Blog Interview with Rev Dr David Instone-Brewer

I am very pleased to be able interview Dr David Instone-Brewer about Tyndale House’s S.T.E.P. Project – an initiative that I have been indirectly involved with for several years. In the video below David introduces the Project:

Interview

Thanks David for agreeing to be interviewed about the STEP Project. First of all, can you tell me what S.T.E.P. stands for.

Scripture Tools for Every Person. Actually we toyed with the idea of being for “….Every Pastor” but then we realised that everyone else wanted these tools too.

Does the change in the project’s name indicate a development its scope? [Pastor —> Person]

We are making tools which busy pastors can use, interested untrained people, and also well-informed scholars. So “Every Person” is more accurate.  We also wondered about making it “… for every Platform” because part of the idea is that anyone can use them on anything from a phone to a beefy server, but we thought that was too geeky.

Will you need an Internet connection for the software to work properly?

We want to especially help those guys who don’t have reliable internet connections, so we are aiming to make almost everything installable from an SD card or downloadable.

At what stage are you at now?

Some things are working, some things are at prototype, and lots of things are being developed. This is an exciting time.

How can people be involved -­ what do you need help with?

Mostly we need people with good English who can work meticulously and who love the Bible. There are all kinds of projects that need help with all kinds of skills, language work and programming skills to good English editing skills. Have a look at www.TyndaleHouse.com/STEP to explore the different modules,
and click on “we welcome offers of help” to see the variety of skills we are looking for.

How many copies of the software do you plan to distribute and how will this be done?

We have arrangements in place with missionary organisations to distribute tens of thousands to named individuals, but these will just be seeds. All copies can be freely copied and distributed by any means – internet, attachments, SD cards, memory sticks – whatever. And all our data modules will be free for use in other free software.

This means that any work done on this project will benefit the whole church worldwide.

Thank you David for taking the time to share this project with us.

Visitors can find out more about STEP here.

Google update reduces visitor numbers by 1,000 a day

In common with 12% of websites visitor numbers on biblicalstudies.org.uk were adversely effected by changes to Google’s search algorithm on 1st April this year. The update was successful in downgrading sites, known as “link farms” that are loaded with repeated content in order to score more highly in search engine results. Unfortunately being a bibliographic website biblicalstudies.org.uk’s content is superficially similar to these link farms and the new algorithm cannot tell the difference. The unfortunate result is that visitor numbers have dropped from almost 60,000 to just under 40,000, with corresponding drops in revenue from Google ads and Amazon affiliate links that pay for my web hosting. It is as if two years growth has disappeared overnight. Read more about this change on the SEO Desk blog.

All is not lost however, as the fall in visitors has caused me to undertake a crash-course in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques. The best advice, represented by such sites as Seobook.com, is that it is extremely unwise to rely solely on the vagueries of Google for the vast majority of your visitors. The key is building quality links from similar sites. It is also clear from my logs that most of my visitors brought in by search engine results “bounced” off the site straight away. Visitors arriving through links from sites of similar content/subject matter are more likely to stay.

What you can do to help

There are a number of ways that my regular readers can help to restore my ranking.

1) Add a link to the site on your websites and blogs where relevant. When adding a link the highlighted text is important as it tells the search engine the subject matter that is to be found on the site being linked to. For example:

The article on the book of Daniel by Rob Bradshaw is worth consulting and can be found here.

is not as valuable as:

The article on the book of Daniel  by Rob Bradshaw is worth consulting.

because the linking text “here” is not relevant.

2) I have added Google “+1” button on all the pages on the website in the left hand sidebar. You can use this to vote for the site to receive additional attention in Google’s rankings. Because these are “organic” recommendations +1 is expected to be an important innovation

3) Recommend the site and individual pages on Twitter and Facebook as opportunity arises.

4) Feel free to make other suggestions in the comments section.

Thanks for your ongoing support.

Developing Closer Relationships with Bible Colleges & Seminaries

One of my aims in the coming months is to continue to develop my relationship with Bible Colleges and Seminaries around the world. I hope do do this in a number of ways:
1) A large number of organisations currently allow me to use their logos and weblinks on my site homepages under the heading “Site supported and recommended by:”. This does not imply financial support (see 3 below) or that the organisation necessarily endorses all the content on the sites, simply that it considers the sites useful to its students. If you have the authority to grant permission for an organisational logo to be used in this way please contact me.
2) Many Bible College/Seminary websites list on-line resources that they recommend to their students. I would like to encourage more to link to the Theology on the Web sites. I would also like to see their library pages linking the the tables of contents of online journals. Many of these journals are not available elsewhere on-line and are now difficult to find in paper copies.

3) Very few colleges are currently in a position to consider either sponsorship or advertising on the sites, but I would be very happy to hear from those who could. I currently have only 3 people who support financially the sites regularly – out of around 1 million visitors per annum. Building a healthy foundation of regular financial support is vital the the Project’s future. I have more than enough material being offered to me for digitisation to go full time. I currently work on the sites in my spare time in addition to my full-time job. For those not in a position to support financially there are a number of other options.