In January 2023 I posted an article on Medium.com titled: “How To Start A Niche Site in Under 3 Hours (With Checklist)”.
Not much happened.
But a few months later the views started creeping up. An eyebrow raised. “Am I going viral?” I asked myself. Well, maybe not viral but there was a big spike in interest. More importantly, I hit a milestone: 1000 views on a single article.
This led to the big question… How much did I earn? Well I can tell you that article earned me $36.29 from its first 1000 views.
Not bad at all!
Stupidly I didn’t take a screenshot as it crossed 1k views, so I only have a more recent picture:
The most interesting part? On day 1 the article made a measly $0.16. But I think this might just creep its way up to $100 over time. It didn’t even get “boosted”. However, it did get pushed out in front of people after 3 or 4 months.
In the past, my articles have had the opposite trend: an initial spike of interest that then fades out over time.
Since then, I’ve had a second article cross 1k views but with very different results…
Why This 1k Article Has Earned a Big Fat Zero
My Best Scottish Podcasts post, which I wrote to promote my own podcast, hasn’t earned a single dime. What gives?
This podcast article was purely an SEO tactic. I wanted traffic from people searching for Scottish Podcasts and so all the traffic to this post is external. You only make money when other Medium.com premium members read your articles that are behind the paywall.
So although plenty of people are viewing and reading this article, almost none of them are actually a part of Medium.com.
How I Got 1k Views on an Article
So how did I do it? Well, there are 4 main reasons I think:
It’s Got a Good Headline
All the advice you read about writing online comes down to this: does it have a catchy headline? Because if it doesn’t you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Now you don’t have to go full clickbait but you do need to flex your copywriting fingers and entice people to read.
I tried to spice up the title with as much emotion and detail as possible. If I’d gone with “How I create niche sites” the article would barely have gotten 10 views total let alone 1000, even if the content was exactly the same.
It’s In a Big Publication
This was the other piece of advice I’d read consistently. If you want views you need to be publishing through a publication. I went straight to the big guns and applied to write with StartUp when I joined Medium. It took a few attempts but they accepted me and now I have a couple of articles published there.
When you publish on a publication your article gets shown to their followers as well as your own. The result? The potential for more views.
I Have Expertise
I actually did the thing I was writing about. I wasn’t half-heartedly explaining how someone might theoretically build a niche site. I talked about exactly what I did to build the site. And that expertise ups the value of the post dramatically.
To make writing it easier I also took notes while I was setting up the site in a Gdoc so I could refer back to how much time each task actually took. It also helped me keep track of the order I did things in.
I read Tim Denning recently mention that nonfiction = education and it resonated with me. To write a great nonfiction article you need to teach the reader something and that couldn’t be clearer in this case. If you decided to read the original article you’d learn how to create a niche site and that’s enough to make people who are interested in doing that bookmark the article for later.
Every article you write is a chance to learn what works and what doesn’t. If one article does well then get down to the nuts and bolts, try to figure out why. If another is a total flop then try to figure that out as well. Be honest and give your writing fair judgement.