What Is Medium? (Full Website Guide)

Medium.com home page showing the trending stories.

Medium is a website where people can write about almost anything and earn money for it. The platform has a large reader base, and it caters to fans of pretty much every niche you can imagine.

In this article, I’ll go into more detail about what Medium is, how you can enjoy it as a reader or a writer and how you can actually succeed as a writer on Medium. If you want to learn more about using Medium, read on!

How Medium Works

Medium is a writing platform that is extremely popular among writers and people who love to read. Anyone can write on Medium – from free-thinkers, politicians and journalists, to brands, amateur bloggers, and anyone that has a passion for writing.

Medium.com home page showing the latest stories.
Medium has a pretty simple, user-friendly interface

What Is Medium Used For?

Medium is used by writers that want to produce content without having to worry about setting up an actual blog, hosting a website, or knowing much about SEO. Readers get to experience a vast collection of posts without being bombarded with advertisements.

Medium is easy to use whether you’re a writer or a reader, and I go through the ins and outs of how the platform works for both below. But first let’s give a bit more backstory on Medium.

Who Founded Medium?

Medium was created by Evan Williams, more commonly referred to as Ev, back in 2012. Ev was also a co-founder of Twitter (now X) and the co-founder of Blogger, one of the original blogging services.

Since the start of Medium, Ev has been not only a creator and developer, but also a user of the platform. One of his first posts served to welcome new users and explain what Medium is and what their intentions and goals were as a company.

The main focus still remains providing a place for people who enjoy writing to share their stories with those who enjoy reading.

“Medium is a beautiful space for reading and writing – and little else. The words are central.”

– Ev Williams, founder of Medium, in 2012

He also mentioned that nowadays we are overwhelmed with opportunities to share our thoughts, pictures and lifestyles. But the information we gather from current media is not always the best when it comes to its quality and validity.

So, Medium was also created as place to gather clear, high-quality information, from people all over the world.

How Many People Work At Medium?

Even though there is no certain way of knowing how many people work at Medium, they explain that they’re a company that “celebrates diversity in people, backgrounds, and life experiences.” Besides having a truly tech savvy founder, among the team you’re sure to find “outdoor explorers, podcast fanatics, amateur chefs, and inspiring mothers and fathers who balance leadership with parenthood.”

How Many People Use Medium?

It’s unclear just how many people use Medium, but the Medium Staff profile currently has more than 70 million followers. Given you become a follower of that profile automatically when you sign up, we can estimate that there are about 70 million Medium accounts.

Now, how many of those accounts are active and used regularly? It’s hard to tell. However, Medium’s About page suggests there are more than 100 million readers on the platform now. So, there are a lot of people on the platform!

A 2021 article suggested there are more than 700,000 paying Medium members too (memberships are how Medium makes money). Medium is not a public company and doesn’t release much in the way of figures, so we can only go on these for now. Regardless, the platform is clearly popular! But how does it work?

How Writing Works On Medium

Medium offers an easy solution for writers who don’t want to learn website development. Instead, you can just write what you want when you want. It’s that easy!

Anyone can write on Medium. It’s free to set up an account and start writing. As a writer you can choose what type of content you want to write, and how you want to write it. You can create single posts or contribute to publications, and Medium will curate your posts if they’re good enough.

What Can You Write?

You can write about (almost) anything you like on Medium. Whether you’re a journalist, blogger, or company owner, no matter your background and experience, there’s a place for you on the website. Medium also offers you many tools to customize your posts however you want.

You can make them short or long, and you can add images, videos, links and embeds. You can even share a draft with a selected group of people that can preview it and give you some feedback before you post!

Posting Stories

You can categorize your stories with tags that make your posts easier to find when readers are searching for keywords. Scheduling posts is easy too, and you can easily share your own work to Twitter and Facebook.

You can also check on your stats, to learn how your stories are performing. This allows you to keep tabs on your views and see how many people are reading your articles. You can also monitor how your stories are performing individually.

Medium Publications

Publications on Medium work like full-blown blogs where people collect different posts based around a common theme. You can write for someone else’s publication, or you can create your own. As the creator of a publication, you become an editor of sorts, because you get to pick and choose the topics you want to have on your publication.

You also choose who you want in your team as a writer, and you can review and edit every post. If this seems too much work for you alone, you can choose to have other people in your team to work as editors alongside you. In this way, it’s like running your own blog within a blog!

Medium Curated Posts

If you’re lucky (and post quality content, of course), Medium may select your stories for curation. In their Help Centre, they explain:

“Our curation team reviews stories daily with two quality-oriented goals in mind. The first is to identify great stories to Boost across Medium’s homepage, emails, apps, and more. The second is to keep damaging content from making its way to readers.”

So, if the Medium team likes your content enough they might give you a boost and promote you across the website. This can in turn boost your views and earnings. So, be sure to write your best work and follow the distribution guidelines.

Medium Partner Program

Finally, the most important part for many writers – how you get paid. The Partner Program is the primary way you’ll make money on Medium, where you’ll be paid in proportion to how much time paying Medium members spend reading your posts.

Signing up for Medium’s Partner Program is completely free, but you will need to have at least 100 followers and have posted a story (check out our guide for getting followers on Medium if you’re struggling to meet these requirements).

Once you’re eligible, all you need to do is set up an account on Stripe and then provide Medium with your tax information, whether you’re a US resident or not.

When everything is set up, you’ll start earning money based on how well your stories perform. How much you earn depends on how much time paying members spend reading your work.

How Medium Works For Readers

As a reader, you’ll find the way Medium works to be similar to other online platforms because it allows you to like (in this case, clap for) your favorite stories, follow authors, publications and specific tags, and to recommend, share and bookmark stories. However, Medium stands out with a little twist on the commenting feature.

Highlighting Medium Stories

As you’re reading a story, if you highlight a specific word or phrase, a little bar will pop-up that allows you to leave a comment about that specific part. It feels just like adding commentary to a word document, where you leave little notes in the margins.

This feature tends to be more attractive than leaving comments at the end. Plus, it’s a great tool for writers to get feedback and even leave notes with information that complements their stories.

Because the responses are treated as the commenter’s own stories (other readers can clap for them too) it puts more weight on each comment. This reduces the amount of spam on the posts, and the comment sections are (usually) more constructive than on other social media sites.

Medium Membership

All Medium readers can view up to 3 articles per month for free. If that doesn’t seem enough for you, you can consider becoming a subscriber. This costs $5 per month, or $50 per year. This subscription gives you unlimited access to all stories and publications and it also helps support your favorite authors. This is because a portion of your membership goes directly to the writers you read the most!

Is Medium A Reputable Website?

Medium is a reputable website, and it is safe for both readers and writers. The platform has been around for over a decade now, and in that time many great writers have taken to Medium to produce content. Other famous faces, such as Matthew McConaughey and even Barack Obama have written on Medium!

Medium has content moderation in effect to make sure you don’t see spam or hateful content, and your data is kept safe through encryption methods.

Note: If you’re not sure if Medium is the right choice for you, check out our guide to Medium alternatives

How To Use Medium

To find success on Medium, you have to get the attention of the website’s algorithm. That comes with a mix of getting good reader engagement, publishing frequently, and focusing consistently on specific topics. However, there are some other tips and tricks to get you there faster.

Submit To Publications

When you’re first starting out on Medium, getting a steady and loyal following can be tough. So, it might be a good idea to try and submit your posts to Medium’s many publications. They normally already have a following of their own and that could be a great way to receive exposure, if your work matches what each publication is looking for of course.

Continue Working On Your Writing

Quality content is always going to be what matters the most in the end. So, be sure to always be at the top of your game when writing and posting your work on Medium.

Writing well comes from reading well, so keep on top of the best and most recent articles on the topics you write about to gather ideas and inspiration. You can also take online writing courses and work on your SEO to really boost your articles up the rankings!

Medium Is A Great Tool For Writers

Medium is a great place for blogging. On the ad-free platform, focused on writing and sharing ideas from people all around the world, everyone gets a voice. Everyone has an opportunity to express their thoughts, opinions and emotions.

As good as it is for writers, it’s also a great place for readers too. Readers can get information from real people and experts who actually know and love what they’re talking about.

You can write in a variety of ways about anything you can think of and, most importantly, you can get paid for it. With the help of publications, good topic choices, quality writing and catchy headlines, you too can find success on Medium!

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