One of the best strategies for growing a profitable niche site is to be passionate about the topic you’re writing about.
If you’re a pet lover and would love to know how to monetize your favorite subject then pet blogging could be just the thing for you.
The pet niche is, and has always been, a very lucrative industry. Pet owners are as passionate about pets as they are other members of their family (sometimes more!) and why wouldn’t they be?
Ever since we got our little fluff ball of a dog I’ve been smitten!
In 2021 Americans spent over $100 billion on their pets, in the EU over $21 billion and in Australia over $30 billion. That is a huge market for your little pet blog to earn a slice of!
What is Pet Blogging?
It’s pretty much what it says on the tin, a blog about pets. However, rather than just taking cute pics and writing about the daily activities of Max the wonder dog, your goal is to approach it as a business and ensure you can make money from it.
This means niching down and creating a website about a specific area of the pet industry, writing topics that people are searching for, and creating streams of income that generate a return every time you publish a new piece of content! Though you may have to get inventive when thinking of a new domain as cats.com is already taken!
9 Ways to Make Money Pet Blogging
Before we get into the nitty gritty of starting and growing your pet blogging site, let’s have a look at all the ways you’ll be able to monetize it.
With such a huge market your opportunities for monetization are only limited by your imagination, but let’s start with 9 strategies to make money with your pet blog in 2023;
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways to monetize any blog, but works particularly well in the pet blogging niche.
Affiliate marketing is basically reviewing specific pet products or services that are relevant to your audience and creating an affiliate link to the item you’re reviewing. When your readers click on the link and make a purchase, you earn a commission from the merchant.
For example, let’s say you run a blog about dog grooming. You could review different dog shampoos and link to them through an affiliate program, such as Chewy or Amazon. Every time someone buys a shampoo through your link, you earn a commission.
It’s important to note that not all affiliate programsn pay the same commissio rate. You may want to research different programs and find one that offers a higher payout. Additionally, it’s crucial to carefully select and review products that are truly relevant to your blog’s content and audience. This will help ensure that your readers trust your recommendations and are more likely to make a purchase through your affiliate link.
2. Display Advertising
Display advertising is the next most common monetization method for niche sites.
Monetizing your blog through display advertising involves placing ads on your website in exchange for payment.
Ad networks such as Ezoic, Mediavine, and Adthrive make this process easy by acting as the intermediary between you, the publisher, and the advertiser. By utilizing their services, they handle all ad placements and take a percentage of the revenue (typically between 10-25%) while paying you the rest.
Ad revenues can range from $5 to $50 per 1000 users, depending on the location and quality of your website’s visitors.
My recommendation is to start using a network like Ezoic once your site reaches 10,000 monthly views (the minimum requirement for their services). If you want to start earning revenue sooner, you can also consider using Google Adsense.
The key is to start earning money as soon as possible to stay motivated in growing your site, so don’t hesitate to add ads.
3. Sponsored Reviews
As your pet blog grows, there will be lots of pet brands that will be willing to pay you to review their products or services.
In fact, when my husband and I were running our our Amazon business, we often approached popular bloggers and YouTubers to ask them to review our products in order to drive more traffic to our product listings.
Some agreed to do so for free, some requested a flat fee, and others wanted a unique affiliate code to accompany their review.
Sponsored reviews or articles can be a great way to monetize your pet blog, but it’s crucial to always be transparent with your readers. If you recommend a product that’s bad quality, it can damage your credibility and result in a loss of readership.
My advice is to only work with brands and products that you already use or admire, this way you can ensure that you’re only reviewing high-quality items that align with your audience’s interests.
4. Digital Products
Selling digital products such as e-books, courses, or PDFs can be a creative way to increase income from your pet blog.
For example, if you have built up a loyal audience of readers who enjoy reading your pet product reviews, they may also be interested in an e-book that you’ve written about the top 10 pet products for different needs, such as training, grooming, or health.
Additionally, you could record a video or audio course on a specific aspect of pet care and sell it on your website. By thinking creatively and offering valuable content that aligns with your readers’ interests, you can monetize your pet blog via digital products and earn additional income.
5. Selling Services/Coaching
On my journey to building my business and travel niche site, I’ve come across many site publishers who who suggest offering coaching packages on your site in the early stages, until you’ve generated enough income from more passive means.
This can be a great strategy, but if you enjoy the coaching business model, what not continue or add it later and earn more money?
For example, if you have a pet blog that focuses on reviewing different pet products, you could offer one-on-one coaching services to help your readers navigate the best products for their pets.
Similarly, if your blog focuses on pet nutrition, you could offer nutritional coaching services, or if you focus on dog training, training services, and so on.
The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination.
6. Membership Programs
Membership programs are a great way to monetize your pet blog and build strong relationships with pet product/service providers.
For example, you could create a membership program for exclusive reviews, interviews with pet experts, product discounts, a pet club, etc.
You can create different tiers of membership that offer a variety of exclusive content, discounts on your digital products, services, coaching, and more.
You can go as far as your creativity allows and the needs of your audience will let you.
7. Physical Products
I have a mammoth post on how to start your own ecommerce site, which you can read if the world of selling physical products interests you.
The benefit of having a large audience on your pet blog is that you have a steady stream of traffic to advertise pet products and services to.
Starting an e-commerce site from scratch can be difficult, as it requires building an audience from the ground up. However, with a pet blog, you already have an engaged audience that is interested in the niche.
Imagine having 100k visitors a month already consuming your content. You could create and sell physical products that would add value to your audience and increase your monthly income.
For example, you could create and sell pet journals, pet grooming products, pet accessories, or pet-related merchandise. Once you have an audience, you can get feedback on what your readers need and create and sell valuable physical products that align with their interests.
It’s a win-win situation for both you and your audience.
8. Become an Influencer
Adding YouTube videos is one of the quickest ways to grow your pet blog.
It works in several ways. Firstly, it keeps people on your post longer as they watch the video. Google favors this as it signals that users have found what they are looking for on your site.
Secondly, YouTube is a ‘sticky’ search engine, meaning that videos you upload to YouTube can rank for months, even years, provided you’ve used the right keywords and the content is useful and valuable, (unlike Instagram or TikTok where content is viewed and disappears in seconds).
Thirdly, having a video that you or your team has created can prove unique authorship and show Google that you, rather than an anonymous AI engine, created the content with love!
By creating valuable and popular YouTube videos, you can also increase your income by becoming an influencer. If people are watching your videos discussing pet products and services, and by default, you are sharing your own views and opinions, over time, viewers will come to trust your judgment and listen to what you have to say.
As an influencer, you can open a personalized Amazon storefront, get approached by brands, get asked to speak on stages, be interviewed on podcasts and monetize your reach in various ways you haven’t even thought of yet!
9. Grow Your Own Pet Business
If you already have an existing pet business, such as a dog training service, dog grooming, pet care, pet sitting, etc, you can use your pet blog to advertise your services.
Add your business to Google Business Profile (GBP), so people can find you easily, and encourage current customers to leave you a positive review.
Create lots of relevant content around your business niche and be sure to add your location in your keywords, so potential customers who live close by can find you in a localized google search.
Add reviews and testimonials to your pet blog to increase your credibility and trustworthiness, and make it easy for people to book your services online (a huge mistake I see so many businesses making). If you make it hard to buy, you’re leaving money on the table.
So you see, starting a pet blogging site can be as small or as big as you want it to be. You can spend your days writing about a subject you love and monetize via display ads and affiliate marketing, or you can grow your site into a fully fledged ecommerce, education or coaching business.
No matter what road you choose to take, with time, effort and creativity, it’s an incredibly lucrative business!
“My name is Michelle, and I am a therapy dog trainer and the head writer at Good Dog Swag. I started my pet blog from scratch with no prior experience in blogging or the pet industry. I simply had a passion for animals and a desire to help pet owners by sharing my knowledge and experiences. It was a slow start – I spent countless hours researching, writing, and promoting my blog, and it was several months before I saw any real traction.
Within a year, my pet blog was starting to gain traction, and I was starting to see some income from advertising and sponsored content. Today, my pet blog has grown into a thriving community of pet lovers, and I’ve been able to turn my passion into a full-time job. In the past twelve months, I’ve generated a significant amount of revenue from advertising, sponsored content, and product reviews. It’s been an incredible journey, and I’m grateful for every moment of it.
Starting a pet blog was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only have I been able to share my love of animals with the world, but I’ve also been able to turn my passion into a career. I hope my story inspires others to follow their dreams and turn their passions into reality. Whether you’re a pet lover, a foodie, or a traveler, there’s never been a better time to start a blog and share your knowledge and experiences with the world.”— Michelle, Good Dog Swag
So, without any delay let’s get started shall we?
Here’s how to create and start your pet blogging site, today!
8 Steps to Start a Pet Blogging Site Today!
1. Choose Your Pet Blogging Niche
When I first got into the niche site publishing business, I used to believe that the most crucial element of choosing a niche was to pick something that you are passionate about.
While I still believe that passion is important, as it’s difficult to immerse yourself in a niche that you have no interest in for an extended period of time, it is not the only important factor to consider.
To be successful in niche site publishing, it’s essential to have a combination of three vital components:
- Passion (or at least an interest or experience),
Your niche should be something you have a passion for or interest in, it should be a popular topic that many people are searching for information about, and it should be monetizable, meaning that it has the potential to generate income.
Without all three of these components, you’re making it unnecessarily harder for yourself to make it work.
I’m sticking by my theory that you need to pick something that you’re interested in, even if it’s not your ‘passion’.
For example I love business and travel, but even so, this lifestyle blog game can get monotonous.
If you’re not writing, you’re still doing other tasks such as researching, outlining, editing, etc. And if you’re doing that daily in a niche you have no interest in, you’re likely to burn out quickly.
If your interests lie in extremely obscure topics such as ‘exotic pet millipede breeding’, you may face a bit of a challenge with demand for your topic.
While there might be others looking for information on this topic, are there enough searches that you can drive hundreds of thousands of visits a month?
My keyword research tool says no chance.
When considering your pet blogging niche, you’ll need to make sure there are enough people searching for the information your blog will provide.
You can use any keyword research tool to help you with this such as ahrefs, semrush, google planner or even google trends.
Simply type in your main keyword and see what pops up.
As you can see here German Shepherd dogs are more popular than Labradoodle’s.
However, if you wanted to specialize in the Labradoodle niche, there is still plenty of traffic to go after!
And it’s a significantly easier niche to rank for compared with German Shepherds (look at keyword difficulty stat – 28 compared to 62, I’ll explain exactly what that means shortly.)
Clearly these are generalized terms and you may need to niche down even further (such as training or healthcare for German Shepherd puppies), but they give an indication as to the demand of your potential niche.
The bigger the demand, the more traffic you can potentially attract.
NB: Watch out for extremely difficult niches that as a new/small pet blogger you may not be able to compete in.
If your potential niche is dominated by huge brands with massive budgets and a stronghold in your niche, you won’t be able to compete.
If using a keyword research tool such as ahrefs or semrush, simply look at the keyword difficulty to help you assess the competition. If in google, just look at the types of sites dominating your main keywords.
If it’s red it’s bad. If it’s green it’s good (kind of – I’ll go into this in more detail in the section about keyword research).
Quite simply – can you make money from your niche?
Firstly, just use common sense! Are there already people buying solutions within your niche?
For most popular pet niches you know there are.
Secondly, have a quick look at the keyword tool you’re using. Does it give an indication of the value of the keyword?
The cost per click (CPC) is a great indicator of profitability for a keyword. The higher the CPC, the more profitable the keyword, as it means that other brands and sites are paying for ads for that keyword.
A quick google search will also reveal if there are advertisers at the top of the search engine results page; another indication of the profitability of a keyword.
Action Steps for Choosing Your Niche
- Brainstorm a list of potential passions and interests: What areas of the pet niche are you most interested in? What can you talk about easily? What do you enjoy talking about? What would you love to learn more about?
- Do some keyword research: Once you have a list of potential topics, start your research. Is it a popular topic? Is it dominated by massive brands with massive budgets that you have no hope of competing against? Are there opportunities for you to sneak in there and grab some of the market?
- Research profitability: Can you monetize this niche? Are there some decent CPC’s? Is there scope for lots of traffic and therefore lots of display ads? Are there affiliate programs in this niche? Can you create courses or sell books, or create a shop and sell related products or merchandise?
- Consider the long-term appeal: Is the niche a passing phase or trend, or does it have sufficient long term appeal to make your efforts worthwhile? Can you see yourself doing this in 5 years from now?
- Examine the competition: What are other pet blogs in this niche writing about? What seems to be popular posts? How many competitors are there? Are they big, small, independent, corporates etc. The more, smaller solo brand style pet blogs there are, the more chance you have of competing.
“My children’s fascination with a pet frog piqued our interest in pet blogging. We began researching various “abnormal” pets and felt compelled to document and share our findings and experiences with others. In 2019, we finally launched our own website dedicated to the pets we adored.
Our first dollar came from an affiliate commission on our pet blog after about 3 months. That site grew from nothing to $8,000 per month that year, eventually settling at around $7,000 on a 12-month basis. We recently sold it for $300,000.
We recently began another project in December 2022: Betta Fish Bay, a pet site where we educate people on keeping and caring for betta fish so they live their best lives. For this project, we’ve assembled a talented team of researchers, qualified vets, and vet techs to assist us in putting together the best fact-based information on betta fish available online.”— Wesley Oaks, Betta Fish Bay
2. Pick a Name & Register Your Domain
To create your pet blogging site, you’ll first need a name and a domain. Your domain name, otherwise known as a URL, is your space on the web. It’s your website address, and every time someone types your URL into a browser, your website will pop up!
To help find a name for your brand, you can use a free online name generators like namelix.com to get some ideas.
Don’t get too caught up here. While you may think the name of your site is the be all and end all, your content and brand presence is what will build your brand, not your name. However, the shorter and easier to remember, the better.
Once you have some name ideas, use a domain name service such as godaddy.com, to check availability and purchase your domain or if you choose Bluehost for hosting, you can get a free domain with their package.
3. Get Your Blog Online! (Pick a hosting package)
The next step on your awesome journey towards starting your money making pet blogging site is to get yourself some hosting!
What is hosting?
Hosting is what enables your blog to be visible on the world wide web. A web host is a service provider that provides all the necessary technology to ensure that when a visitor enters your domain name into the browser’s address bar, your website shows up.
There are literally hundreds of web hosts to choose from, and deciding on the right one for your business is a bit like navigating a minefield.
However, I have only two recommendations. If you want a super cheap option to get started, plus a free domain name choose Bluehost, recommended by WordPress itself. If you want speed, reliability and excellent customer support, choose WPX Hosting, my hosting company of choice.
Choosing a Web Host
The most important considerations when choosing a web host are;
- Speed. Your site’s speed is an important ranking factor in google’s eyes and your web host goes a long way to contributing to that. But we don’t want a speedy website just for google; we live in a highly impatient and distracted world. If your website doesn’t load instantly, you’ll have lower page views, conversions, and sales.
- Support. An extremely knowledgeable tech person may disagree that this should be No 2, but if you’re a layman like me and your specialty isn’t in programming and web tech issues, then a reliable support team makes all the difference! I walked away from a hosting company because their ‘world-class support’ had become extremely sub-par.
- Price. Again we should probably list some of the tech specs as a higher priority. Still, if you’re a solopreneur without a huge budget, then the price will be a critical consideration for you.
- Tech specs and other features. If the hosting company is super speedy, has amazing support reviews, and fits within your budget, the next things to consider are; whether it provides email services, free backups, an SSL certificate (an absolute must to get ranked on google), a staging area, CDN included and lots of other fancy acronyms. Most of which I have no clue what they mean but are likely to be included as standard with most services these days.
You can read my detailed comparison of WPX vs Bluehost here.
4. Install WordPress / Design Your Blog
Depending on which host you go with, installing WordPress is as easy as securing your domain, setting your hosting up, and then following their on-screen instructions to install WordPress.
How to install wordpress in 3 clicks with WPX Hosting
How to install wordpress in 4 clicks with Bluehost
If you have an existing WordPress site you want to migrate, WPX will do that for you for free! You just complete a form with all your login and current host details and they email you as soon as it’s transferred over, with zero downtime by the way!
Once installed, you’ll be asked to log in to your WordPress dashboard, which will look something like this;
From here you can click on ‘Appearance’ and ‘Themes’ to start to customize your site.
Keep it super simple. Go with a basic, clean design to get you off the ground and focus on content! The entire point of a blog is to fill it with valuable and relevant content, so make that the priority, not months of design work!
Your next step is to choose a theme, and the good news is that WordPress has thousands of ready-made beautiful looking FREE themes!
Just click on ‘add new theme’ and they’ll start to populate.
Another option is to use a nice light page builder like WP Astra who include hundreds of themes you can quickly and easily install and customize. They even have specific pet blogging themes;
WPAstra also have plenty of tutorial videos walking you through how to add your site name, logo, change colors, add images, create menus, customize settings, and everything you’ll need to do to get your blog ready to go live.
NB: You could potentially skip all of the above and do this instead;
- Find 2 or 3 blogs you love the look of.
- Find a theme that matches the look and feel you ideally want.
- Make a note of everything you love about the blogs you chose, colors, post design, menu options, footer design, image sizes, category layouts, etc.
- Go to upwork.com or fiverr.com and find a reasonably priced web developer ($5 – $15/hour) who can add all your customizations for you and give you a ready-made blog in a tenth of the time you will likely do it yourself.
- While they’re building the site, you’re creating awesome content!
5. Add Essential Pages & Plugins to Your Pet Blog
Lastly when setting up your pet blogging site, you’ll need to add some essential pages and plugins.
Here are the most important pages and plugins I recommend;
Here are the pages I recommend creating before going live (or as soon as possible).
5.1. Home page
All websites need a main homepage and what’s on yours will depend on the theme you’ve chosen and your design/usability ideals.
The best way to design a home page is to grab screenshots of all the sites you love and are inspired by and create your own version of the ones you love the best!
A quick SEO tip for your homepage; as this will likely be one of your most visited pages, be sure to add do-follow links to all your most important blog posts from your home page. This will give them all a bit more google juice as your site grows.
5.2. About page
Who are you? Why are you running this blog and who is it for?
This is a hugely important SEO page from the aspect of EEAT. Experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness.
Google wants to know you’re a real person with real experience or expertise about the subjects you’re writing about.
It’s also an important page for the segment of your audience who want to know more about the person behind the site and why you’re qualified to give the advice and recommendations you’re giving.
Make sure to include details on who you are, why you started the site, the experience you’ve had in your niche and who this website id specifically for. Also tell your readers what you want them to do next. Do you have a set of blog posts you want them to read, a free offer you want them to opt-in too or a specific action you want them to take? Don’t leave them hanging! If they’ve been interested enough to read your story, direct them to the next step they can take to build a relationship with you.
Then leave it there for now. This is a page that can evolve and grow with you and you can amend or update as you see fit. So get the basics up to get going with a reminder to review as and when you see fit!
5.3. Contact page
Once again for EEAT purposes, this page is super important. Google wants to know you’re a real business, so be sure to add a business address and telephone number. I have it on good authority that the telephone number is the most important part.
These days you can get an office or POBox address with an online virtual office service, so you have contact details no matter where you are in the world. You can also get a telephone number with an answering service or use Skype to create a local number which gets diverted to any number you choose.
This is also the page to connect with any social media accounts you have and show Google you’re a real person.
The more details you can supply and the more genuine your identity is, the more favorable from Google’s perspective, which helps with your rankings.
I am not a legal expert so what I talk about here is based purely on what I’ve done myself and I strongly recommend you get some legal advice on what you should or shouldn’t add to your site when it comes to privacy, GDPR rules, terms, and conditions, etc.
5.5. Ideally – List Building Page
In an ideal world, you’ll have a list building page on your site, at the very least a subscribe button or pop up offering a free gift visitors can sign up for.
Don’t let this hold you up from launching your site, but the sooner you can start to build an email list the better!
A WordPress plugin is a piece of software you can add to your site that gives it extra functionality.
There are plugins for just about everything these days from connecting your analytics account, creating short links, adding image galleries, tracking Facebook pixels, adding social share buttons, customizing your site, you name it!
However, the challenge is that many plugins may slow down your site and too many plugins will result in conflicting coding creating errors on your site, so it’s essential to choose only the plugins that will add the most value to your site or to the user experience.
Plugins are very much a personal preference but here are my favorites;
1. Nitropack or WP Rocket
Site speed! An important ranking factor in Google’s eyes and we want to give our site the best possible chance to rank, so a focus on site speed is a must.
WP Rocket is a caching plugin, which basically means the content on your website can be accessed faster by the visitor – it’s far more complex than that, and feel free to delve into it, but the most important point is, it makes your site faster.
Nitropack is a full-on speed optimization service that includes caching, but also image optimization, a CDN, and lots of other bells and whistles. CDN stands for ‘content distribution network’, which once again, go knock yourself out learning what that actually means, but for now, just know that it makes your site even faster!
I installed WP Rocket before I installed Nitropack and it made a huge difference to the speed of my site. But then I found Nitropack which is on a different level altogether. Unfortunately, this is reflected in the price, with a single site in WP Rocket costing only $49/year, compared to my now monthly $21 fee with Nitropack.
But it’s worth it!
Please note, they’re not to be used together. You need to choose one or the other. WP Rocket will be good enough to get started, but if you want to really ramp it up Nitropack is the way to go.
2. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is the master of SEO plugins. Not only does it do some great stuff behind the scenes like ensuring your metadata is correct and schema markup etc, but on each post you’ll find an extra custom field with the option for you to enter the main keyword/phrase you’re looking to rank for.
You’ll then get an SEO score of red, orange, or green to tell you how well you’ve covered that keyword in your post.
You then get a list of suggestions to help you get to a green score.
For those of us not so well versed in on-page SEO, this plugin is an invaluable tool to help you ensure your post is rankable in google’s eyes.
3. Thirsty Affiliates
This plugin is vital if you want to monetize your pet blogging sites via affiliate offers.
It works by giving you a much more attractive cloaked URL for your affiliate link, meaning all your affiliate links will look roughly the same, rather than linking in long meaningless fields of letters and numbers as many affiliate links tend to be.
If you click on any of my affiliate links, you’ll see they all start with https://yourlifestylebusiness.com/recommends/’relevantaffiliateprogram’
This doesn’t mean you’re hiding the fact they’re affiliate links, in fact just the opposite. These days you must be extremely transparent or you could run into legal issues. It just makes all your links look a lot more attractive and tracks clicks through your links in the free version.
If you choose to upgrade Thirsty Affiliates adds all sorts of extra features including the ability to automatically add links to keywords you specify! A very handy component if you have a big site with a lot of links.
Again, if you’re focusing on affiliate income, affiliatable.io gives you a fantastic way to display the products you’re recommending.
With beautifully formatted boxes, you can highlight the most important aspects of each product and showcase a button for people to click through to buy or get further details.
Affiliatable.io offer a range of designs including comparison tables, top 3 boxes, ratings boxes, versus boxes and more. Also once you’ve designed a box, you can use the short code to place it anywhere in your site and update it anytime from your central account.
A cracking piece of kit for an affiliate focused pet blogging site.
5. Easy Table of Contents
Once again displaying as a custom field on your post-draft, adding an easy table of contents allows you to create a clickable box of headers and subheaders for those longer posts, so visitors can see at a glance what’s there and click to head to the relevant section.
If you head to the top of this post, you’ll find a table of contents, just under the initial introduction.
A great way to improve user experience and increase time on site!
6. Mammoth .docx converter
If you’re a fan of writing your posts in google docs first, you’ll love this plugin! Here’s how it works;
- Write your main post in a google doc
- Add all the headers, images & media you want to use in your post
- Add in ‘alt text’ for your images on the google doc
- Once finished, export as a word doc
- Add a new post to your blog
- Head to mammoth .docx converter which is a custom field below where you’d usually write your post
- Click ‘Choose File’ and select the file from your computer
- Check to make sure the contents look good and click to ‘insert into editor’
And there you have it. Your fabulously formatted post, images and all. (NB: You may have to tweak if you’ve added video or podcast code.)
This is great if you outsource to writers but don’t want to give them access to your site directly.
7. Grow Social
I’ve played with lots of social sharing plugins over the years, and Grow Social seems to be pretty lightweight and straightforward to use.
What’s great is the option to add in images sized for Facebook and Pinterest and add a custom tweet. Meaning, when someone shares your post, the image and copy are exactly what you’ve entered here.
You can also choose to have buttons in all sorts of different places on your posts, pages, and on mobile. Highly recommended.
“I’m a dog trainer, animal shelter volunteer, and the owner of the dog care website K9 of Mine.
I’ve been running my own dog care site for seven years now! I first started K9 of Mine to cope with the loss of losing my childhood dog, Benzy. I wanted to talk about all the things I wish I had done with him when I still had the time, and reflect on all the good memories we shared. I had to work on the blog for a solid 6 months before I saw any money — that’s just the nature of Google, you have to be around for a while before you can get any traffic.
For the next 2-3 years I worked on the blog part-time while I continued to work at my normal 9-5. Eventually though, I was able to make enough to have working on K9 of Mine be my full-time job. Now I get to hang out and test products with my current dog, as well as visit shelters and test products with those dogs. It’s super fun, I love what I do!
In the past six months, I’ve generated revenue in the 5-digits. Double what I used to make at my last job!”— Megan, K9 of Mine
6. Write Your First 5 – 10 Posts
With your lovely new pet blogging site all setup and ready to go, it’s time to get to the most important part. Creating content!
This will be your life for the next 2 – 5 years, so get prepared to bed in!
6.1. Plan Your Content Strategy
There are a multitude of different types of posts you can create;
- How To Guides – an informational tutorial style article which educates the reader and solves a problem
- Listicles – an informational list style post typically something like; X ways to do X, or X Tips on X, etc.
- Round Ups – a list or collection of information, quotes, tips, or resources from various experts or authorities in the field
- Case Studies – a type of blog post or article that presents a detailed analysis of a specific real-life scenario or example
- Comparison – usually a review style post, comparing one product or service to another
- Product Reviews – a single detailed review about one specific product
- Product Alternatives – a list of alternative products or services, to a specific product
- Interviews – a written summary or full transcription of an interview with an expert
- and loads more
Google’s favorite kind of content is informational content, and provided you’ve done your keyword research correctly and are providing valuable instruction, you’ll be rewarded with rankings.
However, you also want to make money, so my recommendation would be to write 3 informational posts and 2 review style posts to get started. Then as you create more content, keep the ratio 3:2 or 4:1, informational vs transactional.
If you stuff your pet blogging site full of product reviews only, you’ll struggle to get to the top of the search engine results page (SERP’s)
6.2. Make a List of Keywords You Want to Rank For
Keyword research is a complex topic. In fact, SEO is a behemoth of a topic, so I’ll try to keep it simple and just run through the most important elements you need to know to get started.
When researching keywords the most important numbers you need to focus on are;
- Keyword difficulty
- The domain & page authority of the results in the top 10 of the search results
Here’s how to go about finding competitive keywords/phrases;
Step 1 – Make a list of ideal seed keywords.
Let’s say you’ve decided to start a pet blogging site in the dog training niche. You love dogs and have some experience or expertise in dog training.
Using google, Chat GPT or my preferred AI tool – Jasper AI to help you create some seed keywords you might end up with a list like;
• dog training tips
• how to train your dog
• dog training vest
• dog training treat pouch
• spray bottle for dog training
• best dog training collar
• house training a rescue dog
• housebreaking a puppy
• basic commands for dogs
Step 2 – Use a Keyword Tool
Using a tool like ahrefs, you can add these seed keywords into the keyword research tool and start to analyze the numbers;
Volume. The higher the better. When trying to attract organic traffic, the more people searching for a term that you’re going to write about the better. However, when just starting out, the chances are the high volume keywords will also be the most competitive, so it’s about trying to strike a balance between volume and competition.
If you have a brand new blog with no domain authority whatsoever, you goal is to rank as quickly as possible, so if the only way to do that in your niche is via low volume keywords, then you’ll have to create more content targeting more keywords.
Keyword difficulty. This is the ahrefs algorithm determining how hard it would be to rank for that term. It scores from 0 – 100. The lower the score the easier it is to rank. It’s measured by looking at the how many backlinks the sites in the top 10 have got for the relevant keyword.
This number can catch you out though, which is why it’s important to actually look at the sites in the top 10. Low backlinks for a particular piece of content doesn’t mean low site authority. I’ll explain more below.
Domain and page page authority of the results in the top 10 of the search results. This is arguably the most important part of your analysis. Get this wrong and you’ll find it extremely hard to rank for your intended keyword.
Domain authority is a score calculated by keyword research tools to help us determine how authoritative google may see our site. Please note, this is not a score given by Google, but it helps us when choosing which topics to write about.
Domain authority is calculated from 1 – 100. The higher the score the more authority a site has. This is based on a number of different variables, but the main determinant is the number of other sites linking back to the site.
A website with no-one linking back to it will have a very low domain score as it has no authority in google’s eyes. A website with lots of sites linking back to it will have a high domain score and be seen as high authority by google. And if the sites linking back are all high domain scores themselves, the authority is even higher.
Here’s a couple of examples of how to analyze your keywords by domain authority;
According to the numbers ‘dog training treat pouch’ is only a keyword difficulty of 6 and with a volume of 900, seems a good keyword to target. However, on further analysis of the SERPS, the lowest domain authority in the top 8 is a 67.
If you’re a zero, that’s going to be nigh on impossible to compete with. Even if you’re in the 20’s or 30’s already, that’s going to be a tough keyword to rank for.
The KD is low, because the articles haven’t got many backlinks pointing to them, so if you created an amazing piece of content and got every man and his dog (no pun intended) to link back to it, you may rank, particularly as all the results here are ranking for the very slightly variant parent keyword. But there are easier routes to ranking.
If you look at the keyword ‘spray bottle for dog training’, you can see that not only are there little to no backlinks, but also there’s a site ranking in the top 3 with a domain authority of only 8 and a further site in the top 10, with a DA of only 1.
This is a keyword even a brand new site could go after.
Getting your keyword research right, particularly in the early stages is absolutely the key to successful niche site publishing. If you write content targeting keywords that are too difficult to rank for you’ll end up with a lot of posts that no one sees.
Spend some time here and create some number rules which work with how authoritative your site is.
Step 3 – Write your first 5 – 10 posts
Once you’ve identified 5 – 10 keywords you think you can rank for, you need to get writing!
Look at how other pet blog posts are formatted to give you an idea of how to put together the perfect post. I also recommend using a tool called SurferSEO which will ensure you include all the indirect keywords and what’s called ‘natural language processing’ words used in the posts of those already ranking in the top 10.
This gives you a greater chance of competing and securing your place in the SERPS.
As soon as you’ve written your posts, get them published. The faster you publish, the faster google can index and the quicker you can rank. If you need help in producing content quicker, take the SurferSEO Masterclass for free.
Please note for a new site ranking could take a few months depending on which keywords you’ve chosen. The lower the competition, the faster you’ll rank.
7. Promote Your Blog
Starting and growing a pet blogging site isn’t a fast way to make money.
If you want to make serious money you’re going to need plenty of readers, which is going to take time to build up. Depending on the niche and the competition, you could start seeing results from as little as 3 months in to 3 years out.
However, there are some key strategies to give you the best start and help to grow your pet blogging site as fast as possible.
Let’s take a look at the main traffic strategies for your pet blog;
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the overarching name given to anything you do to help your website rank higher in the search results.
Say you want to get lots of traffic through Google (or other search engines like Bing) for your guide on the “best dog training collar”. What you actually want is for your guide to be the number one link when people search for “best dog training collar”.
This is because the first link usually gets upwards of 30% of all clicks.
The second link may get roughly 10-15% of clicks; the 3rd getting perhaps 5% of clicks and the next few links getting maybe 1-2%.
Simply put, the lion’s share of traffic goes to those websites that can get their guides ranking right at the top!
So, how do you improve your website’s SEO performance?
Unfortunately, too many strategies to cover in this post, however, here are my Top 5 SEO tips;
Tip #1 – Build backlinks
A backlink is a link back to your site from another website.
Through this post, I’ve linked to many other sites and resources. Each time I create a link, they’re gaining a backlink from my site to theirs.
They are SUPER important for SEO, and many swear by them as the absolute number one way to boost search engine rankings over time.
Why is that? Because a link from another site gives your site authority. I wouldn’t link out to a resource I didn’t recommend, so by linking out I’m saying ‘I trust and value that site’ and vice versa if someone links back to me.
Search engines rank your content by regularly crawling your entire website looking at all of the “signals” they can find. These signals include things like how long your posts are, which keywords you are using, and how many other websites link back to yours.
However, you don’t want to build hundreds of backlinks from low-quality websites filled with spammy content. Google has become far too clever for that!
Instead, focus on building backlinks from quality sites within your niche that are trusted and are, ideally, bigger or more established than yours.
How do you build backlinks to your blog?
My favorite technique is guest posting.
This is when you write a brand new article (not published on your own website) and allow a different blog to publish it on theirs. In return, the website you have guest posted for will include a link or two back to your blog.
What’s great about guest posting is that, not only do you get a backlink that can boost your site’s SEO performance, you can also get lots of visitors clicking through these links and checking out your site that way!
Check out my article all about guest posting to learn how to do it effectively.
Other powerful link building techniques include:
- Broken link building – This is when you find links on someone else’s website that no longer point to an active page. You point it out via email and recommend swapping the link to a relevant post on your site instead! Here’s an in-depth example of how to do this.
- Round-up posts – These are when a website owner publishes a big guide on their site, including recommendations/opinions from a range of other website owners. They get the benefit of free content on their site, and you get the benefit of a backlink by only needing to write 100-200 words. The best way to find “collabs” as they are known, is through Facebook. Simply search for “[your niche] collabs” and join the groups that pop up.
- HARO – Help a Reporter Out is a service that brings journalists or site owners and content creators together. The website owner posts the subject matter they’re looking for content on, and we, the creators, respond which hopefully results in being featured on a post and a backlink!
Tip #2 – Focus on speed!
It is extremely rare that search engines reveal the exact things they look for when deciding how to rank your site. One of the few exceptions is their policy on promoting sites that load quickly!
With so much information available online these days, people don’t want to hang around all day for pages to load. Instead, they want them now! And there is a very clear correlation between blog posts that rank high in Google and those that load extremely fast.
Here’s what you can do to help make sure your website loads lightning fast:
- Pay for good hosting – If all the pages on your site are taking 10 or 20 seconds to load, then it could well be because your hosting provider isn’t very good. When I migrated to WPX Hosting my site performance instantly improved. For more help on hosting, scroll back up to section 3 of this guide.
- Install Nitropack or WP Rocket – These are game changers and add all sorts of functionality to your site to ensure it loads faster!
- Optimize images – Before uploading images to your blog posts, make sure they are resized and then optimized. For example, instead of uploading a 3.2mb image that is 2400px wide and 1000px tall; reduce the size to around 1000px wide and then put this image through an optimizing tool. This reduces the size to closer to 100-200kb.
- Remove anything unnecessary – This includes images, videos, GIFs, extra code, basically anything on each page of your site that isn’t 100% necessary to the reader.
For more quick and easy tips on how to boost your website’s speed, you can check out a free tool like PageSpeed Insights.
Tip #3 – Think about mobile users
Did you know that more searches begin on mobile devices as opposed to laptops?
More than 50% of searches are now on mobile, and Google has made it clear that they favor sites that offer a great mobile experience.
Not only does this mean having the website load quickly, but it also means making it easy to use. Many sites were built originally for desktop only, and when you use it through your phone you find that text is too small to read and links are hard to click. You may also find that you need to scroll the page horizontally, rather than just vertically; this is a big no-no.
The great thing about building your website through WordPress is that it makes designing for mobile really easy.
Take note! While I’m a fan of pop-ups, be careful using them on mobile. If they cover the whole screen or it’s hard for someone to close them, not only is this a negative experience for a user, you will get Google punished.
Tip #4 – Write exciting meta titles and descriptions
Over time, if you follow SEO best practices, the aim is for your content to start to rise higher in the search results. When you reach the top spots you want to make sure that people are excited to click on and read your post. This is where metadata comes into play.
What is metadata?
These are the titles and descriptions that you see on search engine results pages.
Don’t worry about getting too technical here as WordPress makes it super easy to include metadata in all of your posts. You will see that whenever you go to publish a new post, it has space for you to include these, (especially if you install Yoast.)
For your meta title (this can be the same as the actual title of the blog post by the way) try to create a headline that not only includes the keyword you are targeting but which is also exciting and click-worthy!
Also, make sure it’s no more than 50-60 characters long or else Google will cut the end off.
The same goes for your meta description, which should ideally be between 150-155 characters long. Make this unique and give the reader a brief yet exciting snippet of what to expect in the post.
When writing your headlines, here are a few more of my top tips.
- Use numbers where possible – They make titles stand out much more and can greatly increase clickthrough rates.
- Make your title unique – Have a look at how other people currently ranking for your keyword are naming their guides; then make yours different in some way to help it stand out.
- Use brackets or parentheses – Again these can make titles stand out from the masses. For example: “Top 10 Innovative Dog Training Techniques (You’ve Never Tried Before)”
Tip #5 – Continue to perform in-depth keyword research
Keyword research is the secret sauce to ranking well on Google. Continue to find low competition keywords you can rank for as identified above and your traffic will steadily grow.
See my keyword research guide for more details.
7.2. Social media
Though SEO is a truly excellent way to bring lots of people to your site, for big results it can often be a very long-term game (6-12 months+). That is why my second most recommended way to promote your new pet blog would be through social media.
I’m sure you’re familiar with many different social platforms, and the great news is that they can all be used in a variety of ways to benefit your blog.
However, for the purposes of this article, I’m only recommending the two ‘sticky’ sites, Pinterest & YouTube. These are social media sites where with some thought and creativity, your content can rank for months if not years.
Sites like Instagram & TikTok for example your content lasts for seconds if you’re lucky and that’s an entirely different strategy.
Albeit a social media platform, in many ways, Pinterest is similar to a search engine.
With other social media platforms, when you post a new status, photo, or video, it will gain the vast majority of its visibility within a short period; usually less than a day (or a second). But with Pinterest, many “Pins” as they are known, will go up to little fanfare and start to generate more and more traffic over the following weeks and months.
This is why Pinterest can be such a powerful way to grow your blog as the time and effort you commit to it in the short run can pay off for possibly years.
Here are a few top tips for using Pinterest to grow readers on your blog:
- Create at least 3 different pins for each post – Pinterest LOVES fresh content. If you continually re-share the same Pin over the coming months they’ll get buried and start to gain very little traffic. Instead, a new Pin about the same post is seen as fine in Pinterest’s eyes as it’s new content for users to check out.
- Use keyword-rich Pin descriptions – In the same way that keywords in your blog posts help them to rank in Google, the same principle applies to rank Pins on Pinterest.
- Use top quality photos – Pinterest is primarily a visual platform. To help your Pins stand out from the masses, images need to be of superb quality and, most of all, original. Your own images are best here as standard stock photos are simply not up to the mark.
- Test to see what works best – Your aim with Pinterest is to make your Pins as click-worthy as possible. To do this you can continually tweak the style of your Pins to see which ones work best and get the highest click-through rates. Tweak things like font type, font size, color schemes, and photos used. Over time you should develop a few styles that work well with your target audience.
- Create and engage in boards – Boards are what you pin your Pins onto. But be aware that Pinterest is a SOCIAL platform meaning they want you to engage with and share other people’s content too. So create boards related to your niche and as well as sharing your own posts in them, also share others as well. This will directly grow traffic to your own site.
Again, YouTube can be looked at as both a social media platform as well as a search engine.
In fact, it’s the second-largest search engine in the world, behind Google. Meaning that YouTube is a fantastic place to broaden visibility for the brand you are trying to create.
If you have the time and energy to commit properly to YouTube, then the results can be dramatic.
Video content perfectly compliments articles you publish on your blog, and getting traffic to videos on YouTube can be much faster than through traditional SEO.
You have the added benefit that, if your YouTube account was to become successful enough, you can monetize through the YouTube Partner program and add another revenue stream to your business.
If nothing else, it is a great place to publish videos for free, and you can then embed those videos directly into blog posts to help compliment your article for readers.
And of course, multimedia-rich blog posts tend to rank more highly in Google. So by simply embedding these videos in your posts you then have a greater chance of getting traffic through search as well!
7.3. Email Marketing
Email marketing software is easily one of the very best ways to build long term traffic to your pet blog. I’ve been building email lists for years! So I know the incredible value they can offer to blog owners.
The problem is, most bloggers don’t fully appreciate this and never put any real effort into collecting emails or nurturing that audience.
From day one, treat every visitor to your blog like they are a potential long term reader, and the best way to maintain that long term readership is through adding them to your email list.
That way, every time you publish a fancy new post on your site, you have a few hundred or thousand people you can immediately send it to!
It is an audience that YOU are in control of … not Google … not Facebook … YOU!
For a better look at email marketing, I recommend checking out my in-depth guide on how to build an email list.
8. Develop a Long Term Content & Growth Strategy
The last on our list for how to start and make money from a pet blogging site this year is to develop an ongoing long term content and growth strategy.
I’ve already highlighted that growing a your pet blog is going to take time and it’s important you focus on the right things moving forward so as not to get distracted by bright, shiny, objects!
There are really only 3 things you need to be focusing on for the next 12 – 24 months;
These are the three major areas which will lead to growth and profitability.
Your goal is to create and publish as many keyword rich, high quality, rankable posts as you can.
Right now, I’m posting between 5 – 10 posts a week. In todays fast moving world and with the advent of AI writing tools, that’s about the minimum you’ll get away with, particularly if you’re just starting out and trying to get traction.
I do keyword research once a month to plan out all my topics and then I spend the month researching, outlining, writing, editing, etc.
Get published! As often as possible.
Depending on how competitive it is, your site is going nowhere without some backlinks.
There are plenty of niche site publishers who profess to not building any backlinks and letting their quality content do the work for them, but we live in an extremely competitive world.
The more backlinks you can get, the faster your domain authority will grow and the higher you’ll rank.
Create a guest posting or HARO strategy that works for you and start to build your backlinks, It will take time and it’ll push you out of your comfort zone, but it’s worth the effort.
How are you monetizing your site?
You need to be thinking about this from Day 1, as there’s nothing less motivating than working like a crazy person for months on end to see nothing in return for your efforts.
Add google adsense from the get go. Start collecting email addresses and add affiliate links as soon as possible.
As your traffic grows, you can look to add Ezoic (10k views/month), or Mediavine (50k views/month) for display ads, add more affiliate programs, and become more creative with your email funnels.
As per my eight strategies at the top of this post you can also start to add other money making streams of income.
There are so many ways to grow your pet blogging site, that it’s easy to get distracted and think you’re being productive, when actually you’re just spinning your wheels and getting nowhere fast.
After 3 years of wheel spinning myself, focusing on content, backlinks and monetization strategies is the clearest and most straight forward route to success.
There is one last tip I would like to share with you to speed the entire operation of growing your pet blogging site up.
Outsource From the Start
The vast majority of bloggers will approach starting a blog by following all of the steps as outlined above, and then spending a LOT of time and effort learning every single part of running a successful blog, including, but not limited to …
- Content writing
- Social media marketing
- Email outreach
- List Building
- Web design
- Guest posting
There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but it takes a LOT of work and dedication.
Along the way, many bloggers get burned out and give up, as less than 10% of websites get all the Google traffic.
While others get to a point where their blog is making an okay amount of money but it’s taking 50 – 80 hours a week to achieve that.
It’s then at this stage, many bloggers will start to outsource the jobs they don’t like doing.
Well, how about switching up the formula?
- Instead of learning EVERY … SINGLE … PART of running a successful blog, why not focus on what you are good at, and outsource the rest!
- Instead of worrying about every tiny detail of the blog, you could instead save yourself a lot of time and wasted energy by outsourcing to others who already have skills you haven’t mastered yet.
As one of the greatest entrepreneurs alive says;
Instead of thinking of yourself as a blogger, instead, start to look at yourself as a business owner.
Remember you’re building your business around your lifestyle, not the other way around!
How much should you outsource?
This is up to you and will depend largely on your budget for the blog.
Starting a pet blogging site isn’t free, though as you’ve seen, most of the tools you need to get started can be sourced freely or for a low monthly fee.
However, if you have the budget for outsourcing, then it will pay dividends in the long run.
The more jobs you can outsource, the more you can focus on the things that are important to you and your blog.
Jobs you could outsource immediately include:
- Designing a logo and other necessary graphics
- Web design & development
- Setting up your lead generators and email marketing campaigns
- Creating and scheduling Pins on Pinterest (or other social media scheduling)
- Email outreach for guest posts
- Research and content outlines
- Even writing the posts if that’s not your forte
Sure, there is nothing wrong with doing this all yourself, and learning new skills is always a valuable pursuit.
However, if time is limited and you want to scale your blog as quickly as possible, then outsourcing from the start is a must!
Where do you find freelancers?
My two biggest recommendations here would be Upwork and Fiverr.
Each of these is home to thousands of freelancers, specializing in very unique areas; all ready to work for you!
Tips for hiring freelancers
- Be extremely specific in your job descriptions – English is not everyone’s first language, so be extra clear in what it is you are looking for
- You get what you pay for – If you pay someone $5 to design you a site and make it live, don’t expect it to be all singing and dancing!
- Speak directly to people before hiring – It helps to get to know them a little first and understand how responsive they are and whether they really understand what it is you are looking for
- Be patient – Many hires won’t work out initially, this is normal. If you’re looking for a long term working relationship, such as with a writer, it may take 3 or 4 hires until you find someone that delivers to your standards.
“I’ve always been passionate about two things: my pets and content creation. I’ve had a public Instagram account for the longest time and often post pictures with my pets. One day I realized that any post that featured my pets had a higher reach and got more likes. This made me realize that I have a niche audience that is very interested in pets. So I created a separate social media account for them. Over time, I became more invested in it. Eventually, I started a pet blog as well. It’s been six years since.
I’ve monetized my pet blog through affiliate marketing. I’m mainly working with Petco and Ollie. I write reviews and mention their products on my blog. A small link at the end directs my readers to product pages. Every time someone makes a purchase, I get a small percentage. It’s been going great for me. I’ve been able to supplement my primary income with it.
It took me almost two years to earn my first dollar. It’s because people read several reviews before deciding on a product. And they could’ve clicked on the links from any of these blogs. So even though I had a high viewership, my conversions were still low. But as my blog grew and gained credibility, this issue was resolved. I made about $16,000 from my blog last year. “— Bethany, Wholepet.Health
How to Start & Make Money with a Pet Blogging Site – Summary
This has been a pretty big post with a lot of information to take in.
Many people will get stuck at simply getting a site live. My suggestion is to get your domain, hosting and setup your blog review site within 24 – 48 hours. Then focus on the most important part which is creating rankable content and getting ranked.
How pretty your site looks is not the part that’s going to make you money. It’s how many keywords you have ranking in the SERPS and how many people are viewing your content.
This took me a long time to understand, so please learn from my mistakes.
The critical things to remember and that I can’t stress enough are;
- Don’t try to compete in a dominated marketplace just because you think you have better expertise. If the sites you’re going up against have bigger budgets, bigger teams and have been there for a long time, you’ll struggle to grow.
- Content is KING! Focus on become exceptionally great at keyword research and create super valuable content that solves or answers the specific query you’re trying to rank for.s
- Monetize as early as possible. I know you love your site and you think ads will ruin it or degrade it in some way and if your goal is to be an influencer and monetize via your social media following etc, then that’s a different strategy. If your goal is to become a niche site publisher and start and grow a money making pet blogging site, put ads, affiliate links and an email funnels on your site as early as possible.
Most importantly, have fun! You’re growing a business model which will give you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world!