The personal blog vs Medium debate has interested me for a long time.
In fact, ever since 2013 when I first started looking into online businesses, Medium.com and blogging as a business model has fascinated me.
The idea of writing, publishing it on the web, and making money for sharing your opinion online seemed too good to be true.
Partially believing it was too good to be true and partially not knowing how to proceed, I had several false starts with blogging.
Initially, I created blogs without a clearly defined niche.
And I tried to drive traffic to these blogs with social media.
Although success with this strategy is possible, it turned out not to be the best strategy for me.
Instead, I now focus on niche blogs and try to prioritize driving traffic with search engines over social media.
This strategy has enabled my wife and me to leave our day jobs thanks to our travel blog’s income and be full-time professional bloggers.
In short, personal blogs have enabled me to experience my dream of being a professional blogger.
So should you publish content on a personal blog or Medium?
The answer depends on what you want.
However, I think that a personal blog is a better option than Medium for most people.
I’ll discuss this more in the following sections.
Personal Blog Vs. Medium: Initial Differences Explained
If you aren’t already familiar with it, Medium is a social media platform designed for writers.
Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter, created Medium to expand on the concept of Twitter.
Apparently, he wanted to create this platform to share longer-form content than what’s possible with a tweet.
And that’s exactly what you can do on Medium.
Medium allows you to create a blog profile and publish content simply and easily on its intuitive website.
You can also earn money from the articles you publish on the platform by joining the Medium Partner Program.
The Medium Partner Program is the subscription model Medium uses to monetize its site.
The way it works is that readers can read a handful of Medium articles for free each month.
However, once they reach their limit of free articles, they must pay a monthly or annual subscription to have unlimited reading access.
Medium writers can opt into receiving compensation via the Medium Partner Program based on how much of their content paying subscribers read.
And some Medium writers make great money!
My friend Matt makes thousands a month when he publishes articles consistently.
And some Medium writers even make a living from it like Shannon Ashley who earns $10,000+ per month!
At this point, Medium might sound like a great platform for bloggers.
However, this social media platform has some short-comings compared to a personal blog that I will explore in the following sections.
A Personal Blog Explained
A personal blog or website is one you have ownership of.
For instance, on a personal website you can:
- choose your own URL or domain name,
- use whatever content management system you want (like WordPress) or even code your site from scratch,
- capture emails, create pop-ups, and do whatever you want from a design perspective,
- sell directly to your readers,
- join an ad network,
- and so much more.
In other words, with greater ownership comes greater freedom to do what you want with a website.
However, with greater freedom comes more options and often more technical difficulty in implementing those options.
I’ll explore the technical difficulties of setting up a personal blog vs a Medium blog in the next section.
Personal Blog Vs Medium: Technical Expertise Required
Setting up your own personal website or blog can be a technical process.
It’s not always easy, especially for writers who aren’t technically inclined.
On the other hand, setting up a Medium profile and publishing content on the platform is very simple!
The creators of Medium designed the platform specifically for writers making it just as easy to use as most other social media platforms.
Of course, you sacrifice flexibility and alternative ways to add value in exchange for Medium’s ease of use.
However, if you only have an interest in writing and don’t care about adding value in other ways like via an email list, you might find that Medium is a great match for you.
But technical setup isn’t the only consideration when weighing the pros and cons of a personal blog vs Medium.
I’ll discuss what I believe is the biggest reason to create a personal blog instead of a Medium blog in the section below.
Passive Income Potential
The term, “passive income” has a lot of baggage associated with it.
Many think of sketchy get-rich-quick schemes when they come across this idea.
However, that’s not what I mean when I use this term.
Rather, when I use this phrase I am referring to Pat Flynn’s definition of passive income:
This is the sort of income that nearly all wealthy people have whether that’s from investing in the stock market, real estate, private businesses, or even blogs.
Yes, that’s right.
A blog can provide passive income.
The best way I know of is to receive traffic to your blog from search engines like Google and to monetize that traffic.
Google search and other search engines like it can provide recurring traffic to your blog as opposed to social media platforms that typically only provide one-time visitors to your site.
Recurring traffic provides recurring cash flow and growth without requiring a real-time presence.
When you have a personal blog or website that you own, you increase the odds of receiving recurring search engine traffic (and therefore passive income).
However, although Medium posts may show up in search results, they are not fully optimized for search engines.
Plus, even if you do get search traffic to your Medium post, you will only get compensated for that traffic if those readers are also premium Medium subscribers.
Furthermore, Medium itself operates more like a social media platform than a search engine.
So when users visit Medium, they typically aren’t searching for evergreen topics like Pinterest or YouTube users do.
Instead, they are looking for interesting and entertaining content to read.
For writers on the platform, this means that Medium is not optimized for recurring content consumption.
Instead, articles on Medium receive the majority of any views they may receive shortly after publishing.
On the other hand, SEO-optimized content that ranks for regularly searched search terms can continue to receive visitors for months and even years to come!
Personal Blog Vs Medium: Growth Potential
Like I mentioned above, the creators of Medium have not optimized the platform for recurring traffic and passive income.
As a result, Medium bloggers will likely find it harder to exponentially grow the value they add and the income they make from that value.
In other words, Medium writers typically have to crank out a high volume of content regularly to earn income and have a hard time decoupling time and income.
When they stop publishing content, their earnings will likely drop quickly.
However, those who own their own blogs can take extended time off without their income decreasing thanks to the passive income that can result from recurring search engine traffic.
They can also take advantage of the compound effect of passive income and exponentially grow their income.
For instance, Zach grew his blogging income from $3,000 per month to $15,000 per month in a year by focusing solely on growing search engine traffic to his blog.
And because is Zach is optimizing for passive income, there isn’t really a limit to how much he can make from his blog businesses.
In other words, since his income isn’t tied to the fixed amount of time he can put into his writing, it has no real growth limit.
I hope this post has helped you think through which blogging platform is best for you.
To recap, I’ve summarized my thoughts on this issue in the table below.
|You might want to start a personal blog if:||You might want to blog on Medium if:|
|You are technically inclined or are willing to learn the simple process of setting up your own website.||You are technically challenged and have no desire to learn to set up your own website.|
|You can be patient with monetization, foregoing short-term upside to have unlimited upside later.||You know you are impatient and want to earn money ASAP even though it’s not passive income.|
|You want to have diverse ways to monetize your audience whether that’s through an email list, web store, or something else.||You don’t mind having only one direct way to monetize your audience (by participating in the Medium Partner Program).|
If you have further questions, let me know in the comments!