This Is What I Learned from My Most Hated Blog Posts

First, let me explain what I mean with my “most hated blog posts.” My most hated blog posts are the ones that have the lowest fans to views ratio on Medium.com.

Medium.com provides their writers with three basic stats: views, reads, and fans. Unfortunately, they don’t provide any option to download these stats as an Excel file. Luckily, you can find some scripts to do that. Here’s an example. Please use it on your own risk.

How I Found My Most Hated Blog Posts

Once I downloaded the stats of my 140+ posts on Medium, I sorted them according to the views. Then, I removed the posts with less than 20 views to avoid statistical mistakes.

In this post, I’m not interested in what makes a Medium user click a title. I have already discussed how to come up with popular and counterintuitive blog post titles.

This post is about the posts that are clicked, but have a low number of fans compared to their views. I selected the ten posts with the lowest fans to views ratios.

I want to understand why people hate these posts, so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes. What gets measured gets improved. Let’s go over these posts and try to understand what made them so unpopular.

Of course, I don’t have precise answers here. I don’t have the opportunity to ask the readers why they didn’t clap for those posts. I’m just making assumptions. If you have further ideas why these posts underperformed, please let me know in the comments.

Incongruent Title and Content

As I repeat over and over in my posts about blogging, your title is your promise to your readers. You better keep that promise.

My most hated post is “Personal Development Can Be Detrimental to Your Self-Esteem.” You might expect that I’d elaborate why I believe that.

I didn’t.

Instead, I offered personal development exercises to improve your self-esteem, if it was weakened by other personal development exercises.

Not a good idea.

Will the Startup Bubble Burst?

You might think that I wouldn’t be so dumb to add this post to the Startup Publication. I did it, because the post argued that the startup bubble was something good for the startups, technology, and the society in general. As a result, I could neither satisfy the startup community, nor the readers who hate startups.

If I looked at my stats before writing this post, I wouldn’t make this mistake. This is the second time I make the same mistake. The first one is “Cryptocurrency Bubble and Why It’s a Good Thing.” That’s what I mean by “This is How You Miss Your Biggest Opportunity for Success.”

Use Your Curiosity as Motivation and Ask the Right Questions to Succeed

This post was meant to be an inner game post. In order to demonstrate the idea, I have applied it to my own blog. As a result, 80% of the post ended up being a discussion of how I can improve my blog.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Discussing your own challenges and documenting your own process are two ways to come up with content on a consistent basis. However, the title had to be congruent with the content.

The title could be something like “How I Use the Questioning Process to Improve My Blog.” That would attract the right crowd that would like to read and clap for such a post. It’s a lost opportunity, but a lesson learned.

Unbelievable Claims

I seriously believe that you can turn around your life by brainstorming about your challenges every single day. The readers of my post “One Habit That Can Turn around Your Life” probably weren’t convinced of that.

I don’t have any proof. I shared what I truly believed in, but it didn’t resonate with my readers. This is the only post in this list, about which I can’t do anything. So, it’s time to dust myself off and carry on.

Unpopular Arguments

Do not expect people to clap for your posts, if you’re defending unpopular arguments.

How the Hodlers Fail the Crypto-Economy

Hodlers, i.e. long term investors, are like heroes in the crypto-community. Nevertheless, they are mostly young and inexperienced investors. They didn’t handle the crypto-bubble in the end of 2017 well. As a result, they and the whole crypto-economy suffered.

Of course my arguments about hodlers didn’t resonate well with the crypto-community. Frankly, I’m not that much interested in writing about this topic anymore.

One Practice Startup Founders Hate

I already knew from my own experience that mastermind groups were unpopular with the startup community. I still wanted to convince my readers about the virtues of mastermind groups. This is a marketing mistake.

People won’t like a concept they hate just by reading a blog post. However, they might like it, if you provide them with an alternative. My post about online mastermind groups didn’t perform that bad.

Technical Analysis of Stock Prices is Useless

Technical analysis is like a religion among stock market traders. People probably clicked this post to see “what this idiot was talking about.” I received some heat as a result of this post and I’m fine with that. As a result, I’ve stopped writing about investing and cryptocurrencies.

My posts about investing and cryptocurrencies are in the archives. I am not motivated to write more about these topics to educate people. It’s a relatively small community and my opinions are unpopular in this community. It doesn’t make sense for me to write more about it.

It’s an old marketing trick to tell people the lies they want to believe in. I’m not interested in following that path. There are enough marketers that do that.

Long Paragraphs

Long paragraphs are a common theme among my unpopular posts. Readability is critical for online copy. Here are a few tips to improve online readability.

  • Keep your paragraphs shorter than three lines.
  • Keep your sentences short.
  • Use subtitles, bullet points, and enumerated lists.
  • Optionally, pull out some quotes.
  • Add some extra italic and/or bold formatting here and there.

Like all the good things in life, you can also overdo these readability tips. So, make sure you don’t overformat your copy. Otherwise, you risk distracting your reader.

Conclusion

If people read your posts but they don’t clap for them, then you are making some mistakes. You might want to make a list of such posts and try to understand why people don’t clap for them.

In my case, here are the top reasons I could come up with.

  • Incongruent title and content
  • Unbelievable claims
  • Unpopular arguments
  • Low readability, especially long paragraphs
Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.