WordPress vs Medium: logo vs logo

WordPress vs Medium: Where to Publish Your Blog

Andrew Buck September 10, 2019

Bottom Line: WordPress.org and Medium are two juggernauts in the online blog publishing game. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, you can’t go wrong with either platform. However, if you have plans to build your blog into more than just a hobby, or want a blog for your business, WordPress(.org) is the best option.

There are more than 500 million blogs in the world, with more than 2 million posts made each day.

We’ve come a long way from when blogging was just a fun pastime. For thousands, even millions of people, it’s a way of life.

Whether you want to be a professional blogger, or just want a fun thing to do on the side, I’m sure you still want to make your blog the best it can be. That means creating it in the environment best suited for your blog to grow.

Unless you’re interested in the “microblogging” style of a site like Tumblr, WordPress and Medium are the two clear-cut best platforms for you to kick off your awesome blog.

You could spend hours, days or weeks weighing up the pros and cons of WordPress vs Medium. Or, you could read this post comparing the two, and get on with building your blog.

What is Medium, and what is WordPress?

First of all, let’s introduce the two.

Medium is kind of a hybrid between a blogging platform and a social network. On Medium you create an account, and can write posts, follow topics or other authors, and get a daily feed of stories catered to you. In some ways, it’s a long-form version of Twitter.

It’s easy to publish articles on Medium – just go through their easy user interface, and your content will be published at the click of a button. Though you are submitting your content to being part of Medium’s platform, not totally under your own control.

WordPress on the other hand is a full content management system, or CMS. It’s actually much bigger than just a blogging platform. WordPress powers 43% of all live websites today. However its flexibility means it’s a great base for bloggers to use, after taking the time to set up a few things to set your site live.

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com – Know the Difference!

Wordpress.com homepage

We should make mention that there are two different WordPress platforms. On the surface they may look the same, but there’s a big difference under the hood. So it’s important not to get them mixed up!

WordPress.org is a content management system, which offers almost limitless possibilities for your website. But then you have WordPress.com, which is a blogging platform, designed more for casual bloggers or beginners. WordPress.com has a lot more limitations with what you can do than WordPress.org.

While WordPress.com can be a decent platform if you’re a casual blogger with no intentions to grow your blog any larger, Medium offers generally the same functionality, and better.

For this article, when we’re talking about WordPress, we’ll be referring to WordPress.org.

4 Advantages of Medium

WordPress vs Medium: the case for Medium

It’s hosted for you

With Medium you don’t have to worry about your blog staying up, paying hosting fees, or slow loading speed turning away viewers. All the nuts and bolts on the backend are handled by Medium, which means anyone (ANYONE) can start a blog.

All you need to do is write. Forget about servers, bandwidth, or anything like that.

Built-in traffic and audience

Probably the biggest advantage is that you’re not solely responsible for driving traffic to your blog. If you just want to write, and don’t want to worry so much about promotion, Medium is the place for you. If you write great content, people will find you and start following. 

Easy to share and find new followers

Medium comes with a pre-built audience, but if you want to do a little promotion yourself as well, it’s super easy. The social networking component of Medium is tailor-made for sharing and growing your audience. You can follow other authors, cross-promote, and grow your network to where you get eyes on every new piece you put out.

Easy writing experience

Finally, Medium has a very user-friendly writing interface, which makes it great for bloggers who just want to write, without any extra hoopla.

If you want to make something with a more creative visual look, Medium might come up short. But for writing clean blog posts, designed for easy reading and quick publishing, it’s the one for you.

How to Start a Blog on Medium

Starting a blog on Medium is a cinch. That’s the big advantage of Medium as a blogging platform.

All you have to do is open an account, click “New Story”, and start writing.

It’s that easy. Once you’re ready, you can publish your post for the world to see. It’s simple to add images and media embeds to your post, and you can add tags to help your posts be found by your target audience.

You may also want to sign up for the Medium partner program, making your posts members-only and allowing you to earn based on readership and engagement levels.

4 Advantages of WordPress(.org)

WordPress vs Medium: The case for WordPress

More flexibility

While Medium is easy to use, WordPress allows you to do much more with your blog or website. You can do a lot more to the look of your site, with a ton of beautiful free and premium themes. The extensive catalogue of plugins lets you add all kinds of features, such as email optins, contact forms, widgets, interactive quizzes, and much, much more. All without needing any knowledge of coding.

And then, if you do know a bit of code, you can make your own modifications to your blog on the backend (or you can hire someone to do it for you).

More monetization options

If you want to grow your blog to make money, WordPress makes it a whole lot easier. You can still earn from Medium – by setting your posts as members-only you can earn a chunk of Medium subscribers’ fees. But it’s not close to what is possible from a proper WordPress site.

When your self-hosted WordPress.org site starts to kick off, you have a ton of monetization options, such as running ads on your site, affiliate links, sponsorship deals, publishing paid guest posts, and more.

Zero restrictions

Publishing on someone else’s platform (as you are with Medium) means complying with their rules. While Medium’s rules aren’t super strict, it’s still a restriction on what you can and can’t post. If you want total freedom for what you can post, without the risk that one day your blog will get taken down, you’ll want to run the DIY route with WordPress.

Own 100% of your site

You’re proud of your content. It’s awesome. So why should someone else own it?

While it’s easy to publish a blog on a dedicated blogging platform, there’s always the cloud that you don’t fully own what you post. The bigger your blog gets, the more concerned you should be about not having full control over your platform. That’s a worry you don’t have with WordPress.

How to Start a WordPress Blog

It takes a little more time to start writing with WordPress, compared to Medium. But the payoff is much more flexibility and full control over your content.

First, you will need hosting and a domain name. You can search and buy available domains from sites like GoDaddy and Domain.com.

You can also purchase a domain directly through many hosting sites.

Once you have your domain, you need to host it (connecting it with a server, that uploads all your site data to make it visible online). Do a little research over which hosting company is best suited for you. 

Now you need to install WordPress. Most hosting companies make it very easy, with one-click installation.

Once complete, your hosting company will send you the login details for your site, and you can go ahead and start writing. Go to “Posts” and click “Add New” to start writing your first post.

If you’re not too worried about appearance, or added extras like plugins and widgets, you can get started with the default WordPress themes. However, eventually you may want to customize your site just how you like it, with countless theme and plugin options.

Final Verdict: WordPress vs Medium

The question you’ve been waiting for… which one is better?

The question is totally situational, as each platform has its own advantages, as outlined above.

To sum it up, Medium is a great option for casual bloggers, who want to use blogging as an avenue to share their opinion or flex their creative muscles, without worrying about monetization or scaling into anything bigger.

WordPress is a better option for serious bloggers, who want to create a blog that could one day turn into a moneymaking vehicle. 

If you want more options, such as customizable themes, plugins, widgets, as well as full control over your blog, and are willing to put a little cost and effort up-front, WordPress is the best platform to choose.

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