Medium, as a company, always appeared to be searching for its place on the internet and in the last 2 years, it is becoming clear what Medium is and how it intends to stay relevant for years to come. In my mind, it’s a slightly better version of YouTube but for written content. For video, there is a significant likelihood that you will find it on YouTube. Medium wants to be that place for written content. I feel Medium’s aim is just that, if something is worth reading, it’s on Medium. It’s trying its level best to remove as many barriers to entry as possible.
Therefore, if today, I was seeking a platform for my blogging needs, I undoubtedly will consider Medium.
Caution: Before you decide on a platform, you must consider what your needs are and/or what your objectives are. For example, I do not have any intention to make a living from my blog. I write because I enjoy it and because writing helps me think methodically. It’s a self-centred project that costs me approximately USD80 a year.
FREE and no Advertising: you can write to your heart’s content and publish on almost on any topic with no any limits. Medium’s revenue source is from its membership where, for USD5 a month, a Medium member can consume articles that authors (maybe you) put behind a paywall. There are many writers on Medium that publish freely (without a paywall) and as such readers like me can enjoy with no restrictions.
Beautiful design and ease of use: Writing is a big part of being a blogger and Medium has made this process super easy. You can write using the Medium editor on the web and through the Medium app on iOS and android. Furthermore, most popular writing apps have Medium integration built in, I recommend Ulysses and iA Writer. I find it extremely cool that my entire blogging workflow can be achieved on mobile using the Medium platform. I can write, publish and importantly make edits, all from the Medium app on my mobile. This is no easy feat. Ghost, which is a platform created for blogging, still to this very day does not have a mobile app.
Blogger features: this includes add-ons such as RSS feeds, comments and analytics etc. If you are self-hosting, you need to find services for comments, RSS feeds, image hosting and analytics. This is the reason, I have no comments feature on my blog because it’s costly and requires a bit of work on my end to implement. All these features are not only included for free on Medium, the simplicity in its implementation is refreshing and warmly welcomed.
Beautiful Reader Experience: No point writing great content when the reading experience is subpar. Medium’s responsive design ensures that regardless of where or on which device, the reading is experience is beautiful and distraction free.
Medium’s Reach : In Q2 2020, Medium had over 1 billion page views. Medium is dedicated to written content, so viewers to Medium are there for one purpose and one purpose only, to read. This means your content can have a vast reach. Consider this, if you uploaded a video on YouTube and Vimeo, which platform do you think, you will get the most views? This logic does not completely apply because Medium does not have the same popularity or monopoly in written content as YouTube has in video.
Custom Domains: Medium supports custom domains. Without custom domains, my address for this blog would merecivilian.medium.com. For bloggers, to have control over your content and having viewers visit your custom domain for your content is a monumental advantage. Therefore, in the future when you want to switch platforms, it’s effortless from a reader perspective because your address doesn’t change, your readers know where to find you. If you are starting your blog today, the first investment you should make is to grab your own custom domain. This is non-negotiable. Medium requires you to become a member if you want to bring your domain to Medium. Thankfully, you do not need to have an active Medium membership to keep using your custom domain. Therefore, all it can cost you is USD5 for the first month to bring your domain to medium. There are benefits of staying a Medium member, but these benefits are from the reader, not for the writer/blogger.
Portability: nobody enjoys being trapped, and a custom domain provides bloggers the opportunity to move. However, moving is one thing, taking your content with you is another. Thankfully, Medium allows you to export your content as HTML files which theoretically you can import into the next platform you move to. Moving platforms is never a straightforward process. Therefore, choose wisely.
Make Medium your own: one of Medium’s drawbacks has been that every blog looks the same. This is not what bloggers want. Medium has made significant inroads towards allowing writers to add their blend of uniqueness. What I find genuinely intuitive is how easy it is to change the look and feel of your blog. Yes, the options are limited to a certain extent, but there are things you can do that will separate your blog from other medium blogs. For details, explore here. This is what I did with my Medium page and I may be biased, but I think it looks exceptional.
Newsletter: everyone appears to have their newsletter these days, and there are many third-party services that make this happen. Newsletters are built into the Medium platform and appears to be comprehensive. I also appreciate that Medium provides you with the toolset to export your newsletter audience, thus not locking subscribers to the Medium platform.
Peace of mind: Medium maintains and manages your website. All you have to do is write and publish. This includes things like regular upgrades, data backup, scaling responding to increased traffic, DDoS attacks, etc. The most important benefit here is that it saves you time and energy, and the peace of mind is invaluable. Most bloggers spend a lot of time on their website instead of writing. I am guilty of this myself. Having Medium manage my website pushes me towards writing rather than maintaining/enhancing my website. I have written this article because I am considering Medium as a new home for www.merecivilian.com.
This is part one of a two-part series. I am still undecided and from my perspective, the reasons to join Medium are compelling. However, Medium is not perfect. As I continue with my research, I am enjoying this journey and excited to see where it leads.