Every year since 2011, I’ve participated in an annual post looking back at my past year in blogging. GoPetFriendly.com has been the host but decided to step back. Luckily Colby from PuppyInTraining.com decided to step in and keep the tradition going.
I’m so glad that he did.
I’ve been thinking about this post for a while.
2018 was not a good year for me. I felt there was a dark cloud over my head and my post for last year was just word vomit about how I was feeling. It started with having to say good-bye to one of my cats and ended with my mom getting sick. I felt bad for writing such a negative post, but it felt very cathartic to write out.
And I appreciated the comments that were left.
I wish I could say 2019 started better. My mom ended up getting sick and was hospitalized while in the nursing home for rehab. Unfortunately, my sisters and I had to make the decision to remove her from the ventilator. The hardest decision ever.
The week before that my 2 dogs fell 12 feet down into a sinkhole that had opened up in my backyard. I was heartsick knowing how sick my mom was and now thinking I was going to lose my dogs. I am very thankful for the emergency responders who rescued them. It was dark out. It was very very cold. They were all dog lovers and they did a great job. Luckily, my dogs were not injured and haven’t suffered any effects from their trip underground.
The next few months were a whirlwind with dealing with stuff from my mom’s death and working on things for a celebration of life we were having.
It hasn’t been easy. I miss my mom. but I feel I’m in a much better place than I was when I wrote last year’s post. Like the dark cloud that was hanging over my head has moved on.
I got to start working from home for my day job and it’s been a blessing. It’s saved me time and money. It’s allowed me to work much needed overtime much more easily. And it’s let me be with my pets which is the best thing.
I also added a new family member- Aura, a standard poodle. She came from her 3rd home with some fear issues along with being underweight and loaded with hookworms. We are still working on some of her issues, but she feels safe and is happy which is a big improvement from the dog I saw when I met her. And she has been a big help in getting me through my grief. I can’t wait to see her happiness grow in 2020.
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.
I started blogging in 2007. My blog was named Pet Product Reviews which is what I blogged about at the time. I was working for an online pet retailer at the time and I had the idea to do reviews after talking to customers who were calling for more info on products we sold. My dream was to build a hub of product reviews people could find online to help them make the right choice for their pet. Since I could buy products at wholesale prices, it seemed like a great idea to review what I bought for my own pets. Unfortunately, about 2 months after I started my site, the owners of the company sold the business to another online retailer who operated out of state. I lost my job when they moved everything to Wisconsin. Dream gone and my blog went on a bit of a hiatus.
I got re-energized about my site in 2016 and decided to change the name and change things just a bit. PetFaves was born and I no longer concentrate on reviews but instead share products I find that I think pet lovers would love for their pets or themselves.
Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2019, that made you most proud.
I feel like I’ve just been putzing around with blog and I really want to grow it and make an income from it. My mom passing away gave me the motivation to really start working regularly to move toward that goal.
I spent time cleaning up posts, updating others, writing new content, and working harder at promoting it. I was rewarded with an increase in traffic by the end of the year.
Which of your 2019 blog posts was your favorite and why?
My favorite post was How to Pet-Proof Your Christmas Tree. I’m working on writing more informational posts that help pet parents solve a problem. This is my first and I’m happy with it.
What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2019, and how did you tackle it?
Hmmm. I guess it would be my perpetual problem of finding the time to work on my blog like I want to. My animals, my day job with overtime, my need for sleep take up a lot of my time. Working from home has given me a bit more free time since I don’t have to worry about getting ready for work and traveling to work, but it’s still a struggle.
I’ve tackled it by realizing that I can only do what I can do. It is sometimes hard especially when other people think it’s motivating to throw out quotes about “making time for what’s important” or toss advice like “find time by getting up at 5 am”(I do get up at 5 am). I don’t find these helpful. I’m getting better at tuning those types of things out.
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?
Don’t give up. It’s easy to get discouraged when you aren’t seeing the growth you want, but traffic sources like Google and Pinterest take some time.
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?
I don’t do sponsored posts. I’m not averse to doing them, but right now I don’t feel I have the time to do them with the attention that they need.
Looking forward to 2020, if you accomplish only one thing through your blog, what do you hope it is?
The one thing I want to accomplish is to have my traffic keep growing. I know traffic is needed to build an income through affiliate links and ad networks so this is something I continue to work on.
What steps are you planning to take to ensure you reach your goal?
I am working on writing more content, making sure it’s optimized for SEO, and making sure I have my pins for it optimized. I also joined a paid blogging group The Influencer Society. They work on a different area of blogging every month. It helps keep me motivated and moving.
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?
I don’t think too much about change. I’ve been blogging for 12 years and there has been a lot of change and there will continue to be a lot of change. I’ll make adjustments as needed, but I don’t have any specific plans.
If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
How about topic ideas? What areas of pet parenthood are you looking for help with or think other pet parents are looking for help with?
And if anyone is interested, I’m doing a post for National Reading Month in March and would love to include your favorite book. Get the details here —> https://docs.google.com/document/d/13JxrLd9qP7cyW1_tSkwJhv9UniXMhMV3O29ortntAZ4
See what our blogging friends have been up to this past year.