Writing on Medium vs Your Own Blog: Pro's and Con's

When it comes to writing, there are two main platforms to consider in 2024: Medium and self hosted blogging. While some may think they are the same, there are significant differences between the two.

Medium is a third-party publishing platform that functions more like a social media platform, allowing writers to publish their work and engage with a community of readers. On the other hand, self hosted blogging involves running your own website and having complete control over your content.

Pros of Writing for Medium

Ability to write about a wide range of topics

One of the nicest things about Medium is the freedom to write about anything you want, as long as it appeals to readers. Whether you prefer how-to articles, personal essays, opinion pieces, or even fiction, Medium provides a home for all types of content creators. You don't really need to niche down to one topic to gain traction.

Free to use with optional paid membership

Medium is completely free to use, allowing writers to publish their work without any upfront costs. Many writers choose to become paid members to engage with the community and access additional features.

Access to a large internal readership

Medium boasts a massive internal readership, providing writers with the opportunity to gain a large audience quickly. This means that your work has the potential to be seen by a significant number of readers right from the start, increasing your chances of building a following.

Opportunity to earn money through the Medium Partner Program

One of the most enticing aspects of writing for Medium is the opportunity to earn money through the Medium Partner Program. By participating in this program, writers can earn revenue based on the time readers spend consuming their content. You can also earn recurring revenue by referring new members to the platform.

Capability to syndicate content without harming SEO

Medium allows writers to easily syndicate their content without harming their search engine optimization (SEO). By importing articles published elsewhere to Medium, writers can reach a new audience without being penalized for duplicate content by search engines. Medium automatically applies the canonical tag, signaling to search engines that the original source of the content resides elsewhere.

Cons of Writing for Medium

Income is not as passive compared to blogging

Unlike blogging, income on Medium is not as passive. Consistent posting is required to maintain earnings. If you stop posting new articles, your income will drop off pretty quickly.

Monetizing SEO traffic can be challenging

Medium's high domain authority makes easier to to rank on Google, driving external traffic to your articles. However, the majority of people who find your articles on Google are not Medium members, meaning you won't get paid for those reads. Monetizing SEO traffic on Medium can be more challenging compared to blogging.

Limited control over content due to Medium's platform

When writing on Medium, you have limited control over your content. The parameters of the Medium editor restrict what you can do with your content. While basic functions like embedding videos and formatting are available, you cannot add custom HTML or change the design.

Risks associated with relying solely on the Medium platform

Relying solely on the Medium platform comes with risks. Medium frequently makes algorithm changes that can impact writers' traffic overnight. They can also make changes to the partner program or even discontinue it altogether. Putting all your writing eggs in the Medium basket can be risky, as you are at the mercy of their decisions.

Pros of Running a Blog

Flexibility to customize and expand beyond just blogging

One of the biggest advantages of running a blog is the ability to customize and expand beyond just blogging. With your own website, you have complete control over the design, layout, and functionality of your blog. You can add additional features, such as an online store or a membership site, to monetize your blog in different ways.

Steadier traffic and potential for passive income

Compared to Medium, running a blog often leads to steadier traffic and the potential for passive income. Once you start getting traffic to your blog, it tends to be more consistent over time, especially if you optimize your content for search engines. With a well-established blog, you can generate passive income from display ads, affiliate marketing, and selling digital products.

Diverse monetization options including display ads and affiliate marketing

Blogging offers a wide range of monetization options, including display ads and affiliate marketing. Display ads, such as Google AdSense, allow you to earn money based on the number of impressions or clicks on the ads displayed on your blog. Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a commission by promoting products or services and earning a percentage of the sales generated through your affiliate links.

Long-term value of blog posts and potential for residual income

One of the great benefits of running a blog is the long-term value of your blog posts and the potential for residual income. Unlike social media platforms or third-party publishing platforms like Medium, your blog posts have a longer lifespan and can continue to generate traffic and income for months or even years after they are published. This residual income can provide a steady stream of revenue over time.

More control over content and website customization

Running a blog gives you more control over your content and website customization. You have the freedom to publish any type of content you want and customize your website to align with your brand and style. Unlike Medium, where you are limited to the parameters of their editor, you can add custom HTML, design unique layouts, and implement advanced features to enhance the user experience on your blog.

Cons of Running a Blog

Higher startup and maintenance costs

Compared to writing on Medium, running a blog comes with higher startup and maintenance costs. You need to pay for hosting, domain registration, and potentially other expenses like premium themes or plugins. These costs can add up, especially if you're just starting out.

Time and commitment required to make money

Unlike Medium, where you can potentially start earning money quickly, running a blog requires significant time and commitment before you can see a return on your investment. It can take months or even years to build a steady audience and generate enough traffic to make a substantial income.

Steep learning curve and need to constantly stay updated

Blogging has a steep learning curve, especially if you're new to website development, SEO, and content marketing. You need to constantly stay updated with the latest strategies and techniques to effectively grow your blog and stay ahead of the competition.

Dependency on organic traffic from search engines

Unlike Medium, which has its own internal readership, running a blog relies heavily on organic traffic from search engines like Google. This means you need to invest time and effort into optimizing your content for SEO and building backlinks to improve your search rankings.

Importance of a strategic content strategy

To be successful with blogging, you need to have a strategic content strategy in place. You can't just write about anything you want. You need to research keywords, identify your target audience, and create valuable and optimized content that serves their needs. This level of planning and strategy is essential for attracting and retaining readers.

Choosing the Right Platform

Importance of aligning content goals with business goals

Before deciding on a platform, you need to align your content goals with your overall business goals. Consider the type of content you want to create and how it fits into your larger strategy. If you prioritize quick monetization and audience growth, starting with Medium may be a good option. However, if you value long-term success and more control over your content, blogging might be the better choice.

Recommendation to start with Medium for quicker monetization

If you're looking to monetize your writing quickly, starting with Medium can be a smart move. Their partner program offers the opportunity to earn revenue based on the time readers spend consuming your content. With a large internal readership, you have the potential to gain a significant audience and generate income faster compared to blogging.

Suggestion to consider starting a blog as a side project

While Medium can provide quick monetization, it's also worth considering starting a blog as a side project. With your own blog, you have more control over your content and website customization. It allows for a more diversified approach to monetization, such as display ads and affiliate marketing. By having both Medium and a blog, you can benefit from the advantages of both platforms and maximize your long-term success.

Benefits of having both Medium and a blog for long-term success

Having both Medium and a blog can contribute to your long-term success as a writer. Medium offers the potential for quick income and audience growth, while a blog provides the opportunity for more control, customization, and diverse monetization options. By utilizing both platforms, you can reach a wider audience, establish your authority in your niche, and generate multiple streams of income. This balanced approach sets you up for sustained success in the ever-evolving landscape of online writing.

My Advice

Having your own blog is always better in the long term, but patience is needed. If you start a blog you need the correct mindset of expect nothing for a year, as blogging can take time to gain traction. A lot of patience is needed. That is why I would advise to do both. Start a blog but also have a Medium account to attempt some quick traction and have a link in the Medium articles back to your money site. Just don't be spammy and provide lots of value.

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