After ten years writing educational articles online, I began publishing on the Medium platform in 2018 and share the following information.
Q&A With a Curious Writer
The following is a Q&A session with a curious writer who asked thoughtful questions about publishing on Medium that many authors would be interested in knowing.
1. Do you find writing for Medium worthwhile?
Yes, but it’s very different from HubPages. Medium content needs to focus on its subscribers who pay for access. That’s much more difficult to attract than writing for organic traffic that comes through Google search.
Medium is useful for content relating to the specific desires of people willing to pay for access to that information. However, if you write content that answers questions people may search for online, then I recommend publishing on HubPages since you won't earn revenue from external traffic on Medium.
2. Is it true that you don't get paid for views unless readers happen to have a subscription?
That's correct. Medium does not place ads on articles, so your revenue comes from reader subscriptions. They pay $5 a month to read unlimited across the entire platform. You will get retroactive payments if a reader buys a subscription within 30 days after reading your content.
Funds from subscription fees are distributed to writers who join the Medium Partner Program. It’s free to join.
3. Do you think writers get a good following to earn enough to make writing worthwhile?
While it is true that you need a following on Medium to earn well, those people need to be legitimate readers interested in your continuous work.
I discovered I get a lot of Google traffic on Medium, but as I mentioned, we don't earn from those readers unless they buy a subscription. And when they do, they may not keep reading what you write. They are sure to follow many other authors.
Writing is not a get-rich-quick business, no matter where you publish. One has to be patient and continuously work hard.
I feel it's more worthwhile writing on HubPages since the benefits of organic traffic outweigh the need for active followers.
4. Do you have social media outlets where you can share so readers can find you?
It's best to pay more attention to the quality of your material. I believe in writing stellar quality content that offers value. That will build a ranking on its own, so you don't need to promote your work on social media.
You can always consider sharing your work on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
5. Do you have to rely on Medium to share your content?
That’s how it works on Medium. They share your content with everyone who follows you and with those who follow the topics you specify as “tags.” It's also shared with followers of publications you might decide to publish in.
6. Do you rely on other members finding your work and wanting to follow you?
Yes, and if you write quality content that keeps readers engaged, the algorithm responds favorably to the long reader duration.
In those cases, your articles will be featured on other readers' home pages and shared with readers via email and Twitter. (Interestingly, Medium was created by Twitter’s previous chairman and founder, Evan Williams).
7. I'm also curious if you have found that some niches do better than others.
That all depends on one’s authority. If you are an authority figure in a particular niche, you could do well with it.
That’s not crucial with HubPages because people find your content via organic search. However, with Medium, writers do better when concentrating on a single niche because they build a following of readers interested in that specific topic.
8. In one of your tutorials, you mentioned that poetry might do better on Medium than on HubPages. Why?
Poetry does better on Medium because it attracts a following who relate to its various styles and who pay to read that type of content. In addition, Medium has publications dedicated to poetry with followers who seek it.
When posting poems on HubPages, one is dependent on people finding them via Google search. The problem with that is that people search the Internet for answers to questions much more than they look for topics that might be in the content of a poem. Therefore, poems don’t necessarily show up high in the SERPs.
9. Do you find getting your articles accepted by Medium's editors easier than HubPages' niche sites?
It’s the same with both. One needs to write stellar quality content to do well anywhere on the Internet. Writing platforms that didn’t care about that had gone out of business, such as Bubblews and Squidoo.
Both HubPages and Medium have curators and editors that look for quality. I believe these two platforms will continue to grow for that reason.
10. Is it better to publish your articles under your account or in Medium publications? I noticed you publish on both.
Medium has hundreds of niche publications. As you noticed, I publish in specific pubs based on the subject matter.
It’s definitely better for new authors to publish in a pub with a large following. However, authors who already have many followers can do just as well by posting directly under their accounts.
11. How do you get published in a publication?
You first need to get approved by the editor of a pub. Each publication has its own rules and requirements. They usually post their method to register as an author with their pub. Once approved, you can submit your drafts when you complete them.
Most pubs only accept drafts, which means unpublished content. However, some allow you to submit content that you previously published under your account. All your content will be listed under your profile no matter where it’s published, the same as with HubPages.
12. Do articles eventually disappear from view?
Articles don’t disappear, but if they don’t get much traffic, they eventually get pushed way back and don’t show up much anymore in listings, suggestions, etc.
The algorithms will always keep useful articles in view to be found by new readers. But that’s based on a decent “read time” by present readers. If readers stop reading halfway through, for example, that indicates it’s not of value.
13. Do you use the paywall?
Yes indeed! I use the paywall because I want to receive income for my efforts. However, some authors don’t care to make money, so they list their articles with free access.
You need to join the Medium Partner Program (MPP) to get paid for the time people spend reading your articles. MPP is free to join.
14. Could you explain the paywall a little bit?
Non-subscribers can read three articles per month anyway. And if they subscribe within a month, you get paid retroactively for the time they have read your articles.
You can also provide a “friend link” on social media or for your friends to read your articles without being limited. Of course, you won’t get paid for those views. But if a paid subscriber follows your friend link, you will get paid for their read-time.
15. Is there a benefit to placing your content behind the paywall?
Curators will only consider articles for featuring in various topic lists if the author has placed them behind the paywall. I assume that’s because Medium does not make money from your work if it’s free to the reader. That makes sense, doesn’t it!
It’s beneficial to place everything behind the paywall, in my opinion.
16. From my understanding, the only reason to use the paywall is to keep non-members from reading your content. Is that correct? Am I missing something?
Non-subscribers can still read up to three articles anyway. But why would you want to block anyone from reading your content?
Besides, you can always give non-subscribers a friend link, as I mentioned earlier, to read even after reading three other articles.
17. Do you find that article length is important?
Article length will bring more revenue because you get paid for reading time. However, there is a catch to consider.
Some people shy away from reading lengthy articles. The average read-time is posted at the top of all articles, so people know what to expect before they begin reading.
A lengthy article could work well for you if you are good at holding a reader's attention. However, if you fill it with useless content or go off on tangents just to increase the number of words, you will quickly lose your readers and your reputation.
18. How does read-time equate to the number of words in an article?
That’s an excellent question! It's actually built into the algorithm. Everyone reads at a different speed, and the algorithm uses an average standard among the English reading population. It’s roughly three minutes for 600 to 700 words or nine minutes for a 2,000-word article.
19. It sounds like Medium might be worth a try, but I'm curious about how you like the site compared to when you first wrote your first review of it.
Medium has changed a lot since I’ve been contributing content there. I like how they continually upgrade their platform with improvements.
Even the payment method was recently improved—paid by read-time rather than applause. I find that method is much more accurate and favors those who engage readers to stay to the end.
The problem with using applause as an indicator of value was that some people tried to game the system. They set up a Facebook group where they shared links to articles, and all they did was go and clap without reading.
I'm sure that's why they changed the algorithm to pay according to the time people actually read. And being a systems programmer, I would think that involves legitimate scrolling, so people can't game the system by leaving it sitting on their browser, either.
20. Last question, I promise! Can you offer any additional insight? Thank you.
I'll offer a recap of the most critical thing as a takeaway. When considering where to write, keep in mind the following comparison:
- You need to write new content often on Medium since articles tend to fall away from view after a few months.
- Evergreen content on HubPages will continue to grow with Google traffic if it is high quality with valuable information.
Thanks for your thoughtful questions. And good luck with your writing business.
© 2020 Glenn Stok
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on August 08, 2020:
Phillip Davidson - It’s worth considering. Medium doesn’t compete with HubPages since it's a venue for a different kind of writing, the type of content that readers pay to read.
Christopher Hundley from Pennsylvania on August 08, 2020:
This and your other article on Medium are really useful. Writing on Medium was something I was considering as well. Thanks.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 22, 2020:
Abby Slutsky - That's your choice. They can’t pay you unless you provide tax information so they can report your earnings to the IRS.
Abby Slutsky from America on July 22, 2020:
I just signed up for them, but I am undecided if I am going to go forward and put in the tax information. Thinking about it though. By the way, thanks for your help again. I am getting the hang of the Amazon inserts now. I had never done them before.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 21, 2020:
Dora Weithers - Thanks for confirming that the Q&A type of article helps. I do have additional information here as compared to my first article about Medium.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 21, 2020:
Thanks for this introduction to Medium Publishing. I appreciate you sharing from your personal experience. We learn much from the questions and answers.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 20, 2020:
Heidi Thorne - That’s why I said that I like how they continually upgrade their platform. They knew people were gaming the system.
I avoided the Facebook groups for that reason once I saw what was going on. But now, as you noticed, they eliminated payment for “applause” and replaced it with payment for read-time. My income increased when they changed that, because many people don’t applaud—but they do read.
Per your last point, I don’t think it’s difficult to change reader behavior. Many people pay to subscribe to magazines. Why is it any different on the Internet? Medium already has 100 million monthly readers as of November, 2019.
Thanks for your comment, and Happy New Year to you too!
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on January 20, 2020:
I'm not a fan of Medium and don't post there. What really turned me off years ago was the "applause" factor which is a system that can be gamed. I even saw a friend on Facebook suggest that everyone join Medium and we'll all applaud for each other's work. Cheating! So I'm glad to see that they've addressed that factor with read-time measurements.
It reminds me a bit of Patreon, but with less need for creators to individually hustle up paying subscribers.
In my opinion, the Medium subscription pay-per-view model is too little, too late in the development of the internet. Unfortunately, the internet got built on the sponsorship-advertising model, like television and radio. So now it's much more difficult to change reader behavior.
This was a great review of Medium. Thank you and Happy New Year!
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 19, 2020:
Thanks for all the information about Medium. This was all new to me.
John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on January 19, 2020:
Thank you for explaining that Glenn.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 19, 2020:
John Hansen - It doesn’t cost anything to sign up with the Medium Partner Program to get paid when subscribers read your articles. Even with two or three, it can pay enough for becoming a member as well, so you can read more than three a month.
When I wrote my first story on Medium, I earned $5 from it in the first month. So I put that right back in and subscribed as a member, knowing that the income at least covered the cost to read more than three a month. The other writers post a lot of interesting and useful material.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 19, 2020:
Thank you, everyone, for being the first several people to read and comment on this Q&A article.
John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on January 19, 2020:
This was interesting and helpful Glenn. I am a member of medium (unpaid) and have two or three items published there but haven't published anything in some time. I usually read my allowed three articles per month. I may have to look at it again as a place to post poetry though I already have a lot of other venues.
femi from Nigeria on January 18, 2020:
I came across medium only last year when i did a search on top websites in my country. The system seems a little complicated and completely different from hubpages.. I love to write and write everyday but hate promoting my work on social media.
FlourishAnyway from USA on January 18, 2020:
Great information. Thank you for sharing your experience.
manatita44 from london on January 18, 2020:
Thank you, Glenn.
A lot to take in but very useful
Liz Westwood from UK on January 18, 2020:
I hadn't come across Medium until I read your earlier article. The Q&A format is a great medium for explaining the site. I have learnt a lot from this article.