With major enhancements that include a whole new way to search for content, TWR360 (twr360.org) is celebrating its first birthday by unveiling “version 2.0” of the multilingual Web portal for Christian media resources.
The online tool built by TWR has grown from featuring five languages when it debuted in May 2013 to 12 languages today and from 46 ministries to 74. Now the site has prominent buttons for easy searching of content by topic, Scripture or producing ministry as well as a freshened look that can take the user to a compelling audio, text or video resource in one click.
“I’m not interested in TWR360 simply getting a bunch of visitors and a lot of hits,” said Ralf Stores, the visionary who proposed the site and serves as TWR’s director of U.S. Media Development and Services. “The key thing when traffic comes to the site is having them engage. Any site can market itself and drive traffic to the site. But we’re trying to build community, and we’re trying to build engagement. We’re trying to give people a way to actually build some of the spiritual disciplines – the practice of reading the Bible, the practice of listening to and reading messages.”
Extensive research revealing that people “primarily come to the Internet to seek answers to life’s questions” guided the website enhancement, according to Stores, and the most-asked of those questions provide helpful keywords for topic searching. And since there are lots of ways for visitors to share the gospel-based content they encounter, TWR360 moves closer to its ultimate purpose: serving as a tool not only for personal growth but also for evangelism.
Two other important additions are a video player streaming the Jesus film, likely the most widely watched motion picture of all time, and the searchable, multitranslation YouVersion of the Bible. Both are easily accessible on the main page and available in all 12 languages operable on the site. Stores said that Vietnamese and Indonesian are ready to go and will be added to the lineup soon.
One of the most distinctive features of TWR360 is its ability to detect the language of a visitor’s browser and automatically function in that language. If a visitor selects one of the displayed topics, all available material on that topic in the visitor’s language will be presented.
Even though TWR360 is in its building phase, Stores said, the site still drew visitors from 197 countries last month (May 2014). He pointed out that countries in the midst of crises often place high on the ranking of total visits. Ukraine, for example, embroiled in a political confrontation with Russia, had the third-most visits last month, with the United States, China, India and Egypt rounding out the top five.