The greatest gift you can give a website like mine is your time.
It might be a minute, just once. It could be a few minutes every day. You could be a regular. At this stage in Golf News Net's life, you're probably a passer-by, though I hope you'll enjoy your experience and come back again. Maybe you came through Twitter, or Reddit, or Facebook. Perhaps you came here through my work at Yahoo, Billy Casper Golf or Global Golf Post, where I'm grateful to have been able to write this year. You could know me. You may have no clue and not care.
No matter the circumstances how you got to GNN, I'm incredibly grateful for the precious time in 2014 you gave to my work and that of our written contributors John Lahtinen and Shoshana Agus-Kleinman, as well our radio hosts Jay Flemma, Jon Lord, Jeremy Schilling, Danielle Tucker, Brian Taylor and Bob Casper, Fred Altvater and Carlos Torres, as well the "State of the Game" trio of Rod Morri, Geoff Shackelford and Michael Clayton. It blew me away. Our site grew some 200 percent this year, and that was before so many of you -- over 1 million in five months, in fact -- tuned into Golf News Net Radio. Going into this year, I expected our site to grow, but had no idea to this extent. It feels good to know that what appears on this site has been what over 1.8 million people this year wanted to see, read or hear. Whether it's the latest viral video, answers to questions that pique your interest (and mine), hearing from important voices in the game or frankly discussing golf's future, GNN is a hub for a truly eclectic mix, and I'm proud of it.
That mix will evolve and grow in 2015.
There will be original video. Some video -- we hope -- will make you laugh. Others will aim to make you think and inspire genuine conversation.
We're going to look at equipment in a new way, letting the data speak for itself.
Our radio stream will feature more programming, including a live mid-morning show I'll host weekdays from 9-11 a.m. Eastern called "The Breakfast Ball."
The new, daily GNN Deals feature will tip off some of the Web's best offers on golf equipment, hoping to help you save a few bucks to either put toward playing the game or simply put in your pocket.
There are a few surprises in store, too, but I'll get to those when the time is right.
Building a brand in publishing is tough. There are a lot of great people, particularly in golf, who work very hard in the hopes that you'll spend some of your hard-earned spare time with them. Some have been around decades. Some are new. Some are veteran voices forced to strike out on their own. Since our site is ad-supported (though we'll introduce a parallel, totally ad-free experience in '15 for a small monthly fee), each article you view, podcast you download or original video you view helps us continue to grow. However, the promise I make is to never create content that's intended to bait you, deceive you or insult your intelligence. Hold me to that.
Our goal for 2015 is modest: prove to you, day in and day out, that our mix is first, fresh, different and entertaining -- basically, what you want.
I'll make just one small, humble appeal. If you like what you experience at Golf News Net, keep in touch. You can join our email list (which we'll actually start using in 2015), follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or just tell a buddy about our little site. Give me feedback on what you like and what you'd like to see.
Thank you again for making 2014 a wonderful year, and I hope you have a great holiday season with the ones you love. Here's to a spectacular 2015.
-- Ryan Ballengee