I can think of no better way to use my 500th post than to thank the many people who read this blog faithfully. Without followers like you, I never would have reached this milestone. Many days I have wondered why I bother posting, but then I look at the growing number of icons under "members" in the right sidebar, and remember who is waiting for the next story.
Friends who are more tech-savvy than myself also remind me that there are hundreds of other people looking in that don't show as members. Every month or so I also get a report from Google that surprises me with how many "hits" this page receives daily, and where those hits are coming from. Sure, most of my audience is from the U.S. and Canada, but I also have visitors from the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Africa. I may need to make some field trips abroad so I can talk about arthropods from those places, too.
Last month I had over 9,000 new visitors, 274 returning visitors. Facebook and Blogger are my top "social sources" by far, with WordPress, reddit, and Twitter bringing up the rear. That surprises me because I get re-tweeted all the time (and thank you for that!).
My overall goal is to reach an audience unfamiliar with insects and arachnids, providing the most accurate and relevant information I can. I also want to encourage other naturalists to keep on finding and observing invertebrates, reporting their own sightings, images, videos, and audio recordings to appropriate archives. I welcome suggestions for how to improve on that.
It is important to note that many of my posts could not be possible without input from entomologists and arachnologists far more expert than myself. I frequently need to have specimens identified before I can write about the species, genus, or family, and were it not for specialists willing to share their knowledge, I would be nowhere.
Lastly, if you have an enterprise that has anything to do with a positive approach to natural history, have written a book, or do public programs, I would be willing to put up an advertisement for you, as I have done with BioQuip. Don't be shy, I am always delighted to reward good work, and would happily devote a blog post to your business, achievements, or observations, especially if you do not have a blog of your own.
Thank you again for making "Bug Eric" a successful venture. I look forward to continuing to produce it for as long as I can. There is certainly no shortage of subject matter, even if I had started several lifetimes ago. Oh, wait, the internet has not even existed for that long.