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That Time I Ran a Website and Posted Nothing but Cute Animals (YesPets)

Screenshot of the YesPets homepage with photos and stories about red pandas, dogs, cats, bunnies and more

Editorial Direction, YesPets, 2015-2016

As the editor for YesPets, I got to do what everyone dreams of: share stories about amazing animals all day long.

I know, I know, it sounds like a fake job. I'm not even sure that I completely understood it at first. Something, something, data, something, something, advertisers, something, something, research and assign stories about puppies for eight hours every day. SOLD!

I really need to emphasize the "data" part of things. Gateway Media had loads of tools that dug up trending topics, gamed social media algorithms and pointed editors towards ideas that were likely to go viral (or viral-esque, relative to that editor's typical site audience). We also tested different ways of packaging content (lead photos, text on photos, circling stuff on photos... lots of photo work, along with videos, crazy headlines and different text formats) and tried tons of sneaky SEO tricks.

It was a lot of work for each slideshow, article, listicle and video, but it generally paid off; my YesPets audience of pet lovers and older women gobbled up everything my writers and I gave them about about cats wearing Santa suits and the human snacks that you should never, ever feed to dogs. Also, we invited some kittens to a staff meeting one time, and it was THE CUTEST THING EVER.

Things were awesome until they weren't. The company put all of its efforts into chasing certain Facebook algorithms, the bottom fell out because Facebook is Facebook duh, and a quarter of Gateway's staff was chopped nine months after I'd arrived -- yes, I was one of those let go, sadly. #StartupProblems.

But, man, it was fun while it lasted -- not only for the pets, but also because I got to work with my former media editor a second time. I'll probably never again get to run a site devoted to dishing out so much animal cuteness every day, but if the opportunity does ever come up, I'll be ready.

Note: After I left Gateway Media, the company restructured and changed the CMS, deleting or altering a ton of authors' work on both YesPets and BrainJet. The YesPets site is still up, but the actual content isn't there -- only headlines and some bylines. The site has been gutted, which is why I've included a few social media screenshots in addition to landing pages and headlines below.


Topic landing pages

Overflow stories


Click a photo below to begin the carousel of social media posts.

Personal social media posts

P.S.: You should visit this link to watch the in-office kitten video on Facebook.

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