The effect of Uncle Google and Uncle Medium on your Article Success
What I’ve learned from 1 alive article and 115 not.
“It’s not fair!” other articles crying in despair. Just kidding. I like all of my kids.
Out of the procrastination, I went to check my stats on medium. There were pure 0 views and 0 reads one’s, which I am okay with. Then scrolling down all of a sudden I notice this 74 figure. “What the duck?” I chuckled over it.
I knew about that article. He was hovering around 20 but somehow he was growing by itself! “This is probably what those phantom views are.” I was noticing views on my stats that I had hard time explaining. That what was strange about it. I didn’t push it anywhere like sharing on Facebook and only then he grew. He is not like all the rest of my articles. He is living his own life.
Inspired by it, I thought that I would throw some thoughts upon what is it in that article that it’s alive.
The article was created in a manner of one hour. Maybe even less? Like I just notice something when designing UI with the nephew’s graphic tablet and noted it down. Had fun writing, didn’t think about it that much.
Even writing the title I used all the buzz words of the UX specific terminology. “Designing UI with graphic tablets in Figma,” and the subtitle was full-blown filtering out very specific target group this article is for. “This article is for UX, UI, Visual or Martian Designers…” I can remember how I was laughing after writing it.
Title and subtitle
So what I can extract from it. I notice that the most views are from Google. So my title is talking a Google language? Also, the subtitle is sorting out for whom this article is. Like upon reading you can see whether or not you want to read it.
Just for fun I DuckDuckGo the exact name of the article and I couldn’t find it even on the third page. So, I don’t know what is happening in the jungle of algorithms. Okay, I put it in Google search and there it was, the first result.
I heard this sentence from an editor before. “Clarify your title and subtitle” so upon reading they are sure whether they want to read it or not. But my reaction was probably: “I would write what I want!” We’ll come back to that reaction soon.
Also, I want to note here, what hurts my writing hearth more than the 0 views figure is when I have 7 views and only one reader actually finished the article. That’s when I feel sad. Someone went there and decided he wants to go away and I don’t know if it was right after the start or during the article. Was my writing what put him away, or they wanted something else.
You don’t want frustrated people, just make it clear about what this article is.
Hearth of the article
Now let’s go into a body of the story. It was written fast and effortless. On top of it, after I wrote it, the guy from the biggest publication on Medium in this topic, wrote me: “Such a great story…” and wanted to publish it. I’m not gonna lie, I liked the feeling. It had only 7 views at that time. “Could you add some images to each point? …” First my artsy me was like: “No, this article was written text only!”
But then, did it. Even though I wasn’t sure. I knew I didn’t want to make redundant images. Images that are there just for the sake of “I have an image there.” But, really making sure the images are there like a part of the story. While doing it, I basically created a new article.
But because the universe happened, I decided to not publish it in the publication. I didn’t want to spend energy on UX. Be known as UX guy. I want to be a Writer. Or something like that is the story I have there.
Also, I felt at the moment I couldn’t do it. I was pushing myself and the motivations weren’t very pure. Like, I imagined myself saying on a UX interview: “Hey did you know I published on UX Collective?” I didn’t want this to be my motivation. Then the anxiety over if you really mean what you’ve written there, is ramping up too when being offered to be magnified in publication. It’s and experience by itself.
Now back to noticing, I can give myself empathy later. So it’s an article that is written out of the flow, has a very specific heading so you know whether or not you want to read it, and has images that are part of the story not some: “I need to add image here.”
Is there something else? I still think there are other articles that are more quality ones. Or rather I enjoyed writing them more, but uncle Google decided that. I think if you up your game on the title and subtitle, and clarify really what is there, you can make your articles
And I am not applying this knowledge, too much. The reason is title and subtitle are usually the last thing that I write. And I just want to publish it and not overthink it. Maybe this is the thing. I spend too little time, or I fear that I would throw so much edit anxiety upon publishing the article that I would end up with sour taste in my mouth, not even wanting to publish it anymore. As it happened in the past many times.
On top of it, there is this artsy side: “Paint you! I would put whatever words I want there. I would not bend myself in front of the Medium or Google ruling.” Yeah, that’s that. It seems like I have a work to do here. “Welcome my SELF. How have you been? Listen I would like to…”
Uncle Medium and uncle Google rules
Reading the article again now, the reading experience was a bit clunky at the start. I could feel the breaking of my reading flow. People seem they don’t care that much. But when I crossed the middle it was flowing again. What I rather wanted to say: “It seems like, the relationship with uncle Medium and uncle Google is more important than the article itself.” In a way that whatever pure gold you’re hiding inside the article, nobody would find it because there are no traces to it.
Just spend as some time on the title and subtitle, tags. That’s a message for me, who knows if I would follow it. You know I am an artist!
I would probably make this as my goal: “Clarify what’s inside in title, and clarify for whom this is in subtitle.” Get creative, but use the Google lingo and Medium too. Use at least 3 tags that are high in the ranking. And then you can enjoy the pressure of writing high stats articles and anxiety that comes with it.
See another reason to learn some meditation.
Edit: I’m curious what would this article be. Alive or not. I’ll probably bend myself and not use offensive expressions even. I just don’t want to end up like this parent artist who say to a kido: “Hey this isn’t how you would be successful, you need to use words like this…“ I don’t.
But after 116 articles, and I could see some of them being not sexy, but at least half are “I like them.” I just don’t obey. I want the kido to do whatever the toy he wants and not filter himself. It’s a path to the abyss creatively.
I don’t think people in Google or Medium are sitting there and writing algorithms saying to themselves: “Oh yeah, let’s filter them creatively.” Their goals are totally different. Hey programmers and designers. They probably have our best intention in mind especially here on Medium. I read those Medium 3 minutes articles and they really try. There is a goodness in it.
It just sometimes when creating you need to not halt yourself each time you want to write the Duck word, and break yourself outside of the flow because you know there would be no curation, if you use it.