Pet Blogger Challenge 2019

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Pet Blogger 2019
Pet Blogger 2019

Thank you to Amy Burkert from Go Pet Friendly for hosting this years Pet Blogger Challenge.

Keeping it short and sweet this year. Here are the answers to this years PBC questions:

1. For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic?

My first blog post went live on August 1st, 2007 and was about my rescue pup, Linus who sadly passed away in 2018.

It’s difficult to imagine how much things have changed over the years. This blog started before smart phones and tablets. Today, 85% of the traffic comes from the mobile web.

Since it’s inception the main topic of this blog is about raising and training service dog puppies.

2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2018?

Going from blogging as a side hustle to full time blogger.

My only regret is I should have done it sooner.

3. What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2018, and how did/will you tackle it?

Probably changing hosts. I had been with Synthesis hosting for several years and really liked their service. In June/July they were bought by WP Engine and it was announced that they would end of life the Synthesis service in December 2018.

After researching many different hosts I signed up with Flywheel. Unfortunately, mistake after mistake in the migration and during the first week resulted in moving back to Synthesis.

About a month later I made my second attempt to change hosts. This time I went with a host recommended by Mediavine (they manage my ads) called Agathon.

I’ve been with Agathon for over two months now and so far so good!

4. Which of your 2018 blog posts was your favorite and why? (Please include a link.)

I put together a tribute post for Linus. It’s tough for me to read, but it was good to reflect back on his life and what he meant to me over the years.

“I have been and always shall be your best friend.”  – I miss you buddy!

5. Which of your 2018 posts was most popular with your audience? Why do you think it does so well?

The publish date was 10:06pm December 31st, 2017, but no one actually saw the post until 2018.

Whelping Checklist – What Supplies Do You Need Before Your Dog Has A Litter Of Puppies?

I try to optimize most of my posts for SEO and this one gets over 3,000 organic page views a month.

6. Did you implement a new series, feature, or practice on your blog in 2018 that you’re enjoying?

No, but I do plan on adding a series of posts in 2019. Last year was more about monetizing my blog. I’m shifting the focus to content creation in 2019.

7. As the social media landscape changes, how are you promoting your blog posts and connecting with new readers?

Here’s how I’m prioritizing in 2019:

  1. Email List
  2. YouTube
  3. Pinterest
  4. Facebook / Instagram – one or the other, but not both.

I will be AWOL on all other social channels.

8. Looking forward to 2019, if you accomplish only one thing through your blog, what do you hope it is?

One video a week for my series on raising our next service dog puppy.

***If there was a strong #2 on this list it would be to complete my ebook.

9. What steps are you planning to take to ensure you reach your goal?

Plan, Plan, Plan!

I’m planning all the videos in the series before our next service dog puppy is born.

10. Now it’s your turn! How can we help? Is there an area where you could use some advice, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on? Share it here, and we’ll answer you in the comments!

If you had a $1,000 to spend on your blog how would you spend it?

Thank you! And if you have any questions for me please leave me a note in the comment section.

Top Picks For Our Puppies

  1. BEST PUPPY TOY
    We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
  2. BEST DOG CHEW
    We Like: Best Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
  3. BEST DOG TREATS
    We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
  4. BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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31 Comments

  1. Great stuff Colby — you have really kicked but with your blog and you should be incredibly proud! Sounds like you have a great plan for 2019 and I wish you luck with everything! $1,000 dollars huh? I would create some king of awesome content to build backlinks with. Maybe an animated infographic or something fun and relatable. Brining in a new creative element to procure backlinks is so powerful!!!!!! 🙂

    1. Thanks Jill! An animated infographic sounds like a great idea! I’ll have to take a deeper look at doing something like that. Is that a service you offer? Thank you for all the great information you provide. I love following the 2dogsmedia site and the progress you’ve had on Charity Paws over the past couple years.

  2. Congrats on all your success and moving from part time to full time blogger! That is so impressive and really so few ever reach that point. Good for you!

    And gosh, I don’t know what I would do with $1,000 for my blog. I better give that some thought. I guess maybe go to more conferences, but not sure about that.

    1. Thank you! Let me know what conferences you go to this year. We’re only planning on going to the Mediavine Conference in Chicago right now, but we’re considering others. I’d love to meet up with other pet bloggers.

  3. Congratulations on a great year, Colby! I think planning the videos before your next puppy is born is a brilliant plan. I’m working on video, too, and I think it pays to invest the time getting it right.

    Actually, one of the things I’d spend the $1,000 on would be hiring someone to design the intro/outro and layout of my videos. I want all my videos to have some consistency, which is important from a branding perspective. Nailing that down with someone experienced makes sense to me.

    Thanks for taking the time to join the Challenge and all the best to you in 2019!

    1. Thanks Amy! Investing in a good intro/outro for your videos is a great idea. I made my own intro/outro for my first series of videos, but it was done in imovie and not too professional. I’m not sure if I’m going to get professional help or not this time around. We’ll see…

  4. I am looking forward to connecting in Chicago with you at MediaVine. I, too, wish I made the leap to full time blogger/writer sooner, but I am here now and away we go. All my best and thanks for being such a great blogger and source of knowledge, Colby.

    1. Yes! I’m super excited to see you in Chicago! Same to you, Carol. Thank you for being there to answer my questions. All the best to you in 2019!

  5. Great plan!! The ebook sounds neat!! Can’t wait to see Puppy in Training 2019 and meet the new pup!!

  6. I’m so new at this – I’d love any advice you can share on how to get started monetizing. Even small time. I’m getting all kinds of ideas to redo my site while I’m hopping through this blog hop, I usually hang out in the cat world (obvs.) and there are some gorgeously designed dog blogs I’ve never seen before in here. Taking notes…

    If I had $1,000 – I would renew my hosting which is due next month and I have no clue how I’m going to pay for it. I’d hire someone to redo my site for me. And I’d hire a coach or mentor.

    1. As far as monetizing I got traffic to my site and then started testing some different monetization methods like advertisements, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing. Most of my traffic comes from search engines and number 2 is pinterest. All other sources are a distant third.

      Site redesign has been a popular request. I am looking to possibly spend money on a professional designer this year. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. If I had $1000 to spend on the blog, I’d hire someone to help me with SEO. Good for you going fulltime as a blogger. We would love to, but I don’t think it will ever happen.

    1. I think investing in SEO is a great investment. I’ve been thinking about subscribing to one of the SEO Tools: Moz, SEMrush, or Ahrefs.

  8. OMD, you have certainly had your technical issues with PIT. So glad your hosting is straightened out.

    Personally, besides being a full time blogger, I think you should be very impressed at everything you accomplish while raising your kids. I don’t know how you find the time to do much of anything. 🙂

    If I had $1000 to spend on the blog, I’d probably spent it on some design help to make my new theme (which I’m waiting to work on) pretty. But if my main goal was to increase income, I’d probably put it toward some specialized help to boost traffic since that’s what will earn you the next $1000 to invest in your blog.

    Hope you have a great 2019!

    1. Thanks Pamela! We’re lucky and get a lot of help from my parents and in-laws. It’s been a lot of fun. Emma will be 2 in a March and the twins just turned 5 months.

      I am thinking about putting it into help with my design. Again, like I mentioned to Lindsay, I like having my hands in most things. I know, I need to let go of some of these things so I can concentrate on producing more content. It’s just hard to let go.

  9. Congrats on officially becoming a full time blogger. I’m not sure what I’d spend $1,000 on but maybe to hire someone to help me with overall branding – a logo, colors, consistency and a clear brand message. Or someone to audit for SEO.

    1. Thanks Lindsay! More time for me to hang out with Emma and the twins…kind of…

      I’ve been thinking about bringing on a graphic designer to redesign my logo and work on brand consistency. The only problem is I like doing and enjoy learning about these things. I actually took a Graphic Design class last summer and designed a logo, colors, typefaces and marketing materials for a fictitious company.

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