Actually, I was a Medium hardcore fan. Medium was something like my home. For my writings. And it was the place where I found some reading material.
I still do reading on Medium, and actually writing too. But something’s changed. I changed something.
Medium is no longer the place where I let my creativity out. It is no longer the place where I press on this field in the upper left corner to start a new article.
1. Don’t rely 100% on one thing
I’ve been a little more sceptical for some time now. Not only did I notice how the monetization change in YouTube caused some turbulence, but I also heard that some Instagram influencers experienced a slowdown in growth due to algorithm changes. And I’ve noticed something on Medium, too:
Almost only member-only articles are shown on the homepage.
It is clear that Medium wants to use this step to get more users to become members and pay $5 a month. After all, the Medium employees also want to get a salary so that they can buy food. And Medium has to show at some point that its business model makes it possible to get out of the loss zone, as the last risk capital will eventually be used up.
Although it may be easy to earn some money with the Partner Program at the moment, there is no guarantee that this will continue to be the case in the future. At some point in time, Medium will increase its own margin and authors will notice that for some reason their earnings will decline with equal engagement.
Also from the experiences of some YouTubers (and now Patreon users) I have come to the conclusion myself that it might not be so smart to rely 100% on a single platform, because you never know how things will change from one day to the next and then you’ll be left standing there.
2. Medium is not as distraction-free as you may think
One of the main reasons for writing on Medium is the enchanting article editor. Writing without distraction and so one hears. Of course, that’s true, but to get to this editor first, you have to take the way via the start page if you don’t want to remember the URL (https://medium.com/new-story). And the problem: On this homepage you can see a lot of articles, which you would like to read before starting to write your own article…
The whole thing can have a rather negative effect, because once you read all the headlines (or even open the articles), it happens quickly that you get away from your own idea. Either you forget them during this time or you suddenly don’t think they are the killer idea anymore, they were until recently.
Even if nobody wants to admit it, somehow I have the feeling that there is a secret fight between the authors on Medium. Everyone wants the better article, everyone wants to have more views and especially claps. It is a competition that is subject to a certain amount of pressure, and that quickly lets creativity be neglected.
3. More control over your content
Publishing on Medium has in any case the advantage of the network effect. While under your own articles, the articles of other authors are suggested, your articles are proposed again under other articles. Also, there is the home page where your articles may be featured. And not to be neglected are publications, of which I have several, such as AndroidPub.
This networking effect makes it much easier to attract new readers to your content, building a following and collecting views and claps. You’ll quickly feel proud when you see the statistics.
But where you are not the boss, someone else is the boss and on Medium it is the company Medium. They provide the platform, but also the rules to apply. They are also able to block your articles without stating a reason. So you are subject to the capriciousness of Medium if you rely only on this platform.
It looks different if you host a blog yourself. You pay for a company to provide you with computing power and storage, and then you can use it to run your own website (or set up a server at home). With your own blog you can do what you want - as long as it’s legal, otherwise the police will visit you.
4. Design, analytics, advertising and more
Another advantage of self-hosting is that I can customize the design and branding of my blog whenever I want. I don’t have to be satisfied with the design, functions and customization that Medium offers me, but I can freely decide what my website should look like. Also, if I absolutely want to, I can also integrate advertising into my site in order to earn money with it or a script to analyse the usage behavior of the visitors. This is not possible with Medium. There I can’t include advertising and have to limit myself to the sparse data that the statistics function offers me.
Since I have just moved to a new and lightning-fast server at DigitalOcean for my blog appydroid, for which I had never used Medium before, I decided to use the resources available to me there for my own blog. Here I now publish most of the articles first, before I republish them later on Medium.
As blog engine I use Ghost instead of WordPress because of bad experiences. This NodeJS-based system is not only incredibly fast, but also provides me with the features I really need for blogging and a well-designed interface.
Since it’s my own blog now, I don’t stumble over articles that could distract me in any way when opening the editor, but I can concentrate on expressing my thoughts and letting my creativity run free.
I don’t regret it for one second to have taken this step!