Puppy Leaks – A Year in Review 2015
It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? It’s a little odd to look out my window and see no snow in the middle of December, but this year is almost over. For real. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Quick Recap on Stats
Puppy Leaks has been doing well this year, it broke a record I never thought possible – 150,000 visitors a month. Now is that maintainable? I don’t know. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. I’m in shock just writing that number.
As far as content goes I ended up publishing 132 posts this year. So I’m averaging 11 a month which isn’t too bad, though I’d love to be able to get to a place where I’m able to write 3 posts a week. But things have slowed down a lot over over the past month, and I apologize.
Here’s a look back at 2015, from what I’ve learned about blogging to my plans for the new year. It’s a look back at the good, the bad and the ugly. (I really don’t mind a cliche here and there, so sorry if you do)
I Lost My Real Job…
I owe you an explanation – I recently lost my job of 14 years, and it’s thrown me into a bit of a tizzy. It wasn’t making me rich by any means, but it was enough to pay the bills and the benefits were great.
Now I’d love to be able to say “Oh, I get decent traffic let me just monetize this site” but I’m not comfortable with that path. I do make money from this blog via affiliate links & google ads, but it’s not enough to pay my mortgage. But that’s all I’m comfortable with. One day I might write a dog book or two that I can place on my sidebar, but for now I don’t have any plans of turning this blog into my main business. I like the way it is, writing what I do when I do.
While I’d love to keep writing 3 posts a week at the moment I have to focus on finding a job and insurance first (which I’ve been doing for a few weeks now – hence my absence). My schedule is out of whack. Between applying for jobs, interviews, hustling some side gigs (all legal, of course), and trying to get a writing portfolio & site put together I’m a bit burnt out. I’ve never been without a traditional job & to say it’s given me a little anxiety is an understatement.
Once I find a new job to pay the bills I’ll be back to posting on my ‘normal’ schedule a few times a week. For now it’s going to be once (maybe twice) a week.
And if you happen to know anyone that’s looking for a content creator/writer send ’em my way. Hint, hint (insert winking emoticon here)
Puppy Leaks Biggest Hits 2015
33 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Busy Indoors
One of my favorite posts to write ended up being the most popular this year so that was quite a pleasant surprise. I contribute most of it’s success to a certain image going viral on Pinterest (more on that below).
Please Stop Sharing That Guy Walking Shepherd’s Off Leash
This post caught on (especially in a few FB groups) and I couldn’t be happier. This guy is a total douche and I’m happy to help spread the word about his abusive training methods.
Can Your Dog Tell When You’re Lying?
I love dog cognition & behavior studies, so writhing this post was easy and fun for me. And yes – dogs will start to show their own preferences towards humans who have treated them fairly vs those who trick them.
10 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
What I love most about rescue is how involved the match making process is. Rescue workers are dedicated to getting their animals into the right homes, and they’re not only willing to help you find your perfect match, good rescues are available after the adoption to help with any concerns or issues.
39 Healthy Treats You Can Stuff in a Kong
What I love most about this post is that I was able to share that there are a ton of different things you can stuff in a Kong. You don’t have to go buy the special Kong stuffing, a lot of the stuff you’ve already got on hand will work. Using veggies & fruits also helps ensure I’m not going to be throwing out food I haven’t had a chance to eat – I get to share the ‘good for dog’ stuff with Laika.
One Big Lesson – The Right Image Is Worth More than 1000 Words
The right image on social media is invaluable. After one of my Pins picked up steam it just kept going & going. That one single Pin still brings in 500-1000 visitors a day. That’s the amazing thing about Pinterest – it keeps bringing in results long after the original Pin is posted.
None of my other posts have ever had close to this amount of shares. It’s ridiculous in comparison.
The best part is that I did it all for free in Canva. I didn’t even “create” the layout myself, it’s one of the premade templates they offer under e-book covers. I just switched the photo, changed some colors and was good to go.
So if you haven’t been using Canva to create some awesome images what are you waiting for? A non-designer like me can go in there and use free templates to create this, I can only imagine what you could do.
And what’s really cool is that they have premade templates for all sorts of designs. Need a quick facebook or twitter post? How about a simple infographic or flyer? Yep, they’ve got ’em.
OK I promise I don’t work for Canva, but the amount of value I’ve gotten from that online photo editing tool is bonkers. It’s pretty user friendly too, as far as I’m concerned. I tried Pic Monkey and a few of the others but they were confusing, for whatever reason I meshed well with Canva.
List Posts Still Do Well (And No, They’re Not Clickbait)
Most of my posts that did well we’re in list form aka listicles. When I’m browsing through articles I find myself reading a lot of list ones myself. Not because I’m in love with the titles, but because the title tells me exactly what I’m getting myself into.
List articles have gotten a bad rep from some, often being accused of being filled with ‘fluff’ or even called click bait. I’m still a fan, and I’ll still use them in the new year. They get more clicks, and if you’re writing with the intention of having people read your work that’s a pretty simple way to get more eyes on your work.
I don’t always start out with a list post, but often I’ll find myself with 5 points on a subject and realize an easy way to organize it is by turning it into one.
Now don’t get me wrong, some list posts are bad. I’ve read some really crappy list posts, ones just filled with links to 50 other articles with no actual information inside, but that’s not the kind I write.
What I personally love about list posts is that they’re descriptive from the get go. If I was searching for stuff to put in a Kong I’d click on ’39 Healthy Snacks to Stuff in a Kong’ vs ‘What to Stuff in Your Kong’ simply because I know it has a lot of items listed. The other one is much more vague.
And when it comes to click bait remember that as long as an article has the information it implies in it’s headline it’s not click bait. Click bait is using en enticing headline and not delivering on the promise, a listicle is just – well a listicle.
Laika Still Howls in Her Sleep
If I could change one thing about Laika it would getting her to stop sleep howling. Yes, it’s even worse than her leash manners, resource guarding and reactivity.
Well when I say worse I mean more annoying. I can control when and where I take Laika out and what she has access to. I have no control over what she’s dreaming about that makes her howl in her sleep.
Her howl is so loud. No matter where I’m sleeping or how many closed doors are between us it wakes me up every time. And it’s not just a quick howl & go back to sleep thing either. It can last for minutes.
I have to get up, make sure she’s OK (which she always is), and try to soothe her back to a quiet sleep. It’s really odd but she keeps doing it. Sometimes her eyes are even open a little which makes it pretty creepy. I’ll try to record it one of these nights, but it’s hard to be that ambitious at 3am most nights.
But I guess if that’s the worst of my problems it’s not all bad. I’d also like to convince her to stop jumping up & getting spooked by her own farts, but for now I’ll take an end to those sleep howls.
To Another Awesome Year
For the new year I don’t have any major overhauls for the blog planned. I might do a theme change or tweak at one point, but nothing in the near future. I started this site for my love of dogs & writing, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.
Informational posts on health, training, behavior & dog science are my passion. And I’ll continue the fun Why Do Dogs series to answer some of the questions I get e-mailed.
And since I learned a big lesson on the value of images this year I’m going to continue learning about design & work on my own photography skills. Who doesn’t want more photos of Laika, right? 🙂
Thank You For Your Support
You are my biggest source of learning – and I want to thank you. Every single comment, share and e-mail makes me motivated to keep learning and growing, and it means a lot to me.
Big thank you to Blog Paws for the Best New Pet Blog nomination & award. I couldn’t make the event but believe me when I say I was watching the whole thing from home with Laika by my side. There may have been a little crying, shaking and shrieking involved.
To all of my fellow pet bloggers I thank you for your continued support, and thank you for creating such a warm & welcoming community for pet bloggers. I’ve made so many wonderful friends over the last year and a half. You guys are awesome.
Have a great holiday & we’ll see you again in the new year.