I mentioned on my Breaking CriticalMAS post that I wanted to go back into my archives and delete posts I deemed worthless. I’ve since gotten a better idea. I’m going to add the best posts to the site Medium. I like a lot of the aspects of Medium. Blog posts look clean and it is easy to follow accounts you wish to read. It builds on the strength of Twitter and is more approachable to many than RSS.
I am aware that Medium is having business issues, so I won’t be foolish enough to shut down this blog or provide too much original content (if any). I also won’t publish anything to Medium that hasn’t already been available here for at least week – unless it is super topical.
So if you do Medium, follow me if you like. My plan is to gradually post 1-3 of my better posts per week until I’m caught up.
This blog is back on Siteground with my other sites including INeedCoffee. They are simply the best. I can not recommend them enough if you are running a site that uses WordPress. I’ve been on SO MANY hosts going back to 1998. Siteground is faster and more stable than anything else I’ve ever tried. Their customer service is the best as well and they have numerous tutorials guiding you on how to do anything technical.
UPDATE March 2021: Siteground service has fallen in recent years. The servers are still fast though.
HTTPS – Running Secure
All my websites are HTTPS now. Google told everyone in 2015 it was giving secure sites a higher ranking in the search results. And if you have a secured site on Siteground they will deliver your site via the new faster HTTP/2 protocol. Siteground also offers the free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates too.
It is a no-brainer to make your website secure. You are going to see plain old HTTP sites fall further and further down the search rankings, just like the sites that were never made mobile and tablet friendly.
AMP for Mobile Speed
This blog is now AMP validated as well. This means if you access any blog post from Google Search on mobile, you will get a page delivered from the Google server closest to your location. The page will often load in 1/4 of a second. Smoking fast! See below.
My page loads in 1/4 of a second. The second search result takes 4 seconds and is not mobile-friendly. My blog post gets a higher ranking. #winning
The one area of blog housekeeping I wasn’t successful with was setting up a CDN to deliver images from Amazon’s CloudFront. I tried numerous times to get it working, but Amazon would only index 80% of the images. The rest would display as broken links. I tried their support forums and got no response. I reached out to a local developer that does classes on this topic and he couldn’t figure it out either.
At some point, I will revisit this challenge as I want to deliver all my images and static files from Cloud servers across North America and Europe. Have you figured out that I’m obsessed with fast page draws? What most sites haven’t figured out yet is that often the fastest site wins.
Right now I’m happy with my North American speed, but I really want to shave off a second or two in Europe. Mostly for my coffee site, but this site would benefit as well.
I’m astonished how few websites run Broken Link Checkers. Even though this site is more than a decade old you will rarely find broken links. The reason is I have broken link checkers testing both internal and external links all the time. Then I review the report and fix the links. Sometimes I can find an alternate site for the same story. Other times there might be an archived copy on Archive.org.
Anyway, during my 11-month hiatus, over 100 broken links piled up. They have all been repaired.
Other bloggers may focus more on making a pretty layout or hammering promotion on social media, but my approach has been to deliver a website on a stable server smoking fast that looks great on all devices. I’m already getting over a thousand visitors a day just on the AMP version of my coffee site.
UPDATE March 16, 2017: My Medium experiment turned out to be a flop. I added just 2 new followers and my content was barely viewed. At least I know now.
UPDATE April 8, 2017: Medium Take 2. Also, I stopped using AMP. I didn’t like the experience. And I’m using Cloudflare as a CDN.
Feb 10, 2017 — 12:34 pm
The complaint I hear most about Medium is that you give up ownership of your content. Maybe that’s why you are only posting old content there?
I agree that the minimalist appearance is nice.
Feb 10, 2017 — 1:30 pm
@Jim – According to their TOS, the writer own their own content. But I’m also safe guarding myself in other ways.
1- posting here first and waiting at least a week. This lets Google know that the source is me and according to a few articles I read, I should get higher search ranking than the Medium version. But even if I don’t, that will be less of a concern, especially for older posts.
2- I use the Import feature on Medium. This puts a direct link at the end of every article linking to my blog with the date of the original post. So I just put up my Motorcade story and at the end they added “Originally published at criticalmas.com on September 26, 2006.” with a link to the source.
3- I can always remove the articles on Medium if I no longer benefit from the exposure, whereas they can’t delete the posts over here.
Feb 13, 2017 — 3:58 pm
I read some posts about Medium. You are correct about the TOS. It appears the main complaints are that their design causes readers to organically *not* go to your other posts (other authors are suggested), and *not* read your “about” page. But I also saw some posts saying traffic greatly increased after a blog was moved to Medium. Maybe it helps if you move an established blog there versus starting a new blog there. Interesting in any case.
Feb 21, 2017 — 7:24 pm
Have you ever tried WP Engine? How does it compare to SiteGround?
Feb 21, 2017 — 8:03 pm
@Arthur – I have not tried WP Engine. I have heard nothing but great things about them.
However, they seem way overpriced to me. I’m running 7 sites on my account including 3 sites that are not WordPress. That would cost me $1200 on WP Engine. The full price of the Siteground GoGeek plan is $360 a year.