Picking the Hard Way Might Pay Off

Why We Moved Off Medium to Our Own Blog

Written by

Lindsay Bullock

on May 10, 2018

For the last two years, our Pathwright blog has been hosted on Medium. Medium is beautiful and easy to use. Not to mention the huge readership and built-in marketing.

So about six weeks ago, we decided to stop hosting our blog on Medium.

Sounds crazy, right? Why would we leave all those awesome benefits behind?

Before I dive into why we switched, I want to clarify that Medium really was great for us for a while:

  • It pushed us to establish a better workflow between dreaming up an article idea to hitting the publish button, making us more efficient.
  • It allowed us to focus on content rather than getting hung up on perfecting the design of our own blog.
  • It encouraged us to find our voice and see what resonated with people.
  • It pushed us to be better at catchy titles, interesting illustrations, and ultimately better content—all because we got to see good examples of others nailing it.

However, as our business at Pathwright has grown, we saw the limitations of Medium. After Medium guided us for so long, we were ready to take off the training wheels.

Without further ado, here’s why we made the switch from Medium to a self-hosted blog:

Increase traffic to our own website

With Medium, there wasn’t really a way to figure out just how well a blog post did or what traffic it generated. Sure, we had some numbers, but they didn’t tell us all we needed to know. More control of the numbers would mean more information about how to help our readers.

In addition, we didn’t just want more traffic. We wanted traffic from the right audience. Medium mainly consists of a broad audience interested in tech, culture, and business—not education. Our goal is to connect with educators hoping to multiply their impact by creating online courses. We want to reach and engage that audience specifically.

Boost rankings with search engines

The biggest push to switch was this: if a blog post did really well on Medium, we didn’t reap the benefits. Why? Because the traffic didn’t leave Medium.

If we hosted the blog on our own website, that would boost our SEO big time. Some specific ways that having a self-hosted blog improves our ranking:

  • We are recognized as the source of quality content for our readers
  • We encourage visitors to explore the Pathwright world more
  • We keep the Pathwright website relevant with fresh material

Ultimately, we are giving search engines a better chance of finding us, which will allow us to reach even more people.

Get Insight on Behavior

There isn’t really a way in Medium to see what your readers do once they find your article. Medium analytics simply lists the number of people who clicked on the article and how many read the entire post.

When we host the blog on our side, however, we can piece together common behaviors. Did our readers click on another blog article, research more about Pathwright, or even sign up? Once we know what the visitor did next, we can better understand how to improve our site for future readers.

Direct interaction with our audience

Guiding Readers Toward Next Steps

With Medium, often the next step for a reader is to read a related article on that same topic. This makes sense from Medium’s point of view. However, if the article resonated with our reader, we would want to engage with them within the Pathwright world.

On our own website, we have the opportunity to point them to a free course on Pathwright Grow, to sign up for a demo with our guidance team, or to even try building courses by signing up for a Pathwright account. They’d only be a click away from learning more.

Communicate Our Values Directly

In the past, many customers have asked if we have any resources for people who are trying to grow an online school and/or improve their learner experience. Because most of our content was hosted by a third-party, it was difficult for them to find exactly what they needed.

With that content hosted on our site, it becomes easily accessible for our customers and visitors. Instead of floating in this third-party space, it becomes a cohesive part of the Pathwright world. Readers find what they need and we find ways to help them even better.

The best part is that we don’t have to leave Medium. We can post first on our website, give enough time for Google to recognize the source authority, then post it on Medium. Medium shines as one more way to reach a broader audience without us having to sacrifice the fine-tuned control of our own blog—the best of both worlds!

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