As the Web turns 30, I reflected on what made, and makes, it different and great, and this lead me to thinking about when Medium started. I really appreciated the approach-ability of the user experience, how it helps authors focus on content, and also helped people find an audience.
There was an option of hosting your medium content on your own domain, but that went away, which was the first moment I thought about bringing my content back to my own site.
As I see the simple clean article experience become one of pop-ups and up-sells and web vs. app differences, it was finally time to make the switch, and thus I am posting on blog.almaer.com as the canonical location, and will syndicate on Medium and elsewhere as appropriate.
It is shocking that it took me this long, to be honest, as your own domain is something quite special on the Web and Internet. For publishers, who aren’t just writing as a hobby as I do, it is a business model decision.
Although it obvious differs for different companies, I tend to be the biggest fan of the approach where:
- By regularly creating great content, your loyal customers will subscribe directly, as they are investing not just in a one off article, but rather invest in future reporting.
- Any time you syndicate content, you are using it as customer acquisition into the subscription business, and can of course monetize through advertising.
You have to go into this knowing that users may be trusting the aggregator and giving them subscription as the source for great future content.
Restaurants vs. Food Delivery
I liken this a little to restaurants and food delivery. If a punter comes to your restaurant, you own the entire experience. You are best set to make it great and build a loyal customer that you may even know by name over time.
If you have excess supply, maybe you want to be on DoorDash/Caviar/UberEats etc. These customers are browsing and may not feel like going out, and you have a chance to experience your wares. If you believe in the quality of your food, maybe they will be impressed and will want to come in. You don’t control the experience in the same way, and these customers may not be the type that wants to go to you directly, no matter the quality, so it is also important to acknowledge that (and how much you can make from the food itself…. akin to the ads). Maybe you make enough from the transactions that the extra reach is fully worth it. The restaurant could even become a showroom of sorts….. but this is a dangerous position to be in. How sticky are these diners to you?
Your own home on the Web, with your own domain, is your restaurant. Your loyal users want to hang out there with you. Those are the users that would like a high quality PWA. You can think through how to drive traffic to you, or how to get value from your content living in other experiences, but it feels good to see more people starting to really think about this…. and it was certainly time for me to make the switch, even for my lil old blog.