Why I’m Switching From Wordpress to Medium
I’ve been a blogger for about 10 years, and like many bloggers, for the first few years that I published online, I began by using Google’s Blogger platform. However, as blogging became more popular, I started noticing that many other writers’ blogs had far more attractive interfaces, with beautiful designs and interactive features such as integration with the writers’ Twitter and Facebook accounts.
I began asking other bloggers I knew how they were creating blogs that looked and functioned so well, and I learned that the new kid on the blogging block was a platform called Wordpress, which offered the possibility to create sophisticated blog interfaces and even non-blog websites using a relatively simple back-end. When I checked out Wordpress for myself, I was impressed. It seemed like the perfect Content Management System (CMS), with thousands of blog designs available, plus the ability to integrate a variety of widgets to make my blog more functional.
I was psyched. As soon as I saw what Wordpress could do, I transferred my entire Blogger archives (no easy feat since Blogger didn’t offer any transfer tools; it was just a matter of tedious cutting and pasting) over to a new Wordpress site, which I set up myself quite easily. And until very recently, I’ve been blogging at Wordpress ever since.
However, over the last few years, my initial enthusiasm for Wordpress has waned. There are several reasons for this. First of all, when I recently undertook a visual overhaul of my Wordpress site I found that the original, relatively simple dashboard that allowed the installation of themes and widgets, as well as the publication of content had morphed into an entirely more complex and difficult-to-figure-out content management system. I ended up having to actually hire a Wordpress developer to help me get my redesigned blog up and running. And even now, when I want to add a new feature or change the look of my blog I have to call on this developer to help me. The simple, intuitive CMS that I once loved about Wordpress has now been replaced by a relatively tricky backend that non-techy types like myself can’t navigate very easily at all.
Although Medium has been around for several years, I was late to the Medium publishing party. But the more I struggled with making my Wordpress blog look and function the way that I wanted to, the more I began looking for alternatives. That’s when I found Medium and immediately fell in love.
As I set about to publish my first story on Medium, I found myself awed by how simple Medium’s back end, CMS is to use. There are only a few, simple functions to write, edit and publish your content — a huge improvement over how complicated and confusing Wordpress’s content management system has become. And with Medium, I don’t have to worry about making my blog look a certain way because anything I publish here immediately becomes part of a publication that’s already as elegantly and beautifully designed than any theme I’ve ever been able to find on Wordpress.
And speaking of themes, while many free Wordpress themes are available, the best looking ones, the ones you really want to use, cost between $50 and $300. That’s in contrast to Medium which provides a beautiful theme for zero dollars.
Although Medium doesn’t offer many of the bells and whistles that Wordpress’s publishing platform does, it doesn’t need them. If, for example, I want to include, say, integration with my Twitter feed, I don’t need a special widget, instead I simply drop a link to my Twitter feed into my Medium article. Like this: Please Follow Me On Twitter.
However, the primary thing that I love about Medium as opposed to Wordpress is that when you publish on Medium, you are automatically releasing your content into an existing community of readers. Everyone who visits the Medium platform is doing so because he or she is looking for something great to read. Your article has as much of a chance of being that something as any other writer using Medium to publish. This is a huge difference from Wordpress where even if you carefully optimize your content for search (something that’s becoming harder and harder to do with Wordpress’s increasingly complex CMS), the moment you hit “publish” on your Wordpress content you are essentially spitting into the wind. Instead of dropping your story or article into a preexisting ecosystem of readers and writers as you do when you publish on Medium, with Wordpress, you’re basically just kind of hoping that something magical that you’ve done with your SEO will have the effect of convincing Google’s algorithm to pull your blog post to the very top of every single other piece of content on that same topic that exists online, anywhere in the entire world. In other words, with the exception of bloggers who already have huge readerships, meaning that their content is always of more interest to Google, when publishing your features in Wordpress, your chances of having your content pieces discovered organically just aren’t very good.
However, with Medium, your content is automatically search optimized (you don’t have to worry about how to do that yourself in the Medium CMS), but — and this is incredibly important — it’s also hand curated by a team of editors which selects the very best content on any given day for being featured on Medium’s front page or in one of its content areas.
As a writer, your goal is generally to be read by other people. Unless you’re just journaling for yourself, you don’t want to be publishing your work into a vaccuum. And Medium clearly offers a superior opportunity over Wordpress to actually be found and read by motivated readers. Within my first three days of publishing several of my essays on Medium, my Medium stats told me that I already had more pageviews and reads of my work than I’d had during the whole previous month on my blog. Because my essays were being discovered by the community of Medium readers actively looking 24/7 for good stuff to read, I was named one of Medium’s top writers in the Parenting category within my first two weeks as a Medium publisher, meaning that even more readers will find me via my featured status.
The feedback that you get from Medium readers is also superior to the commenting options available in Wordpress. Despite trying several different Wordpress commenting systems over the years, I never found one that really worked for me. The native WP commenting system encouraged trolls while the Facebook commenting widget meant that all discussion of my articles took place on Facebook rather than on my blog.
However, because everyone who comments on one of my Medium-published articles is a Medium member, there’s little room for anonymity, and thus, no tolerance within the community for trollish behavior. The Medium community is a respectful one, populated by people who are legitimately interested in reading and writing high quality stories and articles. They’re not joining the Medium tribe just so they can follow a particular writer around and leave nasty, pointless comments, something with which I have had a great deal of painful experience. However, I have found that the Medium community is all about interaction, and again, in the last two weeks of publishing here on this platform I’ve received far more interaction from readers than I have in the last several month of publishing on Wordpress.
Last, Medium offers an innovative and potentially quite lucrative way for Medium members to actually make money from their writing without having to deal with the hassles or the sense of selling out that come with advertising and sponsorships — a Wordpress-based blogger’s primary sources for earning an income from her writing. Medium’s solution for how to pay its writers involves signing up for the Medium Partner Program which allows you to be paid a percentage of each paying Medium community member’s monthly dues based on how many “claps” (sort of like a Facebook “like” but with no connection to Facebook) each of your articles receives. This is the smartest way I’ve found for an online publication to fairly compensate its writers, and again, it’s all based on the fact that Medium is a reading and writing community rather than simply the standalone platform that Wordpress is.
I still use my Wordpress blog. I mostly use it as a place to promote my latest writing on Medium. So if the Wordpress SEO system that’s supposedly working for me actually allows anyone to find my blog at all, well then, what these Google searchers are actually going to get is a one-way ticket to my work at Medium.
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