Sunday, May 12, 2013

First Year in Review

The "Salmon River Idaho" website was born May 10, 2012.  That's when we bought the domain name "salmonriveridaho.net."

We had no idea what to expect and, frankly, not much of an idea about what we were going to put on the website. Initially, we thought we would create a detailed river guide from Stanley to North Fork.  However, we quickly realized there was a genuine need for "Salmon River News."

The Salmon River has legions of Friends seemingly everywhere.  The river's Friends are actually more than Friends.  They LOVE Their Salmon River.  Over generations and throughout lives, people has formed a personal relationship with The Salmon River.  The river is part of their heart, spirit and, indeed, their soul.

It didn't take long a year ago to realize this website tapped into a natural need for news about "all things Salmon River."  Whether it's fish, flows, fires or fun, people seem to have an endless appetite for Salmon River News.

What a wildly exhilarating, educational and enjoyable ride the past year has been with this website.  The first year's success of this website has far, far exceeded our own expectations.  We would have been very happy with 10,000 pageviews in our first year.  Instead, we topped 52,000 pageviews on May 10.  That's an average of 1,000 page views a week.  (Pageviews are much different than hits.  Some internet experts say you can generally multiply pageviews by a factor of up to ten to estimate what people call "hits.")

A few days ago, we checked our own website records and were surprised to see we wrote 155 articles during the past year.  We posted over 700 photographs and graphics in those articles.  Those statistics, too, are far in excess of what we anticipated a year ago.

The Halstead Fire article should probably be counted as more than one article since each of the 40+ updates we did were essentially stand-alone articles.  The website's visitors seemingly couldn't get enough of The Halstead Fire article.  It alone had 8,000 pageviews or roughly 15% of the total annual pageviews.

We'd love to tell stories about this website but then this article would become far too long and boring.  Suffice to say we are humbled, pleased, happy and proud of what has transpired during the past 12 months.

We obviously couldn't have done it without our readers.  We are so proud of our website visitors and readers.  It is an honor and a privilege to face the challenge of continuing to provide the content people will want to come and read on a regular basis.

Our website statistics show the majority of our visitors are long-term repeat visitors who generally reside in Boise, Lewiston, Spokane, Missoula, Salmon, Challis, Stanley, Idaho Falls, Sun Valley, Pocatello, Twin Falls, Mountain Home and Salt Lake City.

We have a lot of plans for the upcoming year.  Right now, we have a backlog of at least a dozen articles that need to be written and posted.  We just returned from our first visit to Salmon River Country for Year 2013.  Naturally, we picked up all sorts of news that needs to be reported and stories that need to be told.

Here is a general outline of our objectives for Year Two.

  • Meet or exceed the benchmark of 150 articles in the coming year.
  • Do a better job covering trout stocking, salmon and steelhead seasons.
  • Develop a better working relationship with IDFG and the Department's partners.
  • Include more detailed and comprehensive information about public river access and camping.
  • Develop a better partnership with the three Chambers of Commerce.
  • Promote selected businesses which play a key role in delivering important services to the public.
  • Do a better job explaining the Yankee Fork rehabilitation project and how is relates to the main river.
  • Develop a better relationship with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
  • Continue coverage of The Salmon Whitewater Park Project.
  • Continue assisting efforts to create and improve a memorial for Dugout Dick.
  • Attempt to explain the evolving cultural paradigm shift that is happening on The Salmon River.
  • Attempt to interpret The Salmon River's gateway communities for distant readers and visitors.
  • Do a better job integrating watershed education into the website.
  • Make room for freelance feature writers & photographers who might wish to showcase their work.
  • Spend more time paddling the river in our inflatable kayak.
  • Continue to assist, promote and showcase key non-profit organizations.
  • Do a better job organizing the website's archives so they are readily accessible and useful.

During the past year, we learned that Facebook is a genuine, important and vital partner to the success of this website.  We are deeply grateful to our 299 Facebook Friends for all they have done for the Salmon River News website.

In light of that recognition, our goal in the coming year is to increase our Facebook Friends to 1,000 and to help our Friends better understand how the "share" function helps spread the word about "all things Salmon River."  We're all in this together and Facebook helps spread the word far and wide.

We would also like to make better use of our Twitter account.

We plan to spend one week each month along The Salmon River, perhaps more.  We welcome your donations to help defray our travel costs.  Each monthly trip costs roughly $200.  We figure we need to spend at least $1,000 a summer traveling to and from and up and down The Salmon River--and that's if we're tent camping.  Lodging would run that figure far higher.  Last summer we received $185 in donations and that actually helped "the cause" a lot.

Thank YOU so much for YOUR Support!  We are looking forward to the upcoming year.

Let's all Enjoy The Salmon River this summer.  Get out and get your feet wet.  Get Your Fish On and Your Fun Face On, too!  Let The Good Times Roll.

Happy Trails & Many Cheers, John Parsons

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