Some Things That I Have Learnt From Writing for One Year on the Platform
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The fact that I published my first article on July 8, 2021, and it has been one year of writing on this platform, quite slipped my mind.
I had planned on writing a casual post on July 8. But damn, I missed my one-year anniversary. Sorry, Medium.
But better late than never, as they say. Can I say: “Exactly one year ago, this month, I posted my first article?” Because I have lost the opportunity to replace “month” with “day.”
And I would have even missed this one had I not read Noah Smith’s newsletter “How to write a successful Substack.” It reminded me out of the blue that I had to write Medium’s one-year post.
And thanks to that, here is it. Let me tell you beforehand what’s going to be in this article. More importantly, what it’s not.
First of all, it’s not a listicle. It’s a flowing article I am writing with no planning. I just want to touch on some important aspects of writing without telling you what to do and what not to do.
P.S. If you are a beginner writer, following and reading articles on this list might help.
Is Medium still relevant today?
It should be the first question you should be asking if you are planning to get started on Medium. Or before getting committed to writing on this platform.
There are many statistics that show the reach of Medium has declined lately. The traffic to medium.com has dropped by 20M in the last three months itself. It also has a bounce rate (people clicking on the website and then immediately clicking away) of 75%, which is a lot. Twitter’s bounce rate is 31%.
But do they form a strong enough reason that one should not choose Medium to host their blog? I am negative.
It’s still one of the best places to have your blog hosted on. Cliche? I know. But I believe this dearly. This is not some sort of romanticism, but firm pro-con reasoning.
Do it yourself and you’ll find out why I am saying that. Yes, it’s a bit tough to get views on here, but the audience and community that you get on here is unlike any other.
And look at the alternatives you have at our disposal.
Vocal Media? It has a global rank of 28,372. Compare that to Medium’s 390.
And then there are also Substack and Ghost, but I think it’s comparatively tougher to build an audience over there.
Medium also has an excellent Domain Authority of 95, which stands on par with big companies like Facebook and Amazon. And you, as a writer, can take the benefit and leverage this fact to rank your articles higher in search engines with little to no knowledge of SEO.
All in all, it’s still one of the best, if not the best, platforms out there to write on. And I am 100% sure that it will be relevant for a long time, as it is now and has been for 10 years.
How did I start and what my advice would be?
I was 15 years old back then. I wrote from my Android tablet, didn’t use any software like Grammarly or ProWritingAid, knew nothing about publications, and Medium’s Android app lacked a lot of formatting styles and the feature to submit to publications.
At least they had the editor.
As English is my second language, I was not very good at it, either. But that didn’t stop me from putting myself out there (after a couple of failed tries).
I wrote about everything (not a much different case than it is now). From books to movies to Medium to personal essays to technology. Everything.
And I loved Medium for that—for giving me a place to explore a lot of my interests. Had I been writing on my personal blog, I would not have gotten that creative freedom. “Niche-down.”
And that leads to the first advice: Experiment. See for yourself what works and what doesn’t and where is that overlapping area in the Venn diagram if you draw two circles with one for what works on the platform and the second for what your interests are.
It’s not a one size fits all case. You have to find it out yourself.
Learn the basics. Read articles or watch videos for that, if you have to. But don’t obsess over that. Alone, it will bring no results. Only when you put effort will you see results.
Onto some miscellaneous stuff
Let’s discuss a little about tags, publication, and distribution, shall we?
There are already enough and more articles on every topic I mentioned above. But let’s scratch the surface of each of them and try to keep it short.
Use tags with care—you only get 5 at a time. Read this article if you don’t know about Top Writers Tag. And try to use a couple of them frequently.
Observe what tags your favourite writers are using. Though you can’t do it if you’re reading on a laptop, Medium’s Android app still shows tags of a story at the end. And I think the iOS app shows too.
Getting published in a good publication with an engaged audience should be one of your goals in the beginning. It doesn’t only give you exposure but also, if rejected, will force you to up your writing game.
Though it doesn’t matter that much at all, to be honest. But seeing that “chosen for further distribution” in your stats page doesn’t hurt eyes, right?
If your article is regularly getting distributed, it’s one of the signs that you’re doing a good job at writing and formatting your piece.
It has been a long article. More than 5 minutes, I guess. So what are the things I want you to take from this article?
Frankly, experiment with everything and stock to only those that works for you. That would be my #1 advice.
- Focus on upping your writing and creativity game rather than chasing followers and money (initially).
- Give yourself some time and craft the best title and subtitle. It’s important!
- Share your journey, tell your story, in your voice. Because that’s unique.
- Don’t read too much Medium-meta because that will only give you do pal ki khushiyaan (two minutes’ satisfaction), maybe longer.
- Start now. You will figure out everything (everything) in the way. Just start and don’t procrastinate.
Let me know if you want to hear from me on any other topic. Meanwhile, you can subscribe to my Substack to receive one interesting story every weekend.
This weekend we’re deep-diving into two stories of reincarnation. Bye!