Tis the season for “Happy New Year” and “Year in Review” blog posts. Since nothing makes me happier than going along with the crowd, I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon. I’ll now reflect on how 2018 went for this blog and myself, and then look towards the future.
2018 was a difficult year for me. Never before have I worked so hard to make such little progress, constantly slowed by institutional structures and my own obsession with detail. I also began to feel the financial strain of graduate school more keenly than before, which did not elevate my mood. All-in-all, 2018 was an exhausting and frustrating year.
On the plus side, 2018 was the best year for The Jaguar and its Allies. As of this writing (December 30, 2018), this site had received 24,226 yearly views, which constitutes a 51% increase over 2017. This was largely thanks to my trip to Belize during the summer of 2017, which gave me ample writing material well into the following year. A few high-profile Q&A’s also directed more traffic to this blog than normal, including those with Survivorman – Les Stroud and Dr. Silvio Marchini. It was truly an honor to be able to collaborate with such extraordinary people on those posts.
Despite The Jaguar and Allies’ success, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not doing enough to promote wildlife conservation. I’ll need to attract far more than ~14,400 annual visitors if I want to make any sort of difference for wild cats, and regurgitating old news stories will not be sufficient. I need to invest more time into going out into the field and exploring conservation issues directly, through the lenses of the true experts, and then sharing what I learn with all of you. I’ll also need to incorporate more forms of media than just writing.
Unfortunately, I’ll never be able to grow this site as much as I want while dividing my time between working and blogging: the two activities must become one. In the past, I’ve toyed with the idea of monetizing this blog, but I’ve firmly ruled out that option; I have too many Creative Commons images in my posts, many of them containing non-commercial licenses, to allow me to do so. I also did not intend to make money from this site when I launched it, and I’m reluctant to “sell out.”
I’m therefore at a bit of a loss for how to move forward with this blog. It may be that I’ll need to shift my outreach efforts away from this site at some point in the future, so that I can reach a bigger audience while also supporting myself. For now, however, I’ll continue doing as much as I can with the limited time and resources at my disposal.