Welcome to the twenties! We hope this new decade is one of growth and positive changes for each of our readers. As is becoming our tradition, our first post of the new year is one that reflects on the past year (2019) and sets goals for the next 12 months.
This year has been slightly less momentous than last year. You may remember that last year we took a 3-month road trip to 36 United States national parks and moved from La Crosse, WI to the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. This year, we are still in the Twin Cities and had to settle for shorter road trips since I worked full-time this year.
That being said, we did make it to 3 additional national parks (Cuyahoga Valley, Shenandoah, and Indiana Dunes). We also discovered several new to us Minnesota State Parks. Our favorite Minnesota State Parks so far are Banning State Park and the spectacular state parks on Minnesota’s North Shore.
While the north shore state parks are part of Minnesota’s highlights, this area of Minnesota is also home to some great backpacking opportunities. As part of our north shore adventures, Glia and I spent our first overnight on the Superior Hiking Trail. We can’t wait to explore more of this fantastic backpacking trail.
All of those adventures, plus some new hiking gear acquisitions, have given me plenty to blog about. This blog is currently a hobby blog, but I am always fascinated by how blogs can be turned into businesses. I enjoy reading other blogs growth reports, so I will continue to share our statistics once a year here. (Here is a link to our first and second-year blog reviews).
So for those of our readers who are curious about the “business” side of this blog, keep reading. If blog statistics aren’t your thing, then happy New Year! Come back next week for more blog posts on dog gear reviews, hiking trails, and dog-friendly national park adventures.
I am still adding new blog posts at a rate of approximately one post per week. New posts are added on Wednesdays.
This blog is currently hosted by HostGator and is a WordPress site. I am still using a free theme and the only money I have invested in this blog (besides hosting and domain name) is for one online blogging course: Income School.
Number of users and page views
So without further ado, here are some numbers. From January 1st, 2019 to December 22, 2019, 5,421 users have been to this site with 15.4% of them returning. These users have generated over 8,650 page views in about 6,400 sessions.
These numbers are still very low compared to blogs that are businesses and making income. So just like in years past, I will compare my numbers to my previous years for some perspective on how far this blog has come (even if it is slow progress).
|Annual # of Users
|Annual # of Page Views
|Annual # of Sessions
That’s an over 300% increase in the number of users, an approximately 250% increase in page views, and a 290% increase in the annual number of sessions between 2018 and 2019. So while small, this still feels like steady growth.
Last year, we also compared our average users and page views/month for the year. Here is that same comparison with 2019 added.
|Page Views/Month (avg)
As you can see, each year is steadily trending upwards. Our goal is to keep that trend continuing into the future.
At the beginning of 2019, we had set a goal to have 1000 users/month by December 2019. We kind of achieved this goal, in that we had 1,112 users visit PawsitivelyIntrepid.com in July 2019. But since our blog is a little seasonal (most people hike with their dogs in the summer), our traffic has dropped back down to around 500 users/month in December.
Hopefully, next year’s average users/month will be over 1,000. We are setting a goal to have at least one month with over 5,000 users, so if we meet that goal we should have a pretty good users/month average.
Most Popular Posts
Our top 5 most popular posts this year (with original posting dates in parenthesis) were the following:
|The Ruffwear Webmaster vs. Front Range Harness Debate
|March 20, 2019
|7 Creative Ways to Deal with Your Dog’s Poop while Hiking
|May 8, 2019
|7 Great Dog-Friendly Hiking Locations in the Twin Cities East Metro
|January 18, 2019
|The Beginners Guide to Veterinary Clinic Job Shadowing
|July 20, 2017
|5 Best Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in La Crosse, WI
|May 31, 2017
Apparently, 2018 wasn’t my best year for blog post creation, as all of my top five posts were written in either 2017 or 2019. Of this year’s top 5, only one was in the top five in 2018. The post “5 Best Dog-Friendly Hiking trails in La Crosse, WI” was my number one post in 2018. It had 190 views last year. So while this post is actually being viewed more, other posts have just become more popular.
Interestingly, one of our older posts “The Beginners Guide to Veterinary Clinic Job Shadowing” is beginning to get more traffic. We are no longer posting veterinary related blog posts to this site (doesn’t fit the focused niche – which is outdoor adventures with dogs), but I am starting a second blog site that will focus on veterinary-related topics. Specifically, the original posts all relate to advice for aspiring veterinarians. Once this site is up and running, we will let everyone know about it.
Most Popular National Park Posts
Since a big focus of this blog has been dog-friendly national park adventures, last year we also shared with you our top 3 national park posts. They were as follows:
Petrified National Park (8/8/2018) – with 28 views and an overall rank of the 10th most popular post
Hot Springs National Park (5/6/2018) – with 25 views and an overall rank of the 13th most popular post
Guadalupe Mountains National Park (7/12/2018) – with 21 views and an overall rank of the 19th most popular post
This year, 3 different national park posts made the top three most viewed national park adventure posts. Here are the top 3, with the number of views they received throughout the year. We also included how they rank overall among all the post types. (There are 112 blog posts across the different categories on PawsitivelyIntrepid.com)
(out of 112)
|Crater Lake National Park
|May 22, 2019
|Redwood National Park
|May 1, 2019
|Big Bend National Park
|July 3, 2018
We still have 7 national parks in the contiguous US to visit, so expect a few more national park blog posts to show up on this blog through this year.
You can still find us on social media
I’ll be honest, social media has not been my focus this year. But if you are interested in following us, we are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Facebook: On this platform, we post links to our latest posts. We also share more photos and information about our dog-friendly road trips to the United State’s national parks. Our follower count is slowly growing – we have 111 followers now (last year we only had 50).
Twitter: Our twitter account is a mix of links to our blog posts and Instagram photos, as well as shares from other dog-friendly adventure accounts. On Twitter, we now have over 345 followers (last year we had 280).
Instagram: If you enjoy amateur outdoor dog photography, find us on Instagram. Here we post our favorite photos, both from our national park road trips and our everyday hikes. We currently have 340 followers (last year we had 270) and are always happy to have more. We also really enjoy following other adventurous dogs, so if you have an Instagram account for your adventure pup, leave us your handle in the comments section below.
Pinterest: We officially started pinning our blog posts to Pinterest this year. In addition to our own posts, we also share other pins in categories like visiting national parks with pets, hiking with dogs, traveling with dogs, and more. If you like our content, please follow us on Pinterest.
Our Goals for 2019
If you have read our 2019 New Year’s post, you know that we set the following goals last year. So how did we do?
Goals for 2019:
Learn how to utilize Pinterest. Many bloggers report Pinterest being their second biggest source of traffic (after searches on google).
Increase traffic. We have set a goal of reaching 1000 site visitors a month by December 2019. Right now we receive between 200 and 300 visitors a month.
And of course we are always aiming to deliver great content that provides values to our blog readers.
Well, we have a Pinterest account, but only 33 followers and approximately 2100 monthly viewers. Overall, there is room for improvement. I have yet to start implementing a true strategy for getting traffic from Pinterest. So this goal was only partially accomplished.
Well, we kind of achieved this goal. In July, we had 1000 site visitors (users) and our average page views for the year were 720/month.
Unfortunately, at the end of the year, we are back to only about 500 users/month. So there is definitely room for improvement.
As stated above, I have been listening to Income School and going through their online this course. Right now the biggest thing we need to improve is our topic selection. I have mostly been writing about what I want to write about. In order to truly get more organic traffic, I need to start writing about what people are searching for.
So with a little more topic research and the implementation of some of the other Income School suggestions/recommendations, hopefully, we can start getting some hockey stick growth in the traffic department.
We hope our blog posts have provided useful information throughout the year. We have mostly posted about visiting national parks with dogs, local hiking trails, and gear reviews this year.
Our gear reviews are currently among our top performing blog posts, so expect to see more gear reviews in the future. Currently, we are working on reviews about the Hurrta Body Warmer, the Tuffmutt Hands-Free Leash, and the Ruffwear Flat Out Leash.
Our national parks posts are not receiving quite as many views, but we only have 7 more national parks to visit before we have made it to all of the national parks in the contiguous United States. So expect to see a couple more posts about visiting national parks with dogs.
This upcoming year, we will also be starting a blog post series about hiking with a reactive dog. So for those of you working to live an active life with a reactive dog, stay tuned. And if you have reactive-dog topics that you are most interested in reading about, let us know below.
Are there other topics that you have been wanting us to write about? Let us know in the comments section below.
Since the new year is all about setting goals, here are our 3 blog related goals for 2019:
Set Up an Email List
We had a small email list as part of this blog orginally, but due to some plug-in failures, we no longer have an email subscription option on this blog. So one of our 2020 goals is to set up an email list and offer useful emails to our users.
This seems like it may always be one of our goals. But the new goal for 2020 is to have an average of 1000 users/month at the end of 2020. Additionally, we will aim to have at least one month (probably a summer month) with over 5000 users/month.
Monetize this Blog
We hope that 2020 will be the year that this blog gets monetized. Even if we only make our first $5 (or as Income School says – get to pizza day), we hope to be at a place where this blog starts to pay for some of its own hosting costs by the end of 2020.
Happy New Year!
We hope you all have a great new year. What goals are you setting for yourself and your pup this year? Let us know in the comments section below.