I’m Glad I Didn’t Move this Blog to Medium

In May when I sold the domain that used to house this blog, I considered moving everything over to Medium.com. It would have been a lot of work. I decided against the move.

I got some good comments here plus I had this nagging concern that no matter how much I liked Medium as a user, they could always change the rules and screw me over at their whim.

Here we are 4 months later and as a user, I no longer like Medium nearly as much as I once did. In their effort to make money, the algorithm is filling my feed with paid article recommendations. These recommendations no longer match the types of articles that I was reading in the first half of the year.

I used to open the app and read articles about Javascript, new technologies, and a few Spanish-language articles. Whenever I completed an article that I felt to be well-written and informative, I would follow the author.

Today, my feed is full of click-bait titles on topics I have zero interest in reading. These are all articles for those that have paid memberships.

Writers that I follow often do not show up in my feed and I need to perform multiple clicks to discover if any new articles have been written by them. Usually, I forget to look. So the cool writer I found in January or February is now a faded memory, even though I follow them. For business reasons, Medium chooses to hide them from my feed.

Pay to Play?

I’m not opposed to paying for a service that improves upon the free model. For Medium, I was in a wait-and-see mode. What I saw was a lot of writers made their content pay-only to earn revenue. Good writers and a lot of mediocre writers looking to get paid.

Medium had a moment. They were a format that signaled quality. If they still have it, it is fading. Medium continues to experiment and try different things, so maybe my concerns will be addressed over time. Or maybe they won’t.

I’ll Still Be Blogging Old-School

Even though I followed the proper procedures on Google Webmaster for transferring a domain, I lost a tremendous amount of traffic to this blog when I moved from the “.com” to the “.org”.

The 3-month page view average prior to the move was 33,000 a month. The 3-months since the move, that has dropped to just 6,000 a month. If you see an article written by some SEO hack saying you won’t lose traffic if you use the transfer procedure on Google Webmaster, they are wrong.

Even though my audience has dropped by 80%, it is still better for me to run a blog than trust that Medium will show my content on their feed to people that choose to follow me.

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How I Made $35 Last Year By Quitting Google

A year ago this week, Google fired James Dalmore. When I looked deeper into the story, it didn’t sit well with me. It wasn’t the firing that bothered me, it was how Google went to the press later to justify the firing by disparaging Dalmore. A company does not need to give cause for firing anyone. But they did and I felt that was wrong.

But what could I do? I use Google products. My websites rely on Google Search to drive traffic. I decided to give Bing a 3rd chance as my default search engine.

When Bing first came out in 2009, it was terrible. I tried it for a week and went right back to Google. I’d estimate that 40% of the time Bing failed to find what Google found.

Then in 2014, I gave Bing another chance. By now, Bing was just as fast as Google and the searches had improved. It was 80-90% as good as Google. Not good enough for me, so I returned to Google.

My 3rd test spin of Bing started in August 2017 and I still use it as my default search engine for both the desktop and mobile. Now I would say Bing is 95% as good as Google.

Why would I continue to use something that is 2nd best? Because I get reward points every time I search. In the last 12 months, I have earned over 46,000 points. Those points can be redeemed for gift cards or even cash that donated to charities. The average redemption is $5 in value for 6,500 points. That is how I earned about $35 in the last year.

So, right now I’m getting paid about $3 a month to not use Google. That is super fair to me. On those occasions when Bing can’t find what I need, I jump over to Google and try the search there. Often both engines fail, but sometimes Google finds something that Bing missed.

One thing Bing does do poorly is indexing new stuff. When the domain for this blog updated, Google had my site indexed much faster than Bing.

TIP: To rack up more points, I search on an address rather than type it directly. For example, I’ll enter “cnbc” and then click the first result rather than type “cnbc.com”. 😎

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Photo by Aidan Bartos 

más MAS #1

más MAS is a new feature I’m adding to the Critical MAS blog. These will be links to things that I’m doing that are outside of this blog. In this first edition, I will catch up on the first half of 2018.

Medium

Your SEO Backlink Strategy Will Backfire With Me – I get great emails from Critical MAS readers. Unfortunately, that is not true for my coffee website. This is how I’m responding to the SEO consultants that advise a backlink strategy. After this article was posted, I got unfriended by someone I know in that industry. Seems I struck a nerve. Good.

Detecting the Country Code of your user with SiteGround and CloudFlare Caching Enabled using WordPress – Some PHP code that bloggers with a global audience might find useful.

INeedCoffee.com

Although I updated several older articles, these are the new ones I wrote.

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Making Coffee at Home

Next Generation Instant Coffee Reviews – There are at least 2 new instant coffees that are surprisingly good.

How to Store Coffee Beans (Tips and Recommendations)

Prismo Filter Upgrade For AeroPress Review and Tips

How to Make Iced Coffee With the Gabi Drip Master

Camping Showdown: Steeped Coffee vs The Bripe Coffee Pipe – This article includes the worst coffee brewing method I ever tried.

Make Cold Brew Coffee Quickly with the Gourmia Automatic Cold Brewer

Websites

CoffeeClub.app – I’m really proud of this site. It is a dashboard site that manages the 12 years of history of the Coffee Club of Seattle Meetup group. I use the Meetup API and the Yelp API for the data and Bootstrap 4 for the design. I’m adding more code on a regular basis.

LiftSlow.com – I planted a flag for a future site. (more info)

MichaelAllenSmith.com – I redesigned my portal using Bootstrap 4 cards.

CoffeeCookery.com – This is a test to see if I could spin-off a recipe site dedicated to using coffee as an ingredient. So far I have not been giving the site much of my time. After I launched the site, I got a MUCH BETTER idea for a new coffee website. More on that idea later in the year.

Other

Miami Herald Covers the Neil Rogers Audio Recovery Project – I was interviewed by the Miami Herald about the radio archive project I began in 2011.

No MAS!