I switched to Medium in 2015 because of one simple reason - the community aspect of it. The cool new framework comprising publications, stories, discussions, claps (likes), etc. motivated me to publish on Medium. On top of that, there was great writing experience through the WYSIWYG editor. I was happy to switch to Medium and thought I might never have to think or worry about my blogging platform again.
I was wrong.
I have now completely migrated this blog away from Medium because of the following reasons.
In the last few weeks, I did some analysis on my posts’ stats. I found that the traffic was mainly coming from outside of Medium; mostly from search engines and social links. While I was constantly getting good views and reads on some of my posts, they didn’t seem to be getting any traffic through Medium itself. It was clear that there was not much of a community driven traffic after some time of posting the content on Medium. Following are some of the screenshots from the stats pages of my most viewed posts; less than ~8% of traffic came via Medium.
Then there was an issue with the stats page itself. The stats page on Medium does not provide detailed information about several things. This makes it almost impossible to figure out any improvements needed for the publication or the content. As compared to Google Analytics, the Medium stats page feels very basic; almost useless.
Another reason for migration was the custom domain. For my blog, I was using a Medium publication connected to this domain. Medium is no more supporting custom domains. I got mine connected when they were still offering this service. But now I wanted to make some changes. My Medium publication was connected to my root domain and I wanted to move it to the blog.* sub-domain so that I could use the root domain for a simple personal homepage. I asked Medium support to help me make these changes. They responded that because they don’t offer the service anymore, they won’t be supporting any changes as well.
Lack of Control
Lack of control and ownership is one more reason for moving away from Medium. There’s not much that you can do in terms of meta tags, SEO, layouts, etc. Being a programmer myself, this made me a bit uncomfortable over time. I understand that there is a trade-off between user experience and control, but it seems, Medium chose to not give any control to the writers. This has only become worse in the last few years.
There are a few other reasons for not publishing on Medium anymore. A couple of years ago, Medium was much more open and less restrictive for content publishers. It had a cleaner layout. It used to allow custom domains and Google Analytics, among other things. Well, not anymore. The content export experience is not that great. The exported content cannot be easily imported in any other blogging platform. The layout has become bloated over time. The commenting experience has been weird since the beginning.
The new platform which I am using for this blog is Hugo. Hugo is a static site generator written in Go and is amazingly fast. I am using a GitLab private repository for hosting source files. For content distribution and deployment, I am using the Netlify service. I will write another post to describe my experience of migrating to Hugo.
I will still miss the amazing writing experience on Medium, but I can live without that in favour of more control and ownership.
While I have completely migrated all my personal posts, I still have some Medium stories which I wrote for my employers on their Medium hosted blogs. Going forward, I will still cross-post some content on Medium under my username, but all my blog posts will now primarily live in this blog.
It feels good to be back in control.