As we come to the end of 2014, the Arizona Mushroom Forum got a very gratifying report showing our blog statistics for the year. The growth of our little web site has been remarkable, with over 45,000 visits from 108 different countries. Who knew that people in Sudan and Guyana and Khazakhstan would take an interest in the eccentric doings of a mushroom picker in Arizona?
A major reason for our popularity in the unfamiliar corners of the world is surely due to the checklists of mushroom-collecting equipment I put together last year, The Basket and Beyond the Basket. These topics apply to all mushroom collectors around the globe, and my articles were selected by Paul Stamets and Dr. Andrew Weil as a resource for their splashy new site Fantastic Fungi, so take a look if you haven’t seen them yet. We are now on the first page of results if you Google the words “mushroom basket”, and the second page for “mushroom knife”, and I’m proud that we did it all on our own by providing content that people want to click on and read. I haven’t paid anyone a nickel to game the Google search algorithms or promote the web site with ads. They call this kind of popularity “organic”, which certainly seems appropriate for the topic of our site.
We are also capturing a lot of eyeballs among the folks closer to home, on the topics of particular interest to mushroom hunters in Arizona and neighboring states. There was a huge spike of local interest during the July through September high season. Our single busiest day for the year was September 1, when there were 644 views. The unexpected fall morel flush was also a very popular topic, and continues to get a lot of hits from people dreaming of chasing the “dry-land fish” in the dreariness of winter. The single most-commented article was our discussion of the new designation for the Rocky Mountain red-capped king bolete, Boletus rubriceps.
Looking over the numbers, my only regret is that we didn’t get a large volume of comments on the blog entries, and almost none on the discussion forums on the web site. We certainly carry on a lively conversation on our affiliated Facebook group page, however, so I’m happy that connections are being made under our auspices. A lot of nice on-line friendships are being formed and have carried over to the real world. In 2014, I found about twenty new foraging friends that I first made contact with via this page, and I know many of you did likewise. That means more to me than anything else about this little project of mine.
Happy New Year! Full baskets for 2015!