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Despite Its Flaws, Medium Remains the Best Place to Write Online 2024

With 2 or 3 exceptions


Medium has its issues, but where else would you go?

When you look at the alternatives, Medium still comes out on top for writers 2024, in my humble opinion.

With a couple of exceptions.


What’s wrong with Medium?

Let’s acknowledge Medium’s problems first.

The algorithm is unreliable and distribution seems to be broken. Trending topics are either boosted — and no one really knows why — or just posts about Medium (like this one).

So yeah, Medium isn’t perfect — no platform ever will be. But for now, it remains the best option for writers overall.

The upsides in short:

  • super easy to use
  • free (be it without earnings, then)
  • large built-in audience
  • built-in earning model, not reliant on ads
  • a large community of devoted readers
  • option to collect email addresses

and more.

That’s a heck of a lot for a (free) blogging platform.


The competition

Vocal — Not quite there yet

When Vocal emerged as a Medium competitor, many writers joined. I too created a Vocal account and tried the platform.

However, excitement soon led to disappointment for some obvious and some worrying reasons. Here are a few downsides:

  • Low pay of just $3.80 per 1,000 views.
  • Overpriced Vocal+ membership with unclear value.
  • Abysmal engagement, distribution, or reach
  • Basically no built-in audience
  • Worst of all, reports of Vocal refusing to pay writers in the past.

For those seeking an improved experience over Medium, Vocal proved a disappointment.

Simily — Too Unproven

Remember Simily?

We all read and wrote about Simily a year ago. I’ve used it myself and written about it.

When there’s no risk, why not test-drive it?

But Simily has concerning downsides:

  • Buggy, outdated WordPress site that crashes.
  • Uncertainty around paying writers at scale.
  • Non-fiction spamming its fiction-focused categories.

Simily might become something someday. But right now, it’s too unproven and small to replace Medium.

NewsBreak — Inconsistent

Some writers praise NewsBreak as an earning opportunity. Others despise it.

I’d call it inconsistent. There was (and still is in some cases) great earning potential. Much greater than on Medium. But it seems very inconsistent, changing often. It’s not predictable.

Also, the nature of the platform — news and local content — isn’t most writers’ cup of tea. Not mine.

Very concerning too: NewsBreak comments are downright hateful, racist, and cruel.

NewsBreak heavily censors stories, but doesn’t filter abusive comments at all. That’s just weird and unreasonable.

WordPress — A powerful blogging platform but…

WordPress is undoubtedly a powerful, customizable blogging platform used by millions.

It allows complete control over site design, features, monetization, and more. For some writers, WordPress provides the perfect solution.

However, operating a successful WordPress site requires far more technical skill and maintenance compared to the seamlessness of Medium.

You also need to build your own audience from scratch without Medium’s built-in reach.

While praiseworthy as a versatile content management system, WordPress caters to tech-savvy, SEO-experienced bloggers and sites.

For most writers seeking a quick, convenient platform to start writing online, Medium remains a simpler, more frictionless option.

Along with the next two.


The two top Medium alternatives for 2024

These two won’t surprise you.

It’s Substack and X (Twitter).

Substack

Substack is going strong, growing in both writers and readers, constantly adding new features and improving the platform, and overall making great strides in the blogging and newsletter world.

I strongly recommend Substack for new bloggers and writers.

Substack offers writers independence through subscription newsletters if they’re lucky enough to grow to that point.

And for everyone else, they offer a robust, dead-simple, and chic blogging platform for free.

That’s a good deal in my mind.

Twitter/X

X provides unmatched immediacy and reach. We can’t argue with that. Medium is large, but compared to Twitter, it’s minuscule.

Think of Elon what you will, but it seems to work for now. Some new feature additions were great. Others not so much.

For bloggers, the most crucial improvement was the ability to add long-form content and earn from ad payouts, as well as the option for paying subscribers (all via a Premium subscription).

Good additions in my opinion. They have turned X into a viable blogging alternative.

Obviously, not all is perfect over there on X. It’s still mainly a shortform social media platform. Becoming a successful creator isn’t easy, and getting a cut of the ad revenue means gaining millions of impressions a month. Not easy.

But it’s a start.


Why Medium still comes out on top 2024

When comparing all the options, Medium still delivers the best overall package for most writers in 2024, in my opinion.

With three exceptions:

  1. Substack is better for newsletter-focused writers. Medium’s subscription feature just isn’t deep enough.
  2. X makes more sense for writers who like shorter content and have a neck for trending topics and niches.
  3. Finally, self-hosted sites with WordPress may work well for some writers with experience or willingness to learn SEO. But they require far more technical skill compared to Medium’s seamless user experience.

Medium reduces friction for writers. Its built-in audience gives your work reach that most other sites can’t easily match yet.

Despite valid complaints about the boost model, algorithm, constant changes, and more, Medium remains the best place to simply start writing online.

No platform will ever be right for everyone. But for most writers today, Medium is good.

Also, it doesn’t have to be or should be just one platform anyway. Pick two or three, repurpose, and grow.

It’s not one or the other(s).

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