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Blogging on Medium vs on your own website: Pros and cons

By Alexandra Gavril - August 23, 2019

Whether you’re just getting started online and want to build brand awareness, or you’re an already established business and want to reach more prospects, blogging is an effective way to achieve both goals.

But should you blog on your own, relatively unknown or facing stagnating readership domain? Or should you publish content on a popular blogging platform like Medium with a readership that reaches far beyond your sphere of influence?

It’s a tough question (and decision to make) but one we hope we can help to answer in this post.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the pros and cons of blogging on Medium vs on your own website and domain.

Blogging on Medium: Pros and cons

If you’re not familiar with Medium, it’s a blogging platform that has quickly become a major player in the world of startup content marketing.

Here’s how it looks:

Because of its massive growth, lots of businesses have either started blogging there or moved their entire existing blogs to the platform. Should you do the same?

Let’s look at the pros and cons of blogging on Medium so you can decide for yourself if it’s the right choice for your business.

Pros

Huge readership

Statistics show that Medium draws 60 million unique visitors a month. Additionally, in July of 2019, Medium received an astonishing 251.28 million views. In other words, out of all the websites on the internet, Medium ranks 221 in terms of traffic.

What does this mean for you?

It means that you can potentially reach a huge mass of people from all over the world. So Medium can (hypothetically) help you to reach a readership that’s not only massive but also far beyond your natural sphere of influence.

That’s one of the top reasons that makes Medium so alluring.

Easy to set up and use

It only takes a few minutes to create an account on Medium, set it up and start writing your first blog post (or “story”, as Medium calls it).

The interface is clean and intuitive, making it easy to write and publish a new post, just about as easy as writing it in Word or WordPress.

You can add images or videos to your post with a click of a button. And when you’re done, all you need to do is add a summary, a few tags and hit “Publish”.

Read our guide to learn more about Medium and how to get started on the platform.

You don’t need to worry about technical SEO stuffWhen you own a blog or a website, it’s your responsibility to optimise it for search from a technical perspective. But when you publish on Medium, you don’t need to deal with technical search engine optimisation (SEO) tasks like sitemaps, broken links and images, load time, etc. Medium takes care of all that for you.

Cons

Medium’s traffic is not also your traffic

Medium’s high traffic is what draws most brands and authors to the platform.

But here’s the thing: the fact that Medium has millions of visitors a month doesn’t mean that your blog will, too. You have the potential to reach a percentage of those visitors who might come to your article as well.

So while it’s your hard work and fantastic content that builds part of Medium’s traffic, it’s possible that your competitors will be the ones who get to enjoy the results of your work instead of you.

There’s a lot of competition for attention

Since Medium has become so popular, lots of brands have started using it. That means that, just like on Google, you’re competing with other businesses and bloggers every day.

You know how much time people spend on Medium? Less than two minutes. So they might just as easily read someone else’s story instead of yours, and then leave.

If you think about it, having a blog on your own site is a much better option. Why? Because once a visitor lands on your blog, they’ll only have your posts to read. No other distractions or hundreds of other bloggers or articles to compete for their attention once there.

You’re building Medium’s authority instead of yours

Since you’re publishing content on a domain that’s not yours, you’re actually building SEO authority and backlinks for Medium, not for your site.

What does that mean? It means that the next time people search for your brand name, they might find a Medium article at the top of the search results and they’ll end up on Medium instead of your own blog or website.

You’re building on rented land

We’ve been down this road so many times before. Remember MySpace or Angelfire? What about LiveJournal?

If none of them ring a bell, we’ll sum it up for you: all these platforms are where the party used to be. And what happens when a platform like MySpace stops being cool or suddenly goes offline?

You lose everything. Every word you wrote and all the time and effort you put into writing your articles and building a readership. All of it gone in a blink of an eye and you can’t do or say anything about it because it’s not your platform. It’s theirs and their choice to keep it, take it offline or make whatever changes or restrictions they please.

Here’s a quote from an article called “Why we left Medium, a cautionary tale” that summarises why might happen when you’re publishing content on rented land:

Blogging on your own website: Pros and cons

Pros

You own your land and everything on it

When you get a blog on your own domain, you own it. It’s yours and it’s completely up to you to decide how you want it to look and what you publish on it.

You build traffic to your own domain, not someone else’s

Every piece of content you publish earns you blog traffic, not a third party’s. So, all the effort you put into writing great content for your audience pays off for you and your business in the long run.

Your content gets indexed by Google and you can earn authority and backlinks to your own blog. In addition, people can share your blog posts and talk about your brand instead of “this story I read on Medium”.

You can design your space as you like

You are in control of the design of your blog. This includes the theme as well as the functionality of your blog.

So if you want to add various features to your blog or posts such as social media sharing icons, an email subscription box, or a special offer, you can do whatever you like. No one can prohibit you from making your blog look and function the way you want it to.

You can build a genuine relationship with your audience

When people come to your blog, they come to read your advice and content. And when they’re interested in what you have to say, it’s easier to build trust and a long-term relationship with your readers. You can entice them to subscribe to your mailing list and nurture them to the point of becoming your customers.

That’s a very difficult goal to achieve on a platform like Medium where the audience isn’t yours but the platform’s. And they are the ones building a relationship with their readers, not you.

Cons

Your blog is your responsibility

This means that you’ll be the one taking care of setting it up, choosing a theme, and adding plugins for enhanced functionality. You also need to fix it in case there’s an error or glitch that’s preventing your blog from functioning properly.

You’ll be in charge of optimising your blog posts for SEO

Medium takes care of the technical SEO side of it but when it’s your own blog, you’ll need to take care of optimising your posts for visibility in the search engine results. This means you’ll need to write the meta titles and descriptions, optimise your images and more.

Fortunately, there are lots of easy to use plugins that can help with that, such as Yoast SEO. In addition, we’ve got the perfect resource that explains how to optimise your WordPress blog posts.

You’ll need to promote your blog yourself

It takes time and effort to get traffic to a new blog and build a loyal readership. You will need to work hard to not only publish great content but also to promote it on social media and relevant groups and forums.

Read this post to learn how to drive more traffic to your blog.

Don’t want to choose?

The truth is you don’t have to. If you want, you can blog on your own domain and also publish your blog posts on Medium to enjoy access to the platform’s huge audience.

Medium has an import tool that makes it easy to bring your blog content to their platform.

If you’re worried about duplicate content issues, no need to be. The import tool will add a rel=”canonical” tag to the Medium version to ensure that you don’t get penalised by Google for identical or duplicate content issues. This tag tells Google that the original source of content sits on your blog.

Check out this step by step tutorial that explains how to safely syndicate your blog content to Medium.

So, there you have it: the pros and cons of blogging on Medium vs on your own website. Now it’s up to you to decide if you want to publish content on your own domain, on a social platform like Medium, or both. Tweet us @123Reg to let us know what you decide.

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