A few bloggers I know write on Medium.com, while others (like me), have tried and then stepped away from Medium. So let’s chat about why people may or may not want to write there.
For those who aren’t familiar with Medium, it’s a writing platform created by Ev Williams, who was one of the founders of Twitter and Blogger. It’s got a mix of people doing personal blog-style writing, big-name writers, and large Medium-run publications paying people to write high-quality content.
How it works
Part of the appeal is that you can make money off of your content based on how much interest it gets from readers.
Anyone can publish on Medium, but non-members can only read 3 articles that are behind the paywall per month (unless the author of a particular article has given them a friend link they can use for access). People who want to be more active on the platform can become members for $5/month or $50/year.
If you want to make money off your writing, you need to join the Medium Partner Program. They’ve recently added some eligibility criteria, like needing to have 100 followers and remain active on the platform. You can join the Partner Program without being a member, but it would be pretty hard to build engagement if you’re not able to interact with other people’s content.
So, where does the money come from? Money from people’s membership fees goes into a pot, and each month, Medium divvies that money up to writers based on a particular metric (the last I checked, they were basing it on read time). That means you get paid a bit when a Medium member spends time reading one of your articles. Because it’s based on divvying up a pot, it’s not a set amount per minute or anything like that.
How much can you make?
There’s a lot of high-quality content on Medium, and I found that people’s reading habits there are different than they are on WordPress. I found community engagement much more difficult on Medium, although I seem to recall someone else saying they had the opposite experience. I also found that my posts that tended to do well on WordPress were not what did well on Medium.
When I was putting a lot of time and effort into writing on Medium, I would sometimes crack the $50/month mark. There was one month I made just over $100 because one particular article had gotten a lot of views for some reason. I found it really time-intensive for the amount of money that I was making.
So, can you make money on Medium? Yes. Can you make a lot? In rare cases, yes; in most cases, not a chance. Given that payment is based on read time, short-form content is particularly unlikely to make much money.
Is Medium worth it?
Is it worth paying the $50/year to be a member? If you’re willing to put in a decent amount of effort, I think it’s probably not too hard to earn back the membership fee. I think the chances of making money without being a member are pretty slim, just because you can’t interact with other people’s content.
Some people are really happy with the community feel that they get on Medium. While there were a few people there that I interacted with regularly and had good relationships with, overall, I found it had much less of a community atmosphere than on WordPress. One thing that I noticed was that it seems like a lot of interaction among Medium writers actually happens on Facebook groups, which I wasn’t part of since I don’t use Facebook.
To make money, you need to have paying Medium members reading your articles. Driving WordPress traffic from your blog makes you diddly squat unless they also happen to be paying Medium members. Medium has recently added the possibility of making money when you refer people who become paying members.
Have you ever contemplated writing on Medium? If you have used the site, what has your experience been like?