Medium is a website designed to give writers a voice. The platform allows anyone to write about anything they want – for free! However, if you want to consume that content, you need to limit yourself to three posts a month, or pay the $5 subscription fee. So, is Medium worth it?
A Medium subscription is worth it as a reader and as a writer. If you enjoy writing and want to improve your craft, with the opportunity to also make some money and boost your exposure, Medium can help you do so. But even just as a reader, there is a lot of valuable content on the platform too.
This article will look at the platform from the perspective of paying for a Medium subscription. In other words, I won’t be talking in detail about whether Medium is worth it as a writer, as that is a topic for another article! But I will touch on paying for a Medium subscription as both a writer and a reader. So, let’s get into it!
How Much Does A Medium Subscription Cost?
A Medium subscription costs $5 a month. Alternatively, you can pay $50 up front for a year’s subscription to the platform. A Medium subscription of either kind allows you to read unlimited articles by anyone on the platform.
Do You Have To Pay For Medium?
You don’t have to pay for Medium to write on the platform, and you also don’t have to pay as a reader. However, if you don’t pay for a Medium subscription, you’ll only have access to three locked stories per month. Locked stories are stories writers place behind the Medium Partner Program.
This is Medium’s paywall, and not all stories sit behind it. For example, if you want all of your stories to be accessible for free to everyone, you can choose not to put them behind this paywall.
However, if you do that as a writer, you won’t earn any money on those stories. Alternatively, Medium may choose to include your articles in their freely distributed selection. This is rare, but it sometimes happens if the platform believes your stories are of particular universal importance. For example, in March 2020, Medium decided to remove the paywall from what it believed to be the best stories talking about Covid-19.
But even if you don’t fancy paying the cost of a Medium subscription, you never need to worry about seeing any ads on the platform. Medium only makes money through its subscription service.
So, is Medium worth it from a reader’s perspective?
Is A Medium Subscription Worth It For Readers?
A Medium subscription is worth it from the perspective of both a reader and a writer on the platform. It gives you access to thousands of new stories every day, and there are years’ worth of content on the site already. You can find a Medium story about almost any subject.
Plenty To Learn
From the perspective of a reader, you gain access to so much knowledge and opinion that can be useful for many different purposes. The first, and perhaps most important, is for general research purposes. Medium allows you to find out more about any topic you have in mind, and you can learn from real people’s experiences.
Whether you want to learn more about cloud computing from someone in the industry, or need some tips on getting a better night’s sleep, Medium is the place to go. But it’s also great for more formal research too.
Medium has a raft of top writers that are experts in their spaces. You’ll find qualified people talking about just about any subject, often providing novel ideas and ways of thinking about tough questions. While you might not choose to cite Medium articles in your next essay or report, it can be a useful starting point for finding out lots of useful information.
It’s also just a great source of entertainment too. From pure humour to light-hearted takes on life in general, Medium can provide you with lots of laughs while leading you to think differently about a lot of different things. As a reader, it’s packed with plenty of stories that are bound to keep you interested.
However, there are also lots of stories on the platform that you’ll never go near. The platform has plenty of good writers, but there are also lots of bad ones too. From poor writing quality to sheer opinion pieces masked as factual sources, it’s often like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
You get your own curated newsfeed like on a traditional social media site. This features people you follow and stories you might like. But because the platform allows anyone to write anything they want, the quality comes and goes.
Plus, you can find a lot of the content on Medium in other places too. You might find guides on SEO or digital marketing on Medium that the writer themselves has posted on their own blog – for free! Or, you’ll come across posts with lots of information that is just available with a few Google searches.
Support Your Favorite Writers
But this brings me to my last point about why Medium is worth it for readers. When you do come across a quality story, even if it’s packed with info you could find elsewhere on your own, someone took the time to collate all of that information in a way that you enjoy consuming it.
Paying just $5 a month for a Medium subscription allows you to support the writers you like. As writers on Medium only make money when people consume their content, paying for a subscription is the only way you can directly support the writers that you think deserve to earn money for their work.
You can’t choose which writers earn the most on the platform. But by paying for a Medium subscription and reading the posts you enjoy, you’re doing it in a passive manner. But what about those that want to write on the platform? Is Medium worth it for writers?
Is A Medium Subscription Worth It For Writers?
Medium is worth it for writers. If you write on the platform and pay for a subscription, you can learn from others finding success on Medium. You can even get a lot of inspiration for your own new posts too. It’s also just a good way to support those doing the same thing as you.
Choosing to write on Medium is a no brainer if you’re a beginner freelance writer or blogger. It’s free to write on Medium, so you don’t need a subscription. However, paying for a Medium subscription gives you access to all the stories on the platform. These are all stories from which you can learn and gain inspiration for your own writing.
You can check out the top writers and see what topics they write about. You can gain insights into the formatting and structures of articles that do well. Plus, you get all the benefits that readers get in terms of the informational and entertainment value too.
Help Others Earn Money
But the idea that you’re also supporting other writers on the platform is often reason enough to start paying for a Medium subscription. It feels good when you start earning money on Medium. But it also feels good knowing you’re helping others get that same feeling.
If you can make just $5 a month on Medium, the subscription pays for itself. This is especially true if you do learn from other stories, as it makes it more of an investment than a simple subscription service!
Is Medium Worth It For Freelance Writers?
Medium is worth it for freelance writers as it serves as a great way to hone your writing skills and build up a portfolio. Given that it’s free to post on Medium, it’s the ideal way to learn how to become a better writer, with the potential to earn some decent money on the platform too.
Can You Really Make Money On Medium?
You can make money on Medium, but you will need to put in the work and rely on a bit of luck to do so. Many people make more than $1,000 per month on the platform, but it’s more likely that you will make pennies from most of your early posts until you gain followers and more traction.
I had one story make more than $500 in a few months, but I’ve also had stories make less than $1 over several years. The majority of my stories haven’t made much money at all, but that doesn’t mean yours won’t. The main reason most people don’t make much money on Medium is due to a lack of posts.
You don’t need to post a story every day, but you do need to be consistent. Not only does this put more of your content out there for people to see, but it’s also going to work in your favor with Medium’s algorithms. You’ll also keep your followers happy, as they’ll be provided with consistent value.
There’s no winning formula for making money on Medium, other than that you need to put in lots of work and have lots of patience!
Hopefully this article makes it clear that Medium is worth it. Whether you’re just looking for a new source of entertainment, or if you want to scope out what makes someone successful on Medium, the $5 a month subscription is well worth it.
If you’re unsure about the quality of the stories on the platform, I recommend reading a few stories for free to see what you think. Then, if you enjoy it, you can sign up for a paid membership.
Chris is the creator of Freelance Ready. He originally started freelancing (on Fiverr) while at university, writing and editing website content. He created this website to share his freelancing experience and help others on their own self-employed journeys. He is now a freelance SEO consultant and content editor. You can learn more about Chris here.
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