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Welcome to Pet Bloggers Journey 2020!
I’m so happy to be hosting the inaugural Pet Bloggers Journey. If you haven’t already you’ll want to check out our previous post that includes a little bit of history behind the Pet Bloggers Journey.
Pet Bloggers Journey: Share Your Adventure
Today we put our normal blog topics on hold and celebrate our accomplishments, share the dreams we have for our blogs, talk about goals, and encourage our fellow pet bloggers.
So, let’s get started and begin the Pet Bloggers Journey!
If this is the first you’ve heard of the Pet Bloggers Journey and you’d like to participate, you’ll find all the details and the questions in this post.
Pet Bloggers Journey 2020
1. When did you begin your blog? And, for anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
My first post went live on this blog on August 1st, 2007. Yowzers! I’m coming up on my lucky 13th blogiversary!
I started my blog to chronicle the journey of my first Guide Dog puppy in training, Stetson. Since then I’ve trained many Guide and Service dog puppies sharing my training tips and experiences along the way.
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2019, that made you most proud.
This blog is my full time job. Yep, it’s been over a year since I quit my job in corporate America. One of my 2019 goals was to increase my earnings. How did I do this? I asked for more money.
It sounds simple enough, but when put into practice it’s extremely difficult because if you’re like me then you’re full of self doubt. Am I worth that much? Do I do a good job? Is my blog worthy?
In 2019, I pushed aside my self doubt, picked up the phone, and straight out asked for more money. And guess what? They said yes!
3. Which of your 2019 blog posts was your favorite and why? (Please include a link.)
We started this blog because of Stetson. In 2019 we said goodbye to Stetson. Losing a dog after 12+ years is nothing short of devastating. Not a day goes by without me thinking about my buddy.
Stetson, we miss you every day.
Here’s Stetson’s memorial post: Stetson, Our First Guide Dog Puppy In Training
As I answer this question I’m wearing a pair of socks covered with Stetson’s adorable face 🙂
4. What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2019, and how did you tackle it?
June 2, 2019 – Google Core Update. It had been a while since I was really smacked down by Google.
On June 2nd…well to be honest it took a day or two, but by the time the dust settled I lost about 25% of my traffic. Yep, pretty significant when blogging is your full time job.
How did I tackle this challenge?
“I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” – Name that movie.–Actor: T_ _ H_ _ _ _
–Movie: C_ _ _ A_ _ _
Yep, I kept forging forward and now I’m seeing some rebound and hopefully by June 1st 2020 (pre-google slap) my traffic will have increased by 25%.
5. One goal that we all seem to share is we want to reach more people. What is your #1 tip for bringing more traffic to your blog?
I know how to get more traffic to my blog. You’re not going to like my answer:
My #1 tip for bringing more traffic to MY BLOG is to produce more content. I think producing more content is the answer for most of us long time bloggers.
Sure Colby, but what would your #1 tip be for new bloggers, those of us trying to reach that 25K Sessions to join an ad network like Mediavine?
I know a lot of bloggers have found a ton of success with Pinterest (hint, hint maybe you and I should up our Pinterest game). I am not one of those bloggers. I get about 20K sessions a month from Pinterest. Good, but not great.
So, what’s your #1 tip?
Guys, there’s no magic bullet on this one. There’s so much you need to do as a blogger.
Carol Bryant and Maggie Marton’s book Pet Blogging for Love and Money is a great overview with tons of great tips and information. It wasn’t until I read their book that I realized how much you have to know to be a blogger.
That being said if I only get to dispense one tip…
My #1 tip would have to be to solve your reader’s problems.
- What problems do your readers tell you over and over again?
- Ask yourself: what questions do you have that you’d like solved in a blog post.
- Email your readers, create a blog post, or social media post asking what problems are they dealing with right now.
After you collect these questions/problems answer them in excruciating detail.
6. Do you do sponsored posts/reviews? If so, what do you find works best and how do you determine what to charge for a blog post, social media shares, etc.? If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?
My best advice for sponsored posts/reviews is to not sell yourself short. Make sure you get paid what you deserve.
When I first started out I accepted free products in return for my honest review and I was thrilled that was back in 2008. Today I think all pet bloggers should charge something for a sponsored post/review.
How do I determine what to charge for a sponsored blog post?
First, here are some tools that tell you what they think you should charge:
- TapInfluence – when I was with their network they had a suggested rate for sponsored posts. I’m not with TapInfluence any longer, but I think their recommendation for my blog was $500 per blog post.
- Social Bluebook – they have a tool that tells you how much to charge for sponsored work. I just visited their tool and the suggested price was $679.75 per blog post.
These are the five things I think about when deciding how much to charge for a sponsored blog post:
- How many hours do I have to invest in this project? – You should get paid for your time.
- What premium should I charge for posting to my blog? – Your readers trust you, you get traffic, your blog has history. There is a ton of value in your blog.
- Add ons – Shares to social media, email newsletter, etc. Is this included or are you charging an additional fee?
- How much does the product cost? – If it’s an expensive product I might consider that when determining what to charge.
- Do I want to do it? – Sometimes these projects fit perfectly with your website other times it fits, but feels forced.
I think the elephant in the room is what are pet bloggers charging for sponsored posts? Here’s my answer
Over the past few years I’ve charged anywhere from $300 – $1,500 per sponsored blog post.
7. Looking forward to 2020, if you accomplish only one thing through your blog, what do you hope it is?
Raven is going to have one more litter of puppies. I’d like to continue helping Service Dog Organizations by providing puppies for their programs, but I’m not sure if I will continue raising litters.
I had a series of posts about Raven’s first litter of Golden Retriever puppies, but I haven’t done much since then.
For Raven’s final litter I’d like to put together a video series about raising a litter of puppies.
8. What steps are you planning to take to ensure you reach your goal?
A litter of puppies is a ton of work and they grow fast! I have a pretty good idea of when the puppies will reach major milestones.
In the past when working with video I found one of the most important things is to have a script for what you want to shoot. I need to write a script for every video I want to produce.
At this moment the plan is daily videos which means I need to write 56 scripts between now and whelping day!
Don’t worry, we’re not planning on having puppies until September 2020.
9. The blogging landscape is constantly changing. What changes in blogging do you see coming in 2020 and beyond? What plans do you have to evolve?
Pretty much since I began blogging people have been predicting video will dominate the internet. I think it’s time to hop on that wagon.
I did a lot of video (by my standards) between 2010 and 2012. Since then I haven’t done too much. 2020 will be the year of video for me.
- Beginning in February 2020 I plan on producing one video every week.
- Raven will have one more litter in 2020. I’m planning a video series for her final litter.
- Another puppy may be joining the family. If so, I’ll have another video series in the works.
Flashback – when I did my Puppy In Training TV series my iPhone did not have video and I did everything with a Flip Camcorder. Remember Flip Camcorders?
10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
Every year I spend a ton of money on my email service provider, but I don’t think I’m getting very good ROI from my email list.
What is your #1 tip for building a successful email list?
There you have it. My contribution to the 2020 Pet Bloggers Journey.
Now don’t forget to drop us a line in the comment section and hop on over to the next post in the Linky. It’s a great time to chat with old friends, make new ones, share wisdom, and absorb the knowledge of others.
Thank you to everyone for participatinng! Be sure to add the direct link to your post below, and include the Linky code on your blog to make it easy for everyone to hop to your post.
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Check out more of our favorites on our new puppy checklist.