Tag Archives: Blogging

Here’s Why Your Online Marketing Doesn’t Work

And what to do about it.

When we are producing and marketing, we tend to look at our craft from our own perspective. Unless you build something for yourself and market it to yourself, that’s a mistake.

That’s a typical mistake that software engineers do. As a result, they end up with overcomplicated software that the end users can’t use.

If the prospective customers can’t use a piece of software, it’s a waste of time and money, no matter how good it is.

The antidote to that mistake is to put yourself into the shoes of the prospective customer. For example, I’m producing and marketing blog posts. Here’s a question that could help me.

How Did I Find My Favorite Writers?

I found Steve Pavlina from a Google search. I kept reading his blog throughout the years, bought his book, went to one of his live events, and recently purchased an information product of him.

I found David Hawkins from a post of Pavlina. I read his book Power vs. Force and then kept purchasing his books and audio programs.

I have the Kindle and audio versions of some of Hawkins’s books and read and listened to them multiple times. I came across the Letting Go Method in his book with the same title. It became one of my favorite personal development practices.

I came across a piece by Nathaniel Branden in the book Meeting the Shadow, and I read his books Breaking Free and the Disowned Self. Now, I’m going through his audio program The Psychology of High Self-Esteem with the intention to read and listen to more books and audio programs by him.

I really don’t know how many Brian Tracy audio programs I have in my audible account, and honestly, I don’t care. I enjoyed most of them, and the Magic of Self-Direction is one of my all-time favorites.

I guess I’m one of those 1000 true fans of these writers.

The point I’m trying to make is that I didn’t come across a favorite writer because they followed on me Twitter or Medium. They didn’t comment on one of my posts. They don’t have online link wheels. I didn’t find them via their Facebook or YouTube advertisements. Two of them aren’t even alive.

We’re all sitting on immense value, but we don’t care to stop and look inside because we’re too busy trying to catch the next shiny object outside.

Did I buy products that had just good online marketing? Yes, I purchased two information products like that, and I promised myself not to come close to those producers again. That gives me another lesson.

No matter how good your online marketing is, if you don’t have a decent product, you won’t have repeat customers.

If someone gives you marketing advice, please take it with a grain of salt, including this one of course. Ask yourself, how you came across your favorite writer, software, or whatever it is that you are producing. Then go ahead and emulate that.

In my case, one piece of content I came across by sheer luck was so good that I had to consume as much content as I could from those people. That makes my strategy to write the best blog posts I can and let the universe handle the rest.

The Linchpin of Any Online Marketing Strategy

You must have heard the story of the elephant and the four blind men. Four blind men touch different parts of an elephant and argue with each other what the elephant is like.

One of them likens it to a tree, the other one to a hose, yet another one to a sheet, and so on. It all depends on where they touch on.

In reality, the elephant has various body parts, and they all feel different. It doesn’t make sense to jump to a conclusion with partial data without having the big picture. Yet, we do it all the time.

Sure, there are times we have to move on without perfect information, but if you have a chance to access meaningful data, you better use it.

The Algorithm Change in Medium

With a recent algorithm change in Medium, I saw a sharp drop in the stats of my posts published there. This made me doubt the future of my blog.

Was I wasting my time blogging daily if Medium didn’t distribute my posts to readers? Was all the work for the last nine months for nothing? More important, should I stop blogging daily and move on?

Questions like the ones above floated around in my mind. I had decent arguments to stop blogging daily. I also had solid arguments to keep doing that.

Then, I checked the stats of my blog on my own domain. I realized that the traffic to my blog was fairly stable. Only 22% of the traffic came from Medium. 37% was coming from Google, and 31% was direct traffic. The remaining 10% was coming from the so-called long tail.

Those numbers were soothing. Probably, only a nerd would be soothed by numbers, but that’s what their effect was on me.

Sure, I’d like to keep that 22%, but if I couldn’t, it wasn’t the end of the world for my blog. 78% was still a decent chunk of my existing traffic. There was no reason to get discouraged. That’s why the ability to find out the truth is the most critical skill that you can develop in life.

What Social Media Does and Does Not Provide

Medium does a lot of things right. It gives the readers the ability to highlight and bookmark the posts they read. It gives the writers the stats about the views, reads, claps, and highlights. There is a community that exchanges comments.

My blog doesn’t have interactive features as Medium has, and I’m fine with that. If someone wants to bookmark a post of my mine, they can do so in their own browser or using their favorite social channel. If they want to highlight a section, they can clip the post and highlight it with Evernote.

My blog provides me with something crucial that Medium doesn’t. That is control.

Bloggers who didn’t bother to set up their blogs on their own domains and only published on Medium are in serious trouble after Medium changed their algorithm.

If I solely relied on Medium as a blogging and distribution platform, I’d lose 99% of the traffic to my posts. That would be a death sentence to my blog. There’s no way, I’d keep writing and publishing for only 1% of the traffic my posts used to receive.

Since I kept 78% of the traffic to my posts, I’m fine with continuing. Sure, I’d like to see that number grow and not shrink, but a 22% hit doesn’t kill my enthusiasm.

In a way, I’m grateful for that 22% hit. It’s a sobering event, but I can reframe that challenge as an opportunity to stop and look at my blogging practice. It makes me think about how to change my practice so that I can overcome that 22% hit and create further growth.

What Does Your Blog on Your Own Domain Provide?

With all the social media channels available to us, it’s easy to fall in love with a channel and to avoid starting and maintaining a blog on your own domain. After all, it’s a lot of work to do that. And who reads blogs on independent domains nowadays?

The reality is some people do. What’s more important? It’s a matter of time that your favorite platform will change their algorithms, ban you from publishing there, or go belly up altogether.

What are you going to do if any one of those events happen if you don’t have your own platform? You’ll lose all of your traffic overnight. That’s why a blog on your own domain is the linchpin of your online marketing strategy. It’s the little piece that holds everything together.


A blog on a domain that you control might look like a small, irrelevant piece of an online marketing strategy, but when your presence on other social media channels takes a hit, it’s usually your blog that survives that hit.

Three Reasons to Take Medium Seriously

Medium Can Be the Pillar of Your Content Marketing Strategy

I expect two groups to read this post.

  1. People who are interested in Medium and the art of writing
  2. People who are interested in marketing

I’m writing this post for the people who are at the intersection of both groups.

Some people in the second group won’t be interested in creating content in written format. As I explained in a previous post, some people are better at creating content in audio and video, and others in written form.

There’s good news for both segments. Medium isn’t a text-only platform anymore. It also serves audio. More about that later.

Do You Hate Marketing?

I’m not afraid of the people in the second group. It’s the first group that I’m scared of. Some people associate marketing with evil and hate everything about it.

In the past, marketing has been abused to get the most out of people’s pockets without providing something significant in return. However, times are changing.

The New Wave of Marketing

There’s a new wave of marketing. The new wave of marketing is enabling great work to sustain itself and reach its target audience who are willing to consume it.

When I’m writing about marketing, I’m writing about the new wave of marketing, not about getting the most out of people’s pockets.

I’m interested in building a business that provides as much value as possible to its customers and receives a fraction of that value in return. Marketing is a part of this business model.

Keep Marketing out of Medium?

There’s a notion that all marketing is terrible and it must be kept out of everything that’s good, including Medium. I don’t agree with that notion.

Not all marketing is evil and decent marketing can enable great content on Medium. That’s the topic of another post that I’m going to publish tomorrow.

In this post, I want to focus on the value of Medium for content marketers. Among others, there are three reasons Medium is valuable for content marketers.

Medium Is a Content Platform

There are two types of social media platforms, content platforms and promotion platforms. Medium is a content platform.

A Medium post is 95% content and 5% promotion. Go over 5% promotion, and you have no chance on Medium.

That is good for consumers, and that’s good for content producers as well. People can immediately see whether a content producer is worth their time or not.

A content producer doesn’t need to bother with promotion, which is a secondary activity anyway. That’s why I focus on Medium as the single source of traffic for my blog.

Facebook Is a Promotion Platform

It’s almost impossible to get your content consumed on Facebook.

On Facebook, you have to create convincing promotional posts, pay Facebook to boost those posts, and hope that some people click through to your actual content. In contrast, your Medium post is your actual content.

The average Facebook user will ignore anything longer than a few sentences or a few seconds. In my experience, 6-7 minutes long Medium posts perform the best.


Medium is taking the content delivery to the next level with audio.

I consume content in two formats. When I have time, I read content in written form. Reading is an efficient way of consuming content. But I can’t read a post when I’m working out in the gym. Then, I listen to a podcast or an audiobook.

Medium combines both formats, and this is an opportunity for you. I don’t use this opportunity at the moment, but I don’t underestimate it.

If you can provide your content in two formats, in written and spoken, on the same platform, you’ll have a massive advantage over your competition.

Suppose that I follow you. I get stuck in a traffic jam. Instead of sitting there doing nothing, I can listen to your latest post, instead of waiting to arrive at home to read it.

Do you see how many other writers you’ll beat by providing the audio version of your posts?

If you record the audio versions of your posts, you can eventually broadcast them in a podcast or on YouTube as well.

Medium’s Algorithm Change

In his last post, Ev Williams, the CEO of Medium, explained the changes they made to Medium’s algorithm.

The new algorithm favors evergreen content over fresh content. This change seems to be disadvantageous in the short-term, but it’s great news in the long run.

There are enough news sites that report about the recent events. There are enough books that provide evergreen content on timeless topics such as personal development.

I also want to have something quick to read like a blog post on those timeless topics. Medium is meeting that need now. There aren’t many major platforms that do that. Medium is distinguishing itself this way.

What Are the Implications for Content Providers?

The new algorithm is good news and bad news for content providers.

It’s bad news, because your next post has to compete with the complete back catalog of Medium.

It’s good news, because if your next post succeeds at this competition, it’s going to pay dividends for the rest of your life.

I prefer long-term value over short-term benefits. Medium’s new algorithm favors this approach.

You better invest more time and effort in your next post so that you can reap its rewards for the rest of your life. If you don’t, it won’t produce any short-term benefits either.

80% of My Post Views Come from Older Posts

Last week, my Medium posts received 2701 views. 2134 of those views came from the posts that were older than a week.

You’ll need to invest a lot of time and effort in your posts upfront and won’t be able to see any rewards in the short-term. Your efforts will pay dividends in the long run.

Medium’s new algorithm will eliminate a lot of competition and make good work pay off. Our posts won’t be archived after a few weeks and then forgotten.


Medium is an excellent platform for content marketers who are willing to provide more value than they ask for.

If you post on Medium, you don’t have to promote your content. There is an audience willing to read excellent blog posts. If you’re good at blogging, your content finds its way to this audience.

You can include the audio versions of your posts on Medium and at least double your audience.

The new version of Medium’s algorithm will eliminate a lot of competition, but there’s a catch. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort, and be patient enough to wait for the long-term rewards.

Coming Soon…

Today’s post was about the positive sides of Medium. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll discuss the downside of Medium’s business model and Ev William’s vision.

Don’t forget to check my post tomorrow. Better yet, sign up to the email newsletter to receive a weekly roundup of my most recent posts.

Your Turn

  • Do you use Medium as a part of your content marketing strategy? If yes, how?
  • What’s your take on the audio feature and the new algorithm of Medium?

1000 True Fans Is Enough to Make a Living as a Creative

What Does It Take to Create 1000 True Fans?

When I reported the analysis of my Medium stats, some of my readers suggested to analyze the number of claps as well. I didn’t follow that advice back then. Unlike views, reads, and fans, claps cannot be downloaded.

I received a comment a few days ago, that made me reconsider analyzing claps. My reader wrote that one of her posts received a low fans to reads ratio, but a high claps to fans ratio.

A Small, Engaged Audience vs. Wider Popularity

She asked me whether she should cultivate a small audience that liked her style or go for a wider popularity. My gut reaction to that question was to stick to that small audience.

Before explaining my point, let me mention that I’m writing from my intuition. I didn’t make a comprehensive statistical analysis on this.

The Goal of Copywriters, Bloggers, and Marketers

Copywriters, bloggers, and marketers try to get their readers to take certain actions. In my case this is to follow me on Medium and to sign up to my email newsletter.

Here’s a sample funnel of a Medium writer:

  • View the post
  • Read the post
  • Clap for the post as much as possible
  • Respond to the post
  • Follow the writer’s Medium account
  • Sign up to their email newsletter
  • Purchase their products and services

The number of people on each level is lower than the number of people on a higher level. That’s why we call this sequence a funnel.

The More People at the Top, the More People at the Bottom?

We might expect that the more people there are at the top of the funnel, the more people would be at the bottom of the funnel. This might not be the case.

A blogger could be wildly popular on the level of post views, but they might have a difficult time getting their books sold.

Another blogger might have modest post views, but they could be successful at converting those views to premium program purchases.

Who would you rather be? The popular blogger with modest book sales? Or a modest blogger with high premium program sales? Honestly, I’d like to be the second blogger.

How to Have Higher Conversion Rates

In order to be the second blogger, we might need to sacrifice popularity. Instead of trying to appeal to a broad public, we need to be ourselves and double down on what makes us unique. If that is an odd sense of humor, we need to cultivate it.

The idea is to polarize the public. That way, a portion of the public wouldn’t want to consume our content at all, but the rest would love it.

This discussion reminds of “1000 true fans” who are ready to purchase whatever product a creative puts out. I don’t think that we can create 1000 true fans by trying to please everybody.

What Do the Numbers Say?

In order to back my ideas with stats, I made an analysis of my last 111 Medium posts. I calculated the clap to view ratio of these posts. Then, I calculated the correlation between the views and the clap to view ratio. This correlation was -40%.

This doesn’t mean that we have an inverse correlation, but it doesn’t show a positive correlation either. What my reader suggests might be true.

The most engaging posts aren’t necessarily the most popular ones.

I can see this relationship clearly in my most engaging and least engaging ten posts. By most engaging, I mean the posts with the highest claps per views ratios. The least engaging posts are the ones that have the least number of claps per view.

Table. 1. My most engaging posts

My most engaging posts aren’t the wildly popular ones. On the other hand, most of my least engaging posts have above average views.

Table. 2. My least engaging posts

When I look at my least engaging posts, I see that some of them are among “my most hated posts.” I already wrote a post about why those posts had low fans to views ratio.

What Makes a Post Engaging?

I’m intrigued by the most engaging posts. Even though I analyzed all kinds of stats, these posts didn’t show up in my radar.

I suspect that a high read ratio contributes to engaging posts. I’m going to analyze what made these posts so engaging and report that in a future post.

If you don’t want to miss my post on writing engaging posts, sign up to my email newsletter. Once a week, I send an email that contains my latest posts on writing, blogging, marketing, entrepreneurship, productivity, and personal development.


I thank Michael K. Spencer for recommending me to look at the average claps per article and Catherine Turner for her question that inspired me to write this post.


As copywriters, bloggers, and marketers, our aim isn’t necessarily to be wildly popular. Our aim is to get our readers to take action at the bottom of our funnels. This can be following us on social media, subscribing to our email newsletter, and purchasing our products.

If you want to create 1000 true fans, you might want to let go of trying to please everybody. You might want to be unique in your own way.

As a result, you might be less popular with the general public, but you might end up with 1000 true fans who are in love with your work and willing to support you in every way possible.

How Do I Publish a Post Every Day?

A few days ago, I was checking my Google Analytics stats. I came across several search queries by my visitors. One of those queries was “how to write every day.” That was a great topic to write a post about.

If you wonder whether I have written on a topic or not, you can use the search box on any page of my blog. You can also reach out to me directly with a comment or using the contact page.

I published a blog post per day for the last five months. That was quite a feat, if you consider that I have a full time job. I’ll go over the details of how I did it in this post.


If you want to publish a post per day, you have to commit to it. You put this goal high in your priorities list. Only few things are more important than publishing a post per day.

If you make a commitment, you’ll find a way to publish a post per day, no matter what.

Maybe your post might not be exceptional on some days, but you will hit the publish button in either case.

2+ Hours of Uninterrupted Work Time Every Single Day

I dedicate 2+ hours exclusively to writing every single day. I don’t include interacting with readers, participating on social media, checking my stats, or improving the design of my blog in those 2+ hours.

When I say “every single day,” I mean “every single day,” including weekends and holidays.

Actually, I work longer in weekends and on holidays. I work on extra tasks such as stats, design, and email newsletters on those days.

I know that I have lost 80% of my readers at this moment, but I’m going to be honest. I’m not going to lie about my process in order to get new followers and email newsletter subscribers.

How Fast Do You Want to Reach Your Goals?

First of all, you don’t have to publish every day. I publish every day, because I want to reach my goals as fast as possible. You can publish as much as you want.

My research showed me that posts published on Monday receive twice as many views compared to the posts published on other days. That means you have to publish on Mondays. You can take a few days off in the rest of the week.

Publishing Every Day Builds Momentum

By publishing every day, you build a momentum with yourself and with your readers.

You keep your mind sharp and focused on writing. Writing becomes a fundamental part of your life. Your mind works on your posts even if you don’t think about them. You won’t get that benefit from publishing a few days a week.

Your readers know that they’ll find a new post in your blog every day. That means they can visit your blog whenever they’re bored and want something new to read. And people get bored. After a while, this becomes a habit. They visit your blog even if they aren’t bored.

You become a part of their life. They tell themselves “let me check what Burak wrote today,” because they know that you wrote something that day. This is why people check news every day.

If you take into account the momentum factor, the blogger who publishes every day has a greater advantage than just the extra few posts they publish. If they publish twice as much as the average blogger, they reach their goal faster than twice as the average blogger.


If your blog is up and running, don’t do anything else for your blog before publishing your post.

  • Don’t read comments.
  • Don’t read emails.
  • Don’t participate on social media.
  • Don’t improve the design of your website.
  • Don’t check your stats.

In essence, do nothing for your blog before publishing your post.

Perfect Is the Enemy of Good

I know that my blog posts aren’t perfect. I can write a good blog post in two hours. I can easily spend another two hours on improving my post and it still wouldn’t be perfect.

  • I can check my post with Grammarly, the Hemingway app, and other automated grammar and style checking tools.
  • I can read my post ten times and still find points of improvement.
  • I can google synonyms of some words.
  • I can reformat my post for greater readability.
  • I can come up with a dozen titles, run them through the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer, and decide on the best one.
  • I can write my post on one day and edit the next day.

All of these tips and others would increase the quality of my posts, but they would also increase the time it takes to publish a post. And I don’t have that much time to spend on each post.

Make no mistake, I read my posts at least three times. I use the spelling and grammar checker of MS Word. I use Grammarly, the Hemingway app, and CoSchedule Headline Analyzer once in a while to learn some lessons, but I don’t use them on a daily basis.

Keep a Backlog of Post Ideas

I wouldn’t be able to publish a post per day if I didn’t keep a backlog of ideas to write about. It would be impossible for me to come up with an idea on the spot, write a post about it, publish it, and repeat that every day.

If you have a difficult time to come up with post ideas, I strongly recommend that you read my post 8 Ways to Create Content on a Consistent Basis.

Pick an Idea and Stick to It

When you start writing a post about an idea, stick to it until you hit the publish button. Don’t go back and forth between different ideas. If you do that, you might work more than two hours and end up without a blog post.

Outline First, Write Later

When I start writing a post, I’m bombarded with ideas to include in that post. Human mind doesn’t work in a linear fashion.

My mind doesn’t come up with a single idea, wait for me to write a paragraph about that idea, and then come up with the next one.

When an idea comes up, at least half a dozen come up with it. If I start writing a paragraph about an idea, I’m going to forget about the other five or six ideas that came together with it.

Ideas don’t come in a logical sequence. They come in a bunch of tangled mess. It’s up to me to process them and organize them in a logical sequence.

First, I write down all the ideas without going into detail. That way, I don’t forget any of them. Then, I organize them in an outline.

I’m not going into details of which tools I use to outline. For details about that, you can check my post The Tools I Use to Capture and Organize Ideas, and to Outline, Write, and Edit Blog Posts.

Writing down an idea doesn’t mean that I’m going to use it in the post. Sometimes, I leave out some ideas. I keep some of those ideas to be used for future posts. I delete some of them forever.

Points of Improvement

Even though I publish a post every day, I don’t claim that my process is perfect. I have some challenges in my process. I plan to discuss my challenges and points of improvement in a future post.

If you don’t want to miss my post on my challenges and other posts on writing, blogging, startups, and life lessons, sign up to my email newsletter. I send a roundup of my latest posts in an email newsletter every week.


Publishing a post per day has its advantages. It builds momentum for yourself and your readers.

It all starts with a commitment to hit that target. Then, you have to prioritize it over other blogging activities.

You need to learn how to stop at good enough. If you aim for perfection, you might never publish a post, let alone once a day.

Keeping a backlog of ideas is crucial, because coming up with an idea in the last minute is not always feasible.

In order to avoid wasting time, stick with an idea when you start writing a post. Don’t switch back and forth between ideas.

Don’t try to write a post in one pass. Write down your ideas first, outline them, and write the post as the last step. That way, you won’t forget any ideas. Your posts will also have a logical sequence.

How I Deal with Failure

In the last six weeks, I was focused on two numbers to measure the success of my blog. These are the weekly growth rates of my Medium following and the number of my email newsletter subscribers.

My weekly goal for both figures is 10%. That goal is at the ambitious side and I have a difficult time achieving it every week.

So far, my average was 7%. Not bad, but not being able to succeed my goal every week frustrates me a little. That’s why I want to look at other sides of my efforts than the weekly goals.

The Big Picture vs. Short Term Challenges

Online business expert Gary Vaynerchuk recommends to focus on “the clouds and dirt” and to avoid everything in between. The clouds is the long term vision. The dirt is the tasks and challenges in front of you.

In my case, the dirt is my weekly goals and how I want to achieve them. I’ve been focused on the dirt for the last six weeks. Today, I want to look at the clouds, the vision, the big picture of my efforts.

The Karmic Management Model

I’ll use the karmic management model of Michael Roach to analyze my blog. I discussed this model in detail in my post A Buddhist Monk’s Take on Business.

The Ideal and Less than Ideal Business

I make a distinction between ideal and less than ideal businesses. Ideal businesses add value to humanity. Less than ideal businesses extract value from the humanity.

Ideal businesses make a positive difference in the lives of other people. They provide value. That value has a financial equivalent. Ideal businesses receive a fraction of that value.

Less than ideal businesses extract value from the humanity. They do that by exploiting the weaknesses of people.

Most of us have their irrationalities. Some of those irrationalities are predictable. Less than ideal businesses build their business on exploiting those predictable irrationalities.

The World Is Not Black and White

Obviously, we can’t make a black and white distinction between ideal and less than ideal businesses. As I explained in my post the Fallacy of Extremism, that would be a childish outlook on life. Most businesses are somewhere between both polarities.

For example, gambling businesses provide some value by entertaining their customers. Educational businesses have to use some marketing techniques to convince their prospects to pay for their products and services.

In either case, I want to be closer to the ideal end of the spectrum.

Four Stakeholders in a Business

The karmic management model takes into account four parties to measure the potential of a business.

  1. Customers
  2. Employees
  3. Suppliers
  4. Humanity at large

I want to add a fifth party to this model: myself.


I plan to build an information marketing business around my blog. So far, I have been writing mainly about personal development and marketing.

Personal Development

I consumed a lot of personal development products and services. Those products and services made significant differences in my life. Some of those products and services were paid. There was an exchange of value both ways.

In some cases, I paid more than what the product or service was worth for. In some cases, I received great value for free. Some free YouTube channels and videos made significant, tangible, positive changes in my life.

In either case, I’m more than satisfied as a paying customer of the personal development industry. My own experience is a validation of the personal development business.


In the past, I developed several products. Those products benefited their users, but I wasn’t able to commercialize them. Marketing and sales were the missing link between those products and their prospective users.

I’m not alone. A lot of gifted people have a difficult time building a business around their skills. They have a difficult time building products and services using their skills or commercializing the products and services they offer.

I want to create content that helps people build and commercialize products and services around their skills. But first, I have to figure that out myself. I work on it and I document everything that I learn on my journey.

I already receive the feedback that the lessons I share resonate with people. If you want to receive the latest lessons I discover on my journey, sign up to my weekly email newsletter.

Bottom line, I believe that there is value for my prospective customers in my information marketing business, both in personal development and marketing segments.


I don’t have any employees at the moment. There’s only one person who helps me with household once a week. I’m grateful for their services, because they save me a complete day every week.

As I build a business around my blog, I could hire freelancers such as virtual assistants, programmers, and writers.


My business would benefit several suppliers. I already pay for hardware, software, internet connection, and for some tools, such as Evernote and Google Drive.

I review the tools that I use in my blog posts. I believe that is fair value provided to my suppliers.


I serve humanity by providing as much value as I can in the ideal side of business.


I enjoy blogging, writing, developing products and services on personal development and marketing.


Sometimes, we lose the big picture of our businesses by being too focused on day to day details. That was the case with my weekly goals.

Today, I wrote down my business vision using the karmic management principles. Now, I can clearly see the long term benefits of my business to its prospective customers, suppliers, employees, humanity at large, and myself.

All of that helps me put things in perspective and not get frustrated when I miss a weekly goal or two.

Don’t Sacrifice What Can’t Be Measured

Six weeks ago, I published a post about measuring the success of my blog and email newsletter with growth metrics. Since then, I’m obsessed with numbers and dived deep into my stats.

I published several posts about the lessons I learned from my stats. Here are some highlights.

These and many others helped me reach a bigger audience, express myself better, and get more responses. That’s why I say “data is gold if you know how to use it.”

Pitfalls of Using Data

Data is extremely useful, but it can also be extremely distracting. If I’d dive into Google Analytics, I could spend months on it without adding any value to my blog. That’s an obvious pitfall of using data.

There’s a less obvious pitfall. That is focusing on the numbers at the expense of what can’t be measured. That’s a subtle pitfall.

Make no mistake. I don’t downplay the importance of numbers. At the end of the day, we all have bills to pay and bills are paid by numbers. But focusing solely on numbers can backfire in the long term.

Focusing solely on numbers can backfire in the long term.

How I’m Deceived by Numbers

In a previous post, I argued that my about page wasn’t that important. It only accounted for 2% of the page views of my blog.

When I was writing my post the next day, I changed my mind. The about page might be critical. Its 2% page views might come from the most enthusiastic readers. By not having an up-to-date about page, I might be missing an opportunity.

What Can’t Be Measured Is Equally Important

Numbers are important, but what can’t be measured is equally important. On the one hand, we have quantitative analysis, and on the other hand qualitative analysis.

How can we measure the honesty of a blog post? Yet, honesty is a critical factor in the long term success of a blogger.

Short Term vs. Long Term

I think this all comes down to short term vs. long term. Numbers are great at optimizing short term results.

Sometimes, optimizing short term results is also good for optimizing long term results, but not always.

If short term and long term goals contradict with each other, I prefer long term goals.

Most of the time, there’s greater value in the long term.

As I explained in my post, Quick Cash vs. Long Term Value, I made zero dollars from my blog so far. I experimented a few weeks with Steemit and already started to make money on that platform.

If I looked at the numbers, working on Steemit seemed to be better than working on my blog.

After a few weeks, I quit Steemit in order to focus on my blog. Steemit didn’t seem to be a sustainable business model. The lifetime potential of my blog seemed to be greater than the potential of Steemit.

If I needed some cash in the short term, I’d keep working on Steemit. I don’t. That’s why I skipped the quick cash.

Quick cash is more expensive in the long term.

The Right Tools for the Right Goals

It’s important to use the right tools for the right goals. Some tools are more suitable to optimize qualitative goals. Others are more suitable to optimize quantitative goals.

Two weeks ago, I published a post about commenting on Medium. In that post, I argue that commenting on Medium doesn’t boost one’s number of followers. I received a lot of responses to that post. My readers argued about the benefits of commenting.

I agree that commenting has a lot of benefits.

  • It builds relationships with other readers and writers.
  • You develop new ideas with others.
  • You receive answers to your questions.
  • You come up with new topics to write about.

All of those benefits are qualitative benefits. If you use commenting for its qualitative benefits, you’re going to act different than if you use it for its quantitative benefits.

Commenting for Qualitative Benefits

If you comment for its qualitative benefits, you’ll take your time to understand the post, and you’ll comment to add something to the discussion, including asking a question.

If you comment for its quantitative benefits, you’ll read a few paragraphs of a post, quickly jot down a few sentences, and repeat that for dozens of posts every day.

Guess which one would be more effective?

Quantitative Goals Might Not Match the Nature of Reality

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon

Another pitfall of using statistics is that we make linear plans. My weekly 10% growth goal is a typical example of this. Most of the time, life doesn’t work like that. Growth comes in spikes after long periods of plateaus (Fig.1).

Fig. 1. Linear Growth vs Quantum Leaps

As I have written in a previous post, it took me 55 blog posts to get published in the Startup Publication. 17 of those posts have 0 views to this date, 12 only 1, and 7 only 2.


You can measure some factors, but you can’t measure others.  If you can’t measure a factor, that doesn’t mean it’s an unimportant one.

Honesty, relationships, and karma can’t be measured. Yet, they play a critical role in success.

Karma is unmeasurable.

Take into account quantitative analysis to optimize your business, but not at the expense of qualitative analysis.

Medium Is Great for Bloggers, Readers, and Humanity, but There Is Some Room for Improvement

Medium is great for humanity, because it acts like a Trojan horse in our smartphones. Smartphones are destroying our attention span.

Short clips, streams of blurbs and pictures are replacing books. In this environment, Medium is providing an alternative to all of that digital candy.

Medium posts aren’t a replacement for a book. Most of us write our posts taking into account the short attention span of online readers.

In either case, Medium posts are much better than most of the digital candy in your pocket. It requires you to stay focused on a piece of content for a few minutes.

Medium is great for readers, because it provides readers with a steady stream of brilliant posts and the opportunity to interact with the writers and other readers.

Medium is great for bloggers, because it provides them with a large audience of readers. Personal blogs have a difficult time building an audience. This has always been the case.

With the introduction of smartphones and apps, the number of blog readers is shrinking even more. In this age, Medium is like an oasis for bloggers.

Medium Stats Teach You Lessons

Once you publish a sufficient amount of posts, you have a decent set of stats. You can use those stats to learn your lessons on blogging and to improve your craft.

Interaction with Readers

The opportunity to interact with the readers is great for the writers. I’ve been blessed with a steady stream of responses to my posts and I’m grateful for that. That feedback is critical for any content provider.

  • Comments indicate that your content is resonating with people.
  • Your readers give you a direction by telling you what they like about your posts.
  • Your readers give you new ideas to write about.

That discussion is valuable for the readers as well. They are able to influence the writers with their feedback. They can ask questions and receive answers. As a result, everybody wins.

Medium Is My Single Source of Traffic

It’s a risk for a blogger to depend on a single source of traffic. When I take into account all the benefits above, I’m willing to take that risk. As a blogger, I’m fine with using Medium as the single source of traffic to my website.

Medium Is Great for Discussions

If you read my post called Is Commenting on Medium a Reliable Strategy to Grow the Audience of Your Blog?, you might think that I changed my mind. I didn’t.

Commenting is great to interact with other writers. It’s just not an efficient way to grow your audience. Actually, I might have found why it isn’t.

A Point of Improvement for Medium

Commenting might not work, because Medium is suppressing some comments. They are probably trying to minimize spam comments this way and it works. Spam is almost non-existent on Medium.

I understand that Medium is hiding some comments, but there’s room for improvement in how Medium processes comments.

Medium Notifications Are Less Than Optimal

As a writer, I expect to receive an email for every comment I receive. That is not the case at the moment. I found that out after finding old comments by chance.

I received some decent comments written by new members. I didn’t receive an email about them. I wasn’t able to clap for them or respond to them. As a result, those comments remained hidden.

New Member Responses Are Not Notified to the Writers

How would you feel about Medium, if you signed up just to comment a post, took your time to write a decent comment, and then, your comment remained hidden and you didn’t receive a response from the writer?

Would you keep using Medium? I believe this practice hurts the new user acquisition number of Medium.

A Better Way to Display Notifications to Writers

You might say that it’s my responsibility to check my notifications and find all of those comments. Unfortunately, with the dozens of notifications I receive every day, Medium’s notifications are useless to me.

In order for them to be useful to me, they have to satisfy the following requirements.

  • They need to be accessible on a separate page of their own like Facebook.
  • I should be able to mark them as read. Now, once they are displayed on the screen, they are marked as read.

Medium iOS App Has the Best Notification Settings

Luckily, I found a workaround to this problem. In the iOS app, there are three options for push notifications for responses.

  • Off
  • Tailored for you
  • Everyone

The default is “tailored for you” and I chose “everyone.” I’ll see how this works out. I’d really like to see the “everyone” option for email notifications.

I’d like to receive an email for every response receive. That would make the task of processing responses much easier. In the meantime, if I missed a comment of you, I apologize.


Medium benefits bloggers, readers, and humanity in different ways. As a writer, I appreciate it so much that I use it as the exclusive source of my traffic.

There is one update I’d like to see on Medium though. That is to receive an email for every response that my posts receive.

I also suggest that Medium handles new user comments with care. Otherwise, they might lose some of those users forever.

Your Turn

If you know a tool that processes Medium notifications and creates to do lists out of them, please let me know in the comments.

Writing an About Page for My Blog

When I restarted blogging five months ago, I didn’t rewrite my about page. I didn’t write a short bio for Twitter or Medium either. I wanted my readers to make their minds by reading my posts, not by the two sentences in my short bio.

The Need for an Up-To-Date About Page

The page views of the about page of my blog is only 2% of the overall traffic. This figure looks small, but that 2% could be the most important 2%. Those visitors might be the most interested ones in my blog.

Not having an up-to-date about page can become a problem, because I write posts on a variety of topics.

My first time readers might get confused when they visit my blog or sign up to my email newsletter. They might expect posts on one topic, but receive posts on another. I want to clarify my position for my first time readers.

Which Topics to Expect from Me

The majority of my blog posts and page views are in the personal development category. Lately, I didn’t write much about this topic. This doesn’t mean that I stopped writing about this topic. Personal development is a topic that I’m interested in.

Blogging, Writing, and Marketing

Lately, I write mostly on blogging and marketing. It’s a topic that I’m trying to figure out.

I document my thinking process, my plans, and my progress. Some of my readers enjoy that insider look at my journey. Some of them give me feedback and tips. All of that helps me make my mind on how to carry on toward my goals.

Entrepreneurship and Startups

I see blogging and marketing as a part of entrepreneurship and starting up a business. Most of my posts on entrepreneurship and startups are also on blogging and marketing.

I have some posts on the inner game of entrepreneurship as well. I plan to keep writing such posts.

Topics I Stopped Writing About

There are two topics that I don’t plan to write anymore. Those two topics are management and investing.

Management of established businesses doesn’t excite me anymore. I’m more interested in starting something from scratch and turning it into an established business.


I don’t like to write about investing for two reasons. First, most people don’t have any funds to invest. Second, my investing strategy is extremely boring. I believe in dollar cost averaging and buying and forgetting until retirement.

People want to read about trading, technical analysis, and the latest cryptocurrencies. My posts don’t satisfy the “turn $100 USD to $10 million USD, buy a Lamborghini, and party with models” crowd.

Who Am I?

I’m a 39 years old software developer living in Genk Belgium. I’m originally from Istanbul, Turkey. I completed my PhD in Informatics in 2012.

Throughout my career, I’ve always been in the technical side of business. My focus was on B2B software. With my blog, I dive into the commercial side of B2C. That’s quite a switch and there’s a lot to learn.

From an Expert to a Novice

There’s a big contrast between being an expert B2B software developer and a novice B2C marketer. That’s a challenge.

I always wanted to build a business in B2C marketing, especially information marketing. This goal kept my mind busy for too long. I want to stop procrastinating on this goal and do my best to achieve it. If I succeed, that would be great. If I fail, I would let go of this goal and move on.

Using My Experience as a B2B Software Developer

Even though I’m a beginner B2C marketer, I don’t feel like I’m a complete novice. I bring all the experience in my career to my new venture.

Qualities like analytical thinking and focusing on what matters help me in this challenge. I apply the scientific method and reverse engineering to my marketing goals. I developed these qualities and experience in my B2B software development career.

Extracting Lessons from My Marketing Experience

One thing that helped me a lot is to know how to extract lessons from my experience. I spent only five months on my blog. Yet, I learned a lot about B2C and marketing. I documented those lessons in my blog.

Using B2C Marketing Lessons in B2B Software Development

The experience transfer isn’t one way. I transfer the lessons I learned from my blogging experience to my software development job.

In blogging, I don’t have time for busy work. Busy work contributes little or not at all to my end goals.

After five months of blogging, I developed an eye for what the end user would be interested and what they wouldn’t. Anything that wouldn’t interest or benefit the end user, directly or indirectly, is busy work. I try to avoid that to the extent possible.

Ease of Use

Another lesson I learned from blogging is the importance of ease of use. My blog post have to be extremely easy to read. A reader won’t read long sentences, long paragraphs, or long chunks of text.

An end user won’t be able to use complicated software, no matter how capable that software is. Now, I pay more attention on how usable a solution is before offering it to an end user.

My Marketing Goal for July 1, 2019

My goal with my blog is to build an audience of 100K Medium followers and 20K email newsletter subscribers by July 1, 2019.

This goal requires a lot of domain specific lessons to be learned. Moreover, it also requires some personal development, productivity, leadership, motivation, and entrepreneurship lessons. I’ll write on those lessons as I come up with them.


An up-to-date about page explains my readers who am I and what my blog is about. As the topics discussed in my blog get diversified, an up-to-date about page becomes more and more necessary.

I will use the information in this post to update my about page. Moreover, I’ll use this information to write my short bios for Medium and Twitter and the welcome email of my email newsletter.

Your Turn

Is there any information that you would like to see in an about page that I haven’t mentioned here? Let me know in the comments and I might include it in the new version.

Improving the Design of My Blog to Increase Email Newsletter Subscriptions

  • The email newsletter subscriptions in my blog don’t meet my goals consistently.
  • So far, I focused on improving my writing to optimize these results.
  • The next step will be to improve the design of my blog.

How I Measure the Performance of My Blog

I’m tracking two stats to measure the performance of my blog. These are the growth rate of my Medium followers and email newsletter subscribers. My goal is to grow both figures by 10% every week.

I succeed at the newsletter goal one week and fail the next week. This one on, one off pattern has been going on for a month now.

So far, I tried to optimize my blog post writing skills. I did that by analyzing my Medium stats. I learned a lot of lessons on blogging and I shared them in a series of posts.

Focus on Blog Design

Sure, there is still room for improvement in my writing, but I want to focus on my blog at the moment. There’s even greater room for improvement in my blog.

My traffic numbers aren’t that bad, but I have a difficult time converting that traffic into email newsletter subscriptions. I’ll focus on this conversion for a month or so.

My Knee Jerk Reaction

I started using Google Analytics to accomplish my goal. That wasn’t a good idea. I warned my readers not to jump on to a tool without having a plan first. I made that mistake. I didn’t think whether Google Analytics was the right tool for this job.

Google Analytics is a fantastic tool. When I get into a tool like that, I can spend weeks, months, and even years working on it. I could still learn something after a year of using it. However, that’s not my goal.

My goal is to improve the conversion rate of my blog, not to become a Google Analytics expert.

I warned against this type of tech abuse in the post Use Tech as an Accelerator, not as an End. I even wrote a post yesterday called Data Is the Gold If You Know How to Use It. Yet, I still spent hours on Google Analytics without any results.

Start with Pen and Paper

After hours of unfruitful work, I went away from my computer. I sat down with pen and paper. I brainstormed and wrote the first draft of this post.

Search Queries by Readers

An interesting insight from Google Analytics was the search queries people used on my website. Those search queries gave me some ideas for blog posts.

One of those search queries was “how write every day.” I think my visitor was curious about how I publish a post every day. Actually, that would be easy if I didn’t have a full time job. But it’s hard on top of a full time job.

Improving My Productivity to Keep Up with the Daily Publication Schedule

I’m still improving my productivity and workflow. I plan to report my writing routine once it reaches a certain point.

There’s some inner game that goes into this as well. I find it interesting how my psychology plays tricks on me. Then I play tricks on my psychology in return to keep up with my daily publication schedule.

If you want to read more about how I keep up with my daily schedule, stay in touch by subscribing to my email newsletter. I plan to write about this in the upcoming days.

Start with Quality Questions

After using Google Analytics for a few hours, I realized that I didn’t need to spend all of those hours. I could get what I needed in ten minutes.

Before you start to use a tool like Google Analytics, write down what you want to get out of it. Moreover, write down what you’re going to do with the answers you get.

If you don’t know the answer to those questions, you’ll end up wasting your time. At the end, you might end up knowing a lot about Google Analytics without adding any value to your business.

My Goal and How I Plan to Accomplish It

My goal is simple: to improve the conversion rate of my blog traffic to newsletter subscriptions. In order to do that, I need to improve the design of my blog.

I already worked on my writing. If the design of my blog isn’t good, I won’t be able to reach my goals no matter how good I write. The effects of both components are like factors in a multiplication.

Determine the Factor that Has the Biggest Room for Improvement

If my writing is at 80% and the design of my blog is at 20%, my conversion rate will be at 16%. After a certain threshold, improving one factor will only add marginal value.

According to the 80% – 20% figures above, there’s 25% improvement left in my writing. If I focus on my writing, I can improve my results by 25% at max.

Based on the same assumption, there’s 500% improvement potential in my website design. I can improve my results up to 500%, if I focus on the design of my website.

The Challenge of Infinite Possibilities

When I start a project such as updating the design of my website, the possibilities are virtually endless. Even though that sounds good, it is overwhelming at the same time. That’s why I wrote the post, How to Deal with the Challenge of Infinite Possibilities when Starting a Business.

Where to Start?

If it was up to me, I’d start with the about page and the homepage. But when I look at Google Analytics, I see a different picture.

If you look at the top ten pages in Fig. 1, you might think that the homepage is the most important page. It accounts for 10% of the page views. That means if I improve the homepage, I improve only 10% of my website design.

Fig. 1. Pages with top 10 views

There are eight pages that refer to blog posts in the top ten list. When I look at the complete list, more than 80% of the page views are blog post views. If I improve the design of the blog posts, I’ll improve 80% of the website.

Improving the design of the blog posts is relatively easy in WordPress. All I have to do is to update a few files in the theme that I use.

Measuring the Effects

Once I make that update, I’ll wait for a few weeks to see its effects. I can hardly think that those changes would result in a worse conversion rate than the current design.

I haven’t thought about the current design. I just used the standard theme and added a subscription box at the bottom.

Improvement Ideas

There are already some improvement ideas in my mind. These ideas are inspired by Medium and the Startup publication.

A Link to the Email Newsletter at the Top. There’s no information above the fold that indicates that I have an email newsletter. The only exception to that is the email newsletter subscription page.

I like the way the Startup Publication named their link. They called it “Get Smarter at Building Startups.” In my case, even calling this “Newsletter” would be better than what I have now.

The Position of the Subscription Box. The subscription box is under the post, social share buttons, related posts list, and the category and tags list. The subscription box could be between the social share buttons and the related posts list.

Author Information Bar. I’ll include an author information bar at the top, including my picture, my name, and a short bio. I was procrastinating on writing my Medium bio. Once I have a short bio, I’m going to use it on my blog and on Medium.

A Short Pitch in the Posts. This is not a design update, but it can increase the newsletter subscriptions. I included a pitch in this post. I gave a hint about a post that I’m going to publish in the upcoming days. I can do that in future posts as well.


When updating a project, focus on the component that has the biggest room for improvement. In my case, that is the design of my blog post pages.

Technology can be a pitfall at work. Don’t use a piece of technology just because it’s a good tool. Use it only if it serves your goals. Use it as a means to your ends. Don’t use it just to use it, no matter how fun it is.

Your Turn

I’d appreciate it if you could give me some tips to improve my email newsletter subscription numbers. Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas how I can improve this stat.