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 FidoseofReality.com 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:
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:
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?
- Continue to grow my traffic and email list so I can make more revenue
- Complete an e-book to sell via my blog
- 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?
- Our third Cocker Spaniel will enter our lives
- Fidose of Reality will accomplish the goals mentioned above.
- My second business will launch and be successful
- 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.