What is the best way to approach writing about pets? And how do you choose the subject for your first blog?
We give you some tips on choosing what to blog about.
Perhaps you have just brought home a new kitten and are wondering whether to record his journey from kitten to grown up cat?
Or you are about to hike across North America with your dog and are tempted to blog about your experiences?
Maybe you’ve just started feeding your dog on raw food – and want to share what you are learning with others? Or maybe you are crazy about ferrets. And think you could start a site about how great they are and reviewing all the cool stuff you can buy for them?
Pet blogger categories
People who blog about pet often fall into one or two of the following groups
- They start a blog to get traffic to their pet business website
- They start a blog to try and make money working from home
- They start a blog because they love writing about their pet
Whatever the reason you want to start a pet blog, there are three possible reasons that people will come in increasing numbers to your website.
And it is important to take these reasons into account before you begin pasting your life up for all to see. They are:
- To be entertained
- To be informed
- To be helped
You need to decide which one or more of these needs you aim to fulfill. This is easier for some of you than others
The pet business blogger
If you are blogging to get traffic for your business website, then in some ways, you have a head start.
You are already offering a service or product to the pet owner, and presumably have a lot of knowledge in that field.
There is your starting point. Write about what you know and about the service or product you are offering. If you are a dog trainer, write about dog training. Share your knowledge with your public.
Don’t be afraid to tell all!
But I don’t want to give away my knowledge!
People often worry that sharing their knowledge will remove the need for people to contact them.
This is not the case. Blogging about canine behavior will not decrease the demand for the services of a behaviorist.
On the contrary, it is most likely to increase it.
I have written best selling books and hundreds of articles on dog training. Yet I get emails nearly every day from people wanting me to take them on as clients.
If you have an online presence for a physical business, never be afraid to share what you know online.
While some people like to do everything themselves, many more will want hands on help from someone they trust.
Building trust is part of what business blogging is all about
The hope-to-be pro-blogger
There are plenty of people out there who dream of earning a living from home through blogging.
It has great appeal.
A couple of hours at the computer, hit the publish button, then out for a walk with the dog.
Then a quick check of social media after lunch (with a peak at the growing mountain of dollars in the bank) and the rest of the day off. Right?
We look at the reality in a bit more detail in another article, but I’m sure you realise it isn’t quite that simple!
There are some advantages though in setting out with the intention of making money. It means that you will probably be more careful about planning and choosing your topic.
It would be a shame to spend two years writing about your favorite (and very rare) breed of cat. Only to discover that no-one wants to read about it.
You will however, need to chose your topic with these three factors firmly in mind
- Potential traffic
- Potential competition
- Your knowledge and skill
If you want to earn money through blogging alone, rather than through promoting your business services or products, you’ll need to choose a topic that sufficient potential traffic to generate an income from advertising and/or affiliate sales.
Fitness and food are hugely popular categories.
Pets aren’t quite up there yet, but there is still a lot of potential traffic in some pet topics, provided that you can outrank the competition.
You’ll need a topic where there is not too much competition.
If the topic has been done to death, the chances of you ever reaching page one of the search results are non-existent.
You’ll need to pick a unique aspect of any large and well covered topics, to find your own space.
It is no good for example, trying to write on general pet care and health – that’s well covered by all the big pet veterinary sites.
You’ll need to pick a particular type of pet or a particular aspect of pet care in which to establish yourself. And this is also where your own knowledge comes in
Knowledge and skill
It is entirely possible, with a lot of experience in building and growing blogs, to start a new blog in an area where you have little or no expertise. And build up the level of traffic sufficiently to make money.
Usually through paying other writers to blog for you. But this is not a beginners game.
It’s very important for your first blog, and probably for several blogs thereafter, to write about what you know.
Even if you employ other writers at some point, to help you with specific aspects of your blog, you still need to know enough about the subject to know if they are any good. Or whether they are filling your blog with rubbish!
Remember also to keep in mind those three key reasons that people come to your blog. To be informed, to be entertained, or to be helped.
If you cannot provide any of those three alternatives for your reader, you are unlikely to see growth in your blog traffic or income.
Choosing what to blog about
To shortlist potential topics, sit down with a bit sheet of paper and just write down single words that come into your head in relation to your pet interests.
Don’t write a list, scatter the words across the page
This isn’t just about nouns. Don’t just write snakes, write: fast, dangerous, venoumous, equipment, collecting, history, temperature, breeding, feeding.
Cover the paper with words and you’ll find you start to get a feel for aspects of the topic that might make a great subject for a blog
Do this brainstorming exercise for several different topics until you have four or five that appeal to you.
Now head over to google trends and see if these are topics that people are losing interest in, or where interest is growing.
Then head over to Adwords and using their keyword tool find out how many people are searching for those topics and what the competition is like.
You are looking for a trending topic in an area that interests you, and where the competition isn’t too stiff. If the competition is high, you may need to focus on a smaller niche or topic area.
The personal blogger
For the most part, the personal blogger knows what they are going to write about.
But it is still important to consider why people come to a website, because there are a few traps that personal bloggers sometimes fall into. Including not sharing enough, and sometimes sharing too much.
It is important to note that people will not come to your website for these reasons
- To hear your personal opinions (unless they are funny, or you are well known, or an expert in your field)
- To hear about your personal experiences (unless they are helpful, very unusual, funny or you are well known)
- To help or support you (apart from your Dad or your best friend)
A few will come to inform, to be mean, or correct you, but not many
This doesn’t mean you can’t blog about your pets, about raising them or training them, or travelling with them.
But it does mean you have to bring a bit more to the table than just a written record of events.
If you are sharing a story about your pet, it need to either be entertaining. Or there should be something useful that the reader can take away from it.
This doesn’t matter of course, if you just want to keep a personal or family record, something to look back on later. But if like most bloggers you actually want to see people coming to read what you have written in increasing numbers, you are going to have to give a little more.
Putting yourself out there
We can’t just share an experience if we want a successful pet blog, we have to share what we learned or gained from it.
That kind of human touch to a personal blog can make you feel a little vulnerable at times. It means putting yourself out there.
It can also be hard to achieve a balance between not sharing enough, and sharing too much (which makes people feel uncomfortable). But if you can get this right, it makes all the difference between successful blogging and anonymity.
Is it worth trying to be a pet blogger?
To be able to make a living working from a laptop, anywhere in the world is a lifestyle that many can only dream of.
And yes, it does take more than a couple of blog posts or a few hours a week to earn enough to give up your day job. But doing that is certainly sufficient to get you started.
Blogging is also a very inexpensive hobby. Basic web hosting is cheap – just a few dollars a month. And who knows where it could lead you?
Ultimately, there is only one way to find out whether you have got what it takes to be a successful pet blogger, and that is to ‘have a go’.
My one take away tip from all this is to ‘write about what you know and love’.
That way your passion and enthusiasm for your topic will shine through and draw your readers in.
So, have you chosen your topic yet? Are you undecided?
Let us know what blogging category you fall into. Share what you have decided to blog about, using the comments box below. You can link to your pet blog if you wish