This week’s Pet Parade sees me exploring the questions of the Pet Bloggers Journey as set by Colby Morita. Where were we as a blog, where am I now as a blogger and a lot more.
When did you begin your blog and what do you currently write about on your blog?
Dash Kitten began in 2012 on Blogger before moving to WordPress where it documented the life of Dash Kitten in New Zealand.
Currently I inspire photographers to get better at photographing their cats (and other pets) and having fun while they learn to impress their friends and families, or show off their images on a blog.
Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2020, that made you most proud.
Winning awards at the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA). It’s always been a dream of mine since I joined my fellow cat creatives at the CWA.
I won the Kuykendall Image Award, which one of the Special Awards at the Cat Writers’ Association. It is assessed by an independent judge outside the CWA. I thought life couldn’t get any better that this, then I won a Muse® Medallion for my photograph ‘Dot Roars’. As Dot passed suddenly in 2020 I could not be more proud. The CWA is the world’s premiere cat-centric organisation for feline artist and writers of every kind and I am proud to be a professional member.
Which of your 2020 posts was most popular with your audience? Why do you think it does so well?
Like many photo software users I was baffled by the terms ‘dodge‘ and ‘burn‘ and their little icons which are a magnifying glass and a flame. What difference could these funny icons make to me?
Then I took the plunge and explored them myself and I had to tell my readers how absolutely amazing they can be, I was a total convert. My readers agree too. These two simple tools can transform your photographs with the gentlest of adjustments.
What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2020, and how did you tackle it?
Creating my first mini course for smartphone beginner movie makers. I had to learn about setting practical student goals, ordering course content, filming myself and presentation of materials for my chosen learner level and relating this all to any printables I might have.
By going through the process I learned how much content to include in a lesson, and how to get my idea across in simple terms. I also realised that to present my course confidently I need to have a ‘space’ set up where all my recording can be done more easily.
2021 will see if I can improve course presentation as much as I hope.
Tell us one thing you learned in 2020 that can help us all become better bloggers.
Stop being a slave to Google. Check your stats once a week and note which posts seems to be doing well. Help your blog by reading up some good non technical SEO posts. The Definitive Guide by Yoast is a great place to start. It’s for WordPress but the information is valid across all platforms.
Set aside time to read the article carefully and make a few notes. Then spend a short period each week researching keywords. Incorporate this into your blogging and keep going. SEO should not reduce you to tears – keep trying and keep going.
- Establishing a blog and getting SEO right takes time.
What are your top three goals for 2021?
- Grow my mailing list so that I can encourage people to enjoy pet photography from the very beginning. Linked to this if I can monetise my courses and skills THAT will be awesome.
- Grow my blog so it becomes a beginner friendly ‘go to’ resource for those who want to have fun using their cameras (DSLR, Compact and Smartphone). I want people to love taking pictures of their cats (and other pets) and be proud to post the photos online for people to go WOW! My first venture is launching posts linked to #52Assignments Instagram book.
- Expand and grow my skills using my Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer software. If I am confident showing others it means I have nourished my own learning and enjoyed my journey as much as my readers will enjoy theirs.
In the perfect world, where do you see yourself and your blog 1 year from now?
With a following of keen readers who love taking photos and who, with my help, are not scared of their cameras or photographic software. My beginner courses will be established on Thinkific and people will be out there taking pictures thank to my help through my free and paid courses. The interest of some camera sponsors, or software publishers would boost my giveaway potential too.
If you had a $1,000 to spend on your blog how would you spend it?
Sort out any technical issues my blog must have. I know there must be some but rectifying them takes qualified help which is expensive.
What is one skill you’d like to learn or improve in 2021?
Using my graphics tablet! I want to hone my design skills and the XP-Pen tablet will also be perfect for photo retouching. I can’t wait to get busy on my Affinity Photo retouching courses currently waiting in the wings.
If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
See the $1,000 question above. I want to make sure that technically my blog is doing well without it costing me a fortune. I can learn lots of things about my blog but the coding and technical side is challenging.