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Featured Blogger – Serena at Pretty Fluffy

Pretty Fluffy

When did you start your blog?

Pretty Fluffy launched back in November 2010.

Why did you start blogging?

For me, Pretty Fluffy combines two of my greatest loves – dogs and writing!

However it wasn’t until 2008 when I began planning my wedding that I discovered blogs and what they had to offer. I became hooked on Style Me Pretty and soon enough all sorts of wedding, lifestyle, food and interior design blogs started filling up my reader. As I discovered this whole new world of inspiration I knew blogging was something that I wanted to do.

As a TV producer, I’ve always had a creative element to my day job, but starting my own blog allowed me to dig a lot deeper and reach people on a much more personal level.

As for the subject content, I saw a gap in the market where people looking for fashionable pet products, DIY projects, tips and articles were not represented. Pets are such a big parts of our lives and I wanted to show that stylish, inspired living and pet ownership weren’t mutually exclusive.

Describe your blog in 20 words or less

Pretty Fluffy is the go to guide for the modern pet owner. We’re about life, style and fluffy dogs! (and also the not so fluffy ones too!)

What are your 5 must have tools for blogging?

Adobe Photoshop, InDesign & Illustrator Suite – For crisper, brighter photos, unique layouts and graphics.

WordPress Editorial Calendar – To schedule ahead with ease.

iPhone – For social media and photos on the go.

Facebook – A great place to create a community for your blog, and share content.

Soda – My 12 year old Border Collie is my inspiration and resident blog model (she’s compensated in treats and hugs!)

What is your favourite part of being a blogger?

I know EVERYONE says this, but I have to say the relationships I’ve formed with other bloggers and industry professionals has been amazing. Not only because I’ve met all of these wonderful people, but by finding others who you can relate to on such a personal level helps you discover the real you under all the layers and social labels you’ve had for so long.

By finding kindred spirits and dedicating so much time to a personal project, I’ve really gotten to know myself a lot better and feel I’m more authentic in my day to day actions.

What would be the biggest thing you have learnt since starting your blog?

Ditching the word ‘niche’! A few months after I started my blog I found myself posting on anything and everything to do with dogs rather than what I was inspired by. I’d let myself become defined by a category and lost authenticity in the process. By all means you need to know who your readers are and how you connect to them, but don’t let a niche define you. Be unique!

I’d also have to say letting go. I think there are lots of bloggers (myself included) that are perfectionists and you always wish you’d written that last sentence a bit better or taken that photo in better light. But by posting on a daily basis there’s always something new to focus on, so you learn from your mistakes, keep having fun and just do the best you can.

If you could start again, what would you do differently?

Ha ha – can I say everything? When I started blogging I was clueless. Clueless!!

To be honest I think I would start with a Pinterest account to develop my aesthetic for a blog, while behind the scenes I would develop a healthy schedule for writing content. It takes a while to find your groove, so by having an online presence BEFORE you actually launch could only be a help in my eyes.

What has been your blog¹s biggest achievement?

Can I have two? Most recently it was the release of our first ever eBook ’52 Weeks of Treats’. It was a labour of love that is now been downloaded by dog lovers across the globe!

Secondly it was my animal welfare initiative ‘The 13 Project’. It was all about the small ways we can help animals in our day-to-day lives. Not only did it get a great response on Pretty Fluffy, it was shared thousands of times on social media and countless bloggers joined the project worldwide. Even if it helped just one dog find a loving home, that meant everything to me.

What do you find is the best way to help promote your blog?

I think Guest Posting on other blogs is a great way to reach others. However, my latest favourite is Pinterest. One day I noticed a huge spike in traffic to Pretty Fluffy and it all came back to someone pinning a photo from a recent post.

What advice would you have for new chick bloggers?

Focus on creating content rather than content curation. By all means, share products, content or images you find inspiring; but by focusing on what you have to share and create, you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Whether it’s great writing, creative projects, styling your own shoots, personal photography – whatever you have to share, just give people something they haven’t seen before. Your readers will get something new and you’ll enjoy the process.

Also for those starting out I would definitely recommend Holly Becker’s Blogging Your Way online course. I did it last year and my blog grew in leaps and bounds following the class.

Do you (or do you plan to) make any income from your blog?

Last year I started offering advertising spots on Pretty Fluffy. The majority of this goes straight back into the site paying for hosting costs, DIY materials and blogging/design tools. However we are expanding and I’d love it to become a full time business in the not too distant future.

What future goals do you have for your blog?

I’ve got a lot of exciting new features coming to Pretty Fluffy in the coming months – I can’t wait to share them!

It’s also been a dream working with our new features writer, Sarah Dickerson of Chic Sprinkles. She’ll be contributing more and sharing all of her wonderful projects. She’s so talented – I feel very lucky to work alongside her.

Overall, I would love to continue to grow our audience to allow me to justify spending more and more time creating content – it makes me happy and I feel like I’m contributing something joyful to the world.

What is your all time favourite post that you would love people to read?

Apart from the posts mentioned above, this post would be closest to my heart: Happy Messy Love

It’s what Pretty Fluffy is all about. Loving your life and everything that’s in it.

What is your most popular post (in comments, or traffic received)?

My DIY post for No Bake Healthy Treats for You and Your Pooch. My guess is there are a lot of people out there like me who like eating, without having to spend hours in the kitchen!

Who are your 5 favourite chick bloggers and why?

Chic Sprinkles – Sarah is such a creative talent in so many ways and her site always makes me happy when I visit. It’s beautiful in every way – just like her.

IHeart Organizing – Jen is just the sweetest blogger in the world. For someone who has an amazing site with millions of readers, she remains the most down-to-earth and genuine person. I’m so grateful to be a regular contributor to her site and to call her a blogging friend.

The Blog Stylist – I first discovered The Blog Stylist when I was launching Pretty Fluffy. Her tips are easy to follow and I can’t even explain how much they helped me when I was starting out. I’ve since met Bree and can also say she’s an absolute sweetheart as well!

Little Bits of Lovely – Rachel was one of the first bloggers that reached out to me when I started. Her amazingly popular blog is a testament to her fabulous style and beautiful character.

Puppy Tales & Life With Addison – I’m doing a 2-in-1 for my final pick! Each of these fabulous ladies are just as dog crazy as me in their own individual way and I love them for it.

About Leigh

Leigh is the founder of Blog Chicks and has been blogging, managing content and moderating communities in various forms since 2002. She now makes a living from her passion, which offsets her evenings spent Blog Chicks'ing and looking at cat gifs. You can find her personal blog at absoluteLeigh, and her first ever community at All For Women
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