enjoy reading your blog, Chelsea. You do make a difference, probably in ways you will never know. So, thank you.

    1. Thank you, Leah! You always have such kind and encouraging things to say; I really appreciate it! <3

  7. That's awesome you got published in Dog Fancy magazine! Congratulations!

    Tagging is something I need to do better with social media...well, social media in general is something I need to do better this year :)

    We love animal rescue. In fact, Linus is a rescue pup and we used to foster many moons ago before we started raising guide and service dog puppies. We hope to get to BlogPaws this year to meet up with our fellow pet bloggers.

    Good luck to you in 2015!

  8. Thanks for joining the Challenge, Chelsea, and congratulations on getting an article in Dog Fancy - that's awesome! I love your mission to help animals in need. When I started traveling full-time in the RV, one of the things I missed was volunteering at my local shelter. Last year I started the Take Paws to Volunteer program, where I spend a day each month volunteering at a shelter in whatever city we're visiting. It's been fantastic - I look forward to my volunteer days all month!

    A good way to get to know other bloggers is to work on something together. As someone to host a blog hop with you, or ask someone if you can interview them for your blog (Pamela would be perfect!). I hope you have a great 2015!

  9. wow, you effort towards this blog is highly appreciated. Lost and found