Are you starting to blog? Well, this moment will determine all future blogging moments, so don’t make any decisions lightly.
And the most important decision is: Where to blog.
I’ve heard people ask about the differences between platforms and how to decide, and so on. This post is my answer.
Blogger is somewhere in the past.
I blogged there regularly years ago, but in time, it was obvious that it became outdated. Whether it was the design or the templates or the (lack of) widgets, it just sort of faded/keeled over.
Some people remained, of course, but the only thing I have to say to those people is: Move with the times. If you’re trying to talk to modern people, find out where they’ve gone. (If you have a blogger following already and they’re sticking, ignore my advice and keep writing.)
P.S. Something interesting I’ve noticed is that some industries have become stuck in the vacuum between how things were done and how things are done today. It behooves me to say that publishing is one of them, afraid of innovating.
WordPress is the all-time favorite, and there’s always a reason why something is the popular choice. Even if you don’t want to be “cliche” and dislike “herd mentality”, you have to leave that kind of thinking behind if you want to build any sort of brand/business online.
Ideally, you’d own and customize your own WordPress site and opt for the self-hosted version, a.k.a. WordPress.org. I, however, am not very technically inept, which is why I’m on the hosted version, WordPress.com. One day I might regret this, but right now it works.
P.S. I have heard horror stories about WordPress taking down your blog. Are those urban legends or has it happened to someone you know?
First of all, Medium is not just a publishing platform, it’s more network-y, which means that you don’t start with zero followers, which is a relief. But even then being heard on Medium is hard because so many others are trying to do the same. (Here’s a great guide by Ali Mese that could help.)
Second, if you’re considering to “have a blog” on Medium, you need to set your priorities straight. For example: do you want to build a brand or just reach more people? Because brands do not grow on Medium. Brands grow on a blog which bears their name. And if you’re thinking that you’re going to create a collection on Medium and slap a domain on it, you can do that, but that’s not necessarily the best option for your brand.
Imagine going to a brand’s blog. You see that the blog and site are consistent – they look and feel the same, the navigation between the two is seamless, and you feel like you’re somewhere worth staying. It’s like the brand’s signature is plastered all over.
Now imagine you go to a blog and you realize it’s on Medium. It’s very obvious. Then you look through the stories, and they’re great, but it doesn’t really give you the feeling of being anywhere other than Medium. Even if the domain doesn’t have “medium.com” in it, it’s still Medium.
Another question to ask: Do you want any space for announcements? If you choose Medium, you won’t have that space because readers on Medium just ignore self-promotional content. Not to say you couldn’t spin it into a great article and add your update in the post-script, but is it really worth the effort and does it have the same effect? Barely.
Finally, consider if the audience on Medium will appreciate your content. Even though it’s quite varied, there are certain topics that perform better than others – like anything tech-related and life stories.
What I do is blog on WordPress and publish on Medium when I think the audience there would appreciate a particular article. Or I cross-post. (If you’re afraid of cross-posting, just link the cross-post to the original post and remember, the best SEO is quality writing.)
P.S. I apply the same principle with startups, so the above comment is not just true for personal brands, it also works for professional ones.
Let’s be honest. Tumblr is for funny gif’s and teenagers.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your personal blog there – just see Ryan Hoover’s blog. He grew up in popularity there, but that’s mostly because he networked. As a result, he drew the people he talked with to his blog, which is a win for his personality, not the platform.
If you have a winning personality, people will follow you wherever.
Disclaimer: That’s where brands can’t really go because brands don’t have a personality like a person does. They have qualities and particular behaviors and logos, but they don’t have a face and they’re consisted of many people, and worst of all, there is a stigma about brands.
Did you read this article on The Next Web? It upset me a little because I always believe you can do great things with a brand – just look at buffer. Still, whatever you do, it will always remain a brand, and the stigma or bias or whatever’s in the way of breakthrough will always stick to it like gum on a shoe.
The best thing you can do to boost your brand is to infuse it with your personality, especially if you’re the sole founder.
There have been new platforms out there, the most notable being Ghost. I don’t really have an opinion about those because they are so new, but I’m guessing if you choose to go with that one, you’d have to really care about a “modern feel” and know that not everybody will be comfortable with the transition. Also, new things break and introduce awkward updates (like Medium sometimes does), and so you’d have to be really flexible.
In the end, I chose WordPress because it’s familiar and the new templates are modern-looking enough. 🙂
I babbled a bit in this article, so here are the main takeaways:
- match the platform to your personality (gotta be comfortable)
- set your priorities straight before you choose – do you want to invest in brand awareness or reach?
- always consider the audience (if you’re active on LinkedIn and professionals are your target audience, you can try Pulse, but only if you care about reach more than having your own hub)
- see what other people do or just ask them.
P.S. And don’t be scared to start completely fresh instead of trying to migrate your previous content to a new platform. Sometimes starting fresh has major advantages like focusing on new topics and building yourself a new brand.