Blogging is fun, but it can also be doggone hard work. It takes tools, time, love, and a whole lot of effort to build and grow a blog. Here are some of the resources and tools that are used to create, share, and grow here at Dalmatian DIY. I’ve also included extra information and handy links for readers who are interested in taking their own adventure into websites, social media, photography, and more. 

Creating and Sharing Dalmatian DIY

The Early Years

When Dalmatian DIY began, it was created and hosted on Google’s free Blogger platform (dalmatiandiy.blogspot.com). Thanks to a whole lot of fabulous readers, the time came when Dalmatian DIY outgrew blogspot. I transitioned to a custom domain, but stayed with the underpinning hosting platform of Google’s blogger. In hindsight, I should have taken the big plunge all at once. Dalmatian DIY continued to grow and I wanted more flexibility over formatting. Major structural update were needed, especially to make things better for mobile readers. I don’t regret starting with Blogger. It’s a great tool, especially if you learn a little bit of coding, and free is hard to beat as a start-up, but it is painful transitioning. If you dream of growing big, perhaps you’d like to start with bigger boots and grow into them, if your budget allows.

Current Website

With some trepidation, I took the big step of changing the entire construct of our Dalmatian DIY website, from branding to platform. We’re currently operating using WordPress via SiteGround (referral link). I can be a tad obsessive about researching options before deciding, but so far I’m happy to have selected with SiteGround for my hosting and more. Their packages made the transition much simpler and smoother.

Blog Resources and Tools

We use a lot of different systems, tools, resources, and equipment to create and share content for the Dalmatian DIY.  We talk about why third-party tools are needed and how they work in our Privacy Policy.  Here are some of the key systems and services we currently use:

  • SiteGround –  Website Hosting, Security, Optimisation (referral link
  • WordPress – Website Platform and Construct 
  • Blossom Themes – Website Theme Design 
  • Elementor – Post Construction Tools
  • Yoast SEO – Site Optimisation
  • Google – Adsense, Analytics, Gmail
  • Dropbox – Free Download File Storage (referral link)

Imagery is a big part of what we share here on the blog and our social media. From the camera to the phone, I’m not ashamed to admit that I have a whole lot of pictures of our pets. See below for information on my photography resources and tools.

Social Media and More

Getting Started on Social Media

If you’re a pet-lover looking for like-minded friends or a photo buff looking for a place to share, social media might be the right fit. It can be a great place to hang out and make connections, with or without a blog. We’ve met so many furfriends near and far on social media. For most people, social media requires a lot less time, commitment, and investment than running a dedicated website or blog. Different platforms fit different niches, styles, and individual preferences. Experiment with what works best for you personally. Don’t try to do it all, although you might want to nab your preferred names and handles in case you grow. Social media can be a huge time suck. Try to balance your activity.

Join Dalmatian DIY on Social Media

I’d love for you to join Dalmatian DIY on social media. It’s a great way to stay on top of our latest posts, updates, special events, and get a behind the scenes look at life with the blog dogs of Dalmatian DIY. You can find us on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.  Hope to see you here, there, and everywhere!  You’re what this whole blogging adventure of ours is all about and sharing with you is the reason that Dalmatian DIY exists. Thanks for being part of our crazy blog dog world and for all the love you share with Oli and Humphrey.

Paw Note: We love using Pinterest for both sharing and discovering new things, but it’s good to be beware whilst exploring. Pin or click with care. We often see our own images on “fake” pins. This happens when people who take images from legitimate pins or posts, and then use them to create identical pins misdirecting people to unrelated websites. It’s far too easy to accidentally save or click a bad pin. Very frustrating.

Fun with Photography (and PhoDOGraphy)

Invest in Furfamily Photos

Before I start talking about DIYs, I’d like to take a minute to talk about the importance of treating yourself to something special.  As someone who dislikes being in front of the camera,  I know first-hand how easy it is to miss out on capturing those moments and memories together. Treat yourself to some professional photos of you pets, and of you with your pets from time to time. They’ll be treasured. I haven’t done this nearly often enough over the years, and I plan to try and do better in the future myself.

Find a photographer whose work you like and make sure the formats they offer will work for your needs. For example, I love high quality photographer’s prints for displaying or gifting, but I also like being able to share photos online and with family overseas, which can be difficult if packages are print only.  Found a good one? If it’s not advertised upfront on their website, check whether they would be comfortable working with you and your pets. As much as we adore the furballs, dogs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.  

Don’t Let Equipment Stop You from Photography Fun

You don’t need fancy equipment to take nice photos, although admittedly it sometimes helps. I enjoy photography and have good camera gear and software for other purposes, not specifically for creating this blog or for photographing our pets.  If you want to explore photography but can’t afford an upgrade, that’s perfectly okay. Even mobile phone photos can be awesome. Your vision and skill matter in making a great photo, whether it’s on a phone or a DSLR. Play around and keep developing your eye and your photography techniques. 

I still turn to my mobile phone for quick snaps. My iPhone gets quite a work out on random opportunity shots, and it’s chock full of dog photos. Its almost always with me, whereas lugging heavy camera gear is reserved for special outings. Without the convenience of mobile phone photos, I would have missed out on so many great photos with our boys, including this favourite photo of our dogs on the beach

What’s in My Camera Bag

My camera equipment and software has evolved over the years, but, at present, my go-to is my Canon 5D. I have a fantastic Manfrotto tripod and basic monopods for mobility, but I generally don’t use this gear with the dogs or for the blog. My collection of gear includes a variety of different lenses, extensions, and other accessories. I sometimes use lenses for specific purposes. Other times, I prefer a broad range zoom as an all-in-one compromise. It’s much easier to travel or hike with a smaller camera bag and less gear. Especially if I’m also wrangling dogs! 

I have a Lowpro Slingshot backpack that is my go-to camera bag for outings and hikes. I often use this if I bring a camera on an outing with the dogs. The boys recognise it and get excited about imminent adventures when they see it. The single strap makes it convenient to flip it to the front and safely access equipment on the fly. I also have a Lowpro Passport Sling, which I use for a more discrete look whilst travelling, and an ultra discrete Kelly Moore B-Hobo purse camera bag. It was a gift many years ago. I love it and it still looks fabulous. 

I use Adobe Photoshop for any edits but I confess that I still love the quick ease of Picasa for making colleges for the blog.  Within Photoshop, I do most of my editing manually. I also have a few Topaz tools (referral link) and have a number of actions both bought and self-recorded to streamline my workflow.  Recording actions is helpful for speeding up frequent tasks, like bulk exporting with preferred settings.

Explore the Blog for Photography Projects and Inspiration

You can find all of the photography related posts in our blog archives under the Photography archive tag. This is mostly DIYs with photos, as we don’t post a lot of dedicated photography content here at Dalmatian DIY. We also have a board on Pinterest dedicated to pet-related photography with all sorts of inspiration, tips, and and resources. And don’t be shy to drop a picture of your pet into our social media comments and replies sometimes, too. I love seeing photos of our followers and furfriends all around the world.