We are interrupting our regular content for a peek behind the green curtain in our pet blogger journey. I’ve been pet blogging for 11 years, and wow what a journey it has been.
Every year, a group of pet bloggers get together and answer the same set of questions. If you’re curious about what I do here at Fidose of Reality or want to start your own blog, stay tuned because there’s a lot to share.
This pet blogger journey is being hosted by my pet blogging pal, Colby Morita of Puppy in Training this year once again. As you all know, 2020 was
not an easy year one of the most challenging years in American history. I faced it head-on, but like everyone, there were a few bumps along the way. Fortunately, with a Cocker Spaniel by my side, everything is so much more manageable.
Our Pet Blogger Journey 2021
1. When did you begin your blog and what do you currently write about?
My pet blogging journey began in 2009, where I nudged the owners of a fledgling dog magazine that they needed a blog. I helped create it and they wound up winning awards for it.
In 2009, I took a look at the various dog blogs and realized there wasn’t one dedicated specifically to reality-based dog health and wellness topics. Like everything in my life, I jumped in feet first and created a dog blog, Fidose of Reality.
I’ve since hyper-niched down to a blog about healthy living for Cocker Spaniels and their canine friends. Want to read more about my background, this blog, and my love of Cocker Spaniels?
Click here: === > All About Fidose of Reality
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2020 that made you most proud.
Fidose of Reality won the Dog Writers Association of America blog or website of the year. The night was February 9, 2020 and the pandemic was just starting to get some buzz. In a roomful of over 120 people at an in-person event a few miles from New York City, my name was said aloud as the winner of the DWAA’s best blog or website of the year.
I’m accustomed to giving things away (we are pet bloggers, after all, it’s what we do), so I was stunned when my name and blog were said aloud. My dog was by my side, my wife was with me, and my friend Anne Serling (The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling’s daughter) was at the table with me. Here’s my reaction, which I thank my bestie, Christine Aiello, for snapping because I was clearly caught off guard:
I also won a Maxwell medallion and some cash grants for:
Best Article or Blog – Behavioral Training for my post, 8 Easy Fixes for a Fear-Free Veterinary Visit for Dogs
Fear Free Dog Enrichment Award for my post, 8 Easy Fixes for a Fear-Free Veterinary Visit for Dogs
Bonus Proud Moment: I also self-published the DogMinder. I went looking for a health and wellness journal for my dog’s medical stuff since I filled up my old one (Cocker health, what can I say). And I realized the journal I wanted to buy does not exist. So I created it. It’s been selling relatively well, and I put a lot of research, heart, and soul into it. It’s a low-content journal but the feedback has been awesome.
DogMinder is a canine health and wellness medical journal designed to keep a permanent record of your dog’s:
- Veterinary Visits
- Daily Observations
- Medications & Supplements
- Likes & Dislikes
- Food & Treats
- Reactions To Vaccines
- Emergency Contacts
- And So Much More!
Grab a copy of the DogMinder for under $10 bucks on Amazon.
P.S. I found out in December of 2020 that the pet blogging book I co-authored with Maggie Marton, Pet Blogging for Love & Money, is up for Book of the Year from the Dog Writers Association of America. I will find out next month if we won! What an honor!
3. Which of your 2020 posts was most popular with your audience? Why do you think it does so well?
One of the many ways dog parents find my blog is when their dog is diagnosed with IMT, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia. My Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, nearly lost his life to this immune system disease a few years ago.
I blogged our journey in real time, included a video, and I followed up with a post a year later on his progress. My dog survived, but sadly many do not. I cannot begin to count the number of dog moms and dog dads who have written to me to thank me for my well-detailed post. They print it, show it to their vet, take it to the internist, and it opens a conversation for treatment and management of this horrid disease that basically shuts down the dog’s platelets. So a bruise or a slight bump or cut can kill a dog if this is not treated stat.
Read my post and follow-up here:
From a traffic perspective, meaning what Google says is my most popular post of 2020, 101 Best Dog Tattoo Ideas because everyone loves their dog and because many dog parents (present company included) want a dog tattoo. I have five tattoos to date, three are dog-themed, but I digress.
4. What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2020, and how did you tackle it?
My pandemic fears getting in the way of my success and all of the highs and lows of traffic to the blog. I tackled it by talking to my wife and getting through all the uncertainties of the pandemic together.
I made a plan with feasible, doable, small steps. I seriously had no idea what was happening or what would happen, like the rest of the world. Some days I still feel like that, as whoever would have imagined the Capitol would face an insurrection to kick off 2021? I cling to hope and am thankful for new leadership.
5. Tell us one thing you learned in 2020 that can help us all become better bloggers.
I learned more about SEO and really took a deep dive into it more than ever. SEO is important…very important…but so is staying true to your readers.
I also learned to follow my niche. As a Cocker Spaniel health and wellness blogger, I booked a road trip with my family to attend ASC (American Spaniel Club) Nationals to go face to face with Cocker breeders, owners, handlers, etc., in Missouri in the summer of 2020. But then, the pandemic and life paused.
I still continued on my path and set up a list of blog posts I planned to write with a Cocker Spaniel focus. I gathered sources, made a Google Sheet, and now I have several hundred references from vets to Cocker experts on it. I am working through my list.
Be willing to pivot and not throw every single egg into one basket. I knew this, I teach this, and 2020 is the year I really applied it. Increasing my SEO knowledge and pivoting have served me well.
Ohhhh p.s. I also learned not everything is about keyword research tools. Just sayin’. Important? Yes. Write for your reader, not a robot.
6. What are your top blogging goals for 2021?
My word for 2021 is simplicity.
Goal 1: To complete the Income School Ultimate Content Warrior Challenge. I won’t be the first place winner, but I love the challenges and plan to complete all of it. I made it through to round four after the initial cuts, and no matter when I get cut, I am doing the challenge to grow and learn.
Goal 2: To increase my blog’s traffic by at least 30 percent by updating older posts and writing new, more laser-focused Cocker Spaniel and some other content.
Goal 3: New server and new theme with a new webmaster. I recently switched over to a new server, hired a new webmaster, and I am booked for my new faster and more user-friendly theme, which should be in place hopefully by March at the latest.
7. In a perfect world, where do you see yourself and your blog one year from now?
Alive and healthy and celebrating my 28th year of marriage to my wife with our Cocker celebrating his 13th birthday. Nothing is more important than family and our friends who are like family. I want us to be able to road trip, not be afraid a grocery store experience is like going into a war zone, and being able to see our friends and their dogs. We are homebodies but we love dog-friendly travel and miss it so much.
In a perfect world, my other business (related to writing) will be launched, and that’s not a fantasy or a dream, but what I am working toward this year. It should be up and running by early summer at the very latest.
In a perfect world, my blog’s traffic and income has increased, I have the manuscript to my first dog fiction book complete, and I’ve grown my mailing list.
8. If you had $1,000 to spend on your blog how would you spend it?
I never let myself get cash strapped, so I have spent this kind of money on my blog for a new host, new theme, new webmaster, and some classes. I’d love to be able to hire someone part-time to do some task work for me, and that is something I plan to do this year.
9. What is one skill you’d like to learn or improve in 2021?
Email list growth and more video skills. I love speaking in front of a camera and never feel afraid or nervous. I just need some basic video production skills. Darlene and I have invested in some lighting and are converting our guest bedroom into a second home office for filming and video production.
10. If you could ask the blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
- If you’ve had success with selling many copies a self-published book, what advice would you be willing to pass on?
2. Fill in the blank: My best SEO tip is: ________.
Summing Up My Pet Blogger 2020 Journey
Working remote is foreign for many, but that is my way of life. I do better in isolation, I am more productive, and I am never alone, as my wife and dog are with me. I’ve been a remote worker since 2001, so I guess that makes me a visionary 😉
That said, I always say working from home doesn’t mean never leaving your home and the pandemic has put a damper on that. So I’ve learned to pivot, invest time with my family, invest time in things I love, and realize that I need to be more of a human being and less of a human doing.
Fidose of Reality is for keeps and I am on this journey for the long haul. Writing is in my soul, and I can help many while making a living, through this blog. Thanks for taking the journey with me all these years.
Learn more about other pet bloggers on this journey with me by visiting the Puppy in Training blog post and scroll down to the bottom to see all the hyperlinks.
Here’s to the next 11 years and pet blogging success for all!