A lot of pet owners dream about devoting their lives to doing something that they truly love. One of the ways to make the most of your love for animals is to launch a pet website. Many beginners start out without really knowing much about the business. Here are some facts that you learn after you’ve been in the business for a while.
1. The US Pet Market is HUGE
The U.S. pet industry has never been in better shape. Perhaps it’s thanks to the fact that more and more people are putting off starting a family. To fight loneliness on their detours towards the common life milestones, millennials are adopting more pets than the previous generations.
Over half of U.S. households owns one or multiple pets. The cost of dog ownership averages somewhere from $2,500 to $3,500 per year, but many owners are going way past the average. Thanks to the stronger attachment to our furry family members, as well as the blooming pet market, pet owners are spending more money on their pets than ever.
In fact, just in 2017, the U.S. pet industry reached a whopping $86 billion, with a trajectory of further growth. Thanks to convenience and a general trend of saving time, internet retailers are taking over, with Amazon leading the pack.
Big pet merchandise chains are trying to catch up by offering online ordering, and also by buying successful online pet businesses – in 2017, for instance, PetSmart bought Chewy.com, one of the leading American pet e-commerce companies. In short, if you’re looking to get in on the pet business, the time has never been more right.
2. There Are More Niches Than You Can Imagine
General websites might have trouble attracting traffic due to the stiff competition. Going for niche content might seem counter-intuitive because you’re deciding to cut out a huge portion of your potential audience from the get go. However, if you manage to find a niche with a decent following but that doesn’t have a very strong online presence, getting traffic will be much easier.
One of the most obvious niche distinctions is to focus on just one dog breed – if you’re an owner with a lot of personal interest and hands-on experience, you might have invaluable insight to offer. You could also focus on a single aspect of pet ownership, for instance breeding or health. One of the most popular dog-related niches at the moment includes healthy dog food.
Owners are waking up to the fact that highly processed dog food isn’t doing their pets any favors, and they’re turning to resources that offer more wholesome alternatives. Throw food allergies and sensitivities, as well as chronic health conditions into the mix, and you get a niche that’s worth around $20 billion. Impressive, right?
3. There Are Many Ways to Monetize
Monetization largely depends on the kind of website you wish to create. When it comes to e-commerce sites or sites that offer services, it’s quite obvious where the profit will come from. But if you are just intending to build an online resource with informative or fun content, you might be stumped about how you can earn a living from it.
Be aware that, in the beginning at least, you are likely to work hard for a while without making much (or any) profit. All website monetization is based on one simple pillar: you need a loyal following. The number of visitors needed to be able to earn an income from running a website varies greatly, but it’s safe to say that you will probably need at least a couple of thousand page views per day.
Once you’ve reached that number, there are several options. The most obvious way is selling ad space to relevant companies. Other popular methods of earning money include promoting and reviewing products as part of an affiliate program, offering premium content through a membership program, and building an email list to be used for email marketing.
4. It’s Hard Work
Just because you adore dogs, it doesn’t mean that running a doggy website is going to be a breeze. The internet is saturated with content, and it takes a lot of hard work to stand out among the competition and gain a faithful audience. Coming up with a concept and setting up your website is just the start.
It’s important to understand from the beginning that, with such stiff competition, you can’t really afford compromises. Visitors want quality content, with useful information, an attractive style, and a consistent posting schedule. Each article needs to be written in an interesting and easy to follow style, and optimized for SEO. And of course, it’ll look better and attract more visitors if it’s accompanied by high-quality photographs.
You can do them yourself, or get them from one of the many stock photography markets on the net. Once all of the content is done, it’s up to you to promote it by targeting it specifically at your intended audience, using SEO, email marketing, specialized forums and social media such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
5. It Takes Tons of Planning
Waiting for the inspiration to strike will see you losing visitors, which is why it’s essential to plan out your content in advance. Take into account if there are any special events or seasonal topics you need to cover in the following period. Schedule posting dates, so that you can always have the articles ready in time.
If you are doing your own photos or videos, think about any props you might need for the shoot and when you can catch the best weather conditions. Allow for multiple tries: working with animals brings along a certain amount of unpredictability, and you can’t count on always getting what you need on the first try.
Ultimately, running a doggy website is hard but rewarding work. Just like with any work, it takes a lot of love and dedication to achieve success. Pet owners who can offer their unique perspective and know what content is underrepresented are at a great starting point to transform their interests into a blooming business.