It Was A Very Strange Year

It Was A Very Strange Year

By Ron Munden — 01/01/2021

Normally during the last week of each year I post “Year In Review” articles on the website.  This year I did not do that because in some ways 2020 did not happen.  To be more precise the last 3-months of 2020 did not happen.

2020 did start off like years always do.  In January and February I shot events on my normal shoot list.  In late February we left for Florida as we have done for the last 5 years.  When I returned in mid-March the world had changed.

By the time I returned to Marshall, all of the events I normally shoot in the Spring had been cancelled.  Cancellations continue through the rest of the year.  My photography year was over.  Normally I shoot between 30,000 and 40,000 images a year.  This year the number was less than 5,000.

In the past I tried to write an article every week or two.  I don’t recall writing any articles in 2020.  I am sure that some of you are now thinking — well at least one good thing happened in 2020.

It was a very bad year for EastTexasExposed.  In a regular year at least 60 percent of the content for the site is driven by event photography.  That went to zero.  I quit writing about the city when they move to virtual meetings.  One thing have we learned for sure is content drives readership.

In early March the site had 3000 to 5000 unique visitors per day.  By September the number had dropped to 500 to 1000 visitors.  While the numbers have improved some in the fourth quarter, the number of visits is still below 2000 visits each day.

So has a hole to dig out of in 2021.

We have used our time over the last few months to enhance the site:

  • During the last quarter of 2020 we completely rewrote the “php” code for EastTexasExposed.  The code was over 5-year old and badly in need of attention.
  • We have worked to change the graphic mix of the site from 100 percent photos to a mix of photos and videos.  Since surveys show that more people now prefer video, we will continue to increase the video percentage.
  • We have integrated the website with social media including facebook, instagram, youtube, twitter and a WordPress blog.  We feel this will increase our  potential audience.
  • Finally, Dr. Jim Harris allows us to publish his COVID-19 Update daily.  This is a valuable document that should be read by all of us.

In summary, like most people and organizations, 2020 was not a good year for EastTexasExposed.  We recognized that things don’t change overnight.  There is very little difference between December 31, 2020 and January  1, 2021.  All the problems we faced yesterday are in large part still there today.  But there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.  Six to nine months from now we will reach the “new norm.”

Happy New Years 2021!


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