I had a number of reasons for starting the website. The first was to have an easy place to provide links and resources that I could point people to as the need surfaced. Second, after the first year of seminary, I saw a lot of my studies being filed away for no future use or benefit to anybody. What a waste. Why not post parts of this work on-line so maybe someone else could get something from them. . . even if only one person. And the third reason was to demonstrate to other ministries how simple and inexpensive it is to have a presence on the Internet.
About the time of the birth of this website, I was looking at the websites of a few churches in the Salt Lake valley. I saw some very good websites and some very poor ones. What really shocked me was how many churches had (and still have) no site on the Internet. So I set out on a little experiment to see how even the smallest church with the smallest budget could get on-line. I've spent a total of $10 to register SaltyBeliever.com for the year (although I also registered the .org domain too, but that's not necessary). I set up Google Analytics account to keep an eye on traffic numbers. I use FeedBurner.com for the RSS feed, podcast help, and e-mail subscription. The blog is a blogger run site and I use Archive.org to store the few podcasts I've done. The widgets like the search box are free and simple to use and set up. In fact, all of the website was free with the exception of registering the domain. I don't have any server space and I'm not a very web-technical guy. And yet, the first year seems to have been a good one. (Churches, if you don't have a website at all, this is a simple way to do at least something!)
By the Numbers:
Just under 550,000 words were published in the first year of SaltyBeliever.com, comprising a total of 131 posts. 151 photos were uploaded--all free, all obtained and used legally. 40 books of the Bible were quoted or cited at least once, but some much more than that.
Google Analytics reports that from 7,000 unique visitors, SaltyBeliever.com had nearly 9,700 visits, resulting in almost 15,500 total page views (my visits are removed from this tracking). 311 countries are represented among the visitors of the website; but the majority of visitors came from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Surprisingly, Utah ranked third in the states with the most visits, behind Texas and Virgina.
The most popular post over the course of the year was Knowing Jesus Through The Old Testament By Christopher J.H. Wright. It seems that many of the posts that saw the highest repeat traffic were from portions of seminary papers, especially the book reviews. However, the posts that generated the highest single-day traffic were the ones dealing with current events, such as the discussions on Ergun Caner and Glenn Beck.
I received over 100 comments or questions via the Contact Me form, mostly positive but not all. I've also connected with a couple dozen people on Facebook and Twitter specifically through this website.
Heading into Year Two:
I wish I had a clear idea what the second year of this website is going to look like, but the truth is, I don't know. The site is more academic that I had originally hoped. That being said, I don't want to make any reductions in content, but I do want to make the material more accessible. I want to make complicated things easy, not the other way around. I also want to add more content, more often, and not just seminary work. I'm thinking about more issues from current events and maybe more apologetic work. But most importantly, I want to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in what is posted here and how this site is used. If I do that, it really won't matter what the second year of SaltyBeliever.com looks like because it will be what it is intended to be.
Thank you for reading!
My God bless you,
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