Medium Vs. WordPress Ultimate Guide – Find out which online blogging platform is the perfect fit for you in 2021.
Blogging has quickly become one of the most popular internet hobbies and businesses. It has changed the internet landscape by creating some of the largest communities for people to share their stories, experiences, and advice. If you have ever thought of starting your own blog, then the decision of what platform to use has undoubtedly crossed your mind.
Choosing the right platform can be a hard decision for many due to the vast number of different platforms out there with their own unique features, pros, and cons. In this article, I will help you pick between two of the most popular blogging platforms on the internet: Medium and WordPress.
Medium Vs. WordPress has been a long debated topic. Since choosing the right platform is one of the most crucial things to consider when starting a blog; knowing all of the bells and whistles that come with such platforms can be pretty handy.
In this article, we will breakdown the pros and cons of WordPress and Medium by using different categories. We will compare the two platforms in each category, giving you a good idea of which best suits what. Though before I can start ranking each platform, I should explain what they are and what makes them different.
WordPress is an open-source content management system that was created by Automattic in 2003. This simply means that it is a service that anyone can use to create their very own website without having to know a single line of code.
WordPress has been around for years and has gone through countless versions and iterations. WordPress has made it so easy for someone to create and run their own site that it powers nearly 40% of the websites on the internet.
Since WordPress has been around for years, it has a library of thousands of plugins and themes for you to use. The ecosystem that WordPress has created is incredibly impressive, making it perfect for online stores, resumes, portfolios, and of course, blogging.
It comes in two different versions that people can use; WordPress.org and WordPress.com. If you want to the differences between the two versions then I highly recommend reading this article. For the sake of simplicity and clarity, we will be only talking about WordPress.org.
Furthermore, WordPress allows you to self-host your website. This means that you have to set-up and maintain your website, but you have full control over it. Thus you can have complete control over your website and manage it how you want to.
With a vast sea of available plugins and themes bundled with one simple platform that gives you complete control, you can see why WordPress is so heavily used. This is easily WordPress’s greatest strength that few other competitors can match.
On the other side of the ring, we have Medium. A company started by the founders of Twitter in 2012. It is well known for being one of the largest websites for bloggers, writers, and journalists alike. It’s home to nearly 70 million daily readers.
Sufficed to say, Medium is one of the most popular and fastest-growing websites for articles and blogs. And that is the biggest difference between Medium and WordPress, Medium is a website and WordPress is a service.
With Medium, you can do everything with one log-in and on one website. They allow users to create, edit, view, and manage all of their content using one simple website. This is Medium’s greatest strength and what differentiates it from competitors like WordPress.
Medium combines the strengths of a blogging site and a social media platform to create a site that has a thriving community with no barrier for entry. The site uses social networking features to make it easy to curate engaging content for readers while helping writers reach their audience.
The ease of having one unified platform allows accessibility and ease-of-use beyond what most other services provide. This coupled with a large community of writers and readers already on the platform is what makes Medium special.
One of the main differences between the two platforms has to do with how you build your audience. This includes creating a community of readers and driving traffic to your articles. Creating an audience can be very important as it dictates the growth potential of your blog.
If you decide to use WordPress, it will be much harder to grow your audience because your website will start off with no viewers. This is unless you have an audience on another platform that you can transfer. With WordPress, your audience will grow as you drive more traffic to your site.
If Medium is your choice, then growing an audience is going to a piece of cake. Medium already has millions of daily readers, all it takes is good content and consistency, and eventually, your blogs will pick up traction quickly. The algorithm Medium takes advantage of will also help you reach your target audience easily. Overall, Medium makes it dead easy to grow your audience and market your articles to your target audience.
This is where using WordPress can be a worse option compared to Medium because you have to drive traffic to your site. To do this you simply have to create good content consistently that is also SEO-optimized.
On the other hand, on Medium there are already millions of readers that can view your article. You still have to take time to accumulate readers but Medium is significantly faster with driving traffic to your blog, making it the better option here.
As mentioned before, driving traffic and growing an audience is key to a successful blog. SEO probably plays the biggest part in putting your content out there and getting it some attention. For those who don’t know, SEO is how you can optimize your content and site to get higher rankings on search engines.
Medium has very simple features in the way of SEO due to how the platform works. Medium uses on-page SEO in the form of titles, headings, meta descriptions, and hyperlinks. This makes the process for optimizing SEO fairly straightforward and short. Though this also means that you cannot do much to increase your rankings.
You can make your article better suited for Medium’s own algorithms and search-engine, though there is not much room for growth. This makes Medium better for those who do not care or know how to optimize SEO.
In contrast, WordPress has an entire suite of features for optimizing your SEO. The large library of plugins and settings makes it easy to increase rankings on search engines. The built-in features make a huge difference when trying to make the most out of SEO.
The plugins and tools can not only help you increase SEO but also make it a piece of cake. A lot of these plugins can be very beneficial because SEO for WordPress can be the difference between ranking in the top 5 and ranking in the top 50.
For WordPress users, SEO is absolutely crucial because it can be the make or break for your blog. Since WordPress blogs are their own websites, you have to manage your SEO properly. Thus your search engine rankings can essential for running a healthy blog.
This makes the ability to edit everything from on-site SEO to featured snippets to your links and even your keyword density an absolute blessing. WordPress clearly wins the discussion for SEO due to the versatility, vast options, number of tools, and accessibility.
Although this section will be extremely short compared to the rest, the contents here are very important. Restriction and control over your blog are often overlooked when discussing Medium Vs. WordPress.
Medium is strict when it comes to some of the content you can post because you are not using your own website, but their’s. They have an entire set of guidelines and rules that you can look into, I would highly recommend this because for Medium you do not really own the content.
What does that mean exactly? Well, let me explain, since you are using their site and service, you can be kicked off, have your account suspended, content deleted, or even have your privileges restricted.
This makes Medium a much stricter platform because if you do not follow their rules then you cannot run your blog. Medium also has restrictions in place for limiting monetization.
This is extremely different with WordPress however because they let you own your content and site. They cannot delete your account, take your privileges, delete your content, or kick you off their platform. They give you full control with little to no restrictions.
The only way you could possibly get restricted on WordPress would be if you did something illegal. Lastly, WordPress does not have any limitations on monetization. Thus, I believe WordPress wins the argument for control and restrictions.
Monetization is vital for anyone trying to make their blog profitable and turn it into a business. The more ways you can monetize your site and your content, the more money you will be making in the long run. This is why monetization options for your blog are crucial if you want to make blogging a long-term business or gig.
Starting with Medium, there are a lot more restrictions and guidelines for monetizing on this platform because you are using another company’s website. They only allow you to do three things for monetization which is very limiting because you cannot sustainably make a living using the platform.
Medium offers three different options for monetization: affiliate links, their partner program, and self-sponsorship. Affiliate links cannot make you as much money in the long-term because you need an immense amount of traffic for them to be profitable.
Furthermore, their partner program can be helpful if you are starting out but the most someone has reportedly gotten is $800 in one month. That is not nearly enough for you to make blogging a sustainable income source.
Lastly, Medium offers self sponsoring, which is basically a fancy of saying that you can sponsor your own products. This is not very helpful if you do not run your business or store already. What’s even worse is that they do not allow people to sponsor other people’s products, which is one of the best sources of revenue for blogs. All of these reasons make Medium a very bad platform if you want to make a sustainable income from blogging.
With WordPress on the other hand, things are very different. Since WordPress allows you to do whatever you want because it’s your website, you can make money in a lot of ways.
To start, the main thing that WordPress allows over Medium is ads. This may not seem that important, but if you get a lot of traffic then ad revenue can really pay out in the long term. With ads, one click might be worth $0.05, but if you have 100,000 views a month then that’s $5,000 every month just from ads.
Another source of revenue that scales with traffic is sponsorships. These can significantly help you in the beginning because companies can pay a lot just for one blog post. Most bloggers can be paid from $200 to $1,100 just for one sponsored post. Working with advertising networks can even get you into 6-figures!
Furthermore, you can even create your own store and have affiliate links. These allow for easy passive income once you have enough traffic. Creating a store on WordPress that sells content, services, or products can really pay off. Lastly, you can create paid memberships and courses that, when combined with the other methods, can make you $80,000+ yearly within a couple of years.
Customization is another factor often overlooked when compared to things like monetization and pricing because many people do not take it into much consideration. If you want to make your blog look like your own blog then this section is crucial.
Medium offers very basic customization, this means it’s not necessarily bad but it isn’t mind blowing either. The clean and modern aesthetic Medium offers is probably one of it’s biggest strengths. The overall UI of the site and aesthetic make for something that everyone can like.
Moving onto blog customization, Medium can let you change your “publication”, which is essentially your blog’s home page. There are several good options for customizing your publication and some good pre-built themes that you can use. They let you customize your headers, logos, avatars, page layout, backgrounds, and much more.
The design of their publications is really reminiscent of online news sites, giving the site a more professional touch. The simplicity of the Medium aesthetic is what makes it truly special, they let you change what you need to without any other fluff, leading to a simple, clean, and modern design that everyone can appreciate.
Now moving onto WordPress, there is a lot more in the way of customization. The plugins and themes that WordPress lets you take advantage of are truly something else. There are so many unique and beautiful themes that you can find the perfect fit for you. Check out this page for more great themes and plugins.
Moreover, the plugins further enhance what the themes bring to the table by letting you customize even more. No joke, you can even change how some of your admin dashboard looks like. WordPress’s customization is on a whole other level just due to the sheer amount of things you can change.
WordPress allows you to change your site’s theme, widgets, menu, landing page, contact page, blog posts, and much more. The potential that WordPress gives you can be overwhelming but if you take the time to pick out the right themes and plugins then you can create something truly unique.
Now moving onto one of the last subjects for Medium vs. WordPress. Ease of use and accessibility can be deal-breakers when it comes to certain platforms. The more difficult a platform is to work with then the more time it is going to cost you, this is why you should really consider the ease of use and accessibility.
To start, Medium makes it dead easy to do anything on their platform. As talked about before, their simple design allows you to set up your site in less than a day. They have truly mastered the art of simplicity in creating a platform where everything just makes sense. They make it so easy and simple that you do not even need tutorials.
Now, the important part of the UI for sites, the actual page editor. To no one’s surprise, Medium beats the competition here too. Their editor doesn’t get in your way, gives you great features, and is incredibly responsive. They allow you to write and create a good article with no distractions or clutter.
Now onto WordPress, there are several site editors they let you use. This means if you do not like the default one, you can switch out and try something else. Once again, it completely depends on what plugins and tools you like to use. There are a lot of pros and cons when it comes to WordPress editors because they are all very different.
For the purpose of this article, we will be mainly focusing on the two most popular ones, the default editor and Elementor. With Elementor and the default one they allow you to do anything you want with your article and page. This allows for a great amount of creativity and freedom, but at the cost of some problems and flaws.
The overall designs of these editors are fairly well made, though the default WordPress editor has yet to catch up to ones like Elementor. Although these editors are very good in design they just do not compare to Medium. Medium still has less clutter and a much more responsive UI.
Lastly, I would like to talk about technical difficulties and knowing how to use the platforms. With Medium, what you see is what you get, there are no catches to that. Though with WordPress, you have to face all of the problems of running a website.
This can make WordPress much less intuitive because you must deal with countless problems and difficulties that you have to constantly lookup. Such problems include server difficulties, errors, outdated plugins, site functionality issues, crashes, bugs, and countless other problems.
This makes working with WordPress a hassle compared to Medium. With a lot of the problems you may come across with working WordPress, you will have to know a decent amount of technical knowledge. All in all, WordPress is not very beginner-friendly.
Overall I would say the winner for this discussion would most likely be Medium. Their simplicity, ease of use, and responsive UI gives you an experience unlike anything else. WordPress allows for some good site editors and page creation tools but they lack the simple and friendly design Medium has along with the countless problems and difficulty of running a website.
Before we wrap this discussion about Medium Vs. WordPress up we have to talk about pricing. Thankfully pricing is a really simple and blunt matter, that you can change very little about. The pricing for these two platforms differ but the expenses only correlate to how much you want to do with your blog.
With Medium the pricing is as simple as it gets. Creating your own blog is completely free. There are no extra fees and costs with running a blog on Medium, making it’s pricing one of it’s strongest features.
On the other hand, WordPress can get quite complex with pricing if you consider certain things but we will be only talking about the basics. With WordPress, there is no initial cost to use their platform, but you have to pay for hosting and a domain name.
This means that you have to find and buy a domain name (example.com). Next, you have to find a good hosting provider that fits your budget. Hosting providers can charge anywhere from $2 to $20 per month. Lastly, if you want anything extra like paid plugins or themes those have their own costs as well.
Overall, I would say that pricing really depends on what you will use your blog for and what you will add to it, though Medium would win here because it’s completely free.
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Medium Vs. WordPress has been a debate for a long time now, but I think from the points we have made here it’s safe to say it’s a tie. The pros and cons of both of these blogging platforms equal out, leaving no clear “winner”. It all comes down to preference.
On one hand, you have a clean, simple, and easy to use website perfect for those who want to start writing immediately. On the other hand, you can use a vast and limitless platform that lets you do what you want at the cost of complexity, technical problems, clutter, and costs.
I have already laid out the pros and cons of both platforms for you. It’s up to you to choose which one better suits you. In the end, the platforms are for two different types of people.
WordPress is for someone who wants to make blogging into something full-time or into a business. It’s perfect for achieving something in the long-run. The potential for WordPress to become something more than blogging is amazing but takes time and effort to attain.
Medium is for the writer or journalist who wants to get their writing out there. If you want to quickly build an audience and create good writing without anything getting in the way, then it’s perfect for you. It’s also a tool many presses, magazines, and other companies use to scout out good writers and journalists.
What if you want to use both platforms without having to decide between them? Although you may think there is no perfect answer, you are mistaken! The perfect solution for you is to use both platforms.
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