On a usual day in the evangelical blogosphere, you can expect that about half of your readers are regular readers/subscribers, another third Christians who come due to linkage or Google love, and a very small percentage of folks from outside the little world that is the evangelical blogospheric bubble (EBB).
There have been only a few times in the three years that I have been blogging where something I wrote made it out of the EBB. A few examples from my articles include posts on Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Vick, and most recently the terrible disaster in Burma. Now I don’t mind writing within the EBB; in fact, 99.9% of everything I have written has been tailored to this audience. However, one of the goals I have is to use this medium to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ to the broader public. In other words, one of my goals is what I am calling “breakout blogging.”
I was reminded of this last night when I noticed something really unusual taking place. Since about 6:00 p.m. Wednesday night, first-time visitors have been increasing every hour, currently about four times what I average every hour. I thought, “Did JT link to a post?” Nope. “Did Tony ‘Stumble’ a post?” Nope. So what was it? Where was all this traffic coming from. Answer: Search engines.
Here a list of some of the search engine phrases from the past day (some into the hundreds):
cyclone in myanmar (burma).
cyclone myanmar burma
cyclone in myanmar burma
myanmar burma cyclone
cyclone in myanmar (burma)
myanmar map cyclone
burma cyclone map
myanmar cyclone map
myanmar (burma) cyclone
myanmar cyclone 2008
cyclone in myanmar (burma)
myanmar hurricane photos
cyclone burma map
cyclone myranmar bodies
cyclone in myanmar
myanmar cyclone destruction 2008
map burma cyclone
cyclone in burma map
The crazy thing about my article on Burma was that “Burma,” “Myanmar,” or “cyclone” was not even mentioned in the title of my post! Anyone familiar with SEO (search engine optimization) knows that a carefully worded title impacts the likelihood of gaining Google traffic. So while my post was not intended to get out of the EBB, apparently something happened, and it has brought in over 1,500 first-time visitors in the last 24 hours.
So this got me asking myself some questions, such as: why don’t I try to get out of the EBB (evangelical blogospheric bubble) more often? If there is the opportunity to engage thousands of first-time visitors with the gospel on current issues, then why am I not seizing it? When am I going to every have the opportunity elsewhere to potentially reach so many people from across the world for the sake of Jesus? Why not change my programming which is 99.9% in the EBB to more like 95%, intentionally seeking to impact the world with the gospel as it speaks to current issues on national and global levels?
Having seen the potential this past week and in previous posts, I am hoping to do just that. Of course, this will require that I learn a little lot more from blogging experts like Abraham and Tony, but this is part of the vision I have had for Band of Bloggers–that we would use whatever influence we have for the sake of breaking into the lives of unbelievers with the gospel by breaking out of our molds with a missional mindset.
I would be interested in your thoughts on this, as I am still wrestling through some issues, including the caution against being market-driven, examining my motives, the whole concern with being deceptive or disingenuous, and what/how this would look like if people really were impacted with the gospel and sought direction/counsel.
If you’ve got any ideas on this matter, or if you have any experiences of breaking out of the EBB yourself, I would love to hear them. Thanks!