WordPress vs Medium―Which One Is for You?

Nowadays, those who want to publish content online or start a blog have a lot of options available at their disposal. However, it’s safe to assume two of the most popular options are Medium and WordPress.

Both options make publishing content online quick and straightforward. Understandably, both share a few similarities and some differences. If you are trying to decide which of the two is the better option for you, this quick guide will hopefully make the decision process a lot easier.

The Lowdown on Medium

People can browse Medium content in two ways: when they follow you on Medium, they will see your articles each time you publish one. The second way is when Medium “curates” your content. This is what makes Medium a publisher.

In a nutshell, when your content is curated, it simply means any Medium user interested in the topic you are writing about will see and get access to your content even if they are not following you.

From an audience perspective, getting access to Medium’s built-in audience has proven to be quite beneficial. However, your content must be curated first. Otherwise, you get little benefit from Medium’s built-in audience.

Partner Program

One unique thing that sets Medium apart from WordPress is their Partner Program. The partner program works by paying writers when their work is curated. However, the partner program has two caveats.

  1. In 2019, only a small percentage of active writers (8% to be exact) earned over $100 from the partner program. In other words, Medium is not your best option if you want to earn a lot of money from the content you produce.
  2. WordPress on the other hand is a way better option if you want to make money from your work as it allows you to monetise your content in various ways (i.e., sponsored content or selling ads).

What is great about the partner program is you get paid just for writing. This also means you do not have to worry about working with clients or finding ways to grow your audience. You just write content and if people love it, you can earn a little money on the side.

In essence, while WordPress and Medium vary in terms of technical flexibility and writing experience, the latter’s publishing aspect is deemed one of its edges.

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Content Creation

Before you can create content for Medium, you first need to sign up for an account. Creating a story on Medium is no less different than writing a post in WordPress. Medium’s interface is very minimal, and its editor provides plenty of breathing space for people to write their content. 

If you are looking for advanced layout options like the ones WordPress is offering, you would be disappointed. This is no coincidence however as Medium wants your content to speak for itself. 

Content Management

Medium has no advanced content management options. If you want to view all the content you have written, you just need to visit the “Your Stories” section. There are also no settings for SEO. Basically, you must edit and delete.

If anything, Medium’s primary focus is writing. From their perspective, content should be popular based on its quality and not because it has the right keyword density. 

Publication

Since Medium is establishing itself as a publishing platform, you will get the option to create a publication. Readers can follow your publication if the topics you are covering interests them.

WordPress versus Medium

The Writing Experience

A few years prior, Medium and WordPress offered two different writing experiences. That changed in late 2018 when WordPress introduced a new editor which is a bit like the one Medium has. The main difference? The WordPress editor allows you to do more.

Case in point: while Medium gives you access to elements like videos, images, embeds and separators, WordPress also has all of those plus more including quotes, tables, column layouts, buttons, etc.

Ease of Use

In terms of ease of use, Medium has a slight edge. WordPress is massive and it is evident—countless site settings, plugins, themes, etc. In other words, with WordPress, you have more options.

While it has a steeper learning curve compared to Medium, WordPress is not that complex. If you are looking for an easier and more straightforward way to write, Medium might be a better option. However, if you are looking for more flexibility, WordPress is hands down a much better option.

Managing Content

If you like tweaking and tuning little things like excerpts, custom fields, and SEO options, you will not find much luck with Medium. On the other hand, WordPress comes with a multitude of plugins that allows you to optimise your content for Google, Facebook, and SEO in general.

While mentioned plugins will not come in handy for personal publications, they would be great tools for business websites and blogs. In other words, Medium would be ideal for proper publications and personal blogs. However, it is most likely not the best option when you are running a business-related website.

However, one major downside of using Medium is it becomes the owner of your content. In other words, if Medium decides to ban your blog, turn off their site, or delete your articles, there is nothing you can do about it. Medium can delete all the articles you have written and the audience you have built.

Flexibility

WordPress and Medium are both writing-focused websites. On the former, there is more room for flexibility since there are more options to choose from. With WordPress, you have the option to display events, add contact forms, offer online courses, and add eCommerce support. 

WordPress versus Medium: Which One is Right for You?

While seemingly similar, Medium and WordPress are two tools that are designed for different purposes. Although WordPress is capable of almost everything Medium can do (and then some), its scope is so much more than just writing.

Conclusion

If you intend to make some money from writing publication-worthy pieces, Medium might be the best option for you. However, if you want a more elaborate website or you are looking for additional features, then WordPress is a better option.

Also, if you are looking to create a membership, directory, or fully featured eCommerce site, Medium is a non-starter. WordPress on the other hand, with its vast plugins and features can help you create the right website for your business needs.