I don't think there was anything wrong with anything you did or said. It was your first month and no one knew who you were. Period. Could you have used a more "clickbaity" photo or title? Sure. But why? If you start doing things like that you merely get into the habit of doing things like that. You were and are an excellent writer. Around here you just have to fight to be seen...if that's what you want. Or, write like no one is watching and just publish like no one is reading. Don't think about it.
I'm just publishing a piece where a good part of it is devoted to the idea that you don't have to publish in publications to be successful, at least that's what a great many writers here believe. I'm not so certain myself, but I trust the people who say it and I don't trust many of the people who totally disagree.
A friend just published a "guideline" for curation that scared me to death. If I had to consistently write that way just to COMPETE for curation I'd face writer's block all day long. https://medium.com/the-shortform/helpful-tips-to-curate-your-posts-more-49a4d7d72e1b
Not worth it. I'd rather just leave Medium.
If you want to build an audience, a following, think about writing more for these "shortform" publications that people like to read. That way the only constriction on your writing would be word count and not style or content. Learning how to write short and snappy is an "art form" in itself!!!
Whatever it takes, and whatever you feel you need to do, I know you can do it. I mean it really is obvious in your writing that you are capable of whatever you want to do.