It's time to reflect on the last year and plan for the upcoming one. Here's my entry in the 2020 Pet Blogger Journey.

Pet Blogger’s Journey 2020

It’s the start of a new year and with it comes another pet blogger challenge!

I love these challenges because they’re an opportunity to reflect on the last year and sketch out some concrete goals for the upcoming twelve months. Plus, they’re a great way to learn about and meet other bloggers. 

Read my entry for the 2019 Pet Blogger Challenge

We owe a big thank you to Colby from for organizing this. Here we go!

2018 was my first full year of blogging! To celebrate, I'm taking a look back at this inaugural year and joining's Pet Blogger Challenge.

When did you begin your blog? And, for anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about.

I started back in the summer of 2017 when I was visiting Rio de Janeiro with my two dogs. I started it on a whim, with zero intentions other than to share fun stories with my friends about traveling with my pets. 

It wasn’t until I attended my first – and sadly, last – BlogPaws in February of 2018 that I got serious about blogging. I realized that the world of blogging was huge, and that I could grow my audience and actually develop the blog as a stream of income if I put in the work. 

Today, I write about pet travel, dog-friendly NYC and pugs! 

Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2019, that made you most proud.

I’d have to say that I’m most proud of my guest posts and contributions. I was able to contribute to websites like Nomadic Matt, Reader’s Digest and AKC. It felt good to share my knowledge and be used as a trusted resource when it comes to my specific niche.

I am also a finalist in the Dog Writers Association of America annual competition in the Blog or Website category. Paws crossed that I win!

Which of your 2019 blog posts was your favorite and why?

My favorite blogpost was Year Of The Dog: 52 Weeks Of Dog-Friendly Activities. It was really fun, but also a serious challenge, to put together a list of ways to spend time with your dog throughout the year. I’m really proud of it. 

I actually published this post on January 1, 2020, but I wrote it in 2019. I hope that counts! 

What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2019, and how did you tackle it?

My biggest challenge was realizing I wasn’t going to reach my ultimate goal of qualifying for Mediavine. I really wanted to get to 25k sessions a month by the end of 2019 and I came up short. I felt like a failure, my motivation waned, and I took a small break from my blog.

I tackled this by looking at the bigger picture. 25k is just one number in my blog’s life, but there are lots of important other numbers to take into account too. My blog grew in other ways, and Mediavine would just have to wait.

Like I wrote in 2019 Pet Blogger Challenge, blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. 

One goal that we all seem to share is we want to reach more people. What is your #1 tip for bringing more traffic to your blog?

SEO. Write more posts, write longer posts, and sprinkle those bad boys with keywords and love. Then wait. 

Do you do sponsored posts/reviews? If so, what do you find works best and how do you determine what to charge for a blog post, social media shares, etc.? If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?

I’ve only ever done one sponsored post. It was a lot of work! I think it was actually too much work to make it worth it, at least for now. When my numbers grow even more, maybe I’ll try again. For now, I’m focusing on other things. 

Looking forward to 2020, if you accomplish only one thing through your blog, what do you hope it is?

If I accomplish only one thing, I hope it’s to show many people that pet travel isn’t only possible, but super rewarding. Traveling with my dogs brings me joy, and it makes them happy too! 

I’d also like to get more personal. I’ve focused so much on informative posts, and this year I want to sprinkle in more personal articles and travelogue-style posts. I know they aren’t always great for SEO, but I’d like my audience to get a better sense of who I am. Plus, informational posts are sometimes a drag to write! 

What steps are you planning to take to ensure you reach your goal?

The best way to communicate that traveling with a dog can be both easy and fun is to grow my audience. I really want to hit 25k sessions a month (have I mentioned that already?). 

The blogging landscape is constantly changing. What changes in blogging do you see coming in 2020 and beyond? What plans do you have to evolve?

I don’t know that I’ve been blogging long enough to really notice these changes. I know that it’s important to really focus in on and establish a niche. I’m planning location-specific posts about pet travel that I’ll be rolling out early this year. 

Besides that, I know everyone is saying the V word (video!). I’ve dabbled in it, and have a few more ideas for later in the year. We’ll see. 

If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

It’s tough because I get the sense that we’re grouped all together under this one big pets umbrella, despite the fact that we write about such different things. 

But despite this, I guess my question would be: in your blogging journey, how have set priorities and figured out what to work on next? There are a million steps to blogging – updating old posts, posting to Instagram, working on newsletters, writing new posts, etc. The list goes on and on. I sometimes have difficulty knowing what to focus on and when to move on to the next thing. 

Thanks for joining me! 

Please drop me a line in the comment section and hop on over to the next post in the Linky.

Pin for later!

It's time to reflect on the last year and plan for the upcoming one. Here's my entry in the 2020 Pet Blogger Journey.

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  1. Thank you for sharing your journey. It is very inspiring considering you started in 2017 and what you have been able to accomplish is amazing. Funny last night I was trying to figure out ways myself to keep up. I spend roughly 6-10 hrs a day seven days a week working on things. I finally put together a priority list based on projects I would like to do. Then I add in the priority things that must be done each day. I am still trying to figure that question out myself. So not sure if that helps.
    I do have one question for you though, Would you suggest spending money to advertise anywhere to increase my site traffic? Right now I am mostly doing all the networking on my platforms to bring traffic to my site. My SEO and Performance is really good. My traffic is slowly growing. I started my journey only a few months before the new year. Anyway, thank you so much again for sharing your story. Your journey has given me more motivation being new at this.

    1. Hi Bren,

      Thanks so much. A list is a great idea, and something I’m going to try to implement this year.

      Regarding your question, I’ve never spent money on advertising before, with the exception of doing a spend-$20-and-get-$40-worth-of-ads on Pinterest deal, which turned out to not be worth it at all. It wasn’t worth it for me, and instead I’ve been spending all of my time on writing content, SEO, and social media. I also invested in a course (last year) and a site audit to begin the New Year.

      I know others have had great success with Facebook ads, etc, but I’ve never experimented with them (and don’t plan to). Hope this helps!

  2. Congratulations on being a finalist for a DWAA award! That’s awesome! I’d have to agree with you on the sponsored posts being more work than they’re worth. I think the toughest part for me is finding good brands to work with that have products that I love.

    I’m sure you’ll hit your Mediavine goal this year. One quick tip: start following their FB page/group and blog. They put a lot of good information out there that will help you maximize your earning when you get accepted to their network. If you want to start optimizing your site today then look up “Mediavine RPM Challenge” in Google.

    Regarding your question, you’ve definitely hit my Achilles Heel…getting organized. This is one of those “do as I say, not as I do” answers: Put content first then work on everything else second. I’m going to try and follow that mantra this year.

    Thanks for sharing your journey! All the best to you in 2020!

    1. Hi Colby!

      Thanks again for putting this blog hop together.

      Great tip (re: Mediavine). I will definitely look up that challenge. You are where I hope to be some day with my blog.

  3. Hi, nice to meet you and congrats on all you have accomplished. For setting priorities with my blog, I have to write out my big picture projects each month or so and then every week and even every day, make sure I’m prioritizing what really matters. For me that’s typically writing one new article, updating an old article and writing my newsletter. I try not to spend much time/thought on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and I work on social media later in the day. First project of the day is always my most important work – usually writing.

    1. Great idea! I think prioritizing probably makes a huge difference. I tend to write lists, but never prioritize what’s on them. I should start.

      Thanks for reading.

  4. I keep a file called Blog Dump in my OneNote projects. It’s full of headline ideas, partial blog posts and inspiration bits from other bloggers. If I can’t fulfill my weekly Dog Photographers Blog Circle duties (I write about that on my journey post that I pushed live today), I use a topic from my Blog Dump. Or I don’t write at all, and I try not to beat myself up about it.

    Blogging has helped my pet photography get noticed in my community, especially via search engine results, and that’s my priority with it all. Because of the blog circle, I’m able to force myself to set aside Wednesday or Thursday for shooting and writing for the weekly topic. Unless I already have a session in the bank.

    Trouble is, it’s all just one of my four or five part-time jobs now. While it’s my most important one, I never want my writing and blog posts to feel forced. Ya know?

    1. Hi Angela,

      Totally agree. Sometimes expectations are too high and it’s terrible to write if you’re not in the mood. I took a small hiatus and it allowed me to refresh and recharge before diving in again. I never want things to feel and/or sound forced either!

  5. Candy, keep pluggin away, you’ll get to the 25K before you know it. You have a great niche.

    Focus on what is going to give you the best ROI (return on investment). The blogging course I took, stresses the importance of building your email list. So I say, keep writing and create a good opt-in to capture emails. Personally, social media is low on my list. I don’t see much return on it. I don’t ignore it, but definitely not a priority. With that said, Pinterest is a great way to get quick traffic.

    Good luck! I am certain you will hit that 25K in no time.

    1. Thank you so much Debi! πŸ™‚
      I’m definitely focusing on my email list. Growing the list is a goal of mine for 2020.

  6. I get you on knowing what to focus on. I’m trying to “time block” by efforts but not on a daily basis. More on a month or quarter basis. For example, Q1 might be all about producing new content. Q2 is about cleaning up old content. Q3 is focusing on Pinterest. Of course, there are a million little things to also do during that time but it helps me allocate my time if I stick to one overall focus and just do what I can for the rest of the stuff.

    1. I’ve never thought of blocking out time in that way! I’ve mostly focused on daily and sometimes weekly. Perhaps bigger chunks of time will be easier to manage. Thanks for reading!

  7. Happy New Year!!! Thank you for sharing your journey. I have five dogs and would love to plan a vacation with them, but there aren’t any homes that would allow five dogs. I don’t blame them – it is a lot. So in 2020, I plan to have a staycation with the dogs and treat our property as a destiny location.

    1. Hey! A staycation is a GREAT idea! Grab some pillows and blankets and camp out in the living room. 5 dogs is a lot – I can barely handle 2! Kudos to you. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  8. Candy you’re so so so so close! I think you will hit 25K soon I’m cheering you on. Congratulations on the DWAA nomination fingers crossed you win. Here’s to a fantastic 2020.

  9. Hi Candy, it’s nice to virtually meet you and your pet travel blog! I loved what you said about blogging being a marathon, and not a sprint. That’s so true. It takes consistency and dedication above all. Have a successful 2020!

  10. Candy, your blog always makes me smile. Congratulations on the DWAA award nomination! That’s a huge boon in itself. One that I’m thinking Mediavine will notice when you do hit the 25K.

    I had not seen your 52 week activity challenge.You’ve got some great ideas there. Pinning:)

    Finally, deciding on priorities. Ugh! I feel your pain, but I totally agree with your mindset that blogging is a marathon. I set three blogging goals for 2020, mostly focused on content creation because of my hiatus.

    I really like Jessica’s idea for quarter time blocking, though. Given the amount of content you’ve already produced, seems logical that giving each quarter a focused theme would allow you time to hit all those other tasks that you know you need to do.

    Cheers! Irene

    1. Thanks for the kind words Irene πŸ™‚
      Sometimes blogging can feel super isolating so the best part about this challenge, for me, is hearing from others on a similar journey.

  11. Oh boy. Setting blog priorities. I have a hard time with that just because my time is limited. I try to be a bit flexible and choose what to do based on what my mind can handle that day. Sometimes it’s just doing some research. Other times it might be updating a post. I leave writing for when I can really concentrate on it. My goal is to keep moving forward in some way.

    Don’t let not reaching your goal of qualifying for Mediavine deter you! You will get there! Jon Acuff wrote a good book called “Finish” which goes into how not reaching our goals can affect us and demotivate us and he gives tips on how to overcome that. I try to keep them in mind when I’m setting up a new goal.

    1. I’ll look into that book!
      It definitely did deter me for a bit, but I bounced back. I just did a blog audit that really helped put me in the right direction going forward, and I’m planning out new content.
      Fingers crossed I qualify in 2020!
      Thanks for reading.

  12. Wow, I’m in awe! You have written for some big sites.
    Did I see you have a chihuahua too? Does he travel with yall too?

    1. I do! Marcelo. He’s a 4lb, 9 year old puppy mill rescue. He travels with us everywhere, but I made Boogie the face of the blog because he’s a little less….temperamental πŸ˜›

  13. Congratulations on all of your successes! I didn’t realize you accomplished so much in addition to running the blog. Way to go and way to kick butt! I hope we can connect in paw-son at DWAA next year, too! Keep up the great work and here’s to a paws-perous 2020!

    1. Thank you Carol!
      I also hope we can connect in person and (paws crossed) its at a pet event!
      PS I will definitely make DWAA next year!

  14. Oh boy, I hear you on getting organized. I use Trello at least semi-successfully lol. I love your weeks of activities! I’ve been doing a calendar of activities to do with cats every month for my subscribers. It’s a challenge to come up with them. Yours are great.

    Congrats on your DWAA sucess.

  15. I agree, a lot of people think you can’t travel with your pets and have a lot of fun. I know Life and Cats takes her gorgeous Persian to all sorts of places. Dog and cat owners need to lead by example and show that, yes, a pup can have a lot of fun beyond the daily walk – they can travel the world!

    Have a great blogging 2020.

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