The Jaguar and Allies Named a Top 25 Wildlife Blog

A jaguar cub climbing on a log.
Life is just an uphill climb. Jaguar Cub by Bill Gracey. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Intro

I have exciting news: The Jaguar and Allies has been named a top 25 wildlife blog by Feedspot.com.

Feedspot is an online directory that reviews blogs and ranks them. It’s a service that helps blog owners get more visibility, while also making it easier for readers and companies to sort through the best content in particular subject areas.

The Story

I’ve followed my friend Chape’s excellent fitness blog since I started on WordPress. In April of last year, Chape’s blog was rated as the 73rd best in the fitness category by Feedspot; which, given the massive number of fitness blogs on the planet, was a massive achievement. The ranking changed Chape’s life, and proved to be a huge boon for his personal training business. Now, Chape’s ranking has improved to 64th best.

Be sure to check out Chape’s blog!

Inspired by Chape’s example, I set out to have my own blog scrutinized. I submitted my blog to Feedspot, and the next day they said that my blog had, “High quality and useful content on wildlife,” and that they would be happy to include it in their list of the top 75 wildlife blogs. However, they asked me to $2/month for a subscription.

At this point I hesitated, but I decided to go through with it. I thought that my blog would squeeze in at the bottom of the top 75 list, because it’s tiny. So, imagine my surprise when I woke up yesterday to see that Feedspot had rated my site as the 24th best wildlife blog out of the “thousands of top Wildlife blogs in our index!”

The vast majority of the blogs above me are run by organizations with teams of people, not just one guy who blogs in his spare time. I also have never made a dime from my blog (quite the opposite, actually), and I’m not a biologist: nearly everything I know about wildlife is self-taught. Thus, the fact that my blog made it into the top 25 is huge!

The site logo with a roaring jaguar icon.
I’d say that being considered one of the top 25 wildlife blogs deserves a fancy logo.

What Now?

I have no idea what comes next. My blog is diminutive in comparison to most of the others in the top 75 list, so I need to gain more followers.

The good news is that I’ve barely begun to unlock this site’s potential; however, the bad news is that I can’t afford to invest more time and resources into this blog unless I can find a way to get paid for it.

When I first disclosed this impasse in December of 2018, readers gave me various ideas. My friend Amanda told me about Patreon, whereas the multi-talented Jixi Fox said I could just remove all of the Creative Commons (CC) images that were preventing me from monetizing this blog.

I’ve looked into both of those ideas; and, while I’m truly grateful to Amanda and Jixi for their suggestions, I’m not sure either of them are ideal. Apparently no one makes a living on Patreon, and removing the CC images on my blog would seriously harm its quality.

A Balrog with a flaming whip.
A visual representation of a lawsuit. Balrog Lord of the Rings by Graeme. CC BY 3.0

The only other possibilities I can think of are allowing people to pay me to write about them (I wouldn’t use CC images in sponsored posts), or trying to break into a field like travel writing. While the latter option would not involve monetizing this blog, it’d give me plenty of ‘behind the scenes’ content that I could post.

I have to give these ideas more thought and research though, because I don’t want to get sued.

No matter how I resolve my integrity vs. survival conflict, I’d love it if you could share my blog on social media; the 24th best wildlife blog out of “thousands” deserves more than ~2,900 followers (2,220 when you subtract my Facebook friends).

Thank you for your support!

69 Thoughts

  1. Wonderful! Congratulations, Josh.

    I only personally know a few people on Patreon, and the highest income they’ve mentioned to me is around $700 a month at this point. Not enough to quit the day job, but definitely a boost in income. He’s been at it for about a year and a half, I think.

    I hope this well-deserved recognition leads to greater visibility and more options for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Josh, I don’t know much more about growing a blog than what you express here, but one thing I have heard is good is to guest blog. I’d love to have you as a guest blogger at The Ecotone Exchange, and we’ll write a little promo blurb and hyperlink to The Jaguar. Interested? Best, Neva

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is really amazing news Josh! Congratulations on your work, but more importantly, thank you for doing such a wonderful job of disseminating research on wildlife conservation in such a simple and relatable manner. It is a skill that many of us lack and I hope to learn that from you someday. Also, I was wondering if you have written any post on how you started/how you go about finding new material to write about, and how you finally get down to writing about it. This would give immense direction to newbies like me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I’ve posted about my writing process before, but that would make a good entry. When I was in grad school it was easy to find material to write about, because I had access to many academic journals. Now, however, it’s a bit more difficult. I also follow a lot of relevant news sources and organizations, like Mongabay and Panthera.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I do the same. For me what helps is adding email alerts to some key journals that I follow so that new content comes directly to my mail, rather than me going to the journal and checking for new content. I would really really be interested in reading about your writing process and I hope that you will take this suggestion up.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations Josh!!
    Sometimes dynamite comes in the small packages, the fancy new logo looks real fancy, Nice!!

    Goodluck with the survival vs integrity debate and hope you come to a reasonable balance.

    As to the having thousands of followers, well sometimes you make more impact having a small specialised community than some of the bigger fishes in the pond, which is why you would probably find you might even be rating higher than some blogs with larger following and lower engagements.
    Not pointing any fingers but I have seen a murky online world where people hire clickfarms and pay for other dubious schemes such as url hijacking links and clickbaits to get traffic and followers so they seem like they have the most going on yet for benefit of sponsors and adverts and their site end up lacking that genuine feel to it.

    Here’s to the big 25!!
    ~B

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks B!

      I was wondering if the fact that people interact with each other a lot on my blog might’ve helped my rating. As you pointed out, one can have tons of followers (sometimes obtained through questionable means) but very little reader engagement on their blog, and I’m not sure which factor is most important. I’m unwilling to pay for followers though, so I guess I’ll have to invest in reader engagement.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had a look at the list to check out your “competition” well technically like I was ointing out to my fledgling class of blogging mentees (yeah looks like its going to be a thing) its not your competition just because people like a particular site or blog does not mean they can not like or follow yours as well……
        I think you position is greatly deserved, keep doing what you been doing or more of that ha! it seems to be a winning strategy
        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done, Josh! Your blog is certainly one of the best on the web for up to date information about projects and events related to Big and Small cats in the Wild – very informative overall and it looks great too! (especially your new template). Furthermore you have a lively community here and your comments section is active and vibrant – always a pleasure to visit for the articles, photographs and commentary.

    May you continue to go from Strength to Strength!

    Jacques

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations, Josh! You definitely need to stick to writing, even if you move away from WordPress and get your own website, or something else at some point down the road. Your passion for wildlife really comes through in your writing and you’re the best wildlife blogger I know. Not to mention you actually make connections with your followers. Keep up the good work :)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Just caught up with this. Congratulations !
    Many CC licenses allow commercial use. I think all of my CC images do. I am always more than happy for them to be used for advocacy and conservation and was very pleased to see some of them used on this site.
    If you ever want to use any which you think fall outside the CC license just let me know and I’ll send you a specific release for them.
    Again, well done for your achievement against some much bigger competition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your encouragement!

      I’ve noticed that some CC licenses allow for commercial use, which means I would still have options regarding photographs. And, if you’d be willing to entertain photo uses that fall outside of the license terms, then maybe other photographers would as well? If I earn money from a post though, I’d like to pay photographers a tip though, if they’ll allow it.

      I’ll definitely let you know if I want to use one of your photos in a way that I’m not sure about license-wise. And once again, thanks for uploading some of your pictures on Flickr with CC licenses, so that people like myself can use them!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations Josh! I always enjoy reading your blog, it’s both informative and accessible. It deserves to be among the greats. I’ve also just read your brilliant article, Save Planet Show Yourself, in The Revelator. Well, well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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