Today our little website celebrates its first year online and so it seems a good time for us to give a brief summary of how it has performed and how we should like it to grow. Beyond a consideration of the number of ‘hits’ we get we have no way of knowing how popular or useful our site is; we have had many very complimentary comments from friends involved with beetles and there have been a few posts on facebook referring to our site but beyond this we can only gauge the interest in our site by the number of hits. From an encouraging start in January things went gradually downhill during February and March, before April and May increased slightly. But this was hardly encouraging as it was still below the initial figures from January and we were starting to feel a bit fed up. In June the numbers picked up and restored our faith but as this is the height of our season perhaps it was not so surprising and in a general mood of pessimism we expected the hits to fall as the summer progressed but we were very wide of the mark. July and August saw significant increases in the number of hits per day and this increase continued until the end of the year with December averaging well over 100 hits per day. When plotted as hits/time the results give a very satisfying sigmoid graph.
So somebody out there is interested in beetles. Most of the interest comes from the UK but we also get hits from around the world; not surprisingly, with their passion for the subject, The United States gives the next most hits, followed by the beetle-obsessed Italians, Germans and other European countries. Part of the reason for doing this stuff is to help popularize beetles, to foster interest so that people might go on to take a more serious interest, and it seems we might be making some progress.
From the start we wanted to look at all the UK beetles and while this is obviously not possible per species we resolved to cover every family and to give a few examples of each without letting any group, however popular we perceived it to be, have any particular dominance. This is frustrating as we would love to cover the ground beetle and dung beetle and longhorn fauna in their entirety but there’s plenty of time for that sort of thing. This year we want to continue adding species and groups, concentrating on subfamilies which will allow us to add plenty more pictures, but we will also begin to add a few foreign species, probably mostly from Europe but also a few of the more interesting species from around the world. We are also going to add a few more articles as our pages about gorse and reedbeds are very popular and we will add a regular ‘blog’ but at the moment we have no idea what to write about although environmental issues often elicit a lot of interest and are sometimes worth exploring. When we add pages about beetles and groups our only guideline is to present something very different from the previous update and it’s sometimes difficult to decide what to add, especially as we have material for about 50 more updates waiting to go on to the site; sometimes it is literally the flip of a coin to decide what goes on but this year we are happy to ask for suggestions from others and if we can add these we will.