Some of you have met FaithWriters creator, Scott Lindsay, at the FaithWriters conference. Some have corresponded with him via email and priority support channels. But who is he, really?
Well, it’s time to find out more about the guy who started it all.
Meet the man behind the mania…
LYNDA: Give us a brief history lesson. Where did the initial idea for a Christian writers’ site come from?
SCOTT: Actually, I am not a writer. Well, I do write a lot of web content but I am not really a creative writer.
In 2000, after 2 years of studying web design, I wanted to create a test site to get my feet wet in running a website. Being a Christian, I wanted it to have Christian content. Since I was not a writer, I knew I would have a difficult time in actually coming up with content for the website. So I thought, why not create a site where Christian writers can post their own material, which would make up the content of the site without me having to write it! That is when FaithMania.com was born.
The original design was intended for a small group of writers to showcase their writing capabilities while making the site one that visitors wanted to return to time and again. The downside to the original design was that each article had to be uploaded manually by me. As the site began to grow, it was clear there was something bigger at work and if the site grew much larger I wouldn’t be able to keep up with submissions.
It really was no burden when a few articles needed to be placed on the site, but when dozens of articles began pouring in from the growing stable of writers, it was clear the pressure of the site design had reached critical mass.
At that time, I decided to start a second site and this time, make it easier to maintain. I hired a programmer to help me automate submissions, so users could post their own articles and the articles would be posted immediately to the site. This was the birth of FaithWriters.com in September 2001.
LYNDA: I’m sure I’m not the only one to wonder what exactly goes into creating a site like this. I’m sure many people might think there’s nothing to starting and maintaining a website. But I have a feeling it’s not that easy. So to set the record straight, take us through the process.
SCOTT: Wow, this is a tough question so I will try to make it brief and not technical.
LYNDA: Please do! We’re right-brained creative types, not left-brained techies. LoL.
SCOTT: Well, first, a domain name must be registered. Second, hosting or a physical server must be purchased. Third, the website must be designed. Fourth, all of the interactive features must be programmed in the backend. These are not visible to the user. Fifth, the site needs to be ready to be seen by the search engines. This requires a keen understanding of Search Engine Optimization which I have mastered through the years. Sixth, marketing the site across the web. And last but not least, constant updates, member support, server support, and marketing must be maintained on a daily basis.
This is just a quick summary.
LYNDA: What made you decide to change the name from FaithMania to FaithWriters?
SCOTT: Actually, I never changed the name. The original site FaithMania.com is still online. I created a new site with a new name.
I can remember putting some thought into what a good name would be. I finally decided on FaithWriters because it describes the site perfectly. The site is composed of writers who write about topics of Faith…FaithWriters!
LYNDA: Tell us a little about yourself. Who IS the man behind the Mania?
SCOTT: This is also a difficult question, as I do not really like to talk about myself but…here it goes!
At the age of 17 I became a Christian. I was not raised in a Christian home but always had an awareness that God was there. Of course, this has shaped my life ever since.
I am a regular guy who believes in chasing your dreams. One of the things that has driven me is that I have always been an entrepreneur and have always had big dreams. The moment I saw the internet, I didn’t see it as a place to have fun, I saw the opportunity it afforded me to reach people and create something bigger than myself. That has driven me in my online ventures for the last 10 years.
Of course I am more than “what I do”. To sum up who I am…I am a Christian, who is very active, and extremely ambitious. I want to touch thousands if not millions of lives one day. I hope God gives me that chance.
LYNDA: Well, I can say God is using you to touch thousands of lives through FaithWriters alone. Probably in many more ways than you realize.
Take us through your typical work day.
SCOTT: I wake up at 5:00 am.
Work until around 6:40 am.
Work out at the gym from 7:10 am until about 9: 10 am.
Come home and eat, shower, whatever.
Go back to work around 10:00 am.
Break for lunch around 12:30 pm.
Work from around 1:30 pm until I am ready to be done.
If I have someplace to go, I will do that throughout the day as well.
LYNDA: As an entrepreneur and owner / creator of several membership sites, is there anything about FaithWriters that sets it apart from your other sites? What has been the most rewarding aspect for you?
SCOTT: Yes, I do own several membership websites. FaithWriters was the first and,in my opinion, the best. Really, it is the people of FaithWriters that sets it apart from every other one of our websites. There is just a sense of family and community at FaithWriters that you don’t find at our other sites.
The most rewarding part of building any website to me is to watch it grow from a few members to thousands. I love to make websites grow.
In regard to FaithWriters, it is so rewarding to me to hear members say how much the site has blessed them and helped them with their writing.
LYNDA: FaithWriters has grown so much since it first debuted (currently well over 47,000 members). Do you have people working for you or do you does the majority of the manpower fall on you? What are some of the challenges you face?
SCOTT: Running a site the size of FaithWriters is very challenging. Most people have no idea the time and dedication it takes to keep the site going. Not just dedication by me, but by each person that comes along side of me to get everything done.
My job is mainly to handle all marketing, site design, site maintenance, and 75% of all support. I do have others that work with me to handle other areas of the site. Deb Porter is my right hand person. Deb handles coordination of the Writing Challenge, Challenge judging, book reviews, board moderation, and member support. I am sure she does much more than this but these are the main areas. Lynda Schab handles welcome emails, newsletters, board moderation, as well as maintenance of our blog and social media outlets.
There are many other people that help across the site in so many areas that I cannot possibly name them all.
Each day has its challenges. The challenges I face with FaithWriters typically revolve around two areas, Financial and Site Issues.
LYNDA: So what do you do in your spare time? That is, if you actually HAVE any spare time. What do you like to do for fun?
SCOTT: I work out 2 hours a day 5 days a week. For fun, other than working out, I am very active. I play wally ball every Friday night with a group of 8 friends. It is a lot of fun and we always go out to dinner afterwards. On Thursday night I play a game called Pickle Ball with another group of friends. It is very similar to tennis, played on a court, but has a much faster pace. It is a game that originated in the south but is growing in popularity. I also love to bike ride, golf, go to a movie, hang out with friends, travel to new places, and go to sporting events. Sports have always been a part of my life, as I used to play baseball and football. I enjoy going to Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings games and love to watch pro football. But am not such a fanatic that I have to watch every game. I also enjoy music and like to attend concerts when a group that I enjoy is in town.
LYNDA: What is your long-time vision for FaithWriters?
SCOTT: First, I want to see FaithWriters become totally secure financially. This can only happen by members supporting the site, so it is my goal to reach at least one thousand 500 Platinum members within the next several months. I also see FaithWriters continuing to move forward and giving more back to our members. We are currently the number one site for Christian writers on the web and I want us to stay there. I also have a goal to reach the 100,000 member mark over the next few years.
LYNDA: Any final words you’d like to say to the members of FaithWriters?
SCOTT: I would just like to personally thank every member who considers FaithWriters their home on the web. Thank you for the years of support you have given us. I hope that each of you is blessed by your time here.
LYNDA: Thanks so much for taking the time to let us get to know you better. And thank you for the heart, sweat, and time you’ve put in to making FaithWriters what it is today. I’m sure I speak for thousands of members when I say I can’t imagine life without FaithWriters.