I joined medium.com on the 3rd November 2016. This was as a means of experiment to try and aid me in better understanding the dimensions of blogging. This article concludes the article from the 7 month review, with 5 added months of further observation. I have crafted this to try and aid you in understanding how to start with Medium, or more what to avoid.
1 Year Writing With Medium.com And What it Taught Me
So What’s Different From The 7 Month Review?
Not a great deal in terms of general experience.
The participation of Medium still suffers from the two gripes I identified previously;
BYOT – Bring Your Own Traffic
Internal Paywalls – Both in terms of joining publications and through paid membership to Medium.com. If anything, the paywalls are becoming even more entrenched.
What Is Worse Is A Sense Of The Monetisation Creep
During my previous article I had highlighted that Medium had introduced a form of premium bracket in order to start funding their growth. Since that time, Publications have now been brought into the fold to ‘pay’ their best writers when they have succeeded in drawing more attention to the site.
Whilst Medium.com still doesn’t rely on slapping adverts down the shoulders of their clean website design (a great thing), they have resorted to membership only posts. Member only articles are not entirely restricted. Non members can only access 3 “membership only” articles per month.
I don’t support this change but can understand why it has been introduced. That doesn’t mean I like it though.
Difficulty Investing The Time In Medium.com
The B2B nature of Medium (Writer pitching to Writer) is restrictive in terms of natural gains.
The problem I always foresee with this kind of platform is that the reader base has to ‘know who you are’.
It takes a long time to convert readers to your army, far longer than it takes simply to work hard on your own self-hosted blog, and that’s the rub. You should have your own blog, and possibly use Medium as a way of boosting the numbers. Medium shouldn’t be your be all and end all because the returns on the platform are much smaller than from your own launchpad.
You already work hard to gain a social following, the question is;
“Should Medium Get A Stake In That?”
Answer; Not without the goods.
Your social network is valuable, far more valuable than you may realise.
The Tel Aviv Jerusalem Ad Girl
In the previous 7 month review I had recounted about the article I wrote that formulated what I consider an ‘outrider post’. The definition of an article that does insanely well but for no specific reason.
It was my best performing article on my entire stint. This article was written fairly early into the medium.com trial and outperformed all of other articles in the entire timescale.
To put that into comparison with the 2nd best article, I scored 243 views.
You can see the gulf can’t you. 10 times the views.
It had a big pick up in traffic during October. I’m unsure as to why, possibly because the international ad campaign was running somewhere in the world. I deduce curious readers wanted to know the name of the ad girl.
I am cynical there, the stats only tell me so much. Speculation on the core design behind why someone comes to the site to visit that article, is speculation. It is nice that medium offer simple stats but they don’t go deep enough. This is an element that a self hosted blog charts in much more comprehensive detail. When you have Google Analytics, Clicky or other stat providers in the loop. Clicky and Google provide these more comprehensive stats for free (but with some minor limitations).
Such oddities aren’t new to me. I’ve had a similar situation on BlogPrefect.com with a non relevant post boosting my numbers. I understand the outrider post in all its glory. I know they are difficult to replicate, especially for something on topic.
Reward Shaped My Later Writing (And Stifled It At The Same Time)
Often, articles I had spent time on, fell flat. I opted to lose the edge, stop being experimental, and instead try to ‘please’ the audience.
The whole point of the experiment on Medium.com was not to please. I failed.
I believe you need to go on Medium.com with an agenda. One area you dominate. It doesn’t even matter if you aren’t fully conversant in that area, you have room to grow and learn the topic. Medium.com is great for the starter writer.
A mixed buffet doesn’t work. I’ve explored this concept on Blogprefect.com in the past and you need to stay on point.
The Ultimate Observation
- Medium could well be a cheap platform for you to start rather than self hosted. Cost wise it may be more cost effective depending on the strategy you are considering.
- You still need to perform all of the social media back flips that you would on a self hosted blog but you get less stat information, and less control over your content.
- The restrictive Paywall to visitors outside of membership, is driving membership only posts to the top. This is a push for you to become a member.
- The site as a whole, and in my general opinion, is entirely Left in terms of its political core. Right views are present but are the definite, unsupported minority.
- All posts do better when submitted to user administered publications. Free standing posts are less likely to do well.
- You will soon get bored of Trump disillusionment.
- There is the notion of notoriety. In other words, those new people signing up to Medium.com can find you if you become more active and “successful” in certain distinct fields of Medium. I became notorious in AI and Science for a time. It is important to focus in order to attract more followers.
This is as far as I am taking the review of medium.com for now as I have opted to take a 2 month break from the platform.
I hope this has provided some insight into medium.com.