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2017 Pet Blogger Challenge

MyDogLikes entry into the 2017 Pet Blogger Challenge
Written by Kevin Sando

Today we are excited to be taking part in the 2017 Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by GoPetFriendly!

This annual event gives us a chance to reflect on the past year and look toward the next. This is our 3rd year particpating – Check out these links to see where we were in 2015 and 2016!

2017 Pet Blogger Challenge


1. When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?

Though the history of our site and brand goes back a bit further, we only started blogging in 2014. That is when Rachael and I decided to really give this thing a go, and try to build something together.

The logo for MyDogLikes Dog Blog

The basic aim of our site is to be a resource for dog owners looking to live a healthy, active lifestyle with their pups. Our content spans the gamut from dog product and service reviews, to ownership tips, and dog friendly travel guides.

2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?

Our proudest blogging moment of 2016 was when we began earning enough for me to move into a part time role at my engineering firm. This has allowed me to put so much more time into the site and speed up our growth even more.

I really feel like I am living the best of both worlds now – having a flexible career which I enjoy and pursuing my passion at the same time.

3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

For this question I am actually going to have to go with a series we put together last summer: Our 2016 Dog Friendly Tour of America.

The route of our recent Dog Friendly Tour of America!

This adventure took us from Rochester, NY all the way down to Phoenix, Arizona in order to attend the annual BlogPaws Conference. From there we continued on through Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and back to NY visiting countless State and National Parks along the way.

Rachael, Harley and Charlie at Grand Teton National Park

When it was all said and done 14 days had gone by and we had driven over 6,000 miles while passing through 14 states. Needless to say, we documented the whole trip day by day, to share the do’s and don’ts of traveling with dogs in each particular place.

Charlie admiring the view at the Grand Canyon

We had the time of our lives and plan to put together a similar trip this Spring!

4. Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?


I spent a TON of time this year learning as much as I could about search engine optimization and then countless hours implementing it.

Working on image SEO - filling out the Alt Text and Title Tags

Meta-descriptions, alt-text, heading structure, interlinking, title tags, 301 redirects and more…

If you are not familiar with any of these terms, take the time to learn it now! It will save you from major headaches going back and fixing things later!

Looking at the page recommendations from the Yoast SEO plugin

This is tedious work, and the returns are not always quick to show themselves, but it is finally paying off in spades. Our search traffic is growing at a tremendous rate and we are continually climbing up the rankings for tons of dog related queries.

If you have any questions about any of this don’t hesitate to shoot us an email and I will do my best to help you out!

5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?

Our most popular post of the year was a review of Walter’s Dog Balm, where we discussed dealing with a dry dog nose and cracked paw pads. This was definitely a bit of surprise as we had several other posts that went more “viral,” but I guess this just shows the power of consistent traffic. We receive a steady number of new visitors to this post from search day after day after day.

Applying Walter's Dog Balm to Harley's dry nose

6. What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)

GoldenWoofs – Sugar the Golden Retriever

Not only was GoldenWoofs one of the first blogs that we followed (before we got started in the blogging world), but her site continues to be one of our favorites. As we look to expand the influence of our blog and continue to build it into a thriving business, GoldenWoofs is a great example of just how far a website can go.

GoldenWoofs has transcended the pet blogging world to include features in Family Circle Magazine and has even published her own cookbook.

Not only that, but she has been extremely welcoming to us and willing to help as we got our start!

Meeting Sugar from GoldenWoofs at BlogPaws 2016 in Phoenix, AZ

This year at Blogpaws, we were so excited to finally meet Sugar and her mom, Rosalin, who has endless vision about where the site can go. She and Sugar really are amazing and meeting them was definitely a bucket list item for us!

7. What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?

Well, this is not something that we have announced publicly as of yet, but our family is going to be growing by one. And believe it or not, we aren’t talking about a furry addition!

Kevin and Rachael from MyDogLikes

Rachael and I are expecting our first child this coming March and we are so excited! We are keeping the gender a surprise until the big day so have no news on that front.

It remains to be seen how successfully we will be able to manage running a blog and adjusting to parenthood!

8. What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?


I hadn’t ever viewed it as a particularly popular bookmarking site, but after noticing that it was the source of a few of our traffic spikes, began to explore a little more…

As it turns out, Flipboard has a much larger audience than I realized and the potential to go “viral” seems to be much higher than on other platforms.

I created a profile and now “flip” most of our posts with a good number of them gaining some decent momentum. (We are talking 1-2,000 visits within 24 hours!)

I definitely recommend giving it a try, and make sure to follow us so we can help one another gain some traction!

9. What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?

Growth … Just like everyone else I’m sure!

Dog working on the computerWe are finally starting to earn a respectable income through the site, and I think this year I will be able to fully replace my old salary.

I love every minute of what I am doing and the prospect of actually earning a decent living from it is so exciting.

10. Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?

I find myself constantly checking email and social media in an effort to stay engaged with our readers – I hate to miss out on any questions and comments that we may receive!

Always working with 100 tabs open and bouncing back and forth seriously limits productivity….

With so many different things pulling your attention as a blogger, how do you stay focused on writing and producing content?

Join the Pet Blogger Challenge Jan 7th, 8th and 9th

About the author

Kevin Sando

Kevin is a mechanical engineer with a degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has move than a decade experience in new product design, prototyping and early stage manufacturing. Pairing this background with his love of dogs, gives him a unique perspective to evaluate the design and execution of new and interesting pet products.


  • Congratulations on your upcoming new addition. Maybe you can clothe it in fur outfits so it fits in better? Great post. We always love seeing what you all are doing and your great photos too! We looked at Flipboard a couple years ago, but it made no sense to us. We will have to go back and have another look. As for SEO, no fun. We should get better at it, but for now we just try to use the Yoast plugin and make that happy.

  • Wow! It seems like you guys have been blogging a lot longer than that!

    Congratulations on your new addition! How exciting for you!!

    If you find the solution to staying focus let me know. That has always been my downfall!

  • Congrats on your new addition 🙂

    I might have to look more into the whole Flipboard thing (I know I’m following you on there already 🙂 ), I sort of gave it a go for a quick minute then forgot about it.

    I wish I knew how to stay more focused, I’m seriously terrible at it. I really need to learn to shut everything else off and just write. But that hasn’t happened yet, old habits are hard to break I suppose.

  • Thanks so much for participating in the Challenge, and congratulations to you and Rachel on your new addition – how exciting for you both! It works differently for everyone, but I find that I do my best writing first thing in the morning. By scheduling my social media posts in advance, I’m less tempted to head there first and get sucked into the vortex. I usually edit my photos first, which helps me organize the post in my head, and then the writing flows better. Thanks for that tip on Flipboard – I’m going to have to check that out! I hope 2017 exceeds all your expectations – good luck!

  • CONGRATS on your tiny human news! Super exciting!! I’ve loved following your blog, particularly your travel adventures to and from BlogPaws and I have so enjoyed the opportunity to meet you. I hope the year to come is absolutely amazing.

  • congratulations on the coming new human addition. maybe you should get a new puppy so both can grow up together. enjoy your blog and all of the pictures of your travels.

  • A new addition, how exciting! Congratulations!

    I’ve been trying to work on the SEO bit, so my question to you would be…was there one resource in general that helped, or did you attack it through different sources?

    Thanks for the Flipboard tip, if I ever get myself back to regular blogging, I’ll check it out.

    Like Amy, I find the morning is a good time for me to write, before my mind gets cluttered with the junk of the day. I don’t care to write my posts and then publish, so ideally for me, I would write the post in the morning, set it aside during the day, then tweak it at night, and schedule it. When I was blogging regularly, an editorial, or plan old planner, helped me keep ideas and posts fresh.

  • Congratulations on the new family member! That is so exciting!

    That’s interesting about Flipboard. I joined 2 years ago when I bought my phone and it had the app installed. I did a little with it than haven’t touched it in awhile. I might have to play with it again.

  • Congrats on your new addition AND being able to transition to part time work. Definitely the best ob both worlds! I missed your dog friendly trip across America, but will definitely go back and read it through.

  • Congratulations on your big news and the expansion of your family. How incredibly exciting for all of you!

    How did I miss your Dog Friendly Tour of America? I can wait to read that and pick up some tips for our upcoming road trip this year. I’m going to have to take a second look at Flipbook too. Maybe I gave up on it too soon.

    This will be such an exciting year for you and I hope you continue with your great level of success!

  • In my case, it helps that people typically ignore me until they need something LOL I wish I could engage more about everyday stuff but I barely keep up as it is.

  • Congratulations on your success and thanks for the tip about FlipBoard. I love Goldens and find myself stopping to interact with everyone I come across on the street. Oh and congratulations on the new family member.

  • It sounds like you really accomplished a lot in 2016! And congratulations! Oh my goodness, so exciting! I hear you on the SEO. I’ve learned a lot about it and am still learning. I enjoyed reading your answers. Happy New Year and good luck in 2017!

  • Exciting!!! Congratulation 🙂 it’s going to be a FUN (busy) year!
    Glad to meet you guys at BP 2016. I can’t believe that you actually doing “blogging” as your part time job, congrats. So much going on … I’m not engaging on blog posts (I apologize – I do read by seldom comment). We are in Flipboard but not active, I might give it a try again. Golden Woofs, SUGAR n Rosalyn

  • Congrats on success with improving your SEO. I’m so conflicted about it. I have a plugin. It’s the one that came with Genesis. It’s good but everyone raves about YOAST. The problem is, I already rank #1 for a few of my blog posts and I don’t want to ruin that by switching to YOAST… because I hear everything doesn’t transfer over and it can take you a while to get back to #1… if you even get there again. There are several of my blog posts that I think should be doing better than they are though so… I just don’t know. Congrats on your upcoming human addition too. How exciting!

  • Oh wow, congratulations on your new upcoming family addition!
    I played around with SEO a bit this year, mostly keyword stuff, but I’m still not sure I totally “get it”!
    You had an exciting year last year with your trip, and being able to make changes to your work schedule!
    For me, writing and producing content is my favorite part of blogging, and it is always a priority for me (though I can’t completely say I’m not distracted by that other stuff….). I’m not sure it’s a good plan though, because it takes my time away from promoting and social media. But for me, that part is my passion, so I will always put it on the front burner. If that means my numbers are not as good as others, so be it. I think you really just have to consider what is most important to you and focus on that. I’m pretty sure I might be in a minority in putting the writing first. 🙂

  • Congratulations on the new human addition you are expecting! Denton and I really enjoyed meeting you at BlogPaws. I used your recommendation for inquiries from a FB group I belong to and it was really successful so thank you!
    Which SEO course did you enjoy and learn from the most?
    The whole social medial stuff is definitely a time sucker easy to get lost in. I started using a stopwatch timer and planning ahead how much time I’ll spend in each place then close that tab when my time has ran out. I might miss a few things but I feel less scattered.

  • Very amazing post and interesting challenge as well – keep up your good work 🙂
    And I appreciate your recommendation of GoldenWoofs blog (I did drop them a visit and the content there is really great!)
    Very glad to get acquainted with you, get connected on Twitter anyway, mine is: @cindypetlover

  • Nice Blog!!Congratulations on your success and thanks for the sharing tip about Flipboard.