Pros and Cons of Using Medium as a Blogging Platform

I published my first blog post on Medium. It is called, Updating Your React Native App. It’s been interesting comparing and contrasting the experience of writing on Medium vs. writing on my own WordPress blog at McCullough Web Services.

Here’s what I liked about writing on Medium:

  • It’s easier to get your blog post discovered. Medium emails posts (stories as they call them) to users based on their recommendation engine. You can easily subscribe to authors you enjoy
    • The only way to do this on WordPress is for the reader to subscribe to my RSS feed or for authors to collect emails via a contact form and notify users that way.  It’s possible but it’s not as convenient and it lacks the recommendation engine
  • Authors get detailed stats about their stories. You can easily see stats on views, complete reads, shares, etc.
    Screenshot of the latest stats for the story I wrote on Medium, Updating Your React Native App

    Screenshot of the latest stats for the story I wrote on Medium, Updating Your React Native App

    • Some of this can be accomplished by installing Google Analytics on your WordPress site but again, it’s easier on Medium
  • The WYSIWYG editor that Medium uses is one of the better ones that I’ve used. It does a much better job than Stack Overflow editor at correctly displaying the styles (see more below about what I didn’t like about the editor). It recognizes key commands and formatting characters similar (or the same as) to the ones used by Markdown
    • The WYSIWYG editor for WordPress is pretty good also. It uses toolbar buttons for formatting
  • Authors can publish things for themselves or easily join up into organizations which can publish articles from a number of authors
    • I don’t know of anything analogous to this for WordPress besides guest posting on another blog
  • Medium is easier to administer than WordPress (at least, the self-hosted variety)

Here’s what I didn’t like about writing on Medium:

  • The WYSIWYG editor for Medium is more limited than the editor in WordPress.  WP gives me the full range of HTML and I can install/run whatever JS files I need to bring my post to life.
    • Medium only allows a subset of formatting options and even code snippets are meant to be hosted elsewhere. The Medium editor relies on key commands for formatting so I had to keep the help file open in another tab. With WordPress, I either click a convenient button or just write the HTML to add formatting
    • Medium doesn’t even allow bullet point lists with more than one level!
  • I strongly dislike the commenting system on Medium. Each comment is itself, a story. But the user interface is terrible if you’re trying to read the comments and replies to those comments.  Each time you click to see the replies, you’re taken to a new page and pressing the back button takes you to the top of the story, not the comment you left on
  • When my story is on Medium, my work is enriching another company’s site.  If it’s on my blog, it’s building up my site and my personal reputation (aka, brand)

Overall, writing a story for Medium was a good experience but I’m unlikely to continue. I had a great opportunity to write a technical, React Native blog post and have it distributed by a great React Native training company but I prefer to keep the majority of my content on my own site.

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