Over the last couple of years there’s been something of a debate online as to whether or not blogging’s death knell has sounded. At one stage bloggers were declared to be a dying breed, and yet it seems the prominence of Facebook and Twitter has only served to encourage the medium. With more and more people connected to the social networks, there’s more demand for content, which is basically the social network’s oxygen. And so blogging breathes life into social networks and vice-versa.

Having blogged in some form or another since 2006, I find the end of every year gives me a chance to reflect on my own blogging practice. Very practically, I take some time to consider my ‘end-of-year stats’ – reviewing what posts have been particularly popular, and how the stats compare year-on-year. And then I plot it all out on complicated hand-crafted graphs.

Ok, not that last bit…

If you pop by here often, you’ll know there’s been a few changes over the past year:

  • Back in the autumn, That Happy Certainty had a bit of a visual face-lift to freshen things up… the internet is increasingly a visually-conscious place, and so the quality of content is served well by attractive visuals.
  • I’ve been aiming for one blogpost every week – this has been a good discipline for me, keeping me processing, reading and, ultimately, writing.
  • At the start of 2016 we also launched an additional weekend Refill post, collating some (hopefully) interesting and edifying links from the previous week. Feedback on this has been really positive, so we’ve definitely given it the green light to carry on in 2017.
  • We’ve also tried to tighten up the nature of the posts, focusing on three particular themes: gospel, culture and church-planting. These have crystallised as I’ve considered my own convictions and passions, and how I can be a reflective practitioner in the particular field and ministry I find myself. Having an emphasis then gives me direction as I consider the bigger picture of what the site is trying to do.
  • There’s also been a lot more of two particular types of post: resource reviews (often books) and ministry interviews – both of these seem steadily appreciated, and you’ll see some of the interviews make the top 10 below. For me these underline that one of the ways I want That Happy Certainty to be a useful resource is by spotlighting other resources, whether web, print, or otherwise.

I think it’s probably down to a combination of these additions that page views have gone up about 40% from 2015. That in itself is a big encouragement to keep on trucking. But I’ve also been spurred on by individual comments, messages, and of course people sharing my posts online, so thanks for reading and for all your feedback!

So here we go, the 10 most popular posts at That Happy Certainty in 2016. I’ve intentionally discounted my annual round-up of Christmas and Easter videos, as they’re always the hands down winners and so feel a bit like anomalies! As you’ll see, there’s a couple of oldies on the list (and they’re totally not posts I’d thought would end up being so popular) – maybe that just goes to show the impact and mystery of search engines…

  1. Not Deciding: Leadership Lessons from Band of Brothers (2014)
  2. Why Christians of All People Should Celebrate Halloween (2016)
  3. The Difference Between Wounds & Scars (2014)
  4. 366 Days with Hudson (2016)
  5. Is Your Church Ready, Steady for Pokemon Go? (2016)
  6. Preacher, Where Are You Wading Deep? (2016)
  7. The Story Behind Tumbling Sky: Psalms for Weary Souls – An Interview with Matt Searles (2016)
  8. Responding with Compassion & Conviction in the Midst of Gender Dysphoria – An Interview with Vaughan Roberts (2016)
  9. Go Chatter, Video Ministry, & That John Lewis Re-Make: An Interview with Dan Rackham (2016)
  10. Why Asking About Ministry Trajectories Beats Reasoning Your Season (2016)

By the way, if you’re looking for the article on why parenting is like playing Deal or No Deal, I’m sorry. That headline was the only way I was gonna convince anyone to read this blogpost. But, hey, if you want to write a guest-post on the subject, I’m all ears…

And if you really want to overload on geekdom, you can also see previous years’ top 10s from 2015, 2014, or 2013.