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Verum Serum: State of the Blog

John on July 16, 2006 at 3:04 pm

As we approach the one year anniversary of this blog and with the coming GodBlog Convention at Biola, I’ve decided now might be a good time to let anyone who is interested know how this blog is doing and where it will be going over the next year.

I’m going to organize this chronologically to make it clearer. Some of it (maybe all of it) may come across as “blowing our own horn” but I’ll try to keep that to a minimum and just relate the facts. (BTW, the title of this post is meant to be a jab at Kos’ “State of the Nation” subtitle. As if he is in a position to tell anyone the state of anything besides his own voluminous ego. Puh-leeeze!)

October 2005

Scott and I started Verum Serum in October. We had blogged together previously at another site, which is why if you check our archives you’ll see they go back to Feb. of 2005. Everything prior to October 2005 was ported over from that earlier effort. So when Verum Serum launched we were already somewhat experienced with the medium.

Things started off with a bang. We got involved in analyzing a study claiming that religion was bad for society. Through that effort we met some great bloggers, including Scott at Magic Statistics. Scott’s own work on the study was later quoted by George Gallup in a piece in Touchstone magazine. We continue to receive hits to our original post, often several a week, which as any blogger will tell you is good for year-old material.

December 2005

In December we had our first big milestone when Michelle Malkin linked to our post discussing the resignation of Christian-bashing KU Prof. Paul Mirecki. Another great blog, Telic Thoughts, also linked to that post. Needless to say we’d never seen traffic like that. It was quite a rush.

This was also the month my post about Atheism and charity was entered in the God or Not carnival. That one led to quite a lot of commentary and links from several atheist and Goddess worshiping sites. I think it still holds the record for most comments on a post (35, though about ten are mine).

January 2006

At the advice of a wise fellow blogger, Dr. Andrew Jackson of SmartChristian, Scott and I decided to stop blogging under pseudonyms and start using our real names. Looking back I think it was one of the best choices we have made. It’s hard enough getting the attention of established bloggers. Asking them to link to a post by “Foyle and Strider” is just pushing your luck.

February 2006

We wrote a lot about the Cartoon Wars. I argued for a “third way” which was eventually noted by a few others including Joe Carter at The Evangelical Outpost.

We also had a long engagement with another cartoonist from Canada who’d drawn a very crude cartoon featuring Jesus. The story was launched by Michelle Malkin but never really made it to the MSM. I still think we had the best stuff on the web about it at the time (see here and here).

March-May 2006

I believe it was somewhere in here we changed our header from the default connections theme image to our current detail from Raphael’s School at Athens.

Blogging was pretty light in May as I had finals and Scott was finishing the school year. Things quickly picked up again in June.

June 2006

A big month for us. Our first link from Hugh Hewitt to this post about an LA Times reporter. And our second shout out from Michelle Malkin who put a copy of this photoshop about the NY Times SWIFT story on her site.

July 2006

This month is off to a great start including Friday’s link from Dawn Eden of the Dawn Patrol to this post.

And who knows what else the month has in store…

Content is King

One of the things we’ve resisted doing to this point is niche marketing. From day one, the sidebar has had this description of our site “An eclectic Christian blog by two guys from the OC.” If that sounds pretty broad, it is. Intentionally so.

We’ve written about events of world significance, about national politics and about pro-life issues with regularity. We’ve also written quite frequently about atheism, apologetics and the media. We both enjoy a little humor and a little satire at times, but we’re not really interested in trying to compete with Iowahawk (we couldn’t anyway, so why kid ourselves). We both read a lot, enjoy films (and even a few TV shows) and have been in bands in our younger days. So we both love popular music.

In short, we’re not ready to narrow our scope, even if it might help us grow. The content is going to remain eclectic. We hope we can make up for this indulgence through sheer excellence, but even if we fail in that we’ll both enjoy the blog a lot more this way. We do hope to expand our current categories to be a bit more descriptive now that we’ve established a fairly big baseline of posts.

Site Design

In addition to working for a local church, I do web design part time to help pay for school. This is somewhat ironic seeing that my own site’s design is pretty much straight out of the box. But I guess it’s true that the plumber often has leaky pipes at home.

In the coming year I plan to rectify this with a significant redesign of the site, possibly a three column layout, though Scott and I will have to consider all the options carefully. Hopfully we’ll be adding some new features even before that. I’d really like to add some quicklink widgets to our comments box, plus a preview comment capability. Hopefully WordPress 2.1 will help with some of this. In any case, expect a better built, more user friendly site in the not too distant future.

Thank You for Reading

We and are currently ranked number 32,279 in Technorati and a few days ago received our 10,000th unique visitor. I know that’s still small potatoes compared to some blogs, but it’s about the number of people in a good size mega-church. And, hey, some of those 10,000 were definitely robots, but then again some of the megachurch visitors might be too (Scene – Large Biker in Shades: “Does Sarah Connor worship here?”)

We started as an “Insignificant Microbe” (around #15,000) in TTLB’s ecosystem and have moved up to #4530. That makes us “A Flappy Bird.” We’re quite happy with that level of growth in our first nine months, but over the next nine we’re going to do our best to fly a little higher.

If anyone has any comments (preferably constructive ones) about how to improve things around here, we’d appreciate them. Our sincere thanks to everyone who has taken time from your busy day to read something we had to offer. We appreciate it and we hope to see you back again soon.

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