Paul has been passionate about writing for over 35 years. He has also worked as a bookseller and librarian. He lives in Florida.
Before we get started, I want to be straight with you about something. While I have been writing at HubPages for over 10 years and feel like I know the platform inside-out, I don't have near as much experience with Medium, so my opinions of Medium should perhaps be categorized more as "first impressions."
It's also quite possible that my thoughts may shift over time. If that happens, I will return to this article and update it. That said, I did spend many hours researching Medium and discussed the site with some very experienced and high-earning writers there before even joining.
Since signing up, I have posted over 20 articles there, earned my first payment, and had work accepted and published by half a dozen publications, so I do believe that my understanding is reasonably sound, at least for the sake of this general overview.
5 Advantages of HubPages
Below is a list of some of the features of the HubPages writing and publishing platform that I particularly like.
1. It's a Good Source of Passive Income
HubPages is closer to a pure passive income source than Medium. Although it can take time for your articles to climb up through the search engine rankings, once they are up there, the traffic does tend to be fairly stable and typically results in regular earnings.
That means that you can take time away to do other projects, go on vacation, be sick, or just rest, and the money will still keep coming in regardless of whether you publish any new material. The income isn't completely passive, however. You do have to regularly edit and upkeep your article, so that Google sees it as "fresh."
2. The Platform Helps Writers Learn How Search Engines Work
To be successful at HubPages, you not only have to be a good writer; you also have to have an understanding of how search engines work, particularly Google. You also need to research your market and the competition. I find all that stuff interesting and fun, but many people are put off by it.
That said, it can cramp your writing to some degree. For instance, the titles of articles have to be keyword-oriented so that you can rank well on Google search results pages, but that can make them somewhat generic in nature.
3. They Have a Good Quality-Control Process
When I started at HubPages over 10 years ago, it was like the Wild West. Writers could publish almost anything they wanted there. Consequently, there was quite a bit of spam and lots of excessively commercial and very low quality work there.
Nowadays, the site is run very differently, and they have a team of editors to make sure that only the best work makes it through onto their "niche sites" (these are topic-specific domains like ToughNickel.com and Delishably.com). The content is tightly controlled, and there's far less tolerance for crap.
4. It's Reliable and Resilient
Although it's had its fair share of trials and tribulations, HubPages has managed to keep going. Along the way, almost all its rivals have bitten the dust, most notably Squidoo, which was ended up being acquired by HubPages in 2014.
Longevity is important in the online writing world, as you don't want to spend years committed to building up a body of high-quality work only for the site that hosts it to go belly up on you.
5. It's Home to a Great Community
A lot of emphasis was spent on creating a great community at HubPages in the early days, and that certainly paid off. The forums are the main focus point for discussions and socializing. You can learn a lots there about writing at HubPages and writing generally, and it's also a great place to network.
Contrast that with Medium, which has no real place for a community to meet. Medium writers have to create or join Facebook groups if they want to discuss or socialize with others. The site itself doesn't really facilitate such things.
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5 Advantages of Medium
Below is a list of some of the things that I like about the writing and publishing process on Medium's platform.
1. Writers Can Earn Quickly
Most of the writers who earn the big bucks on Medium have been there for at least a couple of years, but the truth is that you can start earning almost straight away. I find this exciting because once you've got the hang of the curation process, pretty much anything that you publish has the (theoretical) potential to go viral.
With HubPages, the process tends to be more plodding, and it's likely that it will take months before your articles reach a high enough level in the search engine rankings to start earning good money.
2. The Business Model Is Subscription-Based
Rather than relying on advertising like HubPages, Medium's income comes mainly from membership subscriptions. Membership gives readers unlimited access to articles. Without membership, it's only possible to access three articles per month. Most writers on the platform are also subscribers, although this is not essential for writing purposes.
The lack of advertising does give Medium a much cleaner look compared to HubPages. It also means that writers can pay less attention to pleasing the search engines and focus more on the actual writing.
3. Authors Can Write More Freely
As I mentioned previously, to be successful on HubPages, you do have to do some market research and learn about search engine optimization (SEO). Just being a good writer is not usually enough in itself.
Medium's subscription model enables a freer style of writing, and while some writers produce very serious and weighty articles, others just let the words flow. Unlike at HubPages, where "how-to" articles and fact-based articles often do best, things like opinion pieces, humor, and blog-style articles can all do well at Medium.
4. The Platform Is Fun and Addictive
Perhaps it's because I'm new to the site, but I do achieve a level of excitement at Medium that I don't really get at HubPages. Part of it is (as I mentioned in item one) that there is potential for published articles to go viral and earn a lot. I've only had it happen once so far, but it really is fun. Once you experience one article do well, you become motivated to push for it to happen again.
Another addictive element is the stats, which work in live time, so it's hard to stop yourself from checking them every 10 or so minutes to see if you've got new views.
5. Search Engine Ranking
Medium articles often do well in the search engine rankings. Although traffic from this source won't earn you any money, unless the readers happen to be Medium members, it can be good publicity for your work and self.
Conclusion: Which Site Is Better for Online Writers?
When making a decision about where to write, here are three takeaways that you might want to consider:
The Two Sites Favor Different Types and Styles of Writing
We all have our own sets of strengths and weaknesses as writers. HubPages generally favors those who are happy to do some serious research and learn some of the technical information regarding search engine optimization (SEO). It favors practical "how-to" and fact-based articles.
Medium articles tend to be more personal in tone. Grabbing and holding readers' attention is more of a priority than SEO.
If in Doubt, You Should Write at Both HubPages and Medium
It's not really an either/or situation in my opinion. The two sites can be seen in some ways as complimentary. It also should be said that the internet world is in a constant state of flux, so it's often wise not to put all your eggs in one basket.
Many Writing Skills Are Applicable to Both Sites
Much of what you learn at HubPages can be taken to Medium and vice versa. Using both platforms can shorten the initial learning process considerably and give you an advantage over people who are completely new to online writing.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Paul Goodman