Whether you are looking for a new hobby that can pay for itself, a flexible side hustle, or to create a full-time income, blogging about your dog or cat may be the perfect option for you. To create a successful blog, you will need passion, persistence, and some computer skills. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have some solid advice to follow as you get started.
This blog post is intended for bloggers within their first 0-24 months of blogging. In this post, I will share all the resources that I have found during my first 3 years of blogging that helped me get to the point of earning my first dollar online.
*This post contains affiliate links. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But I promise that each affiliate link included in this post is for a product that I personally use and believe in.
For Bloggers Who Haven’t Set Up Their Website Yet
The first steps in earning money from blogging are to pick a topic, pick a domain name, and set up a website.
If you have some money to invest in a course about blogging, I highly recommend Income School’s Project 24. This course will take you through the first 60 steps of setting up your blog. The course starts with the basic step of choosing a topic. (For example, my main topic/niche is hiking and outdoor adventures with dogs).
The course then takes you through choosing a domain name (that’s the website address – so on this site the domain is PawsitivelyIntrepid.com), setting up your host, and installing WordPress. By step 7 you will be ready to learn about search engine optimization (SEO) and writing articles.
In addition to the 60 Steps for blogging, Project 24 also includes a 60 steps for YouTube course, along with numerous other shorter courses related to everything from email lists to placing ads on your website. And among the best features of membership in Project 24, is access to a weekly podcast and a community forum where you can discuss topics with fellow Project 24 members. It really is a great resource. Visit IncomeSchool.com to learn more. Or read more about my experience with Income School’s members by clicking the image link to my post below.
I am currently a member of Project 24, although I did not sign up for this course/community until after I had been blogging for about 10 months. I wrote my first post in May 2017 and joined Project 24 in March 2018. But even though I didn’t join Project 24 right away, the course has still offered me plenty of value.
Currently, I only have one blog post that ranks in my top 10 articles that was written before I joined Project 24. So I think it is safe to say that Project 24 has helped improve my SEO and blog writing skills.
If you aren’t ready to pay for a course and community to help you get started blogging, don’t worry. There are plenty of free resources to help you out.
For information on setting up your blog, just Google “how to start a blog” and you will find so many overview articles.
As I mentioned earlier, the first two items you will need to choose are your blog name and your hosting company. PawsitivelyIntrepid.com is hosted by Host Gator and I have been very happy with this hosting company so far. The portal is easy to use and the customer service is great!
I was curious how HostGator compared to another popular hosting company, Bluehost, so currently, I do host a second site on Bluehost. (Income School recommends starting with Bluehost). Honestly, both companies have been pretty comparable in my experience and both are cost-effective to get started (Host Gator can be as low as $2.75/month). I will likely transfer both sites to the same host eventually to keep things more cost-effective and plan to move to whichever hosting company is cheapest at that time since both have offered satisfactory service.
Both Host Gator and Blue Host make it super easy to install WordPress, which is the number one blogging platform and is recommended by most bloggers (including the above-mentioned Income School.)
After you install WordPress, you just need to pick a theme, and then you can get started writing. Professional themes can help your blog find success, but the theme is not as important as the content of your writing. Here on PawsitivelyIntrepid, I use a free theme, called Nisarg.
On Veterinary Talk (my second site), I use a theme called Acabado that comes complimentary with an active Project 24 membership. Acabado was developed to be a fast and responsive theme. I don’t have Veterinary Talk completely set up yet, but if you want to see what the basic theme looks like, this link will open in a new tab.
Getting Traffic to Your Blog
Now that you have picked a domain name and host for your website, it is time to start writing your first blog post. For many of us, it can be tempting to start by writing about what is most interesting to us, the writer. And honestly, this is kind of what I did. But your blog will be much more successful if you start with a little bit of what bloggers call “keyword research” to help you optimize your post for “search engine optimization (SEO)”
What is SEO? Basically, SEO means that you are optimizing your blog so that search engines can find and display your articles when people search for a related topic online. It is all about making sure that your articles show up on Google’s first page if someone searches for a phrase that relates to your blog topic.
In order to show up in the search results, especially for your first articles, you need to write about topics that people are searching for online. Opinion articles can be fun to write, but writing articles that answer questions people might search for online is key to getting organic traffic to our new site.
It is also helpful to pick topics that have less competition online, meaning that there aren’t a lot of good search results that answer the question you are answering in your blog post.
Income School’s YouTube channel has a great free Webinar all about using good SEO techniques.
You can also create social media accounts for your blog to help promote your site, but honestly, I have had much more traffic from Google and other organic traffic sources than I have received from social media, with the exception of Pinterest.
I don’t have a great Pinterest strategy yet, but I do make a pin for each post and right now Pinterest brings me about 20% of my traffic. For reference, over 75% of my traffic comes from Google and the remaining 5% is a combination of Bing, Facebook, and direct traffic.
Getting traffic to your blog can take time. Blogging is not a side hustle you should start if you want quick results. Project 24 aims to help people replace a full-time income in 24 months, but for most of us it will take longer than that. Especially if this is your first blog and you are not able to write multiple blog posts per week.
I personally, publish 1 blog post per week and it has taken me 2.5 years to reach the 5,000 page views/month mark. That being said, I also did not get serious about my SEO research until recently. And I am still writing about some topics just for fun.
Monetizing Your Blog
There are several ways to monetize a blog, but the big 3 are ads, affiliate marketing, and info products.
The more traffic your website receives, the better the ad company you can apply for. Generally, the two ad networks with the best rpm (revenue per 1,000 page views) are AdThrive and MediaVine.
Since those are big numbers, most new bloggers start with Google Adsense. This is the ad company that I am currently working with. With a small amount of traffic, ad earnings are also small, but at least you can begin earning something for all your hard work.
For example, last month, with 6.8K users and 7.8K sessions, I earned $15.41 from Adsense. Fifteen dollars isn’t much. But you can imagine how with more traffic, this can start to add up.
I have heard of people making $15+ dollars per thousand page views in the top-tier ad networks. So, for example, if you were obtaining 100,000 page views per month and qualified for AdThrive, you could make $1500+ per month just from ad revenue.
Some people worry that installing ads on their website will hurt the user experience and reduce traffic to your site. This hasn’t happened at all on this blog. In fact, my page views per month have been increasing steadily since installing ads.
The second main way that bloggers earn an income is through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is essentially where you promote a product on your blog and then earn a % of the profit when someone clicks your link and purchases the product.
I personally really enjoy testing out gear with my pups, so affiliate marketing is the perfect way to make gear reviews profitable. Just remember to always be ethical and honest when it comes to gear recommendations. Give real feedback about products and only recommend those that you truly find helpful.
Amazon has one of the biggest affiliate programs on the internet, as they sell just about anything. Current Amazon affiliate commissions for pet products are 3% (as of 8/2020). This is a relatively low commission rate, so you may also want to look into other affiliate programs, like ShareASale or AvantLink.
For example, I just recently joined AvantLink, since one of my favorite dog gear companies is Ruffwear. Ruffwear has an affiliate program through AvantLink that offers an 8-12% commission for sales through Ruffwear.com. This is significantly higher than the 3% commission for an affiliate sale on a Ruffwear product through Amazon.
So why choose to join Amazon if commission percents are so much lower? On Amazon, you receive a commission on everything someone purchases after clicking through with your affiliate link. And there are a lot of different products on Amazon. So in addition to earning 3% on that Ruffwear harness, I might also earn 3% on the dog waste bags or hiking shoes or shampoo that someone purchases at the same time.
Once I have more data about which affiliate program is performing better, I will share that information with my readers. But for now, I am just starting with AvantLink.
The third main way to make money blogging about dogs or cats is to create an info product. These are just products that people can purchase in order to get more information about a specific problem. These products are often digital, like an online course or an e-book. But they can also be physical products, like an actual book.
For example, Income School’s Project 24 is an example of a very successful course. This is an info product that has been very profitable for Income School, but the reason that it is so successful is all the effort the creators have put into this course in order to make it a great, helpful resource for those who purchase it.
For an example in the pet industry, Carol Bryant (of FidoseOfReality.com) and Maggie Marton (of MaggieMarton.com) wrote a wonderful informational product in the form of the book “Pet Blogging for Love and Money” (amazon link).
Your first info product probably won’t be as fancy as the two examples I have listed above, but once you have good traffic to your website to maximize ad revenue and you have figured out products you would like to promote through affiliate marketing, it is time to figure out an info product that is right for your blog/website.
Here at Pawsitively Intrepid, I still haven’t figured out what my first information product will be. But for now, I am focusing on increasing traffic and adding affiliate links to my product reviews. But maybe there will be an e-book in my future.
How Much Money Can You Make Blogging About Dogs and/or Cats?
The answer to this question is all dependent on you. But there are full-time pet bloggers out there, who make all of their income from blogging about dogs and/or cats.
One example is Jessica Williams (of You Did What With Your Weiner). She talks a little about her journey to full-time status on her second website Niche Blog Biz. Interested in how much she makes from blogging about her dachshunds? I know I was. Check out this post that details a few months of her income from 2018 and 2019. Her monthly totals range from ~$5700 to ~$10,900.
Now, I’ll be honest, most of the big-name bloggers who are making millions online aren’t in the pet industry. According to the Blogging Millionaire’s 2018 Blogging Income Report, if you are just in it for the money, pick food or personal finance.
But since most of you who will stumble upon this blog post are likely considering blogging for enjoyment as well as income possibilities, you, like me, may elect to choose a topic you love. I enjoy writing, but I don’t know if I could spend as many hours writing about food or personal finance as I can spend typing out posts about fantastic dog-friendly hiking locations.
Whether or not this blog ever makes $10,000+ per month, I truly enjoy writing about topics pertaining to hiking with dogs. And no time is wasted that is also enjoyed.
Additional Resources for Those Interested in Blogging and Pet Businesses
Like any new skill, blogging does take some effort to become good at. The following are my list of free resources that I utilize to continue to grow as a blogger.
Podcasts are my preferred way to get information these days. I can listen while I walk the dog, do housework, or commute to work.
Pet Blogging Facebook Groups
Some of these are private and will require that you have a blog to join. But being part of a community of pet bloggers can be a great resource (even if you are mostly a lurker like me).
- BlogPaws News and Boost Group
- Dog Blogger Society
- Pet Blogger Support Group
- Fear Free Blogging Community
Get Started Blogging Today
Whether you want to start a pet blog for a more flexible schedule or to spend more time at home with your furry companion, pet blogging can be an excellent source of extra income. But since it can take time to build up a good income, it is important to start now. Take the plunge!
Commit to a blog topic and domain name, pay for a host and install WordPress, then begin writing. The best thing you can do for your blog is to create lots of excellent content to help other pet parents provide the best life possible for their own dogs and cats.
If you have any questions about what blogging has been like for me or about any of the resources I have recommended above, leave me a comment below.