Thursday, January 14, 2021

Pet Bloggers Journey 2021

We've been blogging for almost 10 years as Sweet Purrfections. We've changed a lot over the last decade with our focus and branding. We've found it's important to look back on the previous year to see what we've accomplished and to make future plans for the blog. We're participating in the Pet Bloggers Journey, sponsors by Puppy in Training this year. Join us as we take a look down memory lane from 2020.

Participation in the Pet Bloggers Journey requires us to answer the following 10 questions. We've included links to posts in our blog where you can get more information.

When did you begin your blog and what do you currently write about on your blog?

The Sweet Purrfections Blog began in July 2011. This summer we will celebrate our 10th blogoversary. When we first began our blog, it was a daily journal of our lives with us sharing photos, stories, and some product reviews. The original kittens for Sweet Purrfections were Truffle and Beignet (her littermate brother). Unfortunately, we lost Beignet to a sarcoma from his first vaccination a week before he was scheduled to come live with Mom Paula. Our special friend, Ann, from Zoolatry, designed our header right before Truffle came to live with Mom Paula. 

About 3 years ago, we redesigned the blog for more of a focus on Living and Learning with Persian Cats. We write about feline health, behavior, nutrition, the human-animal bond, and share product reviews. I use my research background (Ph.D. in Mathematics Education) to share factual information about the topic and then write a narrative based on my experiences living with Persian Cats. 

Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2020, that made you most proud.

We received the Cat Writers' Association (CWA) MUSE™ Medallion for our blog in the category: Blog/Website: Educational/Informative. This award recognizes excellence in communication about cats. We also received nine (9) Certificates of Excellence for various blog posts, graphics, and the 2020 Cats of the World Weekly Planner. 

Which of your 2020 posts was most popular with your audience? Why do you think it does so well?

Our most popular post for 2020 was the
5 Level Scratching Post and Lookout: Catit. We believe this post was the most popular because Catit makes great products for cats and their cat trees are functional, beautiful, and cats love them. We were able to host a giveaway for this product and we had the most entries ever for this giveaway. We get a lot of organic searches for our informational content, but we tend to get more visits and comments with posts that offer giveaways.

What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2020, and how did you tackle it?

Even though I've been retired for almost 4 years, I find that I'm busier than I was when I was working fulltime, although I'm not on the road all the time. I would have to say the biggest blogging challenge this year was dealing with the COVID 19 Pandemic. It didn't really challenge the blog, but it challenged me. I became sick at the end of January 2020 and stayed sick until April 2020. I was tested for COVID 19 (and was quarantined for 2 weeks) and it was negative, but I had all the symptoms and still suffer some breathing issues. Because I wasn't feeling well, I didn't post as many posts as usual this past year. I used to post at least 2-3 times a week, but I was lucky if I was able to post 2 a month this past year. I tried to focus on posts the had personal meaning for me and wrote quite a few Human-Animal Bond posts because I was spending so much more time with my cats. Both Truffle and Brulee got sick last April and our vet required curbside drop off. I'm not accustomed to not being with my cats when they are seeing the vet. Luckily, both girls are fine, but our vet had to go back to curbside drop off again this year because our numbers are so high.

Tell us one thing you learned in 2020 that can help us all become better bloggers.

2019 CWA Officers
Photo credit: Larry Johnson Photography

The best advice I can give is to continue to learn. I loved going to face-to-face conferences where I can learn from speakers and other bloggers. COVID-19 stopped all face-to-face meetings, workshops, and conferences. I've signed up for many Zoom or Facebook Live meetings to learn more about blogging, cats, writing content, photography, and other topics. I joined the All Pets Collaborative where we have weekly Facebook Live events to learn about being a pet influencer. 

What are your top three goals for 2021?

  • Introduce a new theme for the blog. I've been working with an expert in Blogger and hope to have the new blog released within the next few weeks. There is a new logo, a new theme, and new branding.
  • Improve photography skills. I've signed up for an online course for taking photos with my iPhone. I'd love to take some classes on using my Nikon DSLR.
  • Start a email newsletter for Sweet Purrfections. I've never sent out a newsletter for the blog, but this is something I'd like to try.

In the perfect world, where do you see yourself and your blog 1 year from now?

Making enough money through sponsorships to sustain taking classes online and/or by attending workshops and conferences (once face-to face- is safe again).

If you had a $1,000 to spend on your blog how would you spend it?

I'm currently in the process of working with someone on a new theme and logo for the blog. If I had $1,000 I'd want to continue working with an expert in Blogger to clean up my coding and help me work with the new theme. I'd also like to sign up for some classes on photography and graphic design to continue to fine tune my craft.

What is one skill you’d like to learn or improve in 2021?

I'd like to learn how to use my Nikon DSLR camera to get better photos in low light situations. It's difficult to get great photos of cats with a white base coat in low light situations. I have very little natural light that comes into my home.

If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

I'd like feedback from the blogging community on what type of posts they've enjoyed in the past and what they would like to see in the future.

We encourage you to visit Puppy in Training's blog to read more journey's from our blogging friends. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. First concats on the success of your blog and how it's grown. I'm sure you love working with Zera cos she makes things so easy. She's still helping me. I know you'll reach all your goals. Have you gone for a antibody test to see if you did actually have it? Much continued success going forward.

  2. My human loved reading your answers! Your blog has come a really long way!

  3. Luv your blog! Congrats on your success!

  4. Your blog is so attractive and always, always first rate!

  5. I was looking forward to another CatCon in Chicago last year!

  6. WOW!!!! I can hardly believe that 10 years have gone by!!!
    Congrats you two lovely girls and all the good things your mum does!!
    Purrs, Julie

  7. Enjoyed reading about your blog history and plans for the future! I always enjoy your articles and the pictures of your beautiful kitties!

  8. Wow congrats on 10 years! I think your blog is so awesome! You have stayed so positive navigating around the pandemic! As for your question I think your site is right on point! I had a long haired persion cat years ago. Sadly age overcame him. But I had no idea the care they actually need. I remember the first time I saw and had to deal with matts if not groomed regularly. I learned very quickly so I think this is a very valuable educational resource for your niche! I can't wait to see what the new year brings you. Also congrats on your Cat Writers' Association (CWA) MUSE™ Medallion that is so fantastic! Wishing you health, safety and prosperity this coming year!!

  9. I enjoyed your answers. I look forward to seeing your new theme.

  10. Thank you for joining the Pet Bloggers Journey! Congratulations on blogging for a decade! Not too many bloggers make it this long. We don't have cats, but I like how you use your research background to share factual information about the topic and then write a narrative based on your experiences. I think it's a great way to share information and try to do that with some of my blog posts as well. Again thank you for taking part in the Pet Bloggers Journey. All the best to you in 2021.

  11. What a cool post! This is my first time seeing the "Pet Bloggers Journey", I'll have to look into it and participate if it's still going on. I really enjoy your blog, even though I don't even have cats! Looking forward to following your continued success :)

  12. I have been a follower of yours since the beginning. I enjoyed your postings through the years, and found them fun and informative. We too had a horrible year this year and restarted posting regularly when I retired in December. Keep up the great work! We can't wait to see where your blog goes this year! Have a Happy Day! Barb

  13. I love visiting Sweet Purrfections, the blog and its outlook is always helpful and positive and creates such a helpful impression to anyone visiting for the first time.

    Yes, this year was tough but YES!!!! 2021 will be a great year for us all in the blogging community.

  14. Your blog is one of my favorites and what a great way to share your memories of 2020 and hope 2021 will be a good one

  15. It's great to reflect on the prior blogging year, and boy 2020 has been some year hasn't it! I have also blogged much less in 2020 than every before - actually, I hardly published any posts. The year flew by, so many things to be concerned about in 2020. I look forward to seeing your reimagined blog this year! I enjoy your cool product reviews and cat health related posts the most.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  16. Other than being sick (which I am so sorry you are still having to deal with) - 2020 was a good year for you! Congratulations on the award - it's really well deserved! I love reading your blog, it teaches me a lot about cats and gives me a better foundation when I care for my family and neighbors cats. Keep up the great work - and I can't wait to see the progress you make with your photography skills (I need this too!).

  17. Congratulations on everything that you've accomplished with Sweet Purrfections to date. You've built a great resource here for anyone considering bringing home a cat, especially a Persian. I understand what you mean about feeling so busy this year with everything going on. It's crazy how so many things were closed and cancelled and yet I felt busier than ever... While you may not have posted as much, you stuck with it, posted some great quality content and continued to thrive! I love your current site and theme, it's so pretty. That being said, I can't wait to see what you come up with when you roll out the new branding that you have been working on!

  18. It takes a lot of work and dedication to keep up blogging for that long. I've been at it for a long time but lately feel discouraged. Google keeps changing algorithms and always to my detriment it seems. I'm getting close to cutting my losses and moving on.

  19. Paula, I congratulate you on your interest in learning new things and also your perseverance in keeping going during all those rough waters. I get way too aid back about learning new things and have tended too much to rely on old practices when there is so much new stuff out there. I admire people with the courage to want to keep learning. Your blog is one of the most skillfully written that I read, so I think going for sponsorships is an excellent focus that utilizes your best talents (not to mention your adorable little fur-ball models!) I also enjoy the articles you write which help and educate others.

    As for your photography low light dilemma, I do have one simple suggestion. A LOW LIGHT NIKON LENS FOR YOUR CAMERA. Here's the link to one of them and I recommend to telephone B & H Photography as they have says consultants who'l discuss options with you. they may have other ideas. Their phone is 212-444-6615 or 800-606-6969. All the photographers I know use it (me too). They will ship the lens to you and it's EASY to return it if you don't like it. Here's a link to ONE low light lens thru B & H - or you can probably find one on Ebay too once you know which one to buy. All best wishes, love your gurrrrls! https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/731085-REG/Nikon_2183B_Refurbished_AF_S_Nikkor_35mm.html/overview

  20. One other mention - re the newsletter. One of the biggest challenges is picking a provider. I'm looking for a new one but for a few months I used CONSTANT CONTACT to get started. It's expensive (and I couldn't afford it) but they have PHONE SUPPORT and will help you get started and show you all the things the newsletter can do for you. The best comments I've heard re the free services are on MAILER LITE, but I personally had trouble getting started without the phone support. Anyway whichever you try, good luck! Mom Carol

  21. Although I love what your blog looks like now, I'm excited to see what you're going to do with it! I hope that 2021 is a great year for you and your girls!

  22. TBT Here: That was fascinating. And I couldn't think of a good answer to any of the questions for myself.

  23. OK, so back to our two meals...if a chemical analysis of your meal at White Castle was compared to a chemical analysis of your meal at Outback - both would analyze with a percentage of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Regardless whether you consider a steak at Outback a higher quality of protein than the burger - it would still analyze as protein. The analysis doesn't measure quality of protein. dog food for upset stomach

  24. Miz Paula, your blog goals are identical to my Momma's. After five years at Wordpress, we lost control of our blog due to it being besieged by demons who ate our photos and content, so we returned home to Blogger and are feeling both creative and adventurous, something that hasn't happened in a while. Congratulations on all you've accomplished. We look forward to seeing what purrfection you come up with in 2021. Love, Dori and her Mom Kim

  25. We have always enjoyed your blog and look forward to seeing what you have planned in the new year

  26. I feel like we've been pals forever. I can't believe it is 2021. Sweet Purrfections will always have a special place in my heart. I love your cats and you have a great personality ( I know, I met you in paw-son). I'd say keep up the fab work and happy, healthy 20201.

  27. It was just wonderful to get a history of your blog and we always love stopping by for your excellent posts. You always provide informative articles and sweet photos of your babies which we adored. Thanks for sharing. Have a great rest of your day.
    World of Animals Rittenhouse

  28. Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary this summer. I'll be 10 years in December. Yikes!!!

    Have a lovely year and I hope your health has recovered from your illness last year.


By leaving a comment you are consenting to your email being collected for communication purposes only.

Thank you for visiting us today!