This is a “Thank you” to all of you who visited USWildflowers.com this year, for helping to make this “hobby” of mine successful and rewarding.
Statistically, USWildflowers.com grew from 404 species at the end of 2012 to 477 at the end of 2014, with over 1500 photographs of those 477 species. Each species on this site represents several hours (in some cases MANY hours) of work photographing, researching, and publishing the photographs and updates to the database. You have rewarded me for that effort in 2013 with a 44% increase in visits over 2012, and a 37% increase in pageviews – over 1.35 million pageviews.
Importantly, your choices while visiting this site have also resulted in some financial “success” as well. While the revenue from your interest in our advertisers wouldn’t provide anywhere near a living wage for anyone in the US, it has provided income for gas for wildflower photography trips to continue to expand the website and to allow guarantee the website expenses will be covered for at least another year. This is important because now that I’m retired, my retirement income cannot subsidize the website or the gasoline for those photography trips.
I also want to look forward a bit here. I set some 5-year goals, and among them was to reach 500 species. I should be able to get there by mid-year, Lord willing. I had hoped to retrofit some research information and more/betters photos on some of the older species after I “fully retired” a few months ago (partial retirement in late 2012,) but so far some “family issues” have taken much of my extra time. I still hope to start that effort in earnest sometime in 2014. I also hope to be able to put some improved search capabilities based on some plant attributes on the site in 2014. And, if the website revenue is sufficient, maybe include a trip to more “exotic” locations for wildflower photography – adding more western species to the site.
But as I walk each day to determine what to do, I need to keep this in mind, from Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) – “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”