Is it really 2022 already? And where did the the first 6 days of the year go!? I was hoping to get a ‘year in review’ post out, but it took me longer than I thought it would to put up Kitsune’s 13th birthday post and to finish editing his yearly birthday video. Then I came across the blog Puppy in Training, who is hosting the 2022 Pet Bloggers Journey. A bit different than what I had planned, but I thought that participating might be a fun first post for 2022. If you have a pet blog and want to join yourself, check out the Puppy in Training site. Without further ado, here’s my 2022 Pet Bloggers Journey Q & A…
When did you begin your blog and what do you currently write about on your blog?
My first post ever, which has since been removed, went up on October 28th, 2010! Although I started out as a more general pet blog, at this point in time Paw Print is pretty much exclusively a dog blog. I write about all things dog, but am especially interested in sharing how awesome small dogs can be, hiking with dogs, dog lifestyle topics, and strengthening the human-canine bond (especially through play!).
Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2021, that made you most proud.
2021 was a year of change for Paw Print. After featuring the same layout almost for the entire lifetime of the site, I finally updated it! Change isn’t easy, and I actually did like the old layout, but I have to say I’ve had no regrets since upgrading. It’s been a lot of work though, because changing my WordPress theme meant having to go back into quite a few old posts to optimize how they looked with the new layout. While I was at it, I updated the information in a lot of outdated posts, and deleted quite a few too. I’m still not completely done doing that – going back through 11 years worth of posts is time consuming!
Besides working on modernizing the layout and updating posts, one of my big goals for the year was to work harder on keeping up with our social media pages. I’ve never been a big social media person, so remembering to log in everyday can be a challenge for me – let alone remembering to post on each account on, at least, a semi-regular basis. I think I’ve been doing ok with that. I log in and post a lot more often than I used too, and have watched my social media numbers slowly rise. In 2022 I hope to continue to learn more about how to optimize social media, because although it’s not my favorite thing in the world, I know what an awesome way to reach pet parents it can be!
What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2021? How did you tackle it?
Just…life. 2021 was kind of a crazy year. I’m sure for everyone, so most people know what I mean. I have a life outside of blogging and my pets, believe it or not, and in 2021 especially the powers that be seemed especially fond of throwing me curve balls. My little pack unexpectedly had to move last year, again, which quite frankly really sucked. The housing marking while we were looking for a new rental was horrible. Trying to find a place, and one that would, of course, allow our two dogs became almost a full time job in and of itself, and it took us months to finally find a place.
On top of moving, towards the end of 2021 I took on a second job. Moving, working two jobs, taking care of my family (my partner and pets), and keeping up with my writing, it turns out, was hard. I’ve been stressed. I’ve been tired. How did I tackle it? Just keep on keeping on, I suppose. Luckily the move is behind us now. I’m able to set my own hours at work, so I try to arrange my schedule in a way that still gives me some time to get other stuff done every week.
Tell us one thing you learned in 2021 that can help us all become better bloggers.
Don’t be afraid of modernizing. In retrospect, should I have kept the same outdated site layout for like a million years? No. Change can be good, although I know it’s not always easy. Don’t get so stuck in your ways that it holds you back.
And don’t force yourself to work on your blog on days you aren’t feeling it. Don’t turn blogging into a chore and let your passion for it die. That would probably be my number one tip, especially for newer bloggers. It’s probably the biggest reason why I’m still active on this site after so many years. Paw Print is still very much a passion project for me, and I enjoy working on it. There are days when I have writer’s block, or I’ve had a really stressful day and just need a break from my computer. On those days, I don’t force myself to blog. I know ‘they’ tell you it’s best to keep to a schedule and such, but it’s totally ok to give yourself a break when/if you need it. It’s ok to miss a self imposed post deadline if you really aren’t feeling it. Take the time you need to take care of yourself, your blog will still be there when you get back.
What are your top three blogging goals for 2022?
1. Keep working on all the social media ‘stuff’. I’d really love to grow our audience as much as I can in 2022. On January 1st I started a 365 post Instagram challenge for two reasons. One, because my beloved dog Kitsune just turned 13 and that’s kind of been hard for me. I want to document as much as I can of him and his ‘brofur’ because, as much as it sucks, my dog being officially a teenager has really made me think about how, someday, all I’ll have are the pictures and memories. I want as many of them as possible! Oh and two, because, ya know, content and social media followers and all that jazz. (Shameless plug, you can watch me probably fail my Instagram challenge on Kitsune’s and Fenrir’s Instagram pages).
2. Amp up our YouTube channel. Is YouTube considered social media? We’ll pretend it’s not. I started working harder on our channel in 2021, but took a break for a bit while we moved and got settled into our new place. Again, I feel like YouTube is a fun way to both document cute memories of my dogs, but that it could also be a good companion to my blog.
3. I started this a bit in 2021, but in 2022 I’d really like to improve the monetization on my blog. I’ve been playing around a bit with different ads and ad placement, and recently joined an ad network too. I know, I know, no one likes ads – But hosting for websites isn’t free, and Kit and Fen are high maintenance dogs.
In the perfect world, where do you see yourself and your blog one year from now?
I mean in the perfect world I’d be rich and living on my own self sustaining farm, surrounded by critters with plenty of time to write and pursue whatever other interests I want. More realistically? I’ll be happy if I can just blog on a consistent basis, continue to work on improving the site, and hopefully accomplish the three goals I set above.
If you had a $1,000 to spend on your blog how would you spend it?
I feel like the right answer would be to say I’d take some courses on something, SEO maybe, or spend money on some nice plug ins to help optimize my site. Honestly? I’d probably send it all to my hosting company, to keep the site up and running for however long $1,000 would buy me. Not that I’m complaining about having to pay for hosting, but I keep setting my website up to auto-renew and for some reason it keeps not auto-renewing. It leads to site down time every now and then which is super annoying. I’d love to not have to think about it for as long as possible.
What is one skill you’d like to learn or improve in 2022?
How to stop time, so I can have unlimited time to work on my blog and snuggle my dogs. Oh…you meant realistic skill? Well this is boring and repetitive, but I really want to up my monetization game. Does that count as a skill? With the amount of research I’ve been doing on it, we’ll say it counts.
If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
I need your best, most delicious dessert recipe that’s both human and dog safe. This is actually not related to my blog…this is related to the fact that I really want to lay around in my PJs and eat desserts that I can share with my dogs. Oh – I’ll blog about it. There – it’s blog related.
But seriously (ok but I am serious about the recipe thing if you have one!) just throw some suggestions at me in the comments. I suck at monetization and would love to grow my audience more, so maybe stuff about that. I want to try to get better at promoting my blog, but in a nice, friendly, sort of passive aggressive way, if that makes sense? Not outwardly aggressive, like shoving it in peoples’ faces, because I’m a pisces and an introvert on an epic level, and if I even think I maybe annoyed someone a little bit it makes me feel super bad.
Or about my new layout – how’s it look? What should I change? Oh, or any cool post ideas you’d like to see here, or video ideas for my YouTube. When you blog for 11 years it kinda starts to get harder to think of new topics that you haven’t already written about before…
You’re all amazingly awesome and thank you for visiting my site! I hope everyone reading this is having a great day. Hang in there if you’re not! Kit loves you all (and Fen hates you all but it’s ok, he’s a butthead) and you’re perfect just the way you are. Channeling Mr. Rogers there, nice. Go out (or stay in!) and play with your pets!