As some of you have probably noticed, things have been a bit quiet on the Of Dust And Kings front for the past few days. I assure you, behind the scenes, things have been anything but.
Over the past week, I have been in conversation with others who have been very successful on the blogging front, picking their brains as best I can, and looking to find ways to make this blog more valuable to the Christian community. The hope has always been that Of Dust And Kings becomes a place where Christians from all different walks of life can gather and converse on issues related to Christian theology, Biblical scholarship, spiritual formation and discipleship, and the interplay between faith and culture. The emphasis is on community interaction, and that discussion is one of the primary motivations for why I blog.
With this in mind, and having collected data from those who have successfully accomplished on their own blogs what I similarly envision for this place, I have made several changes to the infrastructure over the past week and have numerous other plans in the works for the near future. Here are a few of the more exciting changes that have taken place (or will be taking place):
- The categories have been narrowed down and simplified. Rather than nearly a dozen different categories with articles cross-posted and poorly defined, there are now just four: Scripture (which looks at Biblical scholarship as a whole or studies on particular passages), Theology (which looks at how we think about God), Discipleship (which emphasizes aspects of spiritual formation), and Culture (which looks at the interplay between faith and life, including aspects such as apologetics or cultural trends which impact the church). These categories can be easily navigated to by highlighting 'topics' and clicking on the dropdown menu.
- The number of plugins and other wordpress “bloat” has been significantly decreased, resulting in much faster load times. In addition, mobile visitors should be able to access the site content via their mobile device much more easily now. If you discover any problems with accessing these articles from your mobile phone, be sure to let me know.
- First time commenters will automatically receive an email welcoming them to the community and encouraging them to continue to be part of the conversation by checking back on their previous comment and by grabbing the RSS feed so they do not miss future posts. In addition, the email will contain links to three of the most popular posts on the site to encourage further interaction. As always, I make a point to respond to comments as best I can.
- The articles published will begin to be more focused. Previously, the topics covered have been extremely broad. In the future, you will begin to see an increase in article series – such as a series of 10-14 articles about cultivating a life of prayer. Each of these series will also have an introductory page including a sort of 'table of contents' that links to each individual article. (Wish to see a series dealing with a particular topic? Put in a topic request!)
- Upon completion of each series, the articles will also be compiled and edited together into a free kindle ebook for those who wish to have a copy available offline, or who wish to share the series with a friend.
- There will also be a few aesthetic changes as well, such as expanding on the chess piece concept in the header and integrating a more visually appealing greeting box on the individual posts.
So that is what has been going on behind the scenes here at Of Dust And Kings. I am very excited about these changes, and hope that you are as well!
How about you? What would you like to see here on the blog?
Image Credit: Nestor Galina