I don’t usually review my blog in a post, but ten years is a milestone worth marking.
I started this website more than 10 years ago. It’s been fun and I’ve learnt a lot.
What does it all mean?
I had reasonably clear goals when I started. I wanted to present the best case for believing in christianity by reading widely, summarising expert evidence, being honest about difficulties and respecting other viewpoints – all presented in a simple, friendly and non-argumentative manner.
I try to be thorough in my ‘research’. This has required me to read scores of academic books (books often dominate Christmas and birthday presents), mostly on history (especially about Jesus and the New Testament), cosmology, neuroscience, philosophy and positive psychology.
I always try to read dozens of websites before I am happy I have gauged the expert consensus on issues I am writing about. I have struggled with design and simple wording of sometimes complex issues, and had my own ideas challenged again and again. My understanding and faith have both grown heaps.
I think good design is important, and I’ve spent a lot of time checking out other websites, especially those by good designers.
My ideas on good design have remained much the same – somewhat minimal, lots of white space, rectangular and using photos as the main decoration. I think this simple approach is best for a text-heavy website, but it is also necessary because I am design-challenged, and I struggle doing anything more.
The home page screens shown through this post (courtesy of Wayback Machine) show my limitations and aspirations.
Topics of interest
Originally I was interested in straight-out apologetics – arguments for the existence of God and the truth of Jesus – but people’s stories, happiness and making change in the world all seemed too important to omit.
The most popular topics with readers are undoubtedly healing (well in front), experiences of the divine, the evidence for the historical Jesus, war & terrorism and the universe as evidence for God.
The blog has grown. I first went public with just a couple of pages, but now there are more than 150 pages and 300 blog posts.
Attracting readers was very difficult for the first 5 years, and numbers grew so slowly that I was tempted to give up. But the last 5 years have seen readership grow by 10 times, a trend that continued this past year.
Most people come via Google, so I have to rely on choosing topics people are searching for, and hope I can get a good Google ranking. Some pages are near the top of Google’s search results for some search terms.
This has also led to several name changes, as I tried to zero in on a title that would clearly express what this website is all about.
Numbers aren’t everything, but if you are a regular reader, thanks for your support.
It’s all about the people
Although this blog is mostly about ideas and evidence, it is people who are most important. Readers come from all over the world. The English-speaking countries of USA, UK and Australia predominate, but there are many readers from India, the Philippines, Africa and elsewhere.
It is always fun when someone communicates and we can have a constructive conversation. Some have become good friends even though I’ve met very few of them.
I have received quite a lot of positive feedback, some of which I will soon be including in the readers’ comments on the home page. It seems that the website has helped many people, for which I am thankful.
The rough with the smooth
It isn’t all plain sailing. I get my fair share of critics. Constructive criticism I appreciate, but much is destructive and sometimes unpleasant.
One of the difficulties in managing a website and blog, that I didn’t appreciate beforehand, is finding the right balance between allowing visitors freedom of expression and preserving the friendly atmosphere that is important to me.
So where to from here?
If a website becomes too large, people can’t easily find what they want. So I’m inclined to think that the next few years will see some additional pages, but refinement and improvement of what is here already. Making it easier to find the information people want will be a priority.
If there are topics you’d like to see covered, please send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.
Happy New Year!
I hope things are going well with you, whoever and wherever you are. I hope you keep on reading and find something of value here.
Thank you for your support.