Most people have heard of the Medium blogging/content platform, but how good is it?
What is it?
For those of you that don’t know, Medium is a social-ish site that connects readers with content they like. Readers can read what they want, writers write what they want, and Medium connects the two. It’s a mix between social media and a blog.
Ease of use
Medium is the easiest way I know to get your content out there on the internet. I mean, you don’t even need to create an account! All you do is sign in with Google, Facebook, Twitter, and you can start writing content. It’s free, it’s easy, and it has a large audience(tens of millions of readers per month).
Medium, unlike WordPress, but like WordPress.com is a hosted platform. That means you don’t have to worry about your hosting plan not having enough storage, website speed, caching, backups, etc. Everything is taken care of for you, and the only work you need to do is create content. No monthly fees, no domain required, just write your content, and Medium will take care of the rest.
The most important part of a service centered on creating content is the editor. Well, Medium will definitely not disappoint. It has one of the best editors I have ever used, even better than Gutenberg or WordPress.com’s editor. The editor is fast, or at least I’ve never seen it lag, and super clean. There’s even auto-saving, so if your browser crashes, the most you can lose is a sentence or two.
The editor is literally a white page, with the regular Medium toolbar at the top, and the minimal UI of the editor. Similar to Gutenberg, if you’ve used it, the Medium editor is based on blocks. But it gets even better: if you write posts with lots of images, all you need is to drag in an image. No messing around with the WordPress media library, just drag and drop. You can add a caption if you want, but the hardest part of adding an image is finding it on your computer.
There isn’t any. The most “custom” you can get is creating a publication, which allows you to get a URL that looks like
medium.com/publication_name. No custom domains, no theme editor, or themes at all for that matter. It’s all set by Medium, and you can’t change it. However, that is often the trade-off with hosted platforms: you lose control. Someone else controls everything about your content, and can even take it down without any notice.
While Medium does not give you any way to run ads on your content, they offer their partner program as a way for you to make some money. Their partner program actually seems surprisingly good, although I haven’t personally used it yet. According to their partnership page, in June 2018, 14.3% of writers made more than $100. While that number seems small, keep in mind that many of them could be new writers with a small audience. The maximum earned by a single author is the most amazing figure, clocking in at $10,628.62! While there is no guarantee that you’ll get anywhere near that amount, you have nothing to lose. The program is free to enter, which means you can only earn.
Another plus with the partner program is that you don’t annoy your readers because there are no ads. That also means your revenue doesn’t get affected by people with ad blockers.
Using Medium with an existing site
If you already made a blog using WordPress, or any other platform, Medium has an import tool. Simply go to the importer tool, enter your blog post’s URL, and Medium imports it for you. You then get an opportunity to edit the post to fix any issues(i.e. formatting), and then you can publish it just like any other Medium post. Doing things this way instead of copying + pasting your post preserves your SEO because Medium will set the canonical URL to your site. They even add an “Originally published at your_site at date_goes_here” at the bottom.
Doing this gives you the benefits of having your own site, and getting access to all of Medium’s audience, which is pretty massive.
Medium is a good platform for creating content. You can use it along with your own site, and they have a pretty compelling partner program. However, your customization is pretty limited, with no support for custom domains.
I’ve used Medium for a while to mirror some posts from here. I’ve also recently started using it as a place to write about things that don’t exactly fit here. You can check out everything I put on Medium here.
There is a lot of content on Medium, put into categories so you can quickly find something interesting to read. Everyone can read stories that are not part of the partner program for free, without signing up. People who aren’t signed in can also access up to three stories in the partner program per month. If you’d like more than three, you can upgrade to unlimited for just $5/month. Becoming a member helps support not only Medium, but also all the authors that write content for the partner program.
One of the nicest thing about Medium is that they seem more interested in giving you content to read than asking for money and placing ads everywhere.
Medium’s daily newsletter is one of the few I actually check every day. Since Medium has content from many different authors, instead of just getting the content from one site in an email, you get recommendations for dozens of stories you might like. Each newsletter, called a “Daily Digest” gives you “Today’s highlights”, the best of categories you like, and “Editor’s picks”.
You can choose what topics and authors to follow to get emails that better fit what you want.
Medium is built to be not only a platform that connects you with content you like, but to also be somewhat of a social site. Each post has sharing buttons, you can bookmark posts, and you can show how much you liked the story by “applauding it”. The applauding is definitely a unique feature, as you can give more than one “clap” to show that you really love a post.
Comments are also exceptionally good and unique. Comments are their own story, and you can use the post editor UI to write comments! You can reply to comments, bookmark them, and even applaud them.
Medium is a great place to learn, and/or just read content that actually interesting. You’re not limited to one author, or one publisher. You get the content you want.