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Pet Blogger Journey 2022

As a pet blogger of 13 years, I am definitely OG and love every keystroke I’ve earned. I am often asked how I got started and how others can run their own successful pet blogging business. Spoiler alert: It’s a marathon, not a sprint AND it can be done with deliberate intentions and a willingness to grow and learn.

Every year at this time, a group of pet bloggers gets together for the annual Pet Bloggers Journey. This is a way for me to track my own personal successes, blog milestones, and future blogging (and other) goals.

A special thank you goes out to Colby Morita, founder of Puppy in Training, for hosting the Pet Bloggers Journey once more. So many things have changed and evolved in my life, so let’s get started on my roads traveled and the roads that lay ahead.

Our Pet Blogger Journey 2022

When did you begin your blog and what do you currently write about on your blog?

I started pet blogging in 2009 by creating a blog for a fledgling dog print publication. They had no blog and I offered to create one. Although I didn’t lay out the backend, I designed it, provided the framework for it, and it would up winning a Dogtime award for best dog blog!

I started in 2009, focusing on the lifestyle and health of dogs in general. I evolved into Healthy Living for Cocker Spaniels and their canine friends. Healthy living means health and wellness but also lifestyle, products, nutrition, behavior, training, traveling with dogs, and more. I also run fun photo contests.

Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2021, that made you most proud.

I have a few things I am proud of.

Growing my traffic and nearly doubling my Mediavine revenue. I had a dedicated plan to update older posts and got rid of the posts that served no purpose with zero traffic from back in the day.

My content is more tightly aligned with what my readers want. I honed in with an SEO strategy that worked. SEO is always changing, and I follow Google’s algorithm changes. Some I take with a grain of salt and others make me sit up and listen (like their recent product review post changes)

I am also proud that the book I co-authored with Maggie Marton of Oh My Dog blog is still selling. You can snag a copy of Pet Blogging for Love and Money on Amazon.

The DogMinder Canine Health and Wellness Journal that I created for under $10 on Amazon is also selling, and you can grab a copy in print on Amazon, too.

My Club Cocker Facebook group has grown and is a source of inspiration, teaching, learning, knowledge, and blog traffic.

I survived a tremendous lightning bolt, as you will see in the next question and answer.

What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2021? How did you tackle it?

In November, my beloved Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, passed away tragically and suddenly without much warning. As you can imagine, I was and remain gutted. I wrote about it here:

Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs: My Dog Died Without Warning

I thought I would share life with him for several more years. He had a clean bill of health at the veterinarian’s office recently, pristine blood work, a beautiful echocardiogram, and despite arthritis and losing his hearing, he was spunky, happy, and never wavered in his joy for life.

I’ve been through the loss of a dog before and I will again and again. I know they can’t live forever, but this was a pure unexpected tragedy. I haven’t been able to move his bed or put his toys away. I keep waiting for him to traipse around the corner and stare at me to play. I look at his bed and blankets where he loved to bury his doggy bones. My heart beats dog® And it breaks dog.

I take comfort in knowing I will see him again and all the dogs who share my life and cross over. I believe in heaven and I know we will be reunited. It’s the living here on earth without him and my other Cocker that is hell.

How did I tackle this? As the song goes, I get by with a little help from my friends. I could never have anticipated the huge outpouring of love and support I’d receive from the pet blogging community and fellow dog-loving friends and followers.

I am a huge believer in giving. I give freely of my knowledge and resources and try to help dog moms and dads as much as possible. The fundraising arm of this blog is Wigglebutt Warriors. We’ve raised close to $100,000 for homeless dogs over several years time. By we, I mean my wife and me with fundraisers in person and online.

We received cards and notes like this:

message of hope for dog who died from cancer

In a very George Bailey-esque fashion, I received more than I ever could imagine from friends who are like family to us. As we always do, Darlene and I came together as a couple, but we have been blown away by the support of friends who are like family.

Tell us one thing you learned in 2021 that can help us all become better bloggers.

Have a plan. Don’t count on whatever worked last year to work the same way this year. Update older posts to make them more SEO on target, with new images, better captions, and outbound and inbound links that make sense.

Learn a new skill to add to your blogging repertoire. Want to grow your email list? First, ask yourself why and what purpose it will serve your blog. Having a huge list without a reason why doesn’t make sense. Know your why. Always know your why.

What are your top three pet blogger goals for 2022?

  1. Continue to grow my traffic and email list so I can make more revenue
  2. Complete an e-book to sell via my blog
  3. Launch my second online pet industry-related business that complements my blog.**

** I am a few months behind on my launch because Dexter died and I mostly cried, grieved, and remained in a state of shock. I will never be “over it” – and anyone who tells you that is a moron – but I will move forward with his love and live his legacy and the legacy of all my Cocker Spaniels.

In the perfect world, where do you see yourself and your blog one year from now?

  1. Our third Cocker Spaniel will enter our lives
  2. Fidose of Reality will accomplish the goals mentioned above.
  3. My second business will launch and be successful
  4. In a perfect world, I’ll start my pet-themed fiction novel, but that’s a mighty lofty goal and one I may save for 2023.

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

I have an SEO tool but probably on one of the others that comes with a higher price tag plus I’d invest in an assistant to handle some taskwork.

What is one skill you’d like to learn or improve in 2022?

Better time management. I’ve gotten better at it because I had to achieve my goals. But there are days I falter. It’s a work in progress, but aren’t we all?

If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

Your best SEO tips and tips for getting more traffic that has worked for you.

Thanks for taking this journey with me, and stay tuned because the best is yet to come.

Dexter and Brandy, I will love you and miss you forever. I’ll see you at the bridge, dear babies.

pet blogger journey time

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  1. Happy New Year! 13 years is a long time, you are OG! I’m always amazed when I reflect back to our early days of blogging and how much has changed. I’m so sorry about Dexter. I know how special he was to you and so many others.

    Wow! Doubling revenue! That’s amazing! Congratulations.

    My best SEO tip for getting traffic to your blog is choosing the right keywords. I challenged myself (Jessica and I both did this challenge) to write and publish a blog post in under 2 hours. I cheated a little and already had a keyword phrase picked out. It took me over 2 hours but under 3 hours to write and publish. The best news: I haven’t touched the post since I clicked publish and organic traffic has steadily increased every month and eventually settled in at around 4,000 pageviews a month.

    Two big lessons I learned from this challenge:
    1. Keyword selection is the most important thing. You can write an awesome, search engine optimized post but if you’re competing with petmd, akc, humane society, and other big names then you’re going to have a tough time ranking.
    2. Done is better than perfect.

    All the best to you in 2022!

    1. Thanks for the tips and all you do for the pet blogging community, Colby. You are a treasured piece of this community for sure! All my best to you in 2022.

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for sharing your pet bloggers journey. I still consider myself a newbie in the pet blogger world and draw inspiration from pet bloggers like you and Colby. I purchased your book Pet Blogging for Love and Money and found it a wonderful resource.

    Good luck with your 2022 goals. I can’t wait to see what your new venture brings.


  3. I was so shattered to hear of Dexter passing. It just seemed so sudden and unexpected. My heart goes out to you.

    And I’m also very happy that you continue to be a beacon in the pet blogging world. You continue to lead the way and improve and grow which I draw strength from.

    I look forward to all of your successes this year and … that puppy.

    With love.

  4. I own all your books and love to refer them to others. I’m excited to see you launch your new business ventures this year!

    You’ve always been an inspiration to me.

    Here’s to a wonderful and kinder 2022!

    1. That means so much to me, Hannah. I miss seeing everyone in person who are in pet blogging for the long haul.

      I cherish your friendship and wish you all the best. I saw you took nutrition courses and I look forward to reading all your new posts. Happy 2022!

  5. I’m so sorry that Dexter died. He was a special dog and not only an important family member but a big part of your business, too.

    Congrats on doubling your revenue! Like you, I’ve tried to stay up to date on SEO over the years and always prioritize working on it. You asked for tips on SEO and something that helped me big time was hiring someone I trust to help me with SEO. This has made a HUGE difference as this person is more knowledgable than me and it saves me time to work on other things.

    1. Thanks for your kind words and condolences, Lindsay. Losing Dexter broke my heart in a million pieces.

      That is great that you found someone to help with SEO. I’ve gotten better with it, but there’s always room to grow and improve. Is the service expensive?

  6. I’m so sorry about Dexter. That is so heartbreaking, especially since you had no time to prepare yourself for it.
    I’m so impressed that you doubled your Mediavine Income. That’s awesome! You must be better at SEO than you think.
    I’m not good at it so I can’t help you there. Unfortunately, a lot of my traffic came from Facebook, and traffic from FB is so volatile, I can’t depend on it.

  7. I think this is the best description of grief I’ve ever read-

    I know it can be hard for some people, but it gives me some comfort knowing that my pets will always be with me, inspiring me, motivating me and helping me makes a difference for other pets and pet parents. Dexter’s inspiration will go on forever.

    I’m not the best with SEO, but I’m trying to make content silos to help Google know more about what my blog is about, but also to help readers hopefully move deeper into my site. Of course, I have to actually get working on writing to get this to work.

    1. Dawn, that quote appears in a book I purchased from author Suzanne Clothier called Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs. Thanks for sharing that link, too!

      The sudden and unexpected nature of Dexter’s passing is so traumatic. I love that you said Dexter’s inspiration will go on forever. I feel that and I appreciate you.

      All my best to you in 2022 and beyond!

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