I just read a decent post by some guy about travel. It was pretty good.
These are content collection websites where you can share thoughts or ideas with others, and they tend to have pretty good interfaces. It’s easy to create content, it’s easy to share it, etc.
But here’s the problem: many of the people who create content on these sites also have their own website. This guy, for example, at the end of this Medium post, points us to his website.
Oh, cool, so he has a website. And it’s a personal site, i.e. first-name-last-name.com, where, presumably, he puts his thoughts and ideas?
So why am I reading his thoughts and ideas on Medium then?
And if I’m on Medium, where he obviously writes, why am I being shown his website?
Am I supposed to subscribe to his Medium and his Tumblr and his Facebook and his personal site and his Svbtle site as well? So basically put some time into researching the various 20 places that he spreads his ideas?
And let’s forget my inconvenience for a moment. What about his?
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Surely he knows that half of these services will not exists in 10 years. So now he’ll have to hopefully find a way to archive all the various content he put out there on these various services.
And of course the URL will be different. And of course all the backlinks will be broken.
This is silly enough when someone has all these services because they don’t have a website, but it’s downright ridiculous when you actually have one but don’t consolidate your content there.
Anyone who cares about their own thoughts enough to put them on the internet should stop writing on Facebook. Stop writing on Tumblr. Stop writing on Medium. Stop scattering your thoughts to the seven winds in a way that both inconveniences your potential readers and will make collecting it later a months-long chore.
If you want to use those platforms then brilliant! Find a platform and use it for your personal domain. Consolidate your content there. Here are some tips:
Make sure the platform will have a decently long life. We can’t predict who will win and last over decades, but you can be fairly sure that some random platform that popped up last week won’t be among them.
Make sure you like using it. The creation interface. The sharing interface. The platform overall.
Make sure you can use your own domain with it. Don’t have a personal website called someplace.com/somestructure/somenumber/dogs-and-cats.html. That won’t last, and you shouldn’t expect it to.
Be aware of your URL structure. Make sure it’s intuitive to users. Make sure it’s SEO friendly. Luckily those go together in most cases.
Bottom line: look toward permanence. Look for a platform that is lasting. Tie your name to it. And consolidate your content there.
Again, if you care enough to create ideas and put them out there for someone to consume and comment on, then you should take it seriously enough to do it right.