Survey results

About a month ago I posted a survey asking you to tell me what you think. I certainly haven’t forgotten about it, in fact the results of that survey have been influencing the changes I’ve been making to the blog over the last few weeks. Some changes are things I have wanted to do anyway but it is good to have an idea of what factors are important to people who read this blog.

Some things I have changed are cosmetic – altering the look but no change to the content of the blog. Some things are structural; adjusting the way I use categories and tags, adding a new navigation bar under the header, shifting where the ‘Link Within’ widget occurs after a post. There are also some significant improvements to come in the content of the blog – this will take time as new posts are written and a better emphasis comes through the writing (I pray!).

Show me the results!

What sort of blog posts do you most want to read here?
  • Posts that encourage my faith (80%)
  • Posts that discuss the Bible in depth (40%)
  • Posts about faith in the real mess of life (60%)
  • Posts that take an unusual look at issues (20%)
  • Posts that lead me into deeper contemplation of Christ (53%)
  • Posts about Burma (6.7%)

It seems that what people want to read and what I’m keen to write are nicely aligned here. My heart motivation is to encourage faith, particularly in the messiness of real life. I also love to ponder, meditate, contemplate the person of Jesus Christ. Both of these (encouraging faith and contemplating Christ) require digging into the Bible, so while I hasten to remind folks that I am no Bible scholar, I’m happy to have another excuse to fossick around in the Bible as I write!

What are you seeking to find when you visit Words of Eternal Life?
  • Encouragement
  • Foundational teaching
  • Truth about God & faith
  • Whatever God lays on your heart
  • Information
  • Hard to be specific but heres a go: how to fix the gearbox on an FJ Holden, Moldavian Movie reviews, Greyhound Racing Betting Tips and general tips on the important things of life like shopping & TV programs.
  • The Shan postings are incredibly encouraging.
  • Interested in your thoughts on topics. A sense of connection – where our life & faith journeys overlap.
  • Encouragement, but at the same time a challenge to live a more Christ-like life. – And to hear about your experiences and discoveries as you try to do the same 🙂
  • Challenge
  • Thoughtful contemplation of the word of God and a different thought than I have seen in my study

This is not such an easy list to summarize but it would seem fair to say that encouragement and challenge to live a Christ-like life based on the truth about God might be a good target for me to aim for. Another important thing that people seek from this blog is sound teaching about the foundations of our faith. (I hope this is close to what people meant).

Are you able to find what you are looking for on this blog?
  • Yes, easily (78%)
  • I just look at what is one the front page (21%)

At least this aspect of the blog is not a problem!

Does reading this blog make you want to know Christ more?
  • Almost always (46%)
  • Quite often (38%)
  • Sometimes (15%)
  • Hardly ever (0%)

This is something I’d like to work on – it is pleasing that nobody selected ‘Hardly ever’ but I do feel a bit convicted that the likely reason why my posts don’t always make people want to know Christ more is probably because this is not always my focus in writing every post. If I want Christ to be the focus of my writing I need to be more focused on Christ while I write (and while I plan/prepare to write).

Is there a topic or theme that you would like to see covered on this blog?
  • Drawing closer to Jesus…getting out of the “to dos” into Him who did, does and will do!
  • Prayer
  • Truth about God & faith
  • Jesus was hardest on the “Religious” people of his time. I worry about being a Pharisee, but mostly I worry that I don’t even realise it.
  • Burma and the Shan
  • Have enjoyed the variety of blog topics we have seen here since first visiting your blog about a month ago.
  • I think you’re doing great, kinda looking at things as they arise for you.

The last comment here pretty much nailed how I plan my writing! However, I am intending to approach writing with a little more planning in the future, though I can’t see me ever having posts planned out weeks in advance – even if I did I’d always make room for whatever God dumped on me today if it was significant. I am keen to write more about prayer, though there is a serious need for me to pray a lot more myself before this can happen with any authority. I will also continue writing about Burma and the Shan people – they are always on my heart and in my prayers so it would be weird for me not to write about this. I do think it is important to inform the Church of how much suffering occurs in Burma and as I’m convinced that God has put these people on my heart I am convinced He wants me to write about them also.

How often would you like see new posts on this blog?
  • Daily (0%)
  • Every second day (0%)
  • Two to three posts a week (21%)
  • Once a week (7%)
  • I don’t mind as long as they are good (72%)

I was greatly relieved to see that daily or even every second day postings are not being demanded – I think my longsuffering wife would have something to say if I were trying to publish a blog post every day! I greatly admire those who can write something worthwhile every day, but I am better to stick with the majority vote and only publish when I have something good to write!

What ONE improvement do you think would make this blog even better?

There were a number of encouraging comments that everything looks fine, here are some of the suggested improvements:

  • More readers. Puzzled why there are only few comments? Fine otherwise, I’ve really appreciated the honesty (honestly!!).
  • Put the “search this website” closer to the top. (done!)
  • Darker text against the white background! (done!)
  • Perhaps links to blogs you are reading so we can see what it is that inspires and encourages you would be helpful. (done – see right sidebar)
  • A list of books that you have read or are reading. (done – see right sidebar)

Many of these things were relatively easy to fix, getting more readers is a bit harder – I’ve been trying for almost two years now. However, the number of visitors is slowly growing and I am also growing in my writing. It seems to me that growth of the blog is something best left in God’s hands. I do a little promoting of Words of Eternal Life around the interwebs but am not out to make a big name for this blog. I see my part as writing and managing the blog in ways that endeavour to glorify God, He can bring the right visitors along at the right time.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

This is my primary goal, to glorify God. I stumble and fail but maybe in persistent stumbling and failing I will at least make it clear that I think attempting to glorify God is the best thing I could be doing with my life!

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:17 ESV)

Action plan

Moving on from here I will continue aiming to post about three times each week, Monday/Tuesdays will usually be a Gratitude post, the others have no set topic (as yet!). I do intend to revisit the Who is Jesus Christ? series that I began last year and I have some ideas for another couple of topics which might form a series of posts.

What most of you will not see is me praying more, but hopefully that will come through in the posts – this is certainly my intention! I firmly believe that praying about what I write is important, this is one reason why I prefer not to post every day because it allows a ‘maturing time’ for each post (some have been deleted without being published after writing a draft and then praying about what I’ve written!).

You can expect some posts about Burma to continue, these are tending to average out around one every fortnight so if they are not of interest that’s not too much to skip over.

Overall I am excited about continuing to dig into the Bible and consider how to encourage one another in our faith in Christ. It is great to be challenged myself to come up with posts which will encourage and challenge others to know Christ more!