Every year Amy from GoPetFriendly.com hosts The Pet Blogger Challenge. It gives those of us in the pet blogosphere a chance to look back at the previous year and think ahead to the coming year. I’ve participated every year since 2011.
This year, I wasn’t going to.
2018 SUCKED. Plain and simple.
2018 knocked me down in February when my cat, Pyro, got sick and just kept kicking me so I would stay down the whole year.
It has just been a whole year of loss. Now I know having a lot of animals especially having a number in the same age range means there’s is a possibility that I will lose some of them close together. It’s inevitable.
The reality of it though is sooo much more painful than I could have imagined. 2018 decided to super-size reality.
In April, I came home from Easter dinner to find my skinny pig, Cletus, had died. In May, I had to say good-bye to Pyro. In July, my dog, Havoc, got sick followed by my cat, Omar. I spent the next few months taking them to the vet and caring for them before saying good-bye to Omar in September and Havoc in October. The day before Thanksgiving, my dog, Mellie, was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure(she is maintaining well on meds right now). In December, my skinny pig, Buford, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and I had to say good-bye with him. And just in case, I thought my crappy year was going to end there, my mom got sick during the holidays. She is now in a nursing home for rehab and having problems with her recovery.
So I’m glad 2018 is over. There’s the door, don’t let it hit you on the way out. And in the spirit of moving forward, I thought I couldn’t break my streak of being a part of the Pet Blogger Challenge.
Plus the questions, get my mind on something else.
So on to my distraction-
For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic?
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.
What was your proudest blogging moment of 2018?
There was no shining standout moment this year. Just the fact that I was able to get any content up makes me proud.
What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2018, and how did/will you tackle it?
Life. No matter what my pets and family will always take priority over my blog and this year they were where I concentrated my energy. Being a caregiver is hard whether it is for people or animals. It’s stressful. And it takes a toll. While I did find time to get some new content up and do some social media stuff, I just did not have much energy left to devote to PetFaves.
Which of your 2018 blog posts was your favorite and why? (Please include a link.)
I had this post in mind for a long time and a draft started for quite a while, but this year I finally finished it and hit publish. Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies so I wrote Gardening for Pets to encourage others to try and grow some of their own food for their pets especially for parrots, guinea pigs, and bunnies.
Which of your 2018 posts was most popular with your audience? Why do you think it does so well?
My most popular post for 2018 was 25+ Subscription Boxes for Your Other Pets. You only have to walk into a pet store to see the disparity in the number and variety of products for dogs and cats vs small animals and birds. Heck, it seems some of the brands they do carry that make products for small animals and birds don’t even know anything about the animals they are making products for. So I think this post is popular because people can finally find something different for their pets and they want to enjoy the same experiences dog and cat parents get when they can sign up for a subscription box.
Did you implement a new series, feature, or practice on your blog in 2018 that you’re enjoying?
While I didn’t do as much to my site as I wanted to this year, I did start a new venture- Print on Demand. I started with Zazzle which has a ton of different products then decided to apply to Merch by Amazon. I really didn’t think I would get accepted, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to apply. I was pleasantly surprised when I was accepted. I’ve had a lot of fun coming up with my own designs. I never designed anything before and I loved learning a new skill. I have a lot of ideas and really want to expand this part of PetFaves in the coming years.
You can see my Amazon shirts here- Pet Parent Faves
And you can see my products on Zazzle here.(I have some organizing to do).
As the social media landscape changes, how are you promoting your blog posts and connecting with new readers?
As far as social media, Pinterest has been the one platform I tried to work on this year. I got my Tailwind scheduled, have been trying to pin trending content when it’s trending and it’s been paying off with more traffic to my site and my Pinterest followers going up.
Looking forward to 2019, if you accomplish only one thing through your blog, what do you hope it is? What steps are you planning to take to ensure you reach your goal?
Hmmmm. I sincerely have not given much thought to what I would like to do to my blog in 2019. Between working and doing overtime, trying to run and visit my mom, and making sure my critters get some attention in between, I will be happy with whatever I manage to do.
Now it’s your turn! How can we help? Is there an area where you could use some advice, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on? Share it here, and we’ll answer you in comments!
I’ve been a major bummer through this whole post. Sorry! But I will say it’s been a bit cathartic to just write about my crappy year. I’m hoping 2019 is a huge improvement over 2018. I do have plans to add a new furry family member this year which feels like it will be some much-needed medicine, but until my mom is showing improvement I feel like 2018 still has a hold on my life. Right now, all I really need is encouragement and good thoughts for my mom. Thank you.