There is a big debate on the Internet between writing on Medium vs writing on a blog.
Let’s jump right into the juicy part – I’m one of the people that’s managed to figure out how to make bank writing. I started back in January 2019, during a time where it was a do or die moment.
Back in January, I was also applying to jobs as my back up with interviews lined up to go. When February rolled around, I made the decision to go all in and make a living online.
Medium helped with the initial financial push. It helped me pay the rent and put food on the table. Eventually, my following grew and I gained clients for my freelancing work as people started to take notice of my work. Here is a screenshot of payments from the first 2 months of serious writing on the platform.
In July, I managed to hit the $5k mark.
While all this looks rosy and great when it comes to growth, there is a dark side to the platform. When it comes to writing on Medium vs writing on your own blog, it’s to do with the restrictions you get faced with.
This isn’t to say that Medium is bad – but rather, they’ve pivoted and changed for the benefit of the platform and how content is distributed to followers are at the mercy of these changes.
Medium itself as a platform is a wonderful space to learn and grow as a writer, to figure out your voice and write about what matters to you – while getting paid for it.
So why start an independent blog?
When it comes to writing on Medium vs your own blog, it’s a million-dollar question to answer. Why start my own blog when I’m making a decent amount of money on Medium?
In part, it’s to do with the freedom to do whatever I want with my content and have it distributed organically via Google.
Don’t get me wrong, Medium has great SEO but if you want to build your brand or do your own thing, you’re restricted by the platform’s T&Cs – which includes monetization, self-promotion, and advertisement.
It’s all understandable of course – Medium’s vision is to create a platform that is financially sustainable for its writers. It’s an advert-free space, which means you get paid via subscriber’s reading time.
But the issue is not about the opportunity to get paid within the month of creating something or the abundance of potential readers – rather, it’s to do with your ability to form relationships with your readers.
When it comes to writing on Medium, it’s a one-way relationship with your followers – and even then, you’re at the mercy of Medium, if your content gets distributed to them at all.
Unlike other platforms, just because you’re following someone doesn’t mean that you’ll get automatically suggested to them every time you publish your content. There’s no clear list for them to find you like you would with an RSS feed aggregator. The homepage and mobile app are mostly populated with Medium run and backed publications.
It’s about brand building
You can’t advertise yourself on Medium – not really – and it’s all very understandable. The platform has its goals set as being advert free. You have your short bio that displays at the end of every post and a link to your Twitter if you land on the author’s page.
But that’s about it.
You can’t do calls to action, in part, to keep the platform-neutral and fair for algorithmic performance purposes. You can’t make recommendations to things and make any profits from it – which essentially means no affiliate links.
Your ability to build your own brand is limited to just your bio and your content.
But when it comes to hosting your own blog, you have control over everything. From the way your content is displayed to how you represent yourself through digital ink.
Hosting through SiteGround
I decided to host this blog on SiteGround because I already have other projects with the hosting provider. Over the past six years that I’ve been with them, there haven’t been any hiccups or issues. Everything is fully managed and I don’t have to worry about server up times and any surprise costs.
SiteGround has also been upfront with expected traffic and bandwidth. What I’ve found with other hosting providers is that they offer unlimited plans but often with some sort of fine print.
SiteGround has been trustworthy in terms of service delivery, especially for WordPress related things.
The best part is that SiteGround actively supports WordPress via automated installations and setups.
While the idea of starting your own blog with your own hosting can be daunting, it’s actually not that hard. Once you’ve signed up for the hosting, all you have to do is navigate to the WordPress installation page and SiteGround will guide you through the rest – which is basically answering a few questions to help them with the setup.
Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like in the control admin panel. Just click on the WordPress icon under the auto installers and go from there.
100% Control with minimal trade-offs
When it comes to hosting your own blog, there are no T&Cs to adhere to. No worrying if your piece is going to get curated or not – because if you don’t get curated, there’s less chance of your content getting pushed to readers.
You also open yourself up to multiple streams of potential monetization methods – rather than just one that’s based on a subscriber’s reading time.
With your own blog, you are able to represent yourself however you want.
The biggest trade-off is the potential of instant cash – especially for new writers.
Creating and building your own audience can take some time. It takes consistency and sticking power to build up a presence on Google and social sharing platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
If you start your writing career on Medium, you’ll most likely get some sort of instant feedback. If you start your writing career on your own blog, it may take a bit of promotion to get any traction or feedback.
To build a name for yourself, you need to be platform agnostic and having all my content solely on Medium means that I’m putting all my eggs in one basket.
If something were to happen, my income source and method of finding clients would ultimately get wiped. That’s why having my own blog matters.
It means that I can showcase myself and grow my wealth based on quality and output on my own terms.
With my own blog, I can write about other topics other than programming without it impacting on how it’s shown to my current audience.
Based on personal observations and experiences, Medium tends to show content from the author that you’ve recently been reading. This means that if I have several stories in a row that they haven’t viewed, then there’s a high chance that I’ll get dropped off their content suggestion radar.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m still going to write on Medium. But when it comes to writing on Medium vs my own blog, I don’t have to worry about this and it’s also one of the factors that have pushed me to do my own thing, in my own space and on my own hosting for topics surrounding SEO, writing, branding and making money online.