Annual Report: 2016

Thanks for another good year at USWildflowers.com in 2016.

Small Green Woodland Orchid - Platanthera clavellata

Dozens of Small Green Woodland Orchids were blooming in Sullivan’s Swamp at Grayson Highlands State Park

Statistically, USWildflowers.com grew from 533 species at the end of 2015 to 560 at the end of 2016 – 27 new species added in 2016 compared to 21 new species added in 2015.  Part of the impetus for the increased production was a trip made out to the west in late August through mid-October – 6 of those 27 new species (with several more to come) were additions to my lifelist and photographed on that trip. Each species on this site represents several hours (in some cases MANY hours) of work photographing, researching, writing descriptions, and publishing the photographs and updates to the database.

USWildflowers.com continued its visitor growth in 2016, albeit at a slower rate than in the past.  Page views were up just under 9% over 2015, exceeding the milestone 2 million views for the first time. In the latter part of 2016 there were actually two months (August and December) with a lower number of pageviews than in 2015, accentuating the decreased growth rate.

The number of visits increased about 12% over 2015. The transition from desktop computers to mobile devices continues. Rummaging through a website is probably not as likely to occur on a phone or tablet as it is when you have a large screen and pointing device like that on a desktop computer, so the page views per visit has continued to decline a bit, although that decline has decreased; perhaps mobile saturation has completed. Bandwidth constraints might also become a consideration from home as Internet providers such as Comcast start implementing bandwidth caps on home Internet services (I just moved from Comcast to EPB for Internet service, partially due to Comcast’s bandwidth cap.) Even though, unlike with mobile device caps, the vast majority of users do not come close to the current at-home bandwidth caps, that will likely change over the next couple of years as more and more streaming video replaces cable programming.

I also changed the focus of my social media from Twitter to Facebook in 2016, creating a USWildflowers.com Facebook page. So far my involvement on Facebook is less time-consuming than was the Twitter involvement, but that move to Facebook was timed coincidentally with the slowing growth in website traffic; I suspect it is just coincidental and not really related…

Advertising revenue increased by about 10% in 2016, slightly better than the page-view increase. USWildflowers.com is still a self-sustaining hobby in my retirement, and that revenue is important in helping partially finance some some of the travel to more “exotic” locations for wildflower photography – such as the early August trip to Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia which yielded photographs of at least four new species, including Small Green Woodland Orchid and others which are still pending publication, and a small portion of the expenses of the aforementioned trip out west.

In 2016 I continued my alternate hobby – rock climbing; still mostly in the gym, but this year I was able to somewhat combine both hobbies. The Grayson Highlands trip was primarily a bouldering trip and the western trip was a family visit / sightseeing , but as indicated previously, I was also able to get in some wildflower photography sessions both trip, and also some climbing sessions. I hope to be able to also do that in 2017 – another trip out west would be great, but time and financial constraints might squelch that idea. We’ll see what transpires.

Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) – “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

Goforia (V0) at Rocktown

The author on Goforia (V0) at Rocktown, 3/10/2016

I hope that you and yours will have a happy and rewarding 2017. Thanks for your ongoing use of USWildflowers.com as a resource in your effort to enjoy and identify wildflowers of the United States.

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