Activecollab Blog Is Coming Back Home

Activecollab Blog Is Coming Back Home

Why you shouldn't move your company blog to Medium

We moved our whole blog to Medium in July 2015. Now we're moving it back where it belongs - on our website. The reasons we're moving are strictly business related.

Don't get us wrong, we love Medium and we'll continue to publish there. But here’s why we can't host our entire company blog there:

Tracking the sales funnel and remarketing

Content is one of the major sources of traffic for our website. Interesting blog posts bring new visitors, and some percent of them try ActiveCollab and become paying customers.

So a sales cycle is like a funnel: new visitors start from the top; as they go down the funnel, a small percent of them become customers. Content on the blog is an important source of traffic for the top of the funnel.

On our blog, we talk about the product, our company, things that interest us professionally. The goal is to invite people, let them dwell in our little corner of the universe, try what we make, find use in it, and ultimately subscribe to our product.

If the blog is on Medium, we can't track users who encounter us for the first time. And we can’t track ROI of our blog. When we don't know ROI, we can only guess how profitable our activities are, and what works and what doesn’t.

We also can't do remarketing. We can’t serve our ads on other websites to the users who came in contact with our blog. Remarketing is more efficient than a traditional PPC marketing because we’d serve ads to people who already came in contact with our brand and are interested in us - but without a blog on our website, there's no way to target those users.

Call to action

Medium's call to action is simple - read more content on Medium. We don't get any use from that.

We want the reader at the end of the post to do something good for our company, not Medium. These things include: create a free trial, subscribe to our newsletter, download an ebook, and so on.

The solution so far was to include an image/banner with the link to our website or weave a CTA through the text. But our CTA competes with Medium's, which is built-in and much more powerful.

No way back

When a user clicks the Blog link on our website, they get redirected to Medium, a whole new platform.

We first noticed this "change of universe" with our Help section, which is separated from the website and has its own theme. Help section didn’t look like the rest of the website so a user's mental model of the website was violated and returning to the main website wasn't obvious. We softened the effect in the meantime, but it is a real problem.

The blog hosted on Medium produces the same effect, with one difference: you can't soften the effect because you can't control Medium's theme. You have to accept that the visitors who have left might never come back again. After all, there's no option to easily go back; or maybe Medium simply swallowed them up in other articles and links.

Domain authority and SEO

A blog should build a company's brand and authority, not Medium's. As such, it should be a part of website. We actively write good content and we should be the ones to get the SEO benefits.

The more quality content we have as part of our domain, the greater our domain authority is and the better we'll rank in search results. We should be the ones to reap the benefits from our work, not someone else.

Interactive and engaging content

When we host the blog, we can style the content so it communicates the message more clearly. We can be more creative with our content and come up with a better way to present ideas. It doesn't need to be only in the form that Medium supports. It can be arranged differently, sorted, and interactive.

Some posts would work much better without the constraints. Even less ambitious posts could be structured better with some custom styles and Javascript to make them easier to read (as opposed to the controls Medium provides).

There are workarounds on Medium, like using pre-made images for custom borders or banners, but they are just that - clunky workarounds that break the magic when someone tries to click them or select the text.

Medium is still great

Here's the thing: Medium is a great platform and we'll continue to publish articles on it.

We first started using Medium as a social platform for reposting and promoting content. This social component had great results and we saw considerable growth. When someone suggested switching completely, it seemed like a good idea. It was only with time that we saw the limitations.

If we publish content in order to promote our business and build authority, then it's better we host it ourselves and use Medium as a promotion channel.

Once we write a long-form content, we can post excerpts on social networks, but where Medium's "excerpt" can be significantly longer, even a repost. After all, the point is for everything to point back to the company website, and not stay locked in fenced gardens.

If you treat a blog as a long-term investment, you need to host it yourself. When Medium decides to cash in on the platform and starts to allow ads or inject their own content (seeing as you don't have a contract with them that says otherwise), your self-hosted blogs will continue to thrive.

Social networks come and go. Some last longer and dominate, but we wouldn't bet on any of them individually. But that doesn't prevent us from being active on all of them.

This coming home is about returning control to the content authors. This is a business decision that doesn't have anything to do with trends.
We'll continue to use Medium as a great distribution channel - but in a way, we use Twitter and Facebook, and not the primary content platform. Instead of publishing all the articles there, we'll publish ones that will get the most effect and take advantage of Medium's unique character.