Written by Marjorie

Pet Bloggers Journey 2021

Pet Bloggers Journey 2021

This week’s post 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.

Photo Lab Double exposure filter of a cat

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.

Prize winning photograph of a tabby cat Dot Kitten
Dot Roars Muse® Medallion Winner © DashKitten.com

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

The Cat Writers' assocition Muse Medallion on a red and black background
CWA Muse® Medallion Awarded 2020 © DashKitten.com

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.

graphic for the Pet Blogger's Journey 2021

21 thoughts on “Pet Bloggers Journey 2021”

  1. Wow! You created a course? I’ve wanted to do this for years but I honestly don’t know what I’d teach people that isn’t already out there. Congratulations.

    I love your advice to stop being a slave to Google. Once I accepted that Google will do what Google does and returned my focus to enjoying my blog, things improved so much for me.

    Have a great 2021!!!

    Reply
  2. Goodness we have known each other a long time, haven’t we? I have enjoyed seeing your blog grow and evolve. I can totally relate to things on the tech side taking over. I hired a tech person and I know I can rest easy. I am in the process of switching over to a new theme, too, so that will help.

    Your blog looks fantastic and I love your focus, Marjorie. I will always cherish meeting you in person and all the kindness you’ve shown me and my family over the years.

    Reply
    • You are a world leader in the blogosphere, and I know your new blog look with fit you like a glove!

      Reply
  3. Congrats on all the awards! Looks like you had a great year.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I have learned so much from reading through all of them.

    Best wishes for the new year.

    Reply
  4. You really had a successful year in 2020 with your blog. You always have such great tips for taking photographs of cats

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  5. Congratulations on hanging in there and the achievements. Pet bloggers can be an invaluable asset to pet parents.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your experience in blogging! I love reading through your posts because they inspire me to improve my photography skills.

    The biggest challenge, in terms of blogging, is how many different hats we have to wear. Isn’t it? From photographer and writer to the technical side of website designer and more. While we all have our strengths, we aren’t masters of everything. For what it’s worth, your site looks super professional and functions beautifully for me! If you’re ever interested in really digging into the technical side more, I found that the Lyrical Host course Speed Boost helped me out a lot.

    Congratulations on your well-earned awards!

    Reply
  7. Thanks for sharing your blogging journey with us, you’ve accomplished so much! I love that you are always happy to share your knowledge with the broader community.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  8. Once again congratulations on your awards, you are amazing and your photography always wows me and you sharing your knowledge with others is so appreciated. May 2021 be everything you wish for, thank you

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  9. Congratulations on your Cwa awards! I enjoyed reading about your experience. Thank you for bringing SEO to my attention. I will be looking more into that. Have a great blogging year 2021!

    Candice~Marie

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  10. You’ve created such a fabulous niche with your photography posts! I learn something new every time I visit.

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  11. Great post. I actually have incorporated some of your photo tips, especially those using a smartphone cause the best camera to use is the one you have with you. Congrats on the CWA awards. You certainly deserve them. Me and my kitties hope all your blogging goals come true for 2021. Many purrs.

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  12. Great post! We have loved what you have been doing with your photography! My son got a new Mac and has installed the Affinity Products. I have them on my PC, but I think I am only going to purchase Designer. I am also trying to reteach myself how to build websites correctly, but I get sidetracked with writing the blog and household chores and doing some art. I can’t wait to see where you go next! Have a marvellously Happy Day!

    Reply
  13. Congratulations on the CWA Awards! That’s awesome! I haven’t entered my blog into any of the DWA contests, but I should.

    The one technical thing I’d recommend is you check your Google Analytics to see how many readers are coming to your blog via mobile vs desktop. If your blog is anything like mine that a lot of your readership is mobile. If you do have mostly mobile visitors make sure your posts and blog always look and perform great on your phone. I’m always on my desktop so I often forget to make adjustments for mobile users.

    Thanks for participating again this year. I hope you have a great and successful 2021.

    Reply
  14. Very interesting to know the history of your blog Marjorie as I am new here. Congrats again on the well-deserved awards. And thank you for the many good tips.

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  15. Its great to be on a journey and to have goals and to see progress from previous goals and desires for your wonderful blog.

    I just blog for the fun of it, kind of like a journal/diary, so my goals are minuscule…the biggest being to find more time! LOL!

    Reply
  16. Wow! Congrats on your CWA Muse® Medallion Awarded 2020! That is fantastic! I do agree with you to take a step back and work on your SEO in stages to avoid being overwhelmed by the tasks. Once properly set up you really only need to check in once a week on things.
    As for your question: If you like to learn I would suggest doing a Google Analytics Course. It is free to do the exam as well. It makes the techy things less scary. I think you have some amazing goals this year! I know I would use some of those photography tips! And will definitely share your links to the cat lovers I know.
    Thank you for sharing your journey! I cannot wait to see where this year will bring you! Wishing you health and prosperity this coming new year!

    Reply
  17. We loved reading about your blogging journey, Marjorie. It is truly a pleasure to watch your growth over the years!

    Reply
  18. Those were good answers. We remember when you started and you’ve sure continued to get better each and every year!

    Reply

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