Why I Focus on a Single Source of Traffic for My Blog

In the last three weeks, my focus was on analyzing my Medium stats data. That taught me a lot of lessons on blogging. There is still a lot to be studied and learned from my Medium stats.

Medium is a critical part of my content marketing model. Excluding my blog and email newsletter, 90+% of my blog promotion efforts go to Medium at the moment.

My main objective is not to build a successful Medium account. My main objective is to build a successful content marketing business. A successful Medium account is a part of it.

This week, I want to analyze how my efforts on Medium serve my overall marketing goals. To do that, I will use Google Analytics stats of my blog. I will focus on the data of the last 30 days.

The First Step to Use Google Analytics

I’m not going to explain how to install and use Google Analytics (GA). I’m going to explain what to do with it. Once you know “what,” you can google “how.”

The first step to use GA is to exclude your internal traffic from the data. We don’t want our own usage to affect the results. The usage of a website admin is completely different than the usage of the average visitor. You can see that in Fig. 1 below.

Fig. 1. Google Analytics Screenshot

  • I’m one of the 929 visitors, but I account for 24% of all the page views.
  • My bounce rate is 25%. The bounce rate of the average visitor is 76%.
  • My % exit is 14%. The % exit of the average visitor is 63%.

How do I filter myself out of Google Analytics?

To find different ways of filtering your own traffic, google “Google Analytics exclude internal traffic” or “how to filter myself out of Google Analytics.”

I created a segment and filter all the views using that segment. The segment I use is Demographics, Location, City, “does not exactly match”, the name of my city. I call this segment Not My City.

This solution doesn’t take into account mobile usage, but I don’t use mobile data to access my blog that often. Moreover, it doesn’t take into account my usage when I travel.

My method of excluding my internal traffic is simple but not perfect. I have to find a better method in the future.

What is the share of Medium in my blog traffic sources?

I’m worried about being too dependent on Medium for traffic.

Being dependent on a single traffic or income source is never a good idea.

In the last ten years, I’ve seen multiple Google algorithm changes that destroyed many online businesses. I don’t blame Google for that. They have to do what’s best for their business and for their users.

Recent Changes in Medium’s Algorithm

Medium made some recent changes in their algorithm. The new algorithm seems to prefer timeless, evergreen content. I can already feel those changes in my stats.

My older Medium posts receive more hits than my recent posts. This is bad in the short term, but great in the long term.

Bad in the Short Term

I learned a lot in the last few months about converting Medium readers to email newsletter subscribers. I applied those lessons in my recent posts. Now, those recent posts receive less traffic.

Great in the Long Term

I don’t write time-sensitive content. I try to write timeless, evergreen content. Eventually, my new posts are going to receive their fair share of traffic as well.

Overall, I like the new algorithm more than the old one, even though sign ups to my newsletter dropped in the short term.

Why I Focus on Medium at the Moment

Even though I don’t like being dependent on a single traffic source, 90+% of my content marketing efforts go into my Medium account.

This might look like a contradiction and a mistake on my site. Yet, it’s a conscious choice. At this moment, I have two options.

  • Focus on Medium.
  • Spread my efforts across all social media channels.

I chose the first option. Optimizing my Medium account results in learning a lot of lessons on blogging. If I don’t learn those lessons, my blog posts will suck. If my blog posts suck, it doesn’t matter how much I promote them in other channels.

A Useful Tip for New Content Marketers

If you’re a new content marketer like me, I recommend that you focus on a single channel and learn as much as you can about that single channel. This is an advice I heard from Gary Vaynerchuk and John Chow.

Content marketing is a side project for me. I have limited time that I can invest in this project. Therefore, I need to find the most valuable activities to invest my limited time in. Optimizing my Medium account has been that valuable activity for me.

Find Your Primary Medium

Blogging doesn’t have to be your primary medium. Maybe it’s vlogging for you. Maybe, it’s podcasting. Maybe, it’s Instagram, Twitter, a Facebook page, or a Facebook group.

This is a decision you have to make. Check my post called To Vlog or To Blog? That’s the Question for the First Time Online Marketer on this topic.

Invest at Least Six Months to Your Primary Medium

Once you determine your primary medium, I recommend that you invest at least six months in perfecting your craft in that medium.

I invested five months in blogging and Medium. I learned a lot in those first five months. Yet, I’m nowhere near the optimal. I still learn something new every day.

I’ll keep focusing on blogging and Medium for at least another three months. Maybe more. Who knows, maybe I’ll stay focused on this medium for the rest of my career. That’s how much I like it.

Unrealistic Expectations

We spend four years on a college degree to get a job to make a living. Yet, most of the first time online marketers expect to make a living after the first month.

Why do you expect to make a living after a month, while it takes four years for the average person to do that? How realistic is that?

Maybe, you should invest at least three years into this craft before making a living off it.

How Dependent Is My Blog on Medium?

I thought that the traffic of my blog was at least 80% dependent on Medium. According to the Google Analytics stats, that figure turned out to be only 35%. That’s still high, but nowhere near the 80% that I suspected. That’s good news.

It is also possible that the remaining 65% comes indirectly from Medium. Here are a few indirect ways Medium might have contributed to my blog traffic.

  • Some people might consume Medium content via feed readers.
  • Some people might sign up to my email newsletter via Medium.
  • Medium import functionality might contribute to my search traffic.

Conclusion

It’s a bad idea to depend on a single source of traffic, if you have an established business.

If you’re just starting out like me, it’s OK to focus on a single medium and a single channel. That teaches you a lot of lessons that you can apply to other media and channels.

In my case, I was lucky to choose Medium. It not only sent me direct traffic, it also contributed to my blog traffic in many indirect ways.

I’m going to dive into my Google Analytics stats further and report my findings here. So, stay tuned for more on this topic.

Your Turn

  • How do you measure the impact of your social media activities on your website traffic?
  • Do you have any tips about using Google Analytics?
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.