Medium is a popular reading and blogging platform. I’ve been using it for years as both a reader and writer. People often ask me why I like it so much.
Why is Medium so popular?
Medium is popular because of the clean interface, user experience, ease of publishing, no advertising, paid content for writers, and recommendation engine for readers. Medium provides good reading material to readers and an accelerated writing income for writers.
In this article, I will answer the most common questions I get about why Medium is so popular.
How Did Medium Start (A Brief History)
Medium.com was launched in 2012 by two of the founders of Twitter (you may have heard of the birdy app). At first, you could only join by invitation, a marketing tactic that created buzz for the burgeoning company.
Ev Williams, one of the founders, describes the site this way:
“Medium is a new place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends. It’s designed for little stories that make your day better and manifestos that change the world. It’s used by everyone from professional journalists to amateur cooks. It’s simple, beautiful, collaborative, and it helps you find the right audience for whatever you have to say.”
What you might not realize is that Ev and two of his friends also created Blogger, another very popular blogging platform.
In other words, the company is the brainchild of a successful, experienced, and talented team. The success of Medium is yet another clear indication that they know exactly what they are doing.
How Did Medium Become So Popular (5 Good Reasons)
There are five good reasons Medium became so popular. As both a consumer and creator on the platform (and other online platforms), I think I may bring a unique perspective.
Here are five good reasons Medium is a media blockbuster.
1) Clean Interface
Medium’s interface is visually appealing and very easy to use.
It’s a simple, clean design without the typical buttons, ads, and menus everywhere.
While other blogging platforms have a messy interface for the consumer, Medium is a joy to use.
When you first open Medium, it is almost like a blank slate. The interface is intuitive and smooth. It makes it easy to navigate without much thought or effort.
You can jump from story to story with ease, go back if needed, and read as much as you want without any distractions.
2) Great User Experience (Both as a Consumer & Creator)
Just like a blog, you can easily read stories on Medium.
The majority of the home page features trending articles. If there are no trending articles that interest you, then you can just click on “Following” to see more content posted by other users or search for your favorite topics.
As a reader, you can follow individual writers, topics, and publications (basically “magazines” around a specific subject).
Medium is great for writing, too.
It’s easy to set up an account, publish your content, and grow your audience.
One thing I really like about Medium is how the site does most of your formatting for you. You can focus on the main goal: producing great content.
3) Helps Writers Find an Audience (and Make Money)
I started writing on Medium over a year ago and it’s the fastest way I’ve found to find, build, and monetize an audience.
You can write about almost anything—from animals to travel to data science.
If you want to write about a topic, there is a ready audience eager to read, engage, and respond to your content. As a writer who struggled to gain traction for many years, Medium offers a unique and meaningful experience.
I also believe Medium is one of the best places for writers to earn an income from their writing.
It took me years to start making money from my personal websites.
However, I made money in 30 days with Medium. My income grew expositional each month. Right now, I make a steady four figures a month (and growing).
4) Helps Readers Find Good Content
Medium was created to help you find great stories and content.
It does a good job of helping you discover new writers as well as topics that might interest you.
One thing I like about Medium is how the site suggests new people or publications for me to follow based on who/what I’m currently reading (content discovery).
Whatever algorithm powers the recommendation features, it works brilliantly.
5) Social Connections
One of the benefits of Medium I don’t hear talked about a lot is the social connections for readers and writers.
On the platform, readers engage with other readers. Writers engage with other writers. Both groups also comment and respond to each other.
Readers can follow and subscribe to get everything a writer publishes by email.
As a writer, I have met and become friends with so many other wonderful writers in Medium-related Facebook groups. My favorite is Medium Writers and Bloggers.
Many of these writers (even top writers on Medium) are now my Facebook Friends.
In short, Medium created a special community that is unmatched by other platforms.
Why Is Medium So Popular for Writers?
Medium is always changing (as businesses do), but I still think Medium is a great place to publish content.
New writers join every day, so the best time to get started is right now. There is definitely a learning curve with Medium, but it’s less of a learning curve than any other platform.
Here are the reasons I think Medium is still a great space for writers:
- You can write on almost any topic (I’ve written about history, cats, weird science, and humor).
- You get paid every 30 days (after you meet the minimum requirements).
- You can monetize your experience (I’ve written about childhood stories, random ideas, and small insights).
- You can scale your earnings quickly (I was making $800 or more per month after three months on Medium).
- Medium probably gets more traffic than your personal blog.
- You can drive traffic to your personal websites, YouTube videos, and affiliate offers (there are lots of ways to monetize your content).
- Medium is essentially free advertising that pays you.
- You can network, find writing contracts, get paid to publish each article—and then get paid again to combine all your articles into an eBook.
- You can build an email list and take your audience to another platform (always a plus).
- You can import stories already published on other sites (through the canonical link option).
- You can build relationships with readers and writers as well as work on your own personal brand.
- You can rank high in Google search results quickly because Medium is a high domain authority website.
- Medium is also now allowing writers from all over the world to join as long as you can write fluently in English.
Here is a video I made showing how much money you can make on Medium (even in your first month):
Is Medium Still Popular?
Medium is still massively popular for both readers and writers.
The website gets an average of 175 million monthly visits, according to Similar Web. In recent months, the number of monthly visitors has trended upwards.
While you’ll hear some criticism about Medium, there are also a lot of wonderful qualities of the platform.
For example, readers love the absence of advertising.
Writers love the freedom to focus on their content, rather than worrying about all of the technical aspects.
Why Is Medium So Popular When It’s Not Free?
Medium is famously a subscription-based platform.
You can read a few articles per month for free. You can also write and publish content for free.
However, to read all of the articles and maximize your earnings from your content, you should sign up for the Medium Partner Program (Get the best price here).
So, why is Medium so popular when it’s not free?
Medium is popular because you can write on nearly any topic and get paid to do so.
The subscriber model makes it possible for writers from all over the world to publish high-quality content (with limited distractions) that they can monetize quickly.
The model also ensures the platform does not fill every free space with advertisements. Reading online articles without ads is almost non-existent these days.
Why Is Medium So Popular With Celebrities?
There are a surprising number of celebrities on Medium.
Celebrities such as former President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden, Senator John Kerry, Corey Wayne (author), Jimmy Wales, Tim Berners-Lee, Chad Hurley, William Shatner, and many others.
Medium is popular with famous people because it’s a place to publish with few restraints.
The content is not restricted by length, subject matter, or advertising. There are no spambots or trolls trying to attack you for daring to submit high-quality opinions and content.
Everything just flows naturally.
Public figures get a huge platform to share information with an audience in the millions—and get paid for it.
Note: You can’t write about anything on Medium (i.e. violence, abuse, etc), but you can write almost anything.
Why Is Medium So Popular When Other Blogging Sites Failed?
Medium is a blogging platform, but it’s not the only blogging platform.
The difference between Medium and other platforms (e.g., Blogger) is that you can publish content on Medium without creating your own website.
Also, you don’t have to design and code the layout of every blog post.
You also don’t need to create and manage an affiliate program or email list (although it’s definitely beneficial if you do).
I’ve used multiple blogging platforms for my personal websites, and I always encounter two main problems:
- Finding a free provider that doesn’t overload the landing page with advertisements.
- Being able to monetize my content quickly.
It would be silly not to mention that Medium is backed by a very smart team that obviously knows what they are doing.
Why Is Medium So Popular When You Could Just Create Your Own Website?
One of the main downsides of Medium is that you don’t own the platform. Yes, you own the content you publish on Medium, but you can’t monetize that content with advertising.
You also can’t place affiliate links everywhere (unless you want to run into trouble with the guidelines).
Some bloggers say you should start your own website instead of writing on Medium.
I think they have a point, but I suggest that you do both: start a personal self-hosted website AND write on Medium. This approach allows you to get the best of both worlds.
How I Use The Popularity of Medium
I use Medium to make a monthly income from my writing while building a portfolio of websites.
As long as you are willing to learn, there is no reason you can’t do the same thing.
I use Medium to find writing opportunities, build relationships with other writers, and get more traffic for my websites.
One of the reasons I joined Medium is because it’s a platform that I can grow on while spending almost zero time each day on content creation. I get paid, develop myself as a writer, and cover my monthly bills while building my websites.
As a blogger, I’m currently using Medium as my main “home base” for publishing all of my articles too competitive to rank for on my personal websites.
Then I “borrow” that authority by backlinking to my websites.
Medium is not perfect, but it’s still one of the most popular websites in the world with millions of visitors each month.
I’m glad to be on the platform. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
I’ve been testing out various ways of monetizing my content and building an audience for a while, and I’m excited to see where things go.
If you’re a writer (and want to publish long-form content), I recommend you join Medium and start writing.
- Is Medium Worth It? (SOLVED for Readers and Writers)
- How To Start a Blog on Medium: Exclusive 10-Step Freelancer Guide
- How To Make Money on Writers Work (13 Easy Ways)