7 January 2017

The Pet Blogger Challenge 2017

1. When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?

I'd had a little free website for several months when I made this blog in March 2010 - once I'd started here, I found a blog much easier to run. I had a new puppy, a new camera recently aquired for my birthday and I was midway through my GCSE studies in school. I would bore classmates in ICT class with my announcements of blog updates!

The focus of my blog has shifted somewhat in the past couple of years. The Dogs of Greenhill Farm is now becoming something of an artifact title - my blog is now about all of the animals on the farm. In 2016 the pet lambs seemed to take over (a quick look through the archives and you'll understand why), and in 2015 the focus was more on Blue Belle the pony. Having said that, everyone gets a look-in on the action.

My blog is all about the photographs and the stories they tell. Of course, if anyone has dog/sheep/pony-related questions they're more than welcome to ask.

2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?

I think from January to about April, just the sheer level of pure adorableness that was my blog. Lambs being born left, right and centre meant I was very busy, but I made sure I had the camera with me as much as possible to take lots of cute lamb pictures! This meant I had the camera with me to capture Nobby and Ben's first moments together in The Puppy Says Baa.

3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

It's really hard to choose, but one of my favourites from last year is The Sheep That Didn't Run Away. It's a cute little snapshot of life at lambing time - dogs confused by sheep that are very disrespectful of "authority". And it's another post featuring Nobby, all by himself the highlight of my year.

4. Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?

I've continued to share my posts on my personal Facebook page, and on Haynet, but one thing I did do was have business cards printed. When I was out with Nobby people were always asking about him, and it was great to be able to direct them to my blog without scrambling for a piece of paper and a pen! They were also useful when I took photos of other people's animals - I could say that if they looked at my blog on a certain day the photos would be there.

The cards were simple enough - just this photo of Teddy with the blog title and address.

I gave out almost 100 of them last year - I need to order more!

5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?

Rugged Boys was 2016's winner with 295 views. It is a series of photos from a flying visit I made to Cousin Fergal at his livery yard. I imagine this post got so many views because I shared it on his owner's Facebook page, and that of the livery yard too. Though Fergal would probably say it was because he was handsome.

I've noticed posts containing photos of other people's animals to be the most popular. By way of demonstration:

1. Rugged Boys - 295 views (Fergal and his friends.)
2. Fergal's Yard - 245 views (Fergal. Again.)
3. Vix's Puppies - 238 views (I met a litter of Wire-Haired Fox Terrier puppies.)
4. Nobby Goes to the Beach - 236 views (My pet lamb goes to the beach with me.)
5. Holly's Holiday - 228 views (Some photos from Cousin Holly's stay with us.)

So, yes, it appears everyone else's animals are more interesting than my own.

6. What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)

There is no one blog I find more inspirational than the other. I am drawn to blogs with nice photography, great content and fluffy animals. Have a look under Brilliant Blogs in my sidebar for blogs I follow.

7. What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?

Kind of a sad thing, but since losing Ben in March the dogs don't really play anymore. He was always the instigator of the chase, and without him my little pack of Border Collies has become deadly serious. It means it's even more of a joy when they "let their hair down" and play a little bit. A rare and beautiful sight that never fails to make me smile.

8. What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?

Be brave. So you want to take your lamb in the back of your car and go for walks in a busy seaside town at the height of summer? Go for it!

9. What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?

More equality, I think. My little flock of pet lambs really did take over the blog last year. I think The Dogs of Greenhill Farm could do with more actual dogs.

See? No dogs here...

Nope. None.

10. Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?

Okay, then, pet blogging community, I have a question for you! Does your blog have repercussions in "real life"? By that I mean: does it make you a local celebrity? How many people you actually meet know you have a blog? I'm always telling people I have a blog. Nobody has come up to me in the street and asked about my blog yet, but perhaps one day! I have had a couple of people say to me, "Hey, aren't you that girl who takes pictures of dogs?" Maybe this is just my isolation talking - there is no BlogPaws in Northern Ireland. I'm curious to know what's it's like to be a blogger in the rest of the world - half of the people I meet don't even know what a blog is.

(Yes, Teddy got some fans this summer.)

The Pet Blogger Challenge 2017 Blog Hop hosted by:
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  1. Thanks so much for participating in the Challenge, and good for you for taking Nobby to the beach! Why shouldn't lambs like the beach, after all?!

    I'm a bit of an unusual case, since my home (RV) is wrapped in advertising for my blog & website, but I find that people recognize my dogs more than me. Ty and Buster, being a Shar-pei and Shepherd are an unusual combination, and their pictures have been taken all over the country for more than 7 years now, so they've become pretty recognizable. It's really fun when we're out and about and someone knows who they are.

    Good luck to you in 2017 - equality is a good thing, and you have plenty of cuteness to go around!

  2. I never get tired of looking at the pictures of all of your animals! I think the post about Nobby at the beach was one of my favorite posts I read anywhere all year. Such a fun adventure!

    We haven't been recognized yet--or if we have, we've run away before it's been brought to my attention! Barley is reactive, so when we see other dogs on a trail, we either pull way off the trail and turn away from whoever is coming our direction or we go in a new direction, so we usually don't talk to people out and about. Barley's a celebrity in our neighborhood, but most of our neighbors are elderly and don't really love technology, so I haven't mentioned the blog to them. I'm glad your cards have come in handy when you've been out!

  3. All of your pictures are amazing and interesting, but that picture of Nobby and Ben is just so precious! I'm glad you had a great 2016 and here's to an even better 2017!

    People here in the states aren't that impressed by most bloggers. Sure, there are some famous ones in niche areas that get recognized, but in general, I think it would be strange for most bloggers to think of themselves as celebrities. It's funny, when some people ask what I do...when I say "I'm a blogger", the normal reaction is "Oh". 🙃

  4. People wouldn't recognize me even if they wanted to; I don't post any photos of myself anywhere. Most of my readers are in the US, so I'm not likely to meet any. And I don't get out much. So the answer to your question would be no :-)

  5. I absolutely LOVE your photos and always have! Also, love that have branched out and now are photographing all the animals on your farm.

    In terms of your question, no one asks about my blog in real life, but I have been fortunate to attend bBogpaws and it is always so fun to meet the people behind the blogs. Maybe you will be able to make the trip some day!

    1. Oh, I would love to make the trip! And bring a sheep, obviously. ;)

  6. Oh my gosh, I'm so excited you did this challenge! I've never been here before and LOVE the photos!

    We're not famous in our neck of the woods. When I mention I have a blog, most people say, "oh." Actually, I think it's a good thing. If my neighbors actually knew what I said about them....LOL

    1. Well, when you put it like that... haha! :)

  7. You are living my dream and I wish I could visit you. I immediately went to follow you on BlogLovin' but didn't find your blog so I'm going to add it. I would LOVE a farm, I love Border Collies (one inspired my blog).

    My blog has made me a celebrity in the local WordPress community and with some dog lovers but I've only been stopped a couple times out in public with questions about dog food. No one has ever been aggressive or mean; everyone's been amazing.

  8. I wasn't able to add your blog to BlogLovin' - would you be willing to add it so that I can follow? I know it's a lot to ask and if you have another way for me to follow, please let me know.

    1. I'm so flattered you would like to follow my wee blog. If you look on the sidebar just under my blog list and above my Haynet/SHS logos you should find a subscribe by email option. If this doesn't suit you, can you let me know?

      Thank you. :)

  9. First of all, I have to tell you, I live vicariously through your blog. My dream is to live on a farm, and Ireland would be great, thanks. I was lucky enough to travel there this past summer and I would give anything to live on a farm in Ireland! Gah! So jealous! To answer your question, yes, I have had people ask me about my blog. It is usually at a pet-related place or event, but I have met a few folks out and about that say they saw me or one of my dogs on the internet. This doesn't happen that often. Only a few times, but it's nice. I intend to promote more this year, though. Do you think you'll maybe attend BlogPaws one year?

    1. Why thank you for such a lovely comment! :) It is a mighty distance to travel, but perhaps one day if the sheep will allow me!

  10. I'm excited to have found you and look forward to seeing more of your photos.
    I absolutely love that you took a sheep for a walk on the beach.
    Growing up we had a small herd with a lamb named Popcorn who behaved like a dog.
    Sorry about the loss of your beloved furry family member. I'll look forward to photos of the pack letting their "hair" down.