When I started out on Medium, I was shouting into the ether for many many months.
Then, after reviewing some headphones that the bigger sites hadn’t talked about much, I started to get some traction.
So, I set an arbitrary goal in my head of consistently achieving 100,000 views per month with at least a 50 percent read retention ratio before I would consider my writing “A Real Thing.”
This is what my stats page has looked like for the last six weeks or so
Okay! I made it there. My online in-my-spare-time writing is a real thing.
Now, what the hell do I do next?
The first step was to launch www.worldbolding.com.
I realized pretty early on that I needed my own personal blog space in case Medium ever imploded. I have a bad habit of never backing up my work, and indeed…I’ve written well over 400 articles on Medium without ever backing them up anywhere else.
From now on, Medium will contain a subset of my content on World Bolding. I can’t just ditch Medium outright, and I don’t want to do that anyway. I’ve built up an audience here…but most of it actually comes from outside sources like Google, and not from my followers.
My most popular content is not always what I think it’s going to be.
Even though those numbers in the screen cap up there look good, the bulk of those views come from a handful of pieces each month.
My biggest articles are about:
- Popular headphones and Apple Stuff. People love my MDR1000X stories, my Bose and Beats stories, and my Apple stories. They even like stories where I’m not super happy with Apple. If it says Apple in it, it usually does well. Apple Apple Apple. Just for good luck I threw those in.
- Starbucks Coffee? I wrote my first coffee review as a fun joke. I don’t know anything about reviewing food and I just kind of talk about my feelings on the coffee. Every coffee article I’ve written has done very well, and I couldn’t say why.
- Colors. The most wildly successful piece I’ve written recently is this one, about how technology products don’t seem to have very many colors in them. I wrote it in a moment of desperation when I couldn’t think of what to write, and it’s literally about what I was looking at in that moment.
So I just never know what’s going to do well…which is kind of exciting.
I’m very grateful for my Medium audience and I don’t want my new site to eat into them too much, necessarily.
The challenge now, then, is to take all of this data and see if I can purposefully write articles that do well, both on Medium and on World Bolding.
I know that I’m supposed to be “writing for myself”, and I always try to do that… but being ignorant of my audience is arrogant and selfish and won’t get me anywhere.
If I can somewhat reliably write articles that people like in both places, then the challenge becomes…how do I monetize this?
I don’t agree with the monetization paywall model of Medium. I think that’s a weird tough uphill battle.
But having my own site allows me to do things like, I don’t know…sell a book that teaches you how to buy/evaluate headphones and collects all of my audio material in one place? ;)
And maybe some original fiction, too? ;)