My Pet Blogger Journey in 2021.

Pet Blogger’s Journey 2021

A new year is upon us, and with that, a new Pet Blogger Journey!

I love this tradition because it’s a chance to reflect, and also a great way to track my own personal journey. Reading past entries is also a fun way to look back and reminisce.  

If you’re new here – Hi! I’m Candy. Welcome to my blog. If you’re not new, take a quick break from my posts about dog travel and pugs, and keep reading to learn about my life as a blogger. 

2020 was a big old pile of trash. Let’s hope for a better, brighter 2021!

Here we go. 

Read my entries for past challenges:

 1. When did you begin your blog and what do you currently write about on your blog?

I started my blog in the summer of 2017. It wasn’t a serious thing, and I figured I’d probably share a few fun posts for friends and then abandon it. 

Things totally changed a few months later when I attended my first, and last, BlogPaws in February 2018. 

It was then when I realized that, hey, this could really be something!

I write about pet travel, dog-friendly New York City and pugs! 

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2020, that made you most proud.

I want to shout it from the rooftops, because I’ve wanted this since I attended BlogPaws in 2018… MEDIAVINE!!

Mediavine was my ultimate goal and I was finally able to apply last summer. Timing was on my side, and I slipped in right before they doubled the requisite for traffic from 25k sessions/month to 50k sessions/month!

Getting into Mediavine was always my main, overarching goal when it came to blogging. It was the light at the end of the tunnel for me. When I reached it, I was insanely happy, but that subsided and I ultimately felt like, now what?

So I had to reorganize, regroup and set new goals. 

The United States was in a state of turmoil, and after the murder of George Floyd, I felt like there had to be something else I could do in addition to donating to organizations, protesting and joining in online conversations. 

While many dismiss the dog community – think crazy cat lady but with canines! – the truth is, we have a lot of power. 

The pet industry is recession proof. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that grows every year. 

And, as we all know, the pet industry, like every other industry in the United States, has it’s fair share of racism, exclusivity and segregation woven into it. We are not the exception. 

So with this all in mind, I wrote a post about Black-Owned Dog Businesses in the United States. It was my proudest post, and also my most popular post of 2020. 

4. What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2020, and how did you tackle it?

Finding motivation. 

I write about pet travel, and in 2020 I was grounded in place, like most of the world. 

All of my travel plans went out the window. I flew out of Brazil and landed home in New York City in March 2020, and have stayed put until today. 

It’s the longest stretch of time I’ve gone without traveling in years. 

That, plus the ongoing wave of bad news that 2020 brought, put me in a slump. I felt out of it, got cabin fever and sort of pushed my blog to the side. 

It took awhile for me to pick things up again and to find my mojo. But I realized that that’s ok

The world was in a dark place, I was in a dark place, and I needed to find joy wherever I could. I started working on my pottery again, I began a new Instagram project, and I spent time with my partner and pets.

Doing these things brought me back to life, and once I was in a better place, I was able to refocus on my blog. 

5. Tell us one thing you learned in 2020 that can help us all become better bloggers.

Patience is a virtue.

I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes at that statement, and trust me, I am too!

Let me explain. 

Sometimes the blogging world makes blogging sound easy. Double your traffic in just six months! Get Mediavine numbers in under a year! Start making $5,000 in affiliates in under six months!

I’d read stories like those above and think, what am I doing wrong?

I was putting in the work but I wasn’t seeing the numbers, or the dollars.

But they came. Some of it came trickling (the money), and some of it came in a tsunami (the traffic). 

You have to keep chugging, and know that in time, things will come. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. I had to stop thinking about racing with others, and just focus on myself.

I also learned that just one thing can totally change your blog. One month. One post. One person. You never know what that one thing might be, so keep flexing your brain muscle and churning out ideas. Take a walk, play with your dog and have a cup of coffee. It’ll come. 

6. What are your top three goals for 2021?

Three? I feel like I have 100, and I can never get to all of them.

But here goes: 

I. Develop my side hustles. 

Since blogging is a waiting game, there were times when I’d feel restless. So I turned my attention to other pursuits that made me happy – all dog related of course!

  1. A History of Dogs: I started this Instagram in 2020 where I share stories and photos of dogs throughout history. 
  2. Dog Candy Shop: I have my own shop where I sell dog-related products, including my own handmade pottery. I’d love for you to take a look!
  3.  Dogs of NYC: Being grounded in my hometown has given me the time to develop local content, and connect with my local dog community. If you’re in or around the area, come join us! 

II. Find my voice. 

Some parts of blogging can feel formulaic, like when I’m writing a post recommending the top 10 products for blah blah blah. 

I begin to feel, and sound, like a robot.

So my goal is to find my voice. 

It’s easy to do so when writing a post like this, where I imagine a friendly Colby asking these fun and relaxed questions about my blogging journey. 

My ultimate goal is to be able to do this with all blog posts. 

III. Grow my traffic.

The easiest way for me to see growth and improvement is through traffic. I love looking at my traffic graph and watching it grow month after month. 

In past years, my traffic would tend to dance around, and that was nerve wrecking. This year, I’d like to see consistent growth.

7. In the perfect world, where do you see yourself and your blog 1 year from now?

In a year from now, I’d like to triple my traffic and earn $5,000 a month from my blog. 

I’d also love to start selling more products from my shop

There, I put it into the universe…now let’s make it happen!

8. If you had a $1,000 to spend on your blog how would you spend it?

I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t spend it on…another course!

That’s not to say I haven’t learned anything from the courses I have purchased, but I think I’m done with courses for now. Over the last few years I’ve purchased four, and that’s my limit, for now.

It seems like everyone is selling a course nowadays, and I’m a sucker for good marketing. But really, there is so much useful free information out there. So 2021 is going to be the year where I take all of the information I’ve learned, both from courses and not, and implement it. 

So, back to the question. What would I spend an extra $1,000 on?

A yearly subscription to a good keyword tool, like Ahrefs. 

9. What is one skill you’d like to learn or improve in 2021?


There’s so many moving pieces in blogging. Updating old posts, writing new posts, searching for keywords, keeping up with blog maintenance, and the list goes on and on. 

I haven’t really found a good system where I do all of the above, and then some, in an organized and deliberate way. I’m kind of just moving from thing to thing and hoping it all works out for the best.

So I’d really like to get organized, and plan out my time, and move with purpose. I think it will benefit my blog in the long run. 

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

This is a tough one. I feel like I have a million questions but can’t really pinpoint just one. 

I’ll hit you with two:

  1. What service do you use for photos?
  2. How do you do your keyword research?

Thanks for joining me on this journey! Until next year. 

Pin for later!'s Pet Blogger Journey for 2021! Reflect with me on my past year of blogging, and hear my dreams for the upcoming year!

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  1. Wow! Such an inspirational post! Congratulations on your achievements this year! I especially loved your post on Black-Owned Businesses in the United States! It sounds like you really have a great direction you’re going to grow your website! As for your questions on images: I am not sure being new myself but I do use free services right now as Pixabay. I use Canvas to design a lot of my own. And for Keyword research, I would suggest Answer the public. You can also use your Google search but customize it. I do use services occasionally like SemRush. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! It is so true it can only take one post to really change things. Very inspirational! I cannot wait to see what this next year brings you. Wishing you health and prosperity in this new year!

    1. Thank you so much for reading! I’ve heard of the Answer the Public before, but I should check it out again. It’s nice to know that people are doing keyword research in creative ways (that don’t always involve spending a bunch of money!).

  2. Congratulations on Mediavine! I wish I knew about them sooner. They were a real game changer for my blog and one of the big reasons why I decided to do this full time.

    Regarding your questions:

    1. I try to use as many of my own photos as possible. However, I do use Depositphotos from time to time. I also recently started using the paid version of Canva and I’ve been browsing their photo library.

    2. I mainly use Google, Search Console, and Free Ubersuggest for keyword research. I recently signed on to the 7 day Ahrefs trial and I’m trying to decide if it’s worth the money.

    Thanks for participating again this year. I hope you have a great 2021!

    1. Thanks for putting this all together Colby! It’s such a great way to connect with other bloggers, and to track your own growth.

      It’s amazing that you manage to raise puppies, humans, and take your own photo and video! I am going to try it more, but I always get in a visual rut in the winter.

      Thanks again for the tips!

  3. Hi Candy,

    So nice to virtually meet you and check out your blog and SHOP!! Can I just say I LOVE the masks and just bought two, ha! I also would have bought the dog walker face mask, but that one was out.

    Congrats on getting into Mediavine – that’s big and on my to-achieve-list as well!

    For photos, I use Canva. Mainly to edit my own and turn them into title pictures and Pinterest-optimized pictures. Sometimes I also browse their stockphotos, and I will say that their selection has grown to be quite impressive over the years. I mean, they even feature really good raw dog food photos now!

    For keyword research, I use Google, Instagram, and the free version of Semrush. I also looked into ahrefs, but I can’t justify their pricing quite yet.

    Have a wonderful new year and happy blogging!

    1. Hi Barbara, omg thank you so much for checking out my shop! It’s a goal of mine in 2021 to spend more time on it, and advertise more.

      It’s so interesting that you use Instagram to do keyword research, I’ve never thought to use it, but it is a great resource (and free!).

      Have a great 2021! and thanks again 🙂

  4. Wow, that’s awesome to get the traffic you need for MediaVine. That’s pretty awesome. For keywords, I use Google, and just started using the free version of Keysearch, which seems pretty good.

    Hope you get to travel in 2021. I write about cat travel, and one idea I might share is writing about planning now for when you can travel and any virtual events that are being planned in the first half of 2021.

    Good luck!

    1. Hi! Thanks for reading. Yes, writing about planning is a great idea. It’s been hard to be grounded for a full year, I can’t wait until we can hit the road again!

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. I loved it.

    I use Canva and DepositPhoto for stock photography (if that’s what you mean) and I don’t do keyword research. Every now and then I’m stuck on a title or how to phrase something, but my SEO plugin helps me there.

    1. Thanks for reading! I don’t do much keyword research, but I feel like it’s necessary to get my blog to the next level. We’ll see!

  6. I use Canva and Deposit Photos. And as many of my own photos as I can.

    I don’t do a lot of keyword research. I will just search google and see what comes up for phrases and related searches. Then I try to write something better. I do have access to ahrefs but I’m not using it like I could be. I usually just write answers to questions I think people would have.

    1. Thanks for reading! Ahrefs is my goal, but it’s out of my price range for right now. I’m going to try and use free programs for now and might upgrade to Keysearch!

  7. Congratulations on all that you’ve accomplished! Mediavine is definitely something that I would love to hit down the road, however, I was able to qualify for and join Monumetric this year to get started with making some ad revenue. It’s nice knowing that there is that income covering the costs of running the site and putting a little extra money in my pocket each month… Getting accepted was also a great motivator, pushing me to set my sights even further ahead and work towards greater things down the road.

    As for keyword research, I feel like it’s a mixture of things that has been helping me. I do use the free tools from Ahrefs (although I would love their pro tools if I had the money to cover that cost). I pay for KeySearch right now and use it to really help nail things down. However, I usually start off with just searching on Google, seeing what’s performing there, reading through suggestions of questions and similar searches and making a big list of ideas to start off. At least then, the time I’m putting in on tools like KeySearch is much more focused.

    1. Congrats on Monumetric! Before Mediavine, I used Ezoic. It’s definitely great to dip your toe in with another ad network before switching over. Have a great 2021!

  8. Congrats on qualifying for Mediavine! That’s a goal of mine too. They pulled the rug from under me when they doubled the required sessions. But, that’s just life. I guess now I still have something to look forward to.

    I followed your two new Instagram accounts. They look great! Instagram is something I need to work on.

    As far as pictures I also use a combination of my own and canva. I splurged on the premium package at canva so I have access to more pictures. The downside to canva is that you see the same pictures on other sites.

    Thanks for sharing your journey!


    1. Thanks for reading! I feel lucky that I squeezed in right before Mediavine changed their sessions requirement. Don’t worry though, you’ll get there in no time! Have a great 2021!

  9. I do a simple google search and use for keyword help. For photos I save them on my hard drive, a backup drive, and Carbonite – oh and also google photos. I am a bit anal in that department lol.

    It’s been a joy to watch you grow and evolve. Keep up the great work and congrats on getting so far in the Income School Warrior challenge.

  10. Thanks for sharing your story! It really resonated with me. We had a massive road trip planned for 2020 (5 months/14 countries!) with our kids which obviously hasn’t happened and so hoping 2021 may bring some some smaller scale adventures. Being in lockdown has however meant that we could get a dog and she has brought enormous joy to our family. So much so that I’m now investigating starting a pet blog one day. Really love your content and thank you for sharing your story!

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