More readers, wider distribution, new audiences. An enjoyable place to write. Win, win, win. Win.
Just about a year ago we switched this blog, Signal vs. Noise, to Medium. Here’s the post announcing the switch.
We hosted Signal vs. Noise on our own site for nearly 15 years. We started with something else home-spun, and then switched to Greymatter (old timers will remember this one). Then we moved to Movable Type. Then Typepad. Then to Blog Cabin, our own homegrown blog software. And now we’re on Medium.
People often ask me why we switched to Medium. There were a variety of reasons, but one was reaching a new audience, and another was aiming for wider distribution. But maybe the top one was curiosity — let’s see if we can learn something new.
We couldn’t be happier and the results couldn’t be better.
Check this out… In just a year, here are the stats for our eight most popular stories, ranked by views:
Comparing before and after Medium
Between 2014 and 2015, which was the year prior to switching to Medium, we only had three posts with more than 50k views on our old blog. And while the chart above only shows our top 8 posts, it turns out we had 18 posts exceed 50k views on Medium in the last year.
I know that’s not an apples to apples analogy since the articles were different, but here’s something even more interesting: RECONSIDER, our top post ever on Medium with 431,000 views, was also published on our old blog prior to switching to Medium. Views of the same post on the old blog? 56,000. Medium’s traffic to the same article is nearly 7x more than on the old blog.
And here’s another. PRESS RELEASE: BASECAMP VALUATION TOPS $100 BILLION AFTER BOLD VC INVESTMENT, which was posted on both Medium and our own blog, had a similar story. On our old blog, that post was viewed 57,000 times since 2013. On Medium, that same post (re-post, really!) has been viewed over 250,000 times in less than a year.
The hits keep coming.
We’re also writing a lot more on Medium than we did in the past few years on our old blog. There are a variety of reasons for that as well, but one key reason: It’s such a delight to write on Medium. They’ve nailed the writing environment. Great text editor — the best way to write anywhere on the web. Fun to add images. Nice straightforward styling options that make it easy to make something look good, and hard to make something look bad. Gold standard, I’d say.
Social sharing is also significantly easier on Medium. Embedding highlights as images in tweets is also such a wonderful, inventive way to help share bits of stories. Great work.
Quality of the comments have been quite high as well. Comment quality on our own site had really taken a dive near the end.
One feature request
Figured I’d end this with one feature request. There’s something I’ve wanted for ages, but have never found it in any mainstream text editor. We should really add it to Basecamp 3, but I’d be fine with Medium beating us to it.
Here it is: I’d love to have version control at the word/sentence/paragraph level. I’d love to write 3 or 4 headlines, and be able to quickly toggle through them in-place so I could see how they look/feel/read right next to the rest of the story.
Same goes for any word or sentence or paragraph in my story. Sometimes I’ll go back and forth on a specific word when I’m writing something out. Do I want to use “fast” or “quick” or “rapid” or “swift”? I bounce between them in my head, but there’s no way to write them all out and toggle through them quickly, in-place, mid-sentence, so I can see how the sentence flows with the different words. I end up pasting the sentence three times with three different versions to compare, but that’s not the same thing.
Same idea for a paragraph. I’d love to write a few different paragraphs and toggle between them. Does the longer one work here? Or should I aim for brevity in this one? The more poetic analogy? Or the straightforward explanation? Let me write them all and then see them once at a time, in-place, by hovering over and hitting the arrow key on my keyboard (or something).
So anyway… Just an idea!
So if you’re thinking of making the switch to Medium, I’d recommend it. It’s a wonderful place to write, more people seem to be exposed to your writing, and ideas spread further, wider, and more quickly. At least that’s been our experience.
Do you lose some of the personality that comes with self-styling everything? Yes. Do you potentially lose long-term control if a service goes under or changes their rules? Yes. Andy Baio wrote up his take on these downsides recently. It’s worth a read.
But for us I think it’s unequivocally been worth it. No looking back. No pining for the way things were. It’s great over here.
Direct links to the top eight posts listed above in the chart:
- The day I became a millionaire
- Employee benefits at Basecamp
- Is group chat making you sweat?
- Being tired isn’t a badge of honor
- I’m a boring programmer (and proud of it)
- Why I work remotely (hint: it has nothing to do with productivity)