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Pet Bloggers Journey 2020

If you’ve been around for a while then you know that every January for the past several years I usually take a look back over my year as a blogger. 

It’s a great way to reflect on what happened over the year and look over what worked and what didn’t. 

It’s also a great time to look ahead and plan for the year ahead. 

Normally it’s Amy from Go Pet-Friendly that hosts the Pet Bloggers Challenge but this year she decided to take a step back. 

Since many bloggers look forward to this challenge, Colby from Puppy In Training took over.

Thank you Colby!

The challenge is basically the same just with a new name, Pet Bloggers Journey

We had quite a year so this post was a little emotional for me to write and will probably get a little long-winded so I apologize ahead of time!

When did you begin your blog? And, for anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about.

This blog started in April of 2010!

My Brown Newfies started off as a blog where I shared silly stories of Sherman and Leroy.

I had all these fun stories about them in my head and they needed somewhere to go!

One of my all-time favorite silly blog post is My Most Embarrassing Dog Moment.

As the blog evolved I started sharing more information related to the Newfoundland breed. 

I feel that the breed is very misunderstood by those who have never been owned by one and being a new Newfie owner can feel lonely sometimes. 

Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2019, that made you most proud.

This blog is my full-time job!

That’s been a goal for years and I finally had the confidence and opportunity to go for it!

Which of your 2019 blog posts was your favorite and why? (Please include a link.)

I wrote more posts in 2019 than I ever have and we had many events, both happy and sad, so that’s a tough one!

I think my favorite post was The Day The Ashes Came Home. 

Dog cremation ashes in wooden box with sunflower

Sure it’s a sad post but it’s a post that was 100% written from my heart. It was raw and real and the support that I received from everyone was so amazing. 

When people share their hardest times and deepest feelings with me I feel beyond grateful. 

When I reach people at such a level I know I am in the right place. 

What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2019, and how did you tackle it?

Losing Sherman. 

That was a very tough time for me and I didn’t know how or if I could keep the blog going. 

This is my job and people think that’s wonderful and that I’m so lucky but sometimes it’s just as hard if not harder than any other job.

Many people have been reading this blog and following the lives of Sherman and Leroy since the beginning. 

They have grown to love and know them. 

They watch for updates on them and they bring a smile to many people even on bad days. 

It was heartbreaking for me to lose Sherman but I also had to share the news with thousands of other people.

The day Sherman left us I was grieving hard but I had to think of a way to tell everyone. 

Things like that are emotionally and mentally draining. 

I haven’t tackled it yet.

I’m still struggling with it and I probably always will.

Another challenge was treating this blog like a business!

It took some time this year but now I have meetings and all kinds of fun things just like a regular job!

(Sometimes the meetings are with other people but sometimes they are with the dogs. They are my co-workers after all!)

One goal that we all seem to share is we want to reach more people. What is your #1 tip for bringing more traffic to your blog?

This will probably be an unpopular response but my community is everything.

So many people take about SEO strategies but here’s the thing, SEO is important for search engines but if someone comes to my blog I want them to stay. 

Especially if they are searching for Newfie related things. 

There is so much more to being a successful blogger than just writing blog posts for search engines. 

It’s not an easy job and it’s not a “get rich quick job” for most of us.


We hope that you like the products we featured in today’s post. Just so we’re clear, My Brown Newfies is a participant in the Amazon LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

If it was, everyone would be doing it. 

Take the time to build your community.

Listen to them and answer their questions and be you when doing it. 

Be real and be honest. Tell a story that they can relate to.

I also have to add that what works for me may not work for everyone. 

I don’t take SEO courses. I don’t take Pinterest courses. 

I write what I want to write and I cross my fingers and hope that someone reads it.

New bloggers should also check out Pet Blogging For Love and Money!

Do you do sponsored posts/reviews? If so, what do you find works best and how do you determine what to charge for a blog post, social media shares, etc.? If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?

I do some sponsored post/reviews but I’m pretty particular with who and what. 

It has to be something that I would use and something that I think would benefit other Newfie owners or dog people. 

It also has to be fun and worth my time.

I do not do free product reviews because free product doesn’t pay my bills. 

How much I charge depends on what is involved with the sponsorship. 

Sponsored posts can take a lot of time so before I quote a price I have to talk with the brand to see what they are looking for. 

The only time that I may not charge for the post if there is an affiliate option and I’m crazy about the product. 

odin the adopted Newfoundland

A perfect example of that is Duo Gear

I’m an affiliate for Duo Gear Harnesses because I use their product and I have 100% faith in them. 

They are a wonderful company that cares about their product and the dogs that they create their products for. 

As a new company in a hard product category, I want to help them succeed as much as I can. 

Looking forward to 2020, if you accomplish only one thing through your blog, what do you hope it is?

Now that Odin has joined our family, the doors are wide open for the blog and I think I’ll be able to tackle more questions in real-time. 

It’s been a long time since we’ve had spry, young Newfie in the house and now a whole bunch of ideas are rushing back. 

I can be in real-time now and share real-time tips instead of trying to use my memory to recall things from when Sherman and Leroy were younger. 

Odin the landseer Newfoundland

Sherman and Leroy were old for a long time and that’s a good thing but Odin has definitely brought back a little pep in my step!

Now I can relate to having a senior and a youngin!

I just want to keep creating informative and entertaining posts to keep readers coming back!

What steps are you planning to take to ensure you reach your goal?

I am doing things with Odin that I wish I would have done with Sherman and Leroy when they were younger. 

This includes training and getting more experience and involved in working activities. 

This is more of a behind the scenes effort that will hopefully make me a better mentor. 

The blogging landscape is constantly changing. What changes in blogging do you see coming in 2020 and beyond? What plans do you have to evolve?


Video is huge and a thorn in my side because I’m not very good at it. 

I can take a picture but shooting and editing a video is a whole other story!

Practice makes perfect, or close to it, so I’m just going to keep practicing and hopefully learn a few things along the way!

I would also like to be more present, as in showing MY face more.

Odin and Jen

I think people like to see the person behind the dogs here and there and this is a challenge for me because I’m very self-conscious. 

I’ve been taking little steps with this by talking a little more in my IG stories and trying to get more pictures of myself with the dogs.

I’ve bought equipment that makes this process easier too!

But it does cause me a lot of anxiety so if you see or hear me around, please be kind!

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

My biggest struggle is me. 

I’m trying to decide if I should change my blog name. 

Let’s face it. 

We are no longer My Brown Newfies. 

My Brown Newfies was Sherman and Leroy and now it’s Leroy and Odin. 

I go back and forth about keeping it to honor the boys or changing it to the present day. 

These are the things that suck when your business is a big piece of your heart.

It’s confusing to people who are new here to see a brown Newfie and a black and white Newfie because how come Odin isn’t a part of the title and where’s the other brown Newf?

Going forward I would love to have a variety of colors in regards to Newfs. 

A few names I’ve thought of are Jenny and the Newfs or My Newfie Life 

I never thought this blog would outlive my dogs let alone become my job!

So do I keep this blog and keep the name?

Keep this blog and change the name?

Or start another blog and leave this one as is?

Alright, that was a mouthful and a little emotional!

If you’ve read this far, thank you!!!

To see the other pet blogger’s journey posts visit here

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Wednesday 5th of February 2020

It's been a dificult year for you but eventually it ended up with a happy ending. You're such a great dog mom.

Marjorie @ (@whskr)

Saturday 1st of February 2020

Losing a giant character like Sherman must have been a desperate time. Losing Dash Kitten was a major blow for me and I nearly gave up, but I had a lot of support and, importantly, its the support of your readers that makes the biggest difference to every blog. Having a brand name and strong personality means a blog is greatly loved, and I know you are.


Friday 31st of January 2020

I'm not even a dog blogger, but I love your blog. I also love the way you signed off in your signature - Jen the crazy Newfie girl - perhaps there's something there for your new name?


Wednesday 29th of January 2020

Hi Jen, I'm sorry about Sherman. When I saw your post on social media about him, your pain was palpable. I remember attending my first and only Blog Paws conference in 2018, and hearing about you and how you couldn't be there because Sherman needed you. I started following you because my reaction was "What a good dog mom!"

As far as your question goes, please forgive my lengthy response. I'm an over thinker:) and a data nerd. Seems to me that you value your relationship with your community of readers, especially people who love Newfies. Maybe you could ask them in an email survey? Or Facebook? Maybe you could ask different questions of different readers. Like formulate questions for your long-time readers and use a 1-10 strength scale to determine how strongly they feel about the name of the blog they've been visiting for years. For newer readers, you could write questions addressing how confusing it was for them to see Newfies who weren't just brown. Maybe you could use that information to revise your About page, if need be, to address whatever those readers might say.

Personally, I very much associate the name My Brown Newfies more with you than your dogs, but that's probably because I'm a fellow blogger. I love reading about everyone's pets, but I'm always looking at writing style, use of humor, graphic design, and all those creative pieces the person makes. I say keep the name as is and keep on writing!

Curious to see what you ultimately decide! Cheers! Irene

Cathy Bendzunas

Tuesday 28th of January 2020

We have a lot in common though I focus on very tiny dogs (chihuahuas) and you focus on very big dogs. I too have made my blog my full time career. I also struggle with putting my face more out there. And I totally agree with your stance on making your blog a community. I'm not very good at SEO (trying to change that) but my saving grace has been developing a strong community around my blog.

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