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Every year, I participate in a pet blogger round-up hosted by Colby of Puppy in Training, which is an opportunity for pet bloggers to check in with each other, share their knowledge and experience, ask questions, and close the book on another year in blogging. Whether you're new to Keep the Tail Wagging or you're a long time follower, you'll enjoy the story of Keep the Tail Wagging – especially if you're interested in launching your own blog.
When I Started Blogging and Why
I began my blog in December 2011 to write about raising littermate puppies. Everytime I think about my start, I laugh because I was so arrogant to think that I could educate people on how to raise littermates based on my very limited experience. I'm not a animal behaviorist or a dog trainer, but I thought I knew it all.
Today, I write about raw feeding, raising dogs naturally, and life as a dog mom in a light, casual way to give other pet parents ideas on how they can improve their dogs' diet and health. I switched my dogs to a raw food diet in 2013 and began writing about my experiences in 2014.
When I began feeding a raw food diet, I found it to be overwhelming and confusing and many people helped me and I want to pay that assistance forward through my blogging. Keep the Tail Wagging is a place where I share what I'm learning as I walk this path of a raw feeding. No judgement, no pressure, no bullying, no shaming – just sharing information and growing into a better pet parent.
2020 Blogging Wins
I was planning to host the first annual Seattle Natural Pet Expo in 2020 and then COVID was introduced to the global community and we all found ourselves sheltering in place. Although my event was canceled (and it was going to be epic), I still managed to accomplish a few goals.
- I learned how to create a website in a few hours (or days) and used these skills to begin plans for a Raw Feeder Directory that will help pet parents find helpful resources.
- I began regularly uploading videos to YouTube and now have over 5,000 subscribers. I love doing videos and I'm happy about the new audience I've found on that platform.
- And I successfully completed a redesign of Keep the Tail Wagging using the DIVI templates that are available. It was a lot of work and I love the results.
Most Popular 2020 Blog Posts
I have no idea what my most popular blog posts were in 2020. When I look at my analytics, it tells me what my popular posts are over all, which are:
- 5 Raw Feeding Mistakes Pet Parents Make – 2018
- How I Cured My Dog's Yeast Infection Naturally – 2019
- What Would Cause My Dog's Stomach to Turn Black – 2019
- How to Remove Your Anal Gland Scent from Your Sofa – 2019
- What to Do When Your Dog Eats Chocolate Cake – 2019
- DIY Himalayan Chews (with Pictures) – 2020
These are my top organic posts, which means that people are choosing these posts when they Google the topic. Most of them are older posts that I updated and republished in 2019. A habit that I developed a couple of years ago to help with SEO (search engine optimization).
The most popular topics on my blog and social media were probably about Sydney. Sydney was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma on August 5th. She crossed the rainbow bridge five weeks later on September 10th. She was 10-1/2 years old. This was a tough one (but aren't they all), but I'm so thankful for the time I had with her. Since I work from home, I was able to spend all day every day with her and I will cherish that time.
I miss her every day.
My Biggest Blogging Challenge in 2020
My biggest blogging challenge was keeping focused. There were far too many distractions this year. First COVID, then the protests and riots, and finally the elections. I lost several friends this year, found myself on the receiving end of nasty comments and messages, and it was all so very overwhelming. I wanted to shut everything down and crawl into myself.
For the first time in a long time, the stoplight was shining brightly on the color of my skin and it didn't feel good. In 2020, I was attacked in downtown Seattle by a woman who approached me screaming racial slurs. People on social media became comfortable calling me horrible/racists names because I chose to try and understand several points of view before forming an opinion. And I felt very alone and realized that not many people understood how I was feeling. Friends tried to empathize, and for that I'm grateful, but 2020 was a lonely year for me.
Living with anxiety and depression, I have to take care that I don't allow the world to get me down. Once I begin to feel anxious, I know that I have to stop and focus on self care because if my anxiety transitions to depression, then it takes me months to feel normal again. So I take breaks when I need to take breaks. And I've learned to focus on my home, my dogs, my friends, and my blogging when things become too much.
A Blogging Tip I Learned in 2020
This isn't a new tip, but it's important to remember: don't take on too much. Often, I'll find myself taking on too much because I think that there are things bloggers HAVE to do. I'll pressure myself to be on every social media platform, record and edit a video each week, send out a newsletter each week, try to appease the brands I work with, while trying to come up with new ways to monetize my blog.
While I'm doing all of these things, I'm looking at others and seeing what they're accomplishing and feeling like I'm falling behind and will never catch up. Which then leads me to feeling like giving up. The comparison game never works.
So, last year, I was reminded to focus on what I'm doing, keep my dogs in mind, and have fun. When I'm not having fun, then I know that I've lost focus and I need to stop and shift back to my goals and stop trying to follow what others are doing.
My Top 3 Blogging Goals of 2020
I have more than three goals this year, but the three most important are:
- Expand My Business. I'm excited that I'll be partnering with a major brand in the pet industry to expand Keep the Tail Wagging. I've also started blog coaching as a Pet Boss Nation mentor. My goal is to work from home full-time as a pet blogger and I feel that I'm finally on the right path as I work to diversify my income.
- Build My YouTube Channel. I publish a YouTube video every Monday and I'm going to continue doing this, alternating between raw feeding tips and random thoughts about the pet industry. There is an entire community on YouTube and learning how to record and edit videos was easier than I thought. I take inspiration from several YouTubers that I follow, making this task a lot of fun.
- Build My Directory. I published the Raw Feeder Directory, which will maintain lists of raw food co-ops, independent pet stores, raw food brands, pro-raw veterinarians, and more. Keep the Tail Wagging is a personal, lifestyle blog that discusses raw feeding. I wanted a website that was more of a resource without the stress and pressure of providing information when I'm not a veterinarian or nutritionist. A free directory seemed like a great compromise.
My Blog One Year from Now
Next year, I'd like my blog to have double the traffic that it has today. In 2018, my blog was hit with the “medic update” and I lost over 50% of my traffic. My plans to resign from my day job in 2019 were squashed and I'm so thankful because I had time to think about what I wanted to do with my blog and make changes where necessary.
Today, I'm happy to see my traffic steadily climbing back up again and my goal is to reach 250,000 monthly visitors and 10,000 YouTube subscribers in one year.
How to Spend $1,000 on My Blog
If someone handed me $1,000 today, I'd spend it on a virtual assistant to help me catch up on a few things:
- organize my email
- clear out my MissingLettr que and schedule recurring shares
- set up an easy email newsletter routine
- help schedule out social media shares
- draft out blog posts (I have a growing lists of titles)
I've worked with a virtual assistant in the past and now I'm ready to dive deep into working with someone regularly. It's challenging to find someone who is experienced with MissingLettr, but I'll find them.
One Skill I'd Like to Learn/Improve in 2021
I'm currently taking courses in search engine optimization and network marketing. Managing an online business creates many opportunities to learn and improve and this year, I want to kick butt in these areas.
I'm taking a few courses that were recommended by Neil Patel, founder of UberSuggest. And I'm soaking up every current YouTube video on these topics that I can find.
I Would Like Your Honest Feedback
The main challenge that I'm having is with time. There is never enough time to do everything that I need to do and I need help. It's just challenging to find someone who can provide the help that I need. But that's not my question.
I'd like your honest feedback on the topic of raw feeding.
Too often, I get emails from people who apologize for not feeding raw or homecooked and while I don't judge people for what they feed their dogs (anymore), I'd like to know what I can do to let people know that it's not about raw feeding, it's about doing the best we can for our dogs with the resources we have available.
I really want people to feel comfortable with what they feed their dogs and I'm trying to figure out what I can do to make that happen. I don't want to come across as a know-it-all or as someone who looks down on others for making different dietary choices. I don't pretend to be an expert, but I know that there is more that I can do to add positivity to the journey others are walking.
Happy New Year!!!