What I learned after writing 100 blog posts on Medium
As a hobbyist
My first ever article on Medium was on a self-help topic, published on Jan 16, 2018.
Almost 4 years later, here we are;
100+ blog posts✍🏻
122k+ views 📈
41k+ reads 📰
I was a hobbyist and didn’t have any specific agenda. I loved writing and I wrote to my heart's content. I self-published everything via my own publications or the student clubs I was a part of. At the time of writing this blog, I have a modest 764 followers. Thanks to each one of you for being a part of my journey.
Some stats 📊
I wrote about many different things.
Everything I explore or have an interest in, I write about it.
My most viewed and read article was this:
Beyond the Edge of the Universe: A Tale Through Space and Time
A Journey Spanning Over 93 Billion Light Years
30k views, 10.9k reads. Not bad at all for an amateur writer.
A few reasons why I think this blog worked.
- It’s narrative and speculative. Do you know what’s beyond the Universe? Read to find out!
- Community push. I wrote this blog for the astronomy club of my college- Nakshatra. Interest groups are very powerful. When I wrote this, we’d read it within our community and also reshare it through our social media handles, instantly giving 100s of views. It’s like starting a rocketship with a great push 🚀.
- The Medium algorithm then noticed a spike in interest. Back then, I think a human editor picked it up, probably liked it, and distributed it across the platform. Most of my early views were from my peers and then from Medium’s internal distribution.
- Shortly afterward, I became a Top writer in topics like Space and Science. It gave further push to this blog.
- Later, it started ranking high on Google search results, which is now the major driver of traffic to this blog.
- Write something interesting, insightful, and speculative.
- Write for a community.
- Understand the basics of how to rank high on search.
The blog with the best read ratio is this one:
It’s a poem I wrote, dedicated to the poetry of one of my favorite poets. It has a read ratio of 86 percent.
Since it is just a very short read, the read ratio is good. Short reads under 4 mins generally do good on Medium. However, they are not as good to get search engine traffic. Some blogs focusing on educational keywords do get traffic. The creative types, not so much. You should focus on your personal brand, the community you write for, and the Medium distribution algorithm.
My least viewed and read blogs are from a fictional web series I wrote a few years ago. It was a reboot of a story I wrote when I was in Middle School. I discontinued that series after some time. I do hope I can get back to writing it someday.
The below blog has 28 views.
Obviously, no one is going to read a random fictional series on Medium. Either it has to be really really good and distributed/marketed well or you have a very niche following and people are reading this story.
What else did I learn 🤔?
- The more you write, the more results + possibilities you will see. Sometimes to understand how to write one blog that gets 100k views, you have to gain experience by writing 100 blogs that get 1k views each. You will see how things work or do not work better than say someone who by chance was able to publish a highly successful blog. To understand patterns and replicate results, we need experience.
- Content distribution is as important as content creation. If you don’t do cross-platform distribution, you are missing out on huge leverage. Personally, I was able to use my LinkedIn and Instagram to drive traffic to my blogs. You may have written the most amazing blog out there but if nobody knows that it exists, no one is going to read it. Do not feel shy to show your work. Also, community-driven content distribution works wonders, which I have explained above as well.
- Backlinks work. A tutorial I wrote has 8k+ views and interestingly, over 3k of them are via Github. When I wrote that article, I created a Github repo of the code and backlinked it to the blog for anyone who wanted to read the explanation. Search engines + Github search together can create this effect.
- Likewise, you can get traffic from anywhere when backlinked- Quora, RSS feeds, external blogs, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest. As long as a link and a context is there, the recommendations and spread of these social media algorithms add to the distribution. When this happens, search engines also pick it up as a credible and high-quality article and rank it better.
- There are a bunch of things I did not do in my journey, that can actually boost your profile a lot. You can pitch and write for different publications out there. I always self-published or published with the student clubs I was part of. The reason I did this was that I wanted to have that creative freedom and my own timeline to write however I wanted. Writing for other publications means you have to follow a certain structure they prefer, you have to pitch to them, get approved, send them the draft, a few edits back and forth, and probably some deadlines. There can be uncertainty of if and when the blog will be published. There is overhead time and a waiting time. Is it all worth it? Absolutely yes. If you are looking to build a solid career in writing, you should do it. For me, I was just a hobbyist. I have a day job as a software engineer and I create content whenever I am free. I didn’t want to have any extra hassle. I do think I will explore publishing at different places in the future.
- I discovered so many different things to improve the quality of content. However, quality is not everything. We need some balance. We need timing, consistency, quantity too. I explain a few thoughts on why people will read your content in this LinkedIn post.
- Havings good images, headings, subheadings, hyperlinks, and use of embeds (like tweets, code), emojis, formatting- All of them add to the visual appeal. Don’t compromise when you have time.
- Everyone loves memes and puns. If you can incorporate them into your content, that's a big plus.
- Also, 𝒟𝒾𝒹 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝓀𝓃𝑜𝓌 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝒸𝒶𝓃 𝓌𝓇𝒾𝓉𝑒 𝓁𝒾𝓀𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓈? o̶r̶ l̶i̶k̶e̶ t̶h̶i̶s̶?
ᴸᵒᵗˢ ᵒᶠ ˢᵗᵘᶠᶠ ᵗᵒ ᵉˣᵖˡᵒʳᵉ 🔮
In 2022, I am planning to get more serious with my writing and content creation. That’s one reason I wrote this blog to introspect on what worked, what didn’t work, and what mattered to me. If you’d love to support my journey from 100k to 1 million views, don’t forget to click on that follow button 😀
Let’s catch up some time with another blog like this, once I hit the target :P
To the MOON!!! 🚀🚀🚀