Category Archives: Pastor Scott Cundiff

Google search doesn’t seem to like Google Sites

This is so weird…

For years I’ve written a daily devotional, working my way through the Bible.  I’ve actually completed the O.T. and have now gone back to the beginning, editing and updating and adding devotionals.

Anyway, for a long time I had a “regular” website on a server.  I post the individual devotionals to my http://nazareneblogs.org/pastorscott/ account, but as I complete devotionals on books of the Bible I publish them as a whole to my website.  I track traffic to both “versions” of the devotionals and the nazareneblogs one get’s more hits than do the “book version” one at www.pastorscott.com.

A few months ago I decided to just move my personal site (including the devotionals) to Google Sites.  The site is easy to set up and maintain and it looks good.

However, my traffic from Google searches dropped to almost zero!  At first I thought it had to do with DNS, etc. so I waited a few weeks to see if traffic would come back up.  It never did.

Finally, I went back to a regular website.  It took about 3 days for me to start seeing traffic again, but after less than a month I was again getting hits to the site like I did before.

It seems strange that Google takes web sites it is hosting less seriously than those it doesn’t host, but that seems to be the case.

The Battle for the Computer

Last week I commented that I thought I was getting over thinking about the excellence and wisdom my denomination showed in it’s approach to Bible inerrancy and related matters.  My parting shot was that maybe I’d soon follow up with some nice juicy computer problem to write about.

A couple of days later I went to the computer to check my email and had no internet connect.  The interesting thing is that just a few minutes earlier I’d received some new email on the computer.  Now, though, there was no internet.  I rebooted the modem, router, and then the computer.  Still no go.  I called my internet provider and the fellow (I think in India) walked me through the steps I already know.  When he instructed me to bypass the router I was reluctant because it’s hard to get to and, after all, it was all working just fine when the email came in just a bit earlier.  He insisted and I knew that if I wanted to get a trouble ticket going I had to cooperate.  To my surprise, taking the router out of the mix solved the problem.  I fiddled with things a bit longer and then headed out to Office Depot for a new router.  The wireless on this one is supposed to be 6 times faster.  I can’t tell any difference, but the new router fixed the problem.

However, as I was working on bypassing the router the cable I was using wasn’t long enough to reach my desktop.  No problem, I just grabbed my laptop which stays plugged in in the living room next to my favorite chair.  I unplugged it and plugged the modem into it.  As I said, the internet came right up, however, in about 5 minutes the computer started complaining that the battery was dying.   That seemed strange, it had been sitting there plugged in just a few minutes earlier.  A few tests later and I ended up ordering a replacement from Amazon.

Another strange thing happened with the laptop as I was working on the router problem.  I heard the hard drive running and running and running.  I knew what the problem was on that one because I dealt with it a couple of days earlier on the desktop.  No, it wasn’t a virus.  Rather, it was a little utility I run for checking email, Google Wave messages, etc.  There’s a bug or conflict related to it that causes it to go nuts and fill it’s error log file with gigabytes of errors.  I removed it from the desktop but had forgotten to remove it from the laptop.  Once it was removed and I found it’s log file which was buried deep in the file system the disk space problem was solved.

So there you have it.  I “hoped” for a juicy computer problem and ended up with three.

That’s three unless I tell you about my smartphone and Outlook having a fight creating hundreds of duplicate calendar entries.  That was another few hours of computing adventures.

Needless to say I haven’t thought a whole lot about the Battle for the Bible.  Instead, I’ve thought more about the Battle for the Computer

Adventures with Google AdWords

Back around Thanksgiving I received a letter from Google AdWords with an invitation to try the service. The incentive was $100 worth of credits. I’ve never used this service before, but with such a nice offer I decided to try it out. As I worked through the sign up process I found that I had to fork over a $10 sign up fee, but it seems I remember that they gave me another $5 worth of credits so I basically got $105 worth of credits for $10.

You probably don’t know a lot about AdWords so I’ll share my limited understanding of the program. Often when you visit a web site you’ll note a section of the page called “Ads by Google.” These are paid ads placed there for hopefully related websites. The owner of the site earns a small payment for every ad that is clicked on (or something like that).

Anyway, I designed a four line text ad, entered a bunch of keywords that describe my devotional writing, set a budget of no more than $7.50 a day, and watched to see what would happen.

At first, not much. My ad appeared on a few pages and I had a few site visitors but there were no fireworks. Then, about two weeks in, for some reason I don’t understand, things took off. My ad was appearing on pages that mentioned “devotionals” and the like and people began visiting my site. Ultimately, my ad appeared over 370,000 times and it generated over 550 visits to my site. Since the campaign started I’ve gained around 20 email subscribers to my devotionals.

Frankly, I’m impressed. I never expected that kind of response. Now, it may be that some of the new folks will loose interest and unsubscribe, although most of my subscribers have stayed with me for two or more years.

Will I put my own money up and do another campaign? I don’t think so. My writing is mainly for my own use and I don’t make a dime off of it. However, if I had an Internet business I think I’d consider it. After all, if you’re trying to make money on the Internet, traffic is the name of the game.

Also, I’ll mention that if Google AdWords wants to give me another $100 I’ll happily do another ad campaign! (hint)

Update: a year later, Google did, indeed, give me another $100 to play with.  I reran the ad campaign.  Results weren’t as impressive as the first round, still my number of site visits, which had sagged a bit, got a bump up that has stayed.  Not many new subscribers though.

The Online Bible – an interesting journey

Many years ago, when I had my first computer, I ordered a Bible program called the Online Bible.  The funny thing is that it wasn’t “online” at all.  Of course, in the late 1980’s the term didn’t have anything to do with the Internet.  I ordered the program and a week or so later I received a box of 3.5″ diskettes.  I copied them onto my “massive” 20 megabyte (no, it’s not a typo) hard drive.  What a thrill it was to have the Bible on my computer.  My trusty Bible Concordance was placed on a forgotten corner of my book shelf and I could now do amazing searches of the Bible.  I know there are many good Bible programs out there today, but I’ve stayed with the Online Bible through the years.   I have it on my computer at home and also on my PDA. These days the Online Bible folks explain that the name doesn’t mean that their Bible is actually “online” although the program is actually, of course, available for download “online.”  However, some folks just go to the Biblegateway website and do their Bible searching online for real.   It’s interesting to me that the Online Bible started before anything was actually “online” but that now, there are several real “online” Bible websites that most folks just take for granted.  We’re on an interesting journey through technology even in our access to that old Book.

SongShow Plus and PowerPoint

At church we use SongShow Plus and it does a good job for us.  I’d be glad to answer any questions about it if you care to ask.  Several years ago I started doing a PowerPoint presentation with the sermon.  I put the major points and scriptures up on the screen.  Also, we have a fill-in-the-blank sermon outline in the bulletin the “answers” appear on the screen as I preach the sermon.  Several faithfully fill in their outline each week.

I used to put my laptop on a stand by the pulpit so I could see what everyone else was seeing on the big screen behind me, but when we added a very large plasma screen to the back wall of the sanctuary so the praise team could sing without having to have music stands with the words, I decided to take advantage of the system for the sermon too.

SongShow Plus likes PowerPoint okay.  You can make a PPT an event in a program and then run it from within SSP.  You can also import a PPT presentation, converting it to the SSP format.

The main drawback using either method is that it doesn’t handle multi-part slides – if you want to have, say bullet points that appear one at a time you have to put each point on it’s own slide.  Also, because of that you can’t get any fly in effects, etc.

Still, it works pretty good.  I do my sermon in PPT and use a remote to change slides during the sermon.  That way I don’t have to depend on the folks in the media booth to know when to change the slides.  They just click on the PPT sermon, move the mouse to the “next” button on their screen and then stay hands off and let me run the sermon power point.

It works just fine.  One thing I like about adding the PPT to the sermon is that I’m not a great sermon illustrator.  I can find an image that illustrates my point and, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”