Puppy Leaks: Pet Blogger Challenge 2017
Every year pet bloggers get together and participate in the Pet Blogger Challenge put together by our friends over at GoPetFriendly. It’s a fun way to share tips with one another, and a great place to find awesome new blogs to read.
So here we go, let the Pet Blogger Challenge of 2017 begin.
When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?
Puppy Leaks started in the summer of 2014, and it’s focused finding simple ways we can make our lives with dogs a little happier & healthier. We have a lot of resource articles, but I’m also in love with writing opinion pieces. It’s wonderful to have a place where you can share both information & a little bit of your own flair (if you will).
What was your proudest blogging moment of 2017?
I was interviewed for an article on Petmd. Now I know, I know, that doesn’t seem like a big deal to some since bloggers are out there going to speaking events & the like.. But for me it’s a huge deal. I’m not a very social person, and even though I have a blog I tend to be a pretty private person. Just doing that interview was stepping way out of my comfort zone. I’m proud that I was considered for that opportunity, and I’m even prouder that I said yes since it’s something I’d never done before.
Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)
It’s a toss up between Some Of Us Can’t Handle Euthanaisa, and That’s OK & The 5 Types of Dog Articles I’m Tired of Seeing. The first one about euthanasia because it was so personal. Just writing it was nerve wracking, let alone publishing it. But the results we’re pretty positive, and I have to admit it felt really nice to put it all out there. And at the very least I hope it gives people another perspective on a deeply personal issue, and a little more understanding as to why some people can’t “just handle” certain issues and/or events. I hope it helps others who’ve struggled know that they’re not alone, and that we all have our own ways of dealing with things.
And the second one about the dog articles I’m sick of reading was just such a relief to write. I read a lot of posts every week for my roundups, and to be honest there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s painful and or downright annoying to read. So having a place to vent my frustration within the actual dog blog community felt pretty damn nice.
Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?
I use the free version of SEMrush (you get about 10 searches a day) to improve my organic rankings. I type in my domain and look at posts that send in some traffic & think of ways to make them more entertaining or informational. If you use google webmaster tools you can do the same thing – look under search traffic, search analytics & sort by position. You’re looking for terms that you already rank for and have room for improvement.
If I was super smart I’d write down which ones I’d worked on and track the results, but of course my simple brain doesn’t do calculations like that. But I can tell you it’s had a big effect; my organic traffic continues to rise every month.
The key is to find out what terms & questions are bringing people to your site & look back to make sure your articles are covering them thoroughly. Using google search & finding related searches at the bottom of the page is a good way to do this. And when I say make your articles more informational or optimized I’m not talking about keyword stuffing.
What I do is include relevant questions & concerns that people may have about that topic. Basically you’re looking through terms that you already rank for & see if there’s any minor improvements you can make to bump them up even higher.
One of the best examples is my older article on dog backpacks. Sure I covered the positives of using one, but after looking more carefully at people’s intent when searching it I realized I didn’t have a sizing chart or guide on how to pick the correct one for your dog. If you’ve ever gone to the store to buy dog clothing you know how important it is to know your dogs chest, back & neck measurements, since weight alone isn’t a good way to determine whether something will fit or not.
My article talked all about the benefits of using a backpack but had zero information on how to actually figure out the correct size for your dog. So I added in a nifty little sizing chart. That little change alone brought a bunch of extra visitors, and it helps me stay on track for covering a topic thoroughly. You’d be surprised at how much of an impact a few little improvements or including a few more photos can have in your rankings.
Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?
For posts published in 2016 it’s 59 Simple Dog Care Tips All Dog Owners Can Use. And I must say that was a lot of fun to put together since I got to talk to a lot of different bloggers about their favorite life hacks. There are a ton of little tips such as learning how to make your own pill pockets or cleaning up dog hair with rubber gloves that can make our lives a little easier.
What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)
I read hundreds of dog blogs and I love many of them for so many reasons. I really can’t pick just one in that category. But I can tell you one of the blogs I find most inspirational is The Everywhereist. It’s not dog related, but I’ve been reading it for ages & it’s one of the few blogs I can say I’ve been faithful to for a long time. Her humor is something I’ll never tire of.
What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?
For long time readers it might not come as much of a surprise, but anyone who started reading this year you may not be aware of how fussy my own dog is. Love her to bits, but she’s far from perfect. (but neither am I)
What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?
Get your butt on Pinterest if you’re not already. If you’re not already doing it take a few minutes in Canva & make a great vertical Pin for your posts. Not all posts will do as well on Pinterest as others – but posts that are benefit driven (informational or how to articles) tend to do really well.
So think of a quick way to summarize the main benefit of your post, overlay it with a nice tall photo & try it out. The amount of traffic that Pinterest can bring in is insane. My article on keeping your dog busy has been pinned over 115,000 times and continues to bring in massive traffic every single day. Here’s a few of the Pins I’ve made that have done really well (you can see all of them, plus the ones that haven’t done so well on my board):
What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?
I’d love to come up with a publishing routine that’s more consistent. Sure I post twice a week, but I’d like to do better on creating more resource posts & pieces for my ‘Why Do Dogs’ series. I’m thinking a nice editorial calendar would probably come in handy for that.
But habits are hard to break, and time after time I catch myself obsessing over something new & writing whatever comes to mind that day. And as you can imagine that sort of writing throws the editing & proper proof reading process right out the window. I’d love to train my brain to be able to think ahead and plan out posts further in advance.
Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?
I’d love to know how you stay organized with your post schedule. I have 300 drafts waiting to be published, yet I keep finding myself getting sidetracked by whatever topic floats my boat that day.
Do you use content calendars? Do you hold yourself accountable to create x posts a month?
Now It’s Your Turn
And that’s all for this years Pet Blogger Challenge. Below you’ll find all the pet blogs participating in this years challenge. It’s a fun way to find out more about your favorite pet bloggers, and a great way to find plenty of new blogs to read.
And if you have a blog I can’t recommend this challenge enough. It’s a great way to get input from others, share your story & meet a bunch of new friends.