Starting a Pet Blog
When you are starting a pet blog, you need to establish a niche, or a purpose. Think of it as if you are etching out your own little part of the blogging world, a place where your followers and you feel comfortable.
Your niche needs to be something that you can write about with confidence. It needs to be something that enriches the lives of your followers, making them want to come back for more. Furthermore, it needs to be something that you enjoy writing about and your readers enjoy reading about. After all, you won’t want to stick to writing a blog on topics that you find boring, and your lack of enthusiasm will show to your followers.
Every blog needs a definitive purpose especially when starting a pet blog to drive its content and attract followers. The purpose needs to be reflected in your title and your overall content. This hardly means that you need to stick to writing about one specific brand of pet food, because you will rapidly run out of content that way. It just means that your articles should reflect the purpose overall, such as a series of articles about home remedies for common pet maladies or a blog focused on providing pet product reviews.
This brings me to a very important point:
Don’t pigeonhole yourself! Picking a topic that is too narrow will consequently narrow down your readership. A blog about one type of turtle food is a good example of how you can pick a topic that is just too specific.
With your content and your title, you attract readers. If you pick a topic that is too small, you run out of things to write about and people lose interest as they realize they have reaped all of the information your blog has to offer. Then, if you try to expand your topic, you find that you don’t attract readers because your title and previous content makes them expect only one thing.
However, you also don’t want to pick a topic that is too broad.
“All things pets” could be too broad, for instance. If you have too general or broad of a topic, your readers won’t know what to expect. They will ask, “Will this blogger ever post anything relevant to me? I can’t tell, so I’m going to move on to a more specific blog.” Make it clear when starting a pet blog that your blog is about dogs, or turtles, or pet product reviews. Show readers exactly what to expect and then deliver.
For instance, my blog, Center for Pet Loss Grief, has a specific theme: the grief that comes with losing a pet. It is reflected clearly in the title. People know what to expect when they read my blog, and they choose to come to my blog when they need support after losing a pet. This topic is not too broad, but it encompasses a wide variety of points and subtopics, which make it an engaging resource to my readers.
Write What You Know When Starting a Pet Blog
This adage does have some truth to it. You don’t want to write about something you have no idea about because you won’t be able to offer as much information to your readers or engage yourself.
However, I don’t think this is always true. Life is about learning and broadening your horizons. You can always do research and learn more about new topics that you can then share with your readers. Start with a topic that you know something about and want to write about; then expand it with research, interviews, and enlightening links to other articles.
If you are interested in learning more check Pet Blogging 101: How to Start a Riveting Pet Blog and Gain Loyal Followers.
The best way to find your niche is to draw from your own life experience, strengths, and interests.
If you are an avid amphibian owner, you probably want to write about caring for amphibians when you are starting a pet blog. You already know a lot about the topic and have some personal stories to share with readers.
But you also have a lot that you can learn on the topic. Look at what you love about pets, what you want to share with the world, and what you feel you can comfortably write about. Chances are, you already have an idea of the topic you want to write about. Now it’s time to determine how to present that topic in a palatable way that is neither too vague nor too specific.
Ideas that are too incongruent with your niche should probably get a separate blog of their own.
It would be odd to start a blog on canine nutrition, only to throw in a series of articles about snake handling. There is no reason why you can’t have several blogs on different topics! But it is a mistake to jumble tons of different topics and ideas into a single blog. It appears disorganized and, again, too broad.
It all boils down to readership, the main reason you are starting a pet blog in the first place. You want to appeal to specific people and appear in the search engine list when people search for a certain topic that applies to their needs. Fitting into a good, solid niche that certain people find relevant will earn you more loyal followers.
Find Your People
A major part (perhaps the main part) of deciding your niche and directing the content of your blog involves finding your demographic. Who are you writing to? Obviously, you are starting a pet blog, so your audience will be comprised of pet owners. But you must go a little deeper than that.
Most pet blogs appeal to a large demographic. You can strip away demographic divisions such as age, gender, and race when you are writing about a general pet topic that many different people will find relevant. A lot of the content you create will likely appeal to a general audience, so just write in a way you think pet owners would relate to.
I once read somewhere that all of your writing should be on a fifth-grade level
This may not be true for dense research articles, but in the case of a blog, I think it is quite applicable. If a ten-year-old can read and understand what you are talking about, then you can appeal to a wide demographic.
However, maybe your topic in itself appeals to a very particular demographic. A blog about apartment living with a big dog would only appeal to a specific category of people; a lot of people with different living circumstances or small dogs will not find your topic at all relevant. Therefore, you must always write to this specific category of people. Focus your content on what they would care about. Use language that they can understand and relate to, and share stories about your experiences that they will likely identify with.
Always tailor your writing to your demographic
- Are they going to be pet lovers looking for something lighthearted and cheerful?
- Are they going to be people suffering from serious pet-related issues, looking for help or grief support?
- Does the topic you are writing about in a particular post fit in with this demographic, or should it get a separate blog with a separate audience of its own?
You might consider tweaking a blog post to appeal more to your demographic if you see that you are getting little traffic or earning negative comments. Often, you won’t know what people like until you try something out and get feedback. Don’t take negative feedback personally; use it constructively and grow from it.
Once, I was very hurt by a comment in which a woman complained that I did not offer much information in a post.
Then I realized, “She is just expressing a need for more information. I can add more depth to my posts and thus appeal to more people.” By taking her comment as constructive criticism, I was able to formulate the writing style I use to this day. Blogging is a learning and growth experience for all of us!
Read Some Pet Blogs to See What They are Doing When Starting a Pet Blog
This can serve as inspiration for your own blog. Call it market research and look into what people want from pet blogs. However, keeping your own voice is essential. Your voice is what makes your blog uniquely yours. Don’t just copy what others are doing. Stand out by doing your own thing.
A final note: You may find that something is trending and you want to hop on the bandwagon when starting a pet blog. That is always a good short-term strategy that can really work to drive traffic. However, in time, that topic will no longer be trending. Having a solid niche that will endure through time will ensure loyalty from your readers for years to come. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing.
Choosing Your Blog Title When Starting a Pet Blog
Once you have decided on your niche, you must think of a title that accurately reflects your niche. The title of your blog is so important because it contains keywords relating to your topic, making it possible for people to find it when they Google something. Plus, people are going to click on your blog when they see that the title is relevant to them.
Too many details and unnecessary words in your title can make someone lose interest rapidly. The average attention span of a person racing through a long list of websites on a Google search is about three seconds. This is not much time for someone to process an excessively wordy title. Short and sweet is the name of the game. Consider these two examples: “rorysblogaboutturtlesandotherthings.com” versus “rorysturtlesandmore.com.” Which one of these titles would you be more inclined to click on?
Remember, pet people love their pets. They want to read blogs that use fun, affectionate, enthusiastic language to reflect that love. Calling dogs “doggies”—or my favorite, “doggos”—is one way to express the fondness you share with your readers and for the canine species.
Of course, you may not want to use silly or fun words in a blog about a more serious topic. My pet grief support blog addresses a topic that carries deep gravity. I wouldn’t want to make light of it, so my title uses serious words that relate directly to my topic.
It all boils down to the niche you are filling when starting a pet blog.
The Cruciality of SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, can be the bane of any new blogger’s existence because it calls for using a lot of the same words, which can feel tedious. But in time, you will realize how essential it is to ranking higher in searches. The more keywords you use for your different articles and the more often you use them within each article, the more likely a search engine will pull up your page to the front when someone searches for a specific thing.
You want to be on that first page!
The secret to getting to the top of all of those sites involves inputting the keywords someone is likely to enter in the search bar into your blog. Therefore, you must determine a set of keywords that relate to your blog and your content.
You must do this for your…home page, your title, and each post that you create. Come up with as many as you can to fit into the most possible searches.
You want to optimize your page to respond to common layman’s requests, not just the technical name. Otherwise, fewer people will discover your post on rock heaters. Therefore, do some keyword research and find out what trending keywords are. Great tools for this include Google Keyword Planner, Wordtracker, and Ubersuggest.
Research your competitors
Search for keywords and visit the blogs that pop up on top. How are they different from your blog? Take note of the keywords they use, the way they structure their sites, and the way they use keywords in titles. Visit their social media pages to glean some clues about how they market themselves and how consumers respond. While you don’t want to copy anybody, you can certainly learn a few tips from the pros who already rank highly on search engines.
Don’t forget to use your keywords on your social media posts. That helps them rank higher in searches, while also communicating what your blog post is about to users. Using them as relevant hashtags can help you accomplish higher rankings on social media, as well. If you are posting ads, be sure to use keywords in them, as well.
SEO is a huge topic, and I can’t cover it all in this article. Check our my book, Pet Blogging 101: How to Start a Riveting Pet Blog and Gain Loyal Followers to learn more.
To stay relevant, you must post regularly. Every day may be a bit much to ask of any busy person, but set a schedule for weekly posts. Having a certain day that you publish a new post can appeal to people, since they know when to visit your blog for new content. You will also find that posting on a certain day allows you to automate emails to people who have signed up for your blog’s email list, notifying readers of new content when you post it.
Dare to Be Different
I cannot stress it enough: The real key to getting followers is appealing to them. And the only way to appeal to people is to have your blog with your own unique spin on your theme.
There are other people in your niche; how do you stand out from them and get people to follow you? The answer is being bold and offering readers something different from what they can get from competitors. You may even have an idea that allows you to create your own niche that no one has done before; it may not trend, but it is worthwhile to take a risk and try anyway.
Do something bold and memorable. A certain adorable story, a powerful backstory in your “About Me” section, an article with some rare information or impactful points that you don’t see in your competitors’ posts: these are all viable ways to win and maintain loyalty amongst your followers. Even just a really creative title will make you stand out from the competition.
Be sure to stay true to yourself and you will stand out from competitors regardless, simply because every blogger is different.
Wrap-Up for Starting a Pet Blog
- You have learned about picking a niche. Your blog needs a definitive purpose. Draw from your inspiration and look to the changes you want to make in the pet world. Don’t pigeonhole yourself with a topic that is too narrow, but don’t pick something so broad that your readers won’t know what your blog is about.
- You have learned how to tie up your purpose in a title that expresses what your blog is about. Your title says who you are. Pick a short and concise one that sums your purpose up neatly. A course in copywriting can be helpful.
- Consider this a brief introduction to SEO for your site. Do some research on keywords using handy keyword tools so that you rank higher in searches. That will drive more traffic to your blog. You don’t want to be hiding on some back page of a Google search; your goal is to appear on the first page when your readers search for relevant keywords.
- Posting regularly is key. Don’t let your blog fall to the wayside. If you are going to be gone for a while, let your readers know.
- Finally, find your unique voice. Stand out from the crowd. The only way to attract a readership is to offer them something the competition doesn’t. You might fret that you have nothing to offer, but you do with your ideas. No one else has the same ideas as you.
In the meantime check out my book to guide you when starting a pet blog
Pet Blogging 101: How to Start a Riveting Pet Blog and Gain Loyal Followers
Wendy Van de Poll is a twelve-time best-selling author on Amazon.com. The genre’s she writes in are pet entrepreneurship, pet loss, children’s picture books, human-animal bond, and cozy mysteries. Her books are located on Amazon.com and you can also visit her at CenterforPetLossGrief.com if you are looking for support during this special time.