May 24, 2019

Where do you host your company blog?

cara

I'm debating between self-hosting my product blog or using a site like medium. Where do you blog and why?

  1. 2

    I recently switched from self-hosted WordPress to self-hosted Statamic.

    I'm so glad I switched.

    With Statamic everything is dev friendly but at the same time, there's a great dashboard + writing UI.

    Also, everything is stored as flat files, which means I can have version control for all my posts.

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      Very much keeping my eye on Statamic!

      Really looking forward to their next release when it can be pulled into an existing Laravel app via composer

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    Hugo + Netlify, love the combo. The one major downside is you can't get analytics from the server side, there's no access logs - so you're dependant on Google Analytics etc which dependant on your audience is probably frequently blocked.

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    Hosted Ghost blog for https://blog.checklyhq.com

    Wish I just went for it earlier. Writing experience is as good as Medium and you still own your content. Also no head aches about hosting. Just write write write.

  4. 2

    Hi Cara,

    I'm currently using Laravel Nova to host my company blog for Employbl: https://employbl.com/blog

    I originally started blogging on Medium, writing articles for fun about stuff I learned. Once I launched Employbl I grouped all my most popular articles into a Medium publication.

    My Medium articles get about 55,000 views per month. According to Google Analytics 224 users visited my site via Medium.

    My Medium publication has good SEO. When I publish something through them through my channel it ends up ranking highly pretty quickly in Google search results.

    My workflow now is to write in markdown and publish on my own blog. A few days or weeks later I'll repost to Medium using Medium's Story Import feature. (Stories > Import a story)

    This is supposed to not cannibalize your SEO because they'll set a canonical link to your original content.

    Building and/or hosting your own blog can be tricky but I think it's worth it to grow your audience and build your SEO. I've also made custom posts grabbing information from my database and rendering with PHP that I wouldn't have been able to do if I only used Medium

    Hopefully that helps!

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      I agree, post on your own website and then re-post on Medium via the "Import a story" feature (although lately, I'm getting import errors on Medium, no clue why).

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    For a previous venture, we self hosted. Our homepage / marketing website was already running on Github pages, so it made sense to just leverage the blogging potential of Jekyll.

    I think there's a ton of value in owning your content on your own website, but also can see there being a ton of value in getting at least partial content out on a site like Medium.

    Guess a lot depends on where your target audience is. If they are on Medium, then probably would be fine to post there.

    The problem for me, in regard to building on top of another platform is that you always run the risk of said platform having too much control of your business / traffic / etc. It's always at their discretion to shut your account down so there's way less risk there if you self host.

    And to touch on "self-hosting" a bit, it's always a viable option to run with some sort of managed hosting platform for Wordpress and using a sub-domain on your primary domain, vs. actually managing the blog's underpinnings yourself.

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      Agree here. When running on Medium your at the mercy of their algorithms, just like when you post to Facebook or other social networks.

      The Medium CEO stated that the company's main focus right now is to increase the number of paying subscribers. One way they're doing that is promoting stories that are behind the paywall.

      Medium pays me between $30-65/month for my stories that are behind their paywall. I've tried publishing without the paywall or turning the paywall off for stories but I get significantly less traffic without the paywall on my stories.

      I'm happy Medium pays me for my stories but it's not really what I'm optimizing for. Some writers on Medium get paid thousands and it's a lifeline for them. For me I'm trying to grow traffic to my own website. I've found the best way to do that is through a blog on my domain

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      When you have a blog on a subdomain, it's indexed by Google as a separate website. So, from the SEO point of view, it may be not very good. I usually prefer to organize a blog as a subfolder but it can be difficult to do on some platforms.

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        Was waiting for somebody to mention this. You're absolutely correct that a subdomain is going to be indexed separately. But the real talk is, does it matter? If you're being indexed, you're getting indexed, and your blog is probably going to direct people to your marketing landing page anyway.

        I'm with ya though, I prefer to blog on a sub-domain when possible.

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          But the real talk is, does it matter? If you're being indexed, you're getting indexed, and your blog is probably going to direct people to your marketing landing page anyway.

          Right.

          But if so, what's the point to set up your own blog if the same can be achieved with any third-party-hosted blog?

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            For me it's different from having users on medium.com/mypage versus mypage.com

            If people are on your website or app there are higher conversion rates to the pages you want them to see

            When people go to Medium they don't navigate away from Medium. By writing on Medium it's not really your page being indexed, it's Medium's.

            Medium does offer the ability to host a Medium publication on your own domain, such as mypage.com or blog.mypage.com. I wasn't able to configure this myself but I imagine some people make it work for them!

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              Medium does offer the ability to host a Medium publication on your own domain, such as mypage.com or blog.mypage.com.

              As far as I know, not anymore.

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            Thought we were discussing sub-domains vs directories and not

            self-hosting vs. hosting via a third-party.

            @connor11528 made some great points against (and for) third-party blog hosting.

            Any time you put content on another service you run the risk of them changing their mind about the freedom of your content. If Medium decides to 100% paywall their content, then you've lost control.

            1. 1

              Thought we were discussing sub-domains vs directories and not

              self-hosting vs. hosting via a third-party.

              These 2 aspects are connected, you can't deny it. And I'm not talking about how to choose 3rd party service, I'm just pointing that from the Google point of view it's not a big difference.

              Because:

              • search engine doesn't index your website if you host on subdomain (I mean it's indexed but separately)

              • neither index it when it's hosted on 3rd party's service.(Again, not indexed as your domain).

              In both cases, you need to provide some additional information for indexing like links to your site, linkes to another articles, something to catch a user's attention.

              But you said:

              But the real talk is, does it matter? If you're being indexed, you're getting indexed, and your blog is probably going to direct people to your marketing landing page anyway.

              That's not how indexing works. It always brings people to the source article. It may help to find you anyway - if you provide additional links, logos with link to your website etc.

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                Just curious, if subdomains are never indexed by Google, why is StackExchange still indexed, considering they use categorical subdomains? How come Wufoo's help page (on a subdomain) is also showing up on Google?

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                  Just curious, if subdomains are never indexed by Google

                  Hmmm... I was not clear. I meant "subdomains are indexed separately from the domain". Of course, they are indexed! But separately! So if you have a lot of articles on your subdomain it will not improve your domain's indexation.

                  Please see the improved message.

                  1. 1

                    yeah, that's definitely accurate.... didn't mean to mince words but you had said "search engine doesn't index your website if you host on subdomain" and I was thrown a bit :)

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                  Also confirmed with a few other search engines. I know SEO "experts" talk about subdomains being a possible detriment, but never that they are flat out not-indexed. Curious where you got that information, would love to know more.

                  1. 1

                    I didn't write clearly.

                    By "not indexing" I only meant they are never indexed as your domain.

                    Sorry for the confusion.

  6. 1

    What about both? Self-hosted and Medium? Netlify is also a cool option.

  7. 1

    It completely depends on your technical skill and the amount of time you have. With Wordpress + self-made theme, you can host your blog for very little cost but it requires some time to develop. If you're low on time, you can use Medium or Ghost.

  8. 1

    yeah, writing around 80 articles at medium. decided to leave because they start to push publications like HackerNoon out of business. all is fine and i think i will slowly move all of my articles to Hackernoon when they will moveout from Medium. they also give me more traffic and more visibility. And I hate WordPress

  9. 1

    I would self-host it and try to use JAMSTACK technology if you can deal with it. Your blog will be ultra fast and get a perfect score in some google test for SEO and performance for example

  10. 1

    Medium is good but you should post updates of your product on IH. It's a great platform where you can get feedbacks.

  11. 1

    I recommend doing both. Self-host a product-blog on the same domain as your product so you can start building SEO ranking for your domain. For this reason, if you are only going to do one or the other, I would recommend hosting on your domain over Medium. Publish there first and give each post a week or two to get indexed by search engines.

    You can then republish the same articles again on other platforms like Medium or Dev.to (or whatever community is appropriate for you) to get additional exposure and readers. List your article's original url as the canonical url so it doesn't hurt your original article's rankings.

    We do this for my software consulting business www.olioapps.com and I plan to do this soon for our time tracking software www.shoutbase.com. For multiple articles we've later republished on Medium, we've been chosen to be featured on the homepage of Medium or other Medium-based publications, which results in a nice extra boost of readers.

  12. 1

    I self-host https://blog.progressplum.app using Ghost. I’ve used Ghost for several years for my personal blog and love the writing interface. With Digital Ocean, you can deploy a server with Ghost preinstalled for just $5/month. I self-host because I want to own the content and the design of blog.

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