It’s time to go on Paws’ Pet Blogger’s Journey 2021, as this year is a crossroad of whether I continue and how I continue down the blogging street or take a detour to find another way to help cats.
I am participating in the annual “Pet Bloggers Journey” hosted by the blog Puppy in Training. Myself and several other pet bloggers answer the same 10 questions about our blogging goals and struggles! My answers are below; however, I incorporated the questions into the article.
You guessed it; I write about cats. I began my blog about 10 years ago, with a tagline Paws for Reflection. While that is not a bad name, it does not really say much of what I am about. Also, when you put in a research for Paws for Reflection, versus BJ Bangs, I only come up once.
Paws’ Pet Blogger’s Journey 2021, Power up with Cat Tourism
For the past few years, I have struggled with that re-identification and re-branding. I liked #Get Your Cat Fix; however, it is too intertwined with cat overpopulation, a subject of which I care about deeply. I am leaning towards Paws News for Cat Lovers with a focus on cat tourism, cat events, cat news, and all those fun things cats like to do. That’s why we’re thinking about taking the Pet Blogger’s Journey 2021 and powering up with cat tourism. At Paws, we also talk about why cats are so good for us hoomans.
We thank PuppyTraining.com for hosting this exciting journey, and look forward to meeting other bloggers and helping them with their journey in 2021.
Last year, I had goals to do a lot with my blog, but with COVID 19, I went into a tailspin, as life seemed to change from one day to the next. Also, with three elections last year (I am the Town Clerk in the town where I live – a very part time job that became more as the months went on) I didn’t stick with a plan.
I can’t say I am proud of anything that made me most proud in 2020. I liked my popular posts. I did engage in some online learning, but nothing that made me proud.
- Virtual Museum Tours for Cat Lovers
- Poland’s Cat Museum Ideal for Cat Lovers
- Feline Leukemia no longer a death sentence to shelter cats
- And Will I Meet My Cats on the Rainbow Bridge?
I think people are looking for info they might not find somewhere else. They also are looking for posts that address issues that impact their lives. As for the tourism articles, everyone is interested in some new place that focuses on cats, whether you can visit in person or not.
Taking the Paws’ Pet Blogger’s Journey 2021 and powering up with cat tourism is a place I plan to focus, and brand. With travel restrictions, though, it has been hard to focus as who knows what will still be around by mid to end 2021.
The biggest blogging challenge I faced in 2020 was inertia – not moving, and as we have rounded the clock into 2021, I am tackling it head-on. Inertia only makes me more frustrated. If I am going to blog, I plan on being successful, and it takes time. I have the time. I have posted my goals on my refrigerator, and I look at them often. They help keep me focused. Focus is key with me. I tend to go in several different directions and spin my wheels like a hamster going round and round. By posting my goals, I do something, or many things, each day, that is helping me get there. For example, learn video and improve my photographic skills. They are all part of the blogging plan.
Another thing I have learned is the importance of planning. Without a plan, the ideas get tangled together and nothing gets accomplished.
For 2021, my top three goals are:
- Grow my audience and email list
- Entrench myself in the cat tourism and event niche, but also expand to include articles on cat news, cat health and why cats are good for us.
- Use more video in my blog posts
- And write a couple of e-books and at least one book (not totally blogging related)
In a perfect world, where do you see yourself and your blog a year from now is a tough question. I would like enough subscribers so I could make money from affiliate marketing. I would like to be known as an expert in cat tourism and events, as well as have my Cat Tourism book completed. I also would like to partner with a travel agency to offer a few trips to cat tourism locations, such as Italy and Japan. Additionally, I would like to get some sponsorships from products or places that would benefit from being connected with cat tourism.
I also would like an opportunity to visit many of these super cool places and events without shelling out tons of money, which I do not have.
If I had $1,000 to spend on my blog, I would spend it on incremental design improvements as well as help with coding for Google Analytics and FTC Compliance. The time I spend spinning my wheels on trying to make my blog look better (changed themes, etc.) I could get tons of stuff done. Right now, I have turned away from this, even though I know my blog should look better. But if I spend my time on this, I will end up in a quagmire, and be back where I was spinning my wheels on the hamster wheel. As with other blog, writing related issues, I haven’t had any luck in working with a third party.
The one skill I would like to improve in 2021 is shooting better video and video editing. I tell myself the more you do, the easier it will get, and the better you will be. If I could create better video, I would also be able to do zoom or Facebook Live interviews with cat tourism related subjects, and then transcribe those interviews to be on my blog.
If you could ask the pet blogging community with help with one challenge you are having on your blog, what would it be? I am not sure one thing. I have just connected with a fellow cat writer, and we are now accountability partners. I think that will be a help. Redesigning my blog is huge, but that is way too much to ask. Perhaps help with Google Analytics, placing code, and being sure I am compliant would be a possibility. Another thought would be suggestions on how not to brand so that I am cat inclusive on my blog. Also, come over and subscribe to my email list, and download my FREE Comprehensive Guide to Cats Kneading & Scratching. This is a huge issue for cat people. Don’t wait too long, as I will be converting this guide into an E-Book.
Readers and others on the Pet Blogging Journey, 2021, what do you think about the changed name? Would you be interested in learning more about cat tourism? What do you like to see in blogs? Please comment, and sign up for our free Comprehensive Guide to Cats Kneading & Scratching. If you have friends who are cat guardians, please share the link with them.
Such great and really amazing information about the pet it is lovely and to good thanks sharing this article
Thanks for visiting our site. With the country opening up this summer, there will be lots of cat-themed places to visit.
This is my first visit to your blog and I love the idea of cat tourism. I’ve heard of cat coffee shops and always wondered about them – have you visited one?
You mentioned affiliate marketing and I want to encourage you to start doing it now so that when your audience gets larger, your affiliate marketing is already in place and you don’t lose momentum or miss out on commissions. I started by reviewing products that I buy for my dogs and linking to Amazon. Now I belong to several affiliate programs (only for places I shop) and I make a good income.
Have a wonderful 2021.
Thanks for stopping by. I have yet to visit a cat cafe, but it is on must must to-do list. Thanks for the suggestions about cat tourism and affiliate marketing. We are never sure if we are doing the right thing, but I’m hoping this all works. Have a wonderful year, and hopefully, we will connect again in cyber-space.
I totally understand about 2020 and how COVID and the election just consumed me. It was hard to focus a lot and then I finally decided it’s just another bump in the road. It sounds like you did the same and I am a firm believer that we will get through this together.
In terms of 2021, I wish you all the best and am so glad we are friends!
Thanks for sharing your journey! You have some really impressive goals for 2021. I wish I was that motivated.
I don’t think I can offer you advice with google analytics and I don’t live with cats anymore. But my sister does. I will send her your link.
Good luck with all your goals!
That’s for the kind words. Hope you have a great 2021.
I am a firm believer that the first step to success is identifying where our time is best spent. This comes from recognizing our strengths and weaknesses. The fact that you are able to recognize that fighting through overhauling the appearance of your blog isn’t the best use of your time is highly valuable. Its hard in the beginning because we are on our own, however, as you continue to grow you’ll be able to hire people to take care of the stuff that isn’t necessarily in your wheelhouse. I know that there are a few things that I can’t wait to hire out! Lol
I’m going to second the suggestions to check out the free Google Analytics course. Not only is the price right (I mean, who doesn’t like free) but I found that it really helped me to learn how to navigate that aspect of blogging and apply it to propel myself forward in a positive way.
I have signed up for the google analytics class, and am looking forward to learning more about the ins and outs of how it works.
Hi, I travel with my cat whenever we go on road trips. He’s 15 and has traveled since he was a kitten. He loves staying in hotels and visiting new areas. I want to take him camping sometime.
I just signed up for your email list.
Hi BJ, I am just now catching up with the writers of the pet blogging journey and learned a lot from reading your post and question-answers. I subscribed to your email list too. Can’t wait for my “kneading Guide!”
I think your focus on cat tourism is a great one for 2021 because people are already planning what to do after COVID eases, where they’ll go and where they’ll visit, and I think people are now becoming more open to reading about tourism…CAT tourism in particular for cat lovers!
BTW I enjoyed the links to your articles in #1 particularly knowing about the Poland Cat Museum and also your interview with Gwen Cooper which was so incredibly detailed and informative. I loved all that detail.
Well third, of all the activities/expenditures I’ve made toward my own blog and cat writing, the one expenditure I have ALWAYS been thankful I did was paying someone to redesign my blog. At first it was “ouch” but the process was not only enjoyable but easy. It gave me and my blog focus and direction, not to mention I enjoyed looking at it more and so did everyone else. I will DM you about my process.
Whatever you do, don’t stop writing because very few people can write really well and you number among those few.
Wishing you fabulous travels in 2021.
Keep up your great work. Love your slide shows.
I love your cat tourism and events ideas! Something different I’ve not run into until now. Great content ideas and it sounds like you are well on your way to achieving your goals. It is completely true that the more videos you make the better you will become. One thing I’ve learned making videos is that you have to enjoy the process and it’s more time consuming than I thought it would be but I love it. Good luck in all of your endeavors this year! Take care!
Do you have a place where I can follow your blog and your progress. I just love seeing your pictures and videos, and I would luv to follow you.
Ok, I had to look on my blog. I think your question tells me I may need to rearrange my blog a little bit ~ to make it more user friendly so to speak. If you go to http://www.homesteadprowlers.com and click on the 3 little lines located in the top right corner (the menu) then move down you will see where you can follow by email. I have followed your blog, too.
Those are great goals to start with. I finally found someone to redesign my blog this year. She’s easy to work with and will actually do theh heavy lifting for you as I don’t touch html.
Would you DM me on the cost of redesigning your blog. I really need help, and if I focus on redesign I will never get anything else done.
I second Bren’s comment on the free Google Analytics course. I went through that one many years ago and got my certificate. I couldn’t remember the name of your blog and I did a little digging, but didn’t find the name. I linked on BJ Bangs, but I can change to whatever name you’d like to change to. We don’t have cats, but my mom is a big cat lover so I’ll send her to your guide. Thanks for participating in the Pet Bloggers Journey this year. Have a great 2021!
Colby: Thanks for the second on the free Google Analytics course. I will have to try that out. I also am trying to work on building Pinterest, as it using a kind of SEO as well. I am in themiddle of changing up my blog name from Paws for Reflection to Paws News for Cat Lovers (says more and the other is tied to a ranch) I did my blog under my name so that in the event I changed, I would not have to totally reinvent myself in the future. Thanks for hosting the challenge. I have learned a lot from visiting the other 18 participant’s blogs, some of which I knew and some of which I now know.
Gotcha on using your name for your domain name. I’m lucky that my topic has stayed the same and I didn’t use Linus or Stetson’s name in the domain name since they both crossed the rainbow bridge. I think it would have been tough to continue writing with their names in the domain.
What’s the address or exact name of the analytics course. I will start taking it this month.
I love the name Paws for Reflection. Very catchy and versatile! Congrats on 10 years of blogging! Your story is very inspirational. I too have been a feral cat advocate for years and it is a topic close to my heart as well. I focused alot on my SEO and SERP for my first year. Now I can just take a step back. It is nice. So I can only suggest taking the Google Analytics Course. Or even a course through Udemy.
Google actually provides a free course for Google Analytics and you can write the exam for free to become certified. Even if you don’t do the exam it is a great way to learn how to use it. I did a few tutorials on my pet blogging tips section of my site this year that may help you learn how to set up Google Analytics. Even some on being compliant. I think you have some great goals this year and I cannot wait to see what the year brings for you! Wishing you health and prosperity this coming year!
Ben: Thanks for this info. I will definitely check out the free course for Gooogle Analytics, and check out the analytics posts on your website. Glad to meet you through the Pet Journey Challenge 2021. It’s found to be an exciting year. Cats are just the best!!