For over 35 years, In Touch Ministries has employed a multimedia approach to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world via radio, television, satellite, cable TV, short wave, books, a monthly magazine and the Internet. Its newest website went live with Applied Innovations in July 2012 after moving from a previous hosting provider. We sat down with Brad Brown, Chief Information Officer for In Touch Ministries, to discuss how they ended up selecting Applied Innovations as their new web hoster.
Applied Innovations: Tell us a little bit about your organizations’ online objectives, Mr. Brown.
Brad Brown: InTouch.org is a non-profit website primarily focused on delivering Dr. Stanley’s content in 43 languages worldwide. Every Sunday, Dr. Stanley preaches at First Baptist Church of Atlanta, and our objective is to deliver that message as broadly as possible. We broadcast in more than 50 languages on over 2500 television and radio stations worldwide. We have apps for iPhone/iPad and Android. We’ve shipped almost half a million Messengers—solar-powered audio devices with Dr. Stanley’s sermons and the New Testament—to 130 countries. We stream 146TB of video sermons online every month. We offer podcasts as well as streaming In Touch Radio in English and Spanish. We have an online store to purchase books, CDs and DVDs. Dr. Stanley has written more than 50 books, several of which have been on the New York Times Bestseller list. He has also published a special annotated Bible – a Life Principles Bible. We email over a million Daily Devotionals that click back to the website. There is a free monthly print magazine that is distributed to more than 1.2 million subscribers, and we duplicate that on the website as well. And then of course we also accept donations online.
AI: So your website is really integral to your organizations’ objectives. What kind of traffic do you get?
BB: Well, the traffic to our site is on a very consistent weekly cycle. Dr. Stanley is on the air somewhere 24/7. But the site traffic spikes Friday through Sunday. About 10-15% of our audience watch/listen online instead of traditional TV/Radio, although it has increased in small increments, year after year, ever since we launched the first website in 1996. In just 2012 alone, we’ve had about 14 million visits to our site, with 4.3 million unique visitors and 40 million page views. Most of this is direct traffic, not search engine traffic.
AI: What were some of the challenges you were experiencing with your previous hosing provider?
BB: When we initially signed up, we thought we were getting a full-service managed solution. We don’t want to manage the server and the database and the network. The whole point with using a hosting provider is we didn’t want to deal with it. But we kept finding things weren’t configured properly. We kept having outages and performance issues. They would do maintenance on Sunday morning – the worst possible time for our website! They would fix problems when they were pointed out, but it just didn’t seem they were maintaining the infrastructure properly. In the end, we were doing it all ourselves – monitoring everything and identifying problems.
AI: Sounds frustrating! How did you end up selecting Applied Innovations?
BB: We called DotNetNuke Corp and asked for recommendations. They gave us several names and we initiated a formal vendor selection process. Applied Innovations really impressed us as offering the fully managed solution we were looking for. We have a whole IT department here at In Touch Ministries, but we need to be able to focus on our core business activities, not maintaining servers, load balancers and firewalls.
AI: Did Applied Innovations suggest any radical changes to your hosting architecture?
BB: We were previously on physical servers, but Appliedi has us on a cloud solution with a load balancer. Basically the same architecture, but now we have the flexibility to scale. Otherwise, the only other change was for PCI compliance, so we now have our website and online stores on separate virtual servers.
AI: How was the migration process?
BB: Painless. I gauge it by how many complaints I get from my team. We had a couple of technically questions, but the Appliedi team was able to answer them quickly.
AI: And now, are you satisfied with your site performance and the service you’ve received from Applied Innovations?
BB: Absolutely. My whole team sleeps better at night knowing our site is stable and running smoothly.
AI: That’s what we’re here for – to provide you with peace of mind so you can focus on more important things. Thanks for entrusting your web hosting to Applied Innovations.