In 1995 two young men met at Stanford University and struck up a friendship, eventually working together to develop a search engine they named “Backrub.” You probably know this search engine by its re-christening as Google—the most popular search engine on the internet (so popular it’s become a verb). Google LLC officially began in 1998—the year after AnswersinGenesis.org was purchased and three years after our web presence began. That’s right; we’re older than Google!
Our web presence began in 1995 with ChristianAnswers.net, a seven-ministry mega site.
2020 marks the 25-year anniversary of the Answers in Genesis website. Back when many companies, organizations, and ministries lacked any web presence and the internet was just in its infancy, Answers in Genesis leadership “had an inkling that it was going to offer us a good opportunity to reach even more people, but we could have never predicted how big and transformative it would become for AiG,” AiG co-founder Mark Looy explains.
Our web presence began in 1995 with ChristianAnswers.net, a seven-ministry mega site. Various ministries contributed answers to core questions. AiG, naturally, was responsible for the creation/evolution questions.
Eventually, we decided to develop our own website, purchasing the AnswersinGenesis.org domain on May 16, 1997. Dedicated volunteer Carl Kerby was one of the key individuals involved with the website launch, plunking out the HTML in-between shifts as an air traffic controller. Frost Smith, who still works with AiG as our content manager, started with the ministry in 1996 and helped get the first iterations of AnswersinGenesis.org up and going. Other early employees involved with the site, who are still working with AiG today, include Jeremy Ham, Dale Mason, and Linda Sauer.
In the mid-2000s we began migrating our content to a new content management system. Former employee Peter Galling recounts this busy time which ended with a major facelift for the website:
Our team was hard at work reviewing and migrating old articles to the new system, while still keeping up with day-to-day work to keep new articles and content flowing. During this time, when we were updating the user experience of the "Answers" section, debating what would best serve visitors, Ken Ham gave us a recommendation based on something from Genesis. I thought it might be taking the authority of Genesis a bit too far, but in hindsight it was exactly the right decision!
The website received another major overhaul in 2014 to stay cutting edge and become more mobile-friendly. Tweaks since then produced the website that you’re looking at now in 2020.
The old website is unrecognizable to our supporters today—but such was the internet back in the early days! Scroll through these old screenshots to enjoy a look at what the website used to be.
Since the very beginning, we’ve had a focus on producing fresh, new content for our web visitors. Reminiscing on those early days, Mark Looy mentioned the unlikely person who inspired this focus:
As we were learning how to make AnswersinGenesis.org truly effective, we picked up a key strategy at a broadcasters’ convention in Washington, DC, in early 1996. A young man by the name of Mark Cuban, not yet famous, gave a workshop on the tremendous potential of the internet to connect with people all over the world. There may have been only 20–25 people in Cuban’s workshop, but for those of us who were there, some great tips were picked up. Cuban urged us to keep our web content fresh and not make the site go stale, so that people would be more inclined to visit regularly and check out what was new. He warned us that if a returning web visitor kept seeing familiar content on the home page each time, the person was going to become a former visitor. So we determined to post new web content a few times each week and thus help establish a loyal following—people who would return frequently to our constantly updated site for teaching and encouragement.
A young man by the name of Mark Cuban, not yet famous, gave a workshop on the tremendous potential of the internet to connect with people all over the world.
With very few staff at the time—in the early 2000s we had only one web developer, one content manger, one content creator, one designer, and one store manager, compared to the dozens of people who make up the web teams today. It was challenging to constantly curate new web content and keep the site fresh, but, as Mark explains, “the commitment to post new content, which soon became a daily exercise, proved to be hugely successful as our web traffic grew and we received national awards for website excellence.”
Our website is a trove of answers, featuring articles, blogs, videos, books, kids’ content, sermons, translations, and more. In 25 years, our website has grown to include:
It’s always difficult to measure the spiritual impact of something, but we consistently hear from individuals and families who have been encouraged and equipped by the site.
It’s always difficult to measure the spiritual impact of something, but we consistently hear from individuals and families who have been encouraged and equipped by the site. We hear from former unbelievers who found answers and the gospel message, struggling Christians who discovered they could trust God’s Word from the very first verse, and mothers and fathers who use our materials to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The Lord has certainly used AiG‘s efforts mightily in reaching people for his glory through this outreach (and of course through our many other outreaches, such as conferences, Answers magazine, newsletters, and world-class attractions)!
The numbers help provide a glimpse into the incredible impact of the AnswersinGenesis.org ministry:
A popular exhibit at both the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum features an animated analytics dashboard from User Tracks on a large TV screen. This analytics dashboard shows the number of visitors on our website, how they got there (i.e. web search, email, social media, etc), and what they’re looking at in real time (visitors are encouraged to pull out their smartphone and watch themselves appear on the screen!). It’s incredible to see the number of people on our website at any given moment. It’s generally tens of thousands.
People need answers; they’re desperate for hope, peace, and truth. And true and lasting hope, peace, and truth come only from God’s Word and the gospel. Since getting online in 1995, Answers in Genesis has used this technology to powerfully and boldly declare the message of biblical authority and the gospel message around the world. Our web teams take this work very seriously, recognizing the vital importance of what we do. Web content supervisor Frost Smith shares, “we work to take the gospel and the message of biblical authority out to the farthest places. It’s like a missionary calling to share the gospel around the world. We all feel the privilege of getting to serve the Lord in this way, and we strive for excellence in all we do.”
We’re thankful for 25 years, more than 216,000,000 web visits, and 420,000 visits to our gospel page.
We’re thankful for 25 years and more than 216,000,000 web visits, 420,000 of which were to our gospel page! We do what we do to proclaim the truth and authority of God’s Word from the very first verse and we pray the Lord allows us to continue doing so for another 25 years and beyond.