Shreve Stockton authors DailyCoyote.net, a highly successful, award-winning blog that centers
around Charlie, an orphaned coyote which Stockton adopted, her pet cat Eli and dog Chloe. But
Stockton’s road to blogging success was not typical. She had no intentions of turning her passions
and her daily life into a business. Yet, that’s exactly what happened.
Website Magazine interviewed Stockton and what we learned were some valuable insights
into what it takes to manage a successful blog and how blogging can lead to other opportunities
outside of the Web.
WM:How did The Daily Coyote start, and did you have
a specific goal in mind?
Stockton: I was just taking photographs of Charlie
from day one, because that’s what I love to do. I was
then e-mailing those photos to friends and family every
day. One of my closest friends called me and mentioned
how much friends and coworkers were enjoying
them, then suggested that I should be compensated for
my work. And that got me thinking.
WM: How did you find your audience?
Stockton: People just started talking about it. Some
of my cousins were in college and would talk about it
on campus, and friends in their offices would talk at
work. Then people were linking to me after searching
Google for coyote pictures. The site was linked with
some kind of dog website that was popular and that
was my first big hit. When Dooce.com linked to me,
that's when it went into the stratosphere. Her whole
readership was interested in my site. Suddenly I had
orders, and a book deal.
I suggest seeing who has a wide range, a built-in
audience and see what you can do for them.
WM: You seem to have a strong connection with your
Stockton: I’ve made an effort to make it really
honest, an almost vulnerable place. I’m showing what
is real to me.
Because I post at a regular time every day, readers
know they can count on me. There’s this rhythm, a
consistency that has created a sense of intimacy.
Some bloggers find it beneficial to post irregularly so
readers keep coming back to check for new content,
gaining page impressions. I’ve found it more important
in the long run to be more consistent and dependable.
WM: What elements of The Daily Coyote have you
found to be the most profitable?
Stockton: Advertising on blogs is often spoken of
as the Holy Grail — that has not been the case for me.
I do have advertising but it's a very minor supplement.
I certainly couldn't live off it. It’s the other products that I
provide that have been the best sources of income; the
subscriptions to daily photos*, calendars, prints and the
I would recommend people decide what product or
service they can provide in a regular way. Daily subscriptions
are a small amount but renewable and ongoing.
I suggest people use their website as a vehicle for a
product, rather than blogging for the sake of advertising.
There are so many areas to grow a business if people
WM: You started out with a Blogger account then
moved to your current .net domain. Was that a
Stockton: It was a great learning experience. I did lose
a lot of backlinks — there were so many links to the
blogspot site and many of them were archived.
I designed the [new] site so visually it was cleaner
and easier to navigate, but very similar to the original site
so people would not be jarred by a massive change.
The regular readers updated their blogrolls and I
tried to make the transition as easy as possible. I still
have the blogger site active, and at the top is a notice of
the new site.
I recommend starting with the domain that you want
to stay with.
WM:How many hours per week do you spend on The
Stockton: A lot of time is spent e-mailing and keeping
up correspondence. That's something I've had to learn
how to balance. I spend all day Sunday working with
photos for the week and lining them all up. It’s probably
about 25 hours per week.
WM:Has Twitter helped grow your audience and earn
Stockton: It’s been a great way to keep a connection
with my current audience without going into an entire
blog post. That’s been fantastic. It's done great things to
maintain the audience that I have. People who follow me
do reference me and my book, so their followers are
getting introduced to me.
WM: Do you have any long-term goals?
Stockton: My main goal is to stay focused on what’s
meaningful to me and not getting too wrapped up in the
dark parts of the Web. I've decided to keep it an outlet
for my creativity — in business and in art.