On May 29, 2015, we launched www.sprayers101.com. I like that sentence because it’s short and provides the reader with critical information. However, it really doesn’t convey the blood, sweat and tears that went into its development. Nor is it technically correct. So, let’s go back and start at the beginning.
In December, 2013, we launched www.sprayers101.com. Back then the website was different. It was an online course for airblast applicators to learn how to calibrate, operate and maintain their airblast sprayers. The objective was to provide a convenient means for growers to access the new Airblast101 classroom-based workshop on their own time, at their own pace.
The name “Sprayers101” sounded like a first-year university course, so it seemed appropriate. We could have called the site “Airblast101” but there was hope it might one day include information about field crop and aerial spraying systems too. Being generic gave room to grow.
After the launch, we lurked behind the scenes, addicted to Google Analytics (a diagnostic tool that lets us assess how the site was being used). It was a thrill to see a modest number of people using this new resource. But they weren’t using it the way we had envisioned. It was designed as an online course, so we assumed the user would start at the first page and read in it order until they reached the end. Instead, they jumped all over the place, using the site more as a reference resource.
Most users would search out key words to get them to the topics they were interested in learning more about, and once they had what they wanted, they left. This told us that our audience was more interested in a spraying library. They were also interested in bite-sized morsels of information, not a long-term commitment. Videos were hot and rambling was not.
Around that time, I’d been in communication with Dr. Tom Wolf. I proposed that we team up to re-create the website from the ground up. It would benefit immensely from his experience as a global authority in field crop application technology. Happily, Tom agreed and he brought insight and a wonderful creativity to the project. More than half-a-year’s work followed before we’d amassed enough content (and squashed enough programing bugs) to launch the new site.
In the 17 months prior to relaunch, we had a total 31,500 page views. Six months following the re-launch we gained 70,000 more. It would seem we’d done something very, very right. And those numbers kept climbing as we added calculators, videos, parodies, opinion pieces and content from contributing authors around the world. The site was, and still is, entirely impartial in order to preserve the independence that serves our readers. We had become the world’s number one sprayer website… but there’s always room for improvement.
In July, 2021 we once again refreshed and relaunched www.sprayers101.com. Most of the changes addressed stability, and brought our library up-to-date. We adopted a cleaner look and lost the drop-down menus to focus on a more powerful search engine to help users access the ~300 articles. The site is now better integrated with our YouTube channel, it makes it easier to access the second edition of Airblast101, and it has the capacity for further expansion in the near future (stay tuned).
To date, the site has received over 2 million page views. Our most popular articles have been viewed more than 20,000 times. Needless to say, we’re very proud of what we’ve created and are often approached by people who comment how much it has helped their spraying practice. The original goal was to provide the best information on spray application and that remains true today.
Thank you to our readers, sponsors, and contributors.