I am taking part in the 2019 Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Amy at Gopetfriendly.com with other bloggers I like and respect. Check out their links at the bottom of the page.
For those who may be visiting my blog for the first time, how long have I been blogging and what is my main topic?
If you are visiting my site for the first time, I blog about dogs making a difference in our lives, especially rescues that rock, and how to bring out the best in your dogs.
I have always loved dogs and owned rescues since I was a child. About 8 years ago, I noticed that dogs were becoming like children for many millennials and women my age, and also that they have developed incredible talents or skills for example as therapy dogs, service dogs, search and rescue dogs, performing dogs and cancer sniffing dogs.
I started doing research for a TV documentary exploring the human dog bond and the changing roles and talents of dogs. I launched the blog in 2012 to find subjects to feature and to promote the TV show and our broadcast partner, the Pet Network.
I enjoyed meeting pets and pet lovers and sharing stories, photos and videos. I also enjoyed the freedom of having my own publishing platform and learning about blogging and social media so I have kept going.
What was my proudest blogging moment of 2018?
2018 was a very challenging year on a number of fronts but a high spot was producing a blog post with an original song and music video for rescues “Forever” which I really love, and getting nominated for Best Pet Video at what turned out to be our last BlogPaws event.
What was the biggest blogging challenge I faced in 2018, and how did/will I tackle it?
What a can of worms as 2018 fist half sucked. My site theme and set up (not maintained, customized badly, bad developer etc), and my SEO (my ignorance) have been a big challenge for a few years and I have been wanting to change and improve them. The final straw came in December 2017 when my daughter got very sick in Chile so I had to go down and help her. The day I landed in Santiago, my server and site went down as they were hacked badly. It was down for the busy holiday season and most of January. I had contests and gift guides going well and no idea I was meant to be maintaining my own server- argghhh. No data was accessed but the server was used for crypto mining.
It took several months and a big investment to secure my server on 1 and 1 (leaving them) and move to a better updated theme on Studio Press (love them) so I lost momentum and traffic.
Right after Global Pet Expo and then BlogPaws in mid April, just as I was getting going again with great content and learning, my darling mother suddenly got very aggressive lymphoma and I had to spend 2 months in Australia completely focused on helping her and my father. I completely ignored my blog and social until end of June. A disaster for traffic and all my plans.
The good news is that my mother is in remission now and my daughter is doing much better too. We all just spent a wonderful Christmas together in Australia. Plus I am finally switching servers next month. I am fixing some fundamental issues that have been limiting traffic and I have been doing courses on discoverability and WordPress so I can grow and improve the blog.
Which of my 2018 blog posts was my favorite and why?
My post about my little rescue bean Kilo the Pug was my personal favourite in a tie with my post on Forever mentioned above which benefits rescues like his.
Kilo is certainly far from perfect but he brings so much joy to my family, I loved sharing his story. #Rescuesrock
Which of my 2018 posts was most popular with my audience? Why do I think it did well?
Unfortunately, I am not happy with the reach of any of my posts last year. I seemed to have a big problem with Google and the site was down for several months or I was not posting. The only ones that got any traction were contests that were picked up and promoted. Luckily each contest was tied to a post and the most popular one was the Valentine’s contest tied to my “Forever” post and video.
Did I implement a new series, feature, or practice on my blog in 2018 that I’m enjoying?
I am working on SEO, trying to make sure that my blog answers useful questions and inspires and educates dog lovers. I am also learning more about Pinterest and Instagram. I have joined Tailwind and am really enjoying sharing more Pins. I also worked on growing my mailing list (don’t forget to subscribe if you want to keep up with our news in 2019)
As the social media landscape changes, how am I promoting my blog posts and connecting with new readers?
I have Talent Hounds and Kilo the Pug on Pinterest (favorite right now), Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube. I am also a member of various Facebook Groups and participate in various live events like Pet Expos. I also look at Quora and Reddit but have had limited success there so far. I am also repackaging the TV series under the “Dogs Make a Difference” name and negotiating to get it on air in Canada, the US, Asia and elsewhere (our broadcaster in Canada closed a few years ago).
Looking forward to 2019, if I accomplish only one thing through my blog, what do I hope it is?
I hope that I can make my blog a relevant resource by connecting, inspiring and educating dog lovers who want to bring out the best in their dogs. I will continue to showcase inspirational stories of dogs making a difference, rescues that rock and cool things people can do with their dogs, as well as tips on how to do them and help dogs be their best from therapy, to tricks, to sports.
What steps am I planning to take to ensure I reach my goal?
I will be doing more courses, working with consultants, monitoring what questions and issues dog lovers have (Google, Quora, Reddit etc), doing more interviews and inspirational stories, getting more expert round ups and tips, promoting the TV series under the new “Dogs Make a Difference” (by Talent Hounds) name and doing more episodes, pitching some new digital series including “Dog Walk Diaries” with a charismatic young dog-loving comedian Camiel Pell, trying podcasts, improving Instagram and Pinterest.
I will also be building my blog “My Pug Nation” focused on Pugs, especially Kilo the Pug, and adding an online store and various products.
I will also be building Kids’ Pet Club this year to teach kids responsible pet care. We got some funding to do a TV demo in December so I am very excited about that.
Areas where I could use some advice, or an aspect of my blog that I’d like input on? Let us know in the comments thanks!!!
We’d love to get your feedback!
What did you think Talent Hounds was if you had heard of it? Have you seen any posts you like? What kind of posts do you think we should be doing more of?
We have a mix of heartwarming and interesting stories about how dogs make a difference and life with dogs and we have tips from our own research and experience as well as from experts (trainers, vets). Tips/answering questions works better for SEO and building authority as we do not have the budget of a Buzzfeed to keep doing stories every day. However, would you care about our tips or are we being too broad? Is there any area of expertise we should focus on?
Join the Blog Hop or check out other great blogs:
Thanks so much for joining the Challenge! Wow – you had a rough 2018. I’m so glad to hear that your family is doing well, and that you recovered from being hacked. Having been hacked myself some years back, I know what a disaster that is!
You’ve got some great plans for 2019! When I hear “Talent Hounds” I imagine a talent agency for dogs. =D I love that you’re sharing stories of how rescue dogs change lives. That totally happened to us when we found Buster as a stray and ended up adopting him! We were two accountants back then … now I run GoPetFriendly and we live in an RV. And it’s all because of Buster.
Ruby and Kristin says
I am sorry you have had such a difficult year. I hope 2019 will be much more peaceful and happy! I also hope we will be able to find a time to meet up this year since BlogPaws won’t be happening.
You should join our new Tailwind Tribe on Pinterest. It’s all about sharing content that helps animals and rescues. I started it a few weeks ago with Jill Caren. It’s called “Powered By Rescue” If you can’t find it let me know and I will send you an invite!
I love your videos and of course, Forever was my favorite!
Carol, Mom of Peaches and Paprika says
I WROTE A LONG REPLY COMPLIMENTING YOU ON YOUR VID – IT WAS ABOUT 3 PARAGRAPHS LONG…CAPTCHA REJECTED IT AND IT ALL DISAPPEARED. KUDS TO YOU THO FOR ALL YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS!
Talent Hounds says
Thanks so much. Sorry about that! I am having trouble with Captcha GRRR but I get so much spam without so should be fixed in Feb. Thanks again and purrs to Peaches and Paprika.
wow you had a rough time this year. I hope that 2019 brings you nothing but good things.
You asked what we thought when we first heard the name Talent Hounds. I thought it was some sort of talent agency or you had talented hounds and it was marketing to get them modeling gigs.
Marjorie Dawson says
YAAAAAY I don’t fee alone in the SEO wilderness and I LOVE your movies!
I put off investing in StudioPress for so long and learned my lesson. Now my blog looks the way I want it too and I can concentrate on my niche again.
Oh yeah and learn more about SEO….
Glad about your family doing better. Australia is a way to come (and its very VERY warm their right now C45 I heard!!)
I was wondering where you and Kilo had gone in 2018! I’m so sorry to hear that 2018 was so challenging–I hope that 2019 is a better year because I’ve always loved reading about Kilo!
Melissa Clinton says
I am so sorry that 2018 was so difficult. You are an amazing person, blogger and videographer! Here’s hoping 2019 is the best year yet!
Love this challenge idea. Thanks for sharing it
Wonderful reading about pet blogger challenge. I really enjoy his article. Thank you for sharing it.