Should you publish your blog on Medium or your personal site?

Last week I posted a blog post about Containerizing and switching from AWS to GCP for my startup’s infrastructure.

I was excited about the technology (and cost savings); enough so that I wanted other startups to realize the potential benefits. In this case, it was clear that ‘tweeting about it’ wasn’t going to have a lasting impact.

Gameplan for getting reads

  1. Post, retweet and retweet on Twitter (and LinkedIn). Unfortunately I don’t have a strong Twitter following (398 followers) and even my Pinned Tweet received pathetic engagement (see below). My Medium following is mediocre at 252.
Tweet activity on my Pinned Tweet, and my measly 398 Followers

2. Get reputable developers, Google Employees and infrastructure nerds to share on Twitter.

3. Make the post fun to read so that people will actually read it. I’m calling that a success…currently at 41% conversion to Reads from Views.

Solid conversion. 41% seems good anyways, especially if ‘Reads’ means ‘read to the end’
  • Finally, find a Medium Publication that is aligned with the content in my post and has a significant following, then beg to be included 😬. Fortunately, a great publication actually reached out to me after I shared the post with a few friends for feedback. As you can see, I’m currently front and center at the top of the GCP Community Publication!
Most recent post on GCP Community Publication on Medium

So how did it all play out…

The post has only been live for 4 days, so this is a preliminary analysis. The good news is that without putting in additional effort, views are on the rise:

Day 2 is when the first Daily Digests went out from Medium.

But the most important data comes from Referrals…

Let’s Break this Down

  • Twitter was the one place I did some outreach, resulting in 14 posts, 10 retweets, and 24 likes (Thanks Ray Tsang, Carter Morgan and more). Unfortunately, these posts only accounted for a whopping 5.8% of traffic. NOTE: This assumes that links from Twitter’s apps include referrer info that Medium is bucketing as twitter.com.
  • People stumbling across the GCP Community page accounted for only 1% (remember that giant feature? Irrelevant). Joining the Publication was still well worth it though because…
  • The majority of the traffic came through email, Medium.com and Medium for iOS and Android, totalling to 55%. Now, I have to make some assumptions here (mainly that direct + IM is negligible), but you can conclude that Medium drove (and continues to drive) the majority of traffic to my post through its Daily Digest emails and on-site recommendations.
One thing I wish I knew is whether the referrers from Medium were shown my post because they (a) followed the GCP Community Publication or (b) followed somebody that Recommended my post. Hint Hint Medium :)

Conclusion

If you don’t already have a strong social following, Medium provides significant advantages over posting on your own site. Views resulting from Medium’s Publications, Tags and Recommends accounted for over 50% of the total traffic. Double is always better.

It’s also possible that strong conversion to Reads and Recommends plays a significant role in Medium’s feed algorithms, so the quality of your post (obviously) matters!

Of course, the dream is to end up above the fold on organic search results, which I owe almost entirely to Medium! My guess is that there will be a point in the future where the google.com referrer outpaces the Medium referrals, but that remains to be seen.

Climbing the organic search results!

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