Blogging on Medium vs. WordPress: Which is Better?

By Ian | Blogging

medium vs. wordpress featured image

So, you’ve decided to finally take the plunge and create a blog, but can’t decide which platform to start with. You’ve done the research and are now asking yourself: Medium vs. WordPress – which platform is truly better?

While one platform is not inherently better than the other, each carries individual strengths and success stories that make them, at the end of the day, quite different platforms. In fact, it is possible to successfully use both at the exact same time!

But before learning out how to do just that, let’s highlight what makes each platform so special.


Medium is one of the most well-known free blogging platforms out there because it already has an existing audience. Anyone can sign up with Medium and instantly get started.

Medium also offers the option to curate posts submitted by bloggers that are published and promoted to its user base via the “Topics” section. Think of it as a kind of magazine or newspaper website where any writer (including you) is eligible to be curated. a man using his tablet to read

Over time, Medium has increasingly leveraged curation for profit. Visitors of Medium are allowed to read a certain number of curated articles per month. When that limit is reached each month, visitors have to then pay for access to curated content. 

Similarly, if Medium chooses to curate your articles, you can monetize content by publishing it on Medium. This approach is extremely different from how WordPress functions.

But before I can explain exactly how different it is, let me first explain how Medium works.

How Does Medium Work?

Medium’s success relies heavily on curation and partner programs. If you wish to create a simple blog to promote to your followers, it’s not necessary to pay much attention to Medium’s curation approach. 

But if you want to tap into Medium’s full potential, it’s paramount to understand how Medium’s curation process works.

People find content on Medium in two ways:

  • Following users
  • The “Topics” section

People who follow a user on Medium will always see that user’s articles – no matter what. This is the equivalent of a WordPress blog’s email list in that only the people who directly subscribe to a blog’s email list will regularly be notified when that blog publishes new content.

The “topics” section is where all of Medium’s curated posts are. To be featured to Medium’s built-in audience, as you’ve probably guessed by now, Medium needs to curate your content first.

Topics section of Medium

Medium’s “topics” section

If you passed Medium’s curation requirements, your content is introduced to any Medium user who’s interested in your topic — even if they don’t follow you. This built-in audience is what makes Medium so popular for upcoming bloggers.

This deal does come with some drawbacks, though. If you’re not aiming to get curated, you get very little benefit from Medium’s built-in audience (which is what Medium is all about). 

Visitors who don’t directly follow you can still find your content if they search for it or are browsing a tag you’ve used, but you’re missing out on most of Medium’s benefits when you don’t get curated. 

How Do You Make Money From Medium?dollar bills on top of a mac pro

Content creators on Medium can earn money from Medium’s Partner Program. With the Partner Program, you get paid for your content Medium chooses to curate.

However, the Partner Program comes with two main disadvantages.

First, its monetization potential is limited and you’re unlikely to turn it into a full-time gig. Only 8% of active writers earned over $100 a month in 2019.

The highest amount earned for a single story is $8,855. Yes, there’s a chance to make significant money if your article gets a lot of traction, but the chances of that happening are slim.

Second, if you’re really serious about making money from your work, you’re frankly better off with WordPress because of the vast potential of monetizing your content in different ways (such as selling ads or sponsored content). 

Although Medium allows for first-party promotion (e.g. promoting your own work) and affiliate links (with disclosure), third-party promotion isn’t allowed (promoting someone else). 

Additionally, while affiliate links are allowed, Medium is unlikely to curate an article that contains them.

Medium’s Partner Program is still interesting because you get paid just for writing and you don’t have to worry about growing an audience or working with clients. You just publish content and, if people start noticing it, make a little money on the side.

On the reader’s side, Medium uses a metered paywall — which costs $5 a month or $50 a year — to encourage Medium readers to upgrade to a paid plan. However, this paid plan is only to consume Medium content — you don’t need to pay to write.

Medium Pros and Consgreen thumbs up and red thumbs down

The Pros:

  • Ease of use. There’s a small learning curve to Medium, making it extremely beginner friendly. Medium’s content editor is an easy-to-use and simple drag-and-drop model, making it a breeze to organize content.
  • Handles everything for you. Medium takes care of all software updates and security issues (it’s their website, after all).
  • Free to use. Medium doesn’t require any start-up capital to write for them.

The Cons:

  • Curation. You’d think that Medium’s curation process would be advantageous, but there’s another side to the coin. Unless you’re an extraordinary writer, the chances of getting curated by Medium is bleak. For an above-average writer, chances of curation are slim.
  • You don’t own your website. Since you don’t own your website, the content you’re allowed to write about is limited. As a writer, I know that creative freedom is everything. Also, Medium can shut your blog down at their own discretion.
  • Monetization options are limited. Medium doesn’t allow you to place ads on your blog, so Google AdSense is out of the question. Medium also tends to look down on articles with affiliate links, so earning money through affiliate marketing on Medium will prove tough.


colorful button pins with the WordPress logo

WordPress was launched in 2003 as an open source content management system (CMS) for bloggers. It’s grown a lot since then and now powers everything from blogs to e-commerce stores as well as one third of the top 10 million websites.

WordPress is currently available in two forms:

  • A blogging service (
  • An open source blogging software (

The blogging service is offered by and owned by its parent company, Automattic. The open source blogging software is offered by and can be installed on any website you want.

The software from is the first choice of serious bloggers and business owners, so that’s where our focus will be throughout this article. I’ll refer to as “Wordpress” from this point forward.

Although WordPress itself is an open-source solution, it’s 100% free to use. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to spend money to secure hosting and a domain name if you wish to have a functional and “live” website.

Check out this article to learn how much it really costs to start a blog.

How WordPress Works

WordPress offers hundreds of advanced options to publish a complex blog, a big contrast to the standard blogging options that Medium offers (like a drag-and-drop block editor, native commenting system, tags, and categories).

WordPress uses the Gutenburg editor. With Medium, you can only customize blocks for images, videos, embeds, and separators. With WordPress and Gutenburg, you can customize all of those plus call-to-action buttons, column layouts, quotes, tables, and so much more.Screenshot of WordPress

WordPress also allows you to choose from thousands of themes that are specifically designed for blogging to customize the appearance of your blog, most of which are free! 

Though you have the option to create a customized theme, it’s not recommended for new bloggers because your time is better spent focusing on other parts of your website.

WordPress also includes limitless plugins that drastically improve the security, accessibility and overall functionality of your site. These advanced customization options are why countless bloggers continually choose WordPress over any other blogging platform time and time again.

How Do You Make Money From WordPress?

There are a variety of monetization opportunities available through WordPress because you have full reign of your blog. Depending on your niche, your options could be limitless. 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is how most blogs make money today. Affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to sell a product – you promote other people’s products and for every sale you make, you earn a commission. Big-time bloggers like Ryan Robinson earned $43,597.91 last September through affiliate marketing alone (per his income report)

Affiliate marketing is a good idea when you’re just starting out and don’t have products or services of your own to sell. You develop content that will ultimately be in harmony with whatever affiliate offers you plan to promote. 

For example, if you’re running a food blog, you can easily sell affiliate kitchenware, ingredients, or food supplements. Since the content is already attracting people that are interested in cooking, selling these types of products helps you establish a near-passive stream of income.

Google AdSense

Earning through Pay-Per-Click ads is one of the traditional ways to monetize, and the best choice for monetizing your blog through ads is Google AdSense. 

While most bloggers might think that adding pay-per-click (PPC) ads on their website is a great way to make lots of money, unless you’re generating massive amounts of traffic (as in 10,000+ visitors per day or more), the income will be insignificant.

The real income here doesn’t start until you cross about 100,000 visitors per day. 

Products (Ebooks, Digital Courses, etc.)

Kindle resting on a leatherette case

Ebooks offer a relatively quick pathway to making money from your blog as long as it aligns with your blog’s content. Nonfiction ebooks are relatively simple to create and publish. If you teach a skill that many people struggle with, your ebook is likely to produce some profit.

If your blog is already up and running, creating attractive content that draws people in will make promoting your ebook easy and efficient. You could also build a sales funnel (an automated multi-step sales machine) and eventually transition to passively selling your ebook.

Selling online courses is another way to profit from blogging. Develop intuitive and helpful courses that add a tremendous amount of value and the rest will be smooth sailing. Pouring your heart and soul into any course you develop increases the chances of selling it on autopilot (another great avenue for passive income).

Online courses are great within niches that require heavy technical skills like web development, digital marketing, and graphic design, but they also work in niches like finance, stocks, currency investing, and accounting. 

Find what you’re really great and passionate about and do the due diligence before building a course. Create something that’s far better than everything else in the current marketplace.

One of the strongest advantages in creating digital products to sell is that it doesn’t require you to physically manufacture anything, saving you a lot in overhead costs. All it requires is your time and knowledge.

WordPress Pros and Cons

The Pros:

  • You have full ownership of your website. You control every part of your website (which means you get to post whatever you want) and don’t have to worry about it getting shut down.
  • Unlimited plugins. There are over 54,000 plugins available, most of which are free, that allow you to customize and enhance any WordPress site. If you need to make specific changes to the functionality on your site, chances are there is a plugin for that, too. 
  • Plenty of monetization options. There’s no limit on how to monetize your blog – you’re the boss!
  • Best SEO practices. There really isn’t a better platform than WordPress when it comes to SEO optimization. There are several SEO plugins available to help optimize content, meta tags, keyword focus, and much more! Having access to free plugins, like Yoast,     makes your WordPress site SEO ready.

The Cons:

  • There’s a learning curve. WordPress is not the most beginner friendly platform. Creating a WordPress website will require some technical knowledge to get it up and running, but there ARE numerous guides available on the internet that can help you.
  • Requires some start-up capital. Starting a website on WordPress will require you to secure hosting and a domain name, which will cost at least $60 in the first year.

Medium vs. WordPress: SEO

WordPress is HANDS-DOWN the most versatile platform to create an SEO-friendly site. 

In addition to being able to optimize on-page SEO and choose from responsive themes and templates to design your site, WordPress offers a vast array of plugins that will greatly improve the security of your website and it’s general functionality.

Yoast SEO, WP Rocket, Google XML Sitemaps, and Redirection are just a few plugins that can simplify or automate the process of optimizing your content, images, page speed, XML sitemaps, and redirects. 

You’ll need to invest time and possibly money to learn how to use these tools, but they can help you improve your site’s on-page and technical SEO no matter what level of SEO experience you have.

SEO helps ensure your content can be found by search engines when people search for topics related to your content. SEO isn’t automated. Optimizing your blog for search engines is going to take hands-on research, tweaks, and maintenance.

Although Medium was clearly not designed with SEO in mind, it does have a high domain authority. Some bloggers see a temporary spike in traffic by switching their blogs to Medium, but Medium doesn’t provide publishers with structured metadata customization or robust analytics – two standard SEO tools.

Medium vs. WordPress: Which is Better?

This question, frankly, can’t be answered because we’re comparing two entirely different platforms. Both are designed to cater to different audiences and specialize in different areas. 

The best answer I can give is to take advantage of both platforms. Medium is free, after all, and caters to a specific audience. Use Medium to further grow an already existing WordPress blog subscriber base, and direct traffic to your WordPress website for more in-depth and detailed content.

While both platforms are great in their own right, if you’re starting a blog from scratch, WordPress is the way to go.

About the Author

I've been in internet marketing for over 10 years, and I've purchased dozens of illegitimate products for the sole purpose of evaluating them and exposing the truth about these products to anyone who's thinking about purchasing it. I never let money influence my rating of a product and your success/safety is my absolute highest priority. Don't want to buy a product? Register for one of my 100% free internet marketing training courses>>