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Our Pets Health - helping to educate pet owners online

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Oct 8th 2018 - By Dr Alex Avery, Our Pets Health
Our Pets Health Logo 2

Our Pets Health - providing pet owners with quality, veterinarian created, online information 

A few months ago a new member Dr Alex Avery, joined Vetanswers and listed his business Our Pets Health under the Pet Care Education Business Type. So naturally, I was interested to find out more and wow - I was impressed!

Our Pets Health consists of a website with a blog (many posts also accompanied by video content) and a range of resources. There's also a Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, Instagram and Twitter accounts (links below). Considering Our Pets Health only started in November 2017, Alex is a one-man-band AND a practising veterinarian, you can see why I was so impressed!

So I asked Alex some questions to find out more...

Tell us what your website, Our Pets Health is all about.

Alex: Our Pets Health is all about providing pet owners with reliable, in-depth, evidence-based pet health information to help them keep their pet as healthy as possible; as well as allow them to fully understand the problem their pet is experiencing and be more comfortable with any decisions they need to make.

When did you set it up and why?

Alex: I had the idea a couple of years ago and after a lot of research and planning launched in November 2017. The months leading up to this were spent learning everything from website construction to video production, editing and YouTube optimisation.  The actual vet content has been the easy bit!

It all started after getting fed up of the standard of advice either given by "Dr Google" or found in answers on the many pet health forums and Facebook groups out there. The internet is a dangerous place sometimes and there is no use refuting the fact that people spend huge amounts of time online, take pride in doing their own "research” and can be easily influenced or manipulated by people giving false hope, incorrect information or simply scare-mongering.

I hope that when people read good information, that likely echoes what they are being told by their own veterinarian; it will help them work more closely with their veterinarian and allow them to best utilise the resources that are available to them.  It is easy to recommend and decide on gold standard treatment, but if funds, equipment or expertise are not available it is important that the path taken does not waste either time or money needlessly. Unfortunately, stories of people spending a fortune on unproven supplements only to then be unable to afford painkilling medication when they eventually seek veterinary help are not uncommon. This is a situation that I would like to help people avoid and instead get the best bang for their buck!

Watch this 4-minute video to hear Alex explain: Why I Created Our Pets Health:

What are your aims/goals for Our Pets Health?

Alex: My vision for the site is "the best care for every pet, with every condition, every time"! I hope that over time the resources and articles found on ourpetshealth.com will cover every common (and not so common) health condition and pet care topic. This will allow people to know the best options to look after their pet and keep them healthy, as well as confidently make decisions in collaboration with their vet if their pet becomes unwell.

I also want to provide the information in as user-friendly and accessible a way as possible but in sufficient depth to give people all the information needed. This is why I have a video and podcast for every written post. We all learn differently and prefer to consume content in different ways so I hope to be able to reach everyone, no matter their preference.

Setting up a website and writing all the content is a BIG job – how did you go about doing it?

Alex: I started with the rather naive assumption that it would only take a couple of hours every week! If I’d known how much work it would take I’m not sure I would have started. For the 6 months prior to launch I researched website creation and optimizing for YouTube as that is the platform where, in my opinion, there is less competition and search results are more immediately surfaced.  Website SEO takes much longer and I started researching this more after my first few months.  There is so much to learn which has been a real and ongoing challenge but I have really enjoyed the process.

I opted to go with the drag and drop website builder Squarespace. It may not be as powerful as Wordpress, which is what a lot of websites are built with, but it looks good (at least I think so), is really simple to use and still powerful for SEO. To stay organised I use the free app Trello which has been essential for juggling all of the tasks needed to launch each piece of content and keep track of my to-do list. There are quite a few other tools and programs I use for video editing, image creation and SEO research.

Our Pets Health: Facebook Page

Is it just you, or are others involved?

Alex: At the moment Our Pets Health is completely a one-man band! This is a problem in that it takes me much longer to do certain tasks that could be outsourced, but it has kept the costs down and means if I ever get to the stage where expansion is possible I will have a good basic understanding of every area of the site.

I can also say that I am responsible for every aspect which I am quite proud of, especially considering my background is as a clinical vet and nothing to do with website development or content creation.

How long did it take you to set it up and write the content?

Alex: When I launched I had about 6 weeks worth of content written, filmed and edited. Since then I have been producing 2 blog posts, videos and podcasts every week. Some of these are completely scripted although more now start their life as a set of bullet points and the video is then transcribed and edited to create the article.

How much time do you spend on Our Pets Health each week?

Alex: Put it this way, there is never enough time! I would estimate I spend on average 15 - 20 hours a week on the site.  The vast majority of my time is spent researching topics, writing scripts, editing videos and optimizing everything on their respective platforms.  I have also produced some videos in collaboration with other Youtube channels and have some other exciting collaborations in the pipeline.

Are you still working in practice? If so, how do you find time for everything?

Alex: Yes, I am very much still a practising vet, although excluding after hours I only work 4 days a week. With both children now at school or kindy My “day off” gives me about 5 hours to work on Our Pets Health with the rest of the work taking place in lunch breaks and a couple of hours most evenings when the family are in bed!

Our Pets Health: A few of their blog posts

Are you hoping to monetise Our Pets Health? If so how?

Alex: At the moment the only monetisation is through Amazon affiliate sales which have only generated a tiny amount. There is definitely scope for multiple other revenue streams and I have several ideas to explore around this in the future. To start with I wanted to concentrate on creating a sound back-catalogue of content and generating traffic.

I would definitely like to get to a point though where the website not just pays for itself but provides some extra to help support me and my family into the future and make the website sustainable long term.

Is there anything you would like our Community to do to help Our Pets Health?

Alex: I’m always looking for unbiased constructive criticism.  Let me know what you think of the website, what works well and what needs improving, as well as any features or topics you would like to see included in the future to better help their clients.

I’m also always open to collaboration ideas if anyone has any projects or ideas they would like to explore.

And finally, everyone should sign up to my newsletter to keep in touch and share all of my content everywhere online!!

How did you develop your up-to-the-minute marketing skills (& how can we get other vets onboard?)

Alex: I listen to a lot of podcasts on the way to and from work! A few of my favourites are both Pat Flynn podcasts (Ask Pat 2.0 and Smart Passive Income), Problogger, Foundr, Marketing School, Youpreneur FM and SEO Podcast Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing. I also listen to a couple of veterinary podcasts which I find a great way of keeping up with clinical developments.

I am of the opinion that veterinary practice and the online pet health space is very much like any other niche. There are unique challenges (as there are in every industry) but we can learn a lot from how things are done in other industries and adapt them to meet the needs of ourselves and our clients.

I have a lot of marketing ideas but to be honest have not had the time to implement them at this stage. Trying to batch produce and automate the process as much as possible is the next big research project on my to-do list and I have a few experiments I hope to run to try and find the best way to reach more pets, people and continue to grow.

Find out more about Our Pets Health...

Click here to visit Our Pets Health Website

Click here to subscribe to Our Pets Health YouTube Chanel

Click here to visit Our Pet's Health Facebook Page

Click here to follow Our Pets Health on Instagram

Click here to follow Our Pets Health on Twitter

If you have any questions for Alex or would like to know more about Our Pets Health just ask in the Comments section below.

About Alex

Dr Alex Avery graduated from Vet School at the University of Bristol in the UK in 2006 and went straight into general mixed practice. After 3 years he moved into exclusive companion animal practice in New Zealand, and remained as head vet for 5 years until another move took him back to the UK and into a very busy first opinion companion animal practice.  After two years in this 9 vet progressive practice, he returned to New Zealand at the end of 2016.

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