Dornubari Vizor April 26, 2023

Substack vs Medium – Which One is Better for Blogging in 2023?

substack vs medium

Blogging is dead. Wrong!

Blogging is still a popular activity thanks to platforms like Medium and Substack. If you’re thinking of starting a blog in 2023, you’re in luck. But which platform is the best for blogging in 2023: Substack or Medium? Let’s compare the two in a Substack vs Medium showdown.

In this comparison, we’ll examine the features, business models, pros, and cons of each platform to help you make an informed decision.

What’s Medium?

Medium is an online publishing platform. It’s been in the game since 2012.

Over time, Medium has become a hub for ideators, independent writers, thought leaders, experts, and journalists to share their ideas, content, and unique perspectives. Readers can read, subscribe to, and listen to your content on Medium.

substack vs medium

As its tagline says, “Every idea needs a medium,” the platform helps to shape ideas and start conversations. Today, it’s used by over 100 million people for reading and writing.

substack vs medium

Medium has also become a platform for building social communities. It can also be referred to as a “social media platform.”

You can create a network of like-minded followers within Medium and interact with them. Your followers can subscribe to your Medium account, allowing you to send them emails notifying them about your newly published content.

What’s Substack?

substack vs medium

Substack is a blogging and online posting platform primarily focused on email newsletters. It launched in 2017 and has since evolved into a multi-faceted platform for subscribers, blog writers, and creators.

Readers can subscribe to creators and gain access to content such as podcasts, blog posts, newsletters, communities, and videos.

Creators and writers can produce and publish various types of content, including community threads for interacting with their subscribers.

What Makes Substack Different From Medium?

Substack and Medium are online writing platforms primarily used for publishing articles and other types of content. However, there is a key difference between these two platforms.

At Medium, blogging is the primary focus, with newsletters and subscriptions taking a secondary role.

At Substack, email newsletters are the primary focus, while blogging and other forms of content take a secondary role.

Substack vs Medium – Business Models Explained

Both Medium and Substack primarily operate on a freemium business model.

The freemium business model offers limited or basic digital products for free while providing upgraded or advanced digital products at a premium cost.

substack vs medium

If we dig deeper, we find that both Substack and Medium operate on a subscription-based business model.

This model requires customers or members to pay a certain amount at regular intervals in exchange for products or services. It is also referred to as a “recurring revenue model.”

Let’s briefly discuss how these writing platforms approach the subscription-based model differently.

Substack Business Model

This platform is primarily based on setting up a subscription-based newsletter. One can host a free blog on Substack and own all the content. Substack won’t charge you a penny.

substack vs medium

Creators and writers can earn money through paid subscriptions. However, it is up to the writer to decide whether to offer content for free or for a fee.

If you decide to offer premium membership to your audience, Substack will take a small percentage.

Paying subscribers gain exclusive access to blogs, newsletters, podcasts, communities, and videos. This allows the writer to create a recurring monthly income stream by keeping 90% of the revenue minus the Stripe payment processing fee.

Substack will take a 10% commission on your premium memberships. This commission is used to cover Substack’s operational costs and customer support.

Apart from these fees, there are no hidden costs. You can also find a revenue calculator on the Substack website.

substack vs medium

Substack gives you the freedom to set your own prices based on what you believe your content is worth. Ultimately, it’s up to the audience to decide whether or not to pay for it.

Medium Business Model

Medium follows a subscription model. Writers and creators can offer content for free, but all free Medium members can only read three free posts per month.

To access unlimited content, become a paying Medium member for around $5 per month.

Writers and creators can also participate in the Medium Partner Program, which is the main channel for making money on Medium.

substack vs medium

Not all writers are eligible to apply for the Medium Partner Program. To qualify, you must have at least 100 followers, and your content must meet certain standards.

If you are approved for the Medium Partner Program, your content will carry a Premium badge, and you will be able to earn money when users read your content.

Substack vs Medium – SEO

SEO is vital for writers who publish content online. Therefore, it is important to consider how platforms like Medium and Substack can assist writers and creators with their SEO.

Medium SEO

Medium is one of the most established and well-reputed domains in the realm of search engine optimization. According to Moz SEO Domain Analysis of, it has a domain authority of 95 and has around 4 million keywords. That ultimately gives Medium writers and creators an edge in terms of SEO.

substack vs medium

Posting on Medium directly increases the rankability of your content. This is good news for beginners who post on the main Medium domain, but it might take some time for their content to rank.

You can also post on a Medium subdomain or a Medium custom domain. However, the SEO potential won’t be the same as the main Medium domain.

Medium’s massive built-in audience gives you an edge in terms of SEO. You can post on several publications, and Medium also recommends your posts through labels and tags.

Moreover, you can get a distribution boost from the Curation Team at Medium. The team reviews many posts daily to find high-quality ideas that fit the criteria. If your post stands out, Medium shares it on the homepage, app, email, and other channels.

Substack SEO

Substack lags behind Medium in terms of SEO. According to Moz Domain Analysis of, its domain authority stands at 86, which is not bad. However, only 278.9K of its keywords rank.

substack vs medium

If you have a sub-domain, it will require time and effort for your content to rank.

Additionally, Substack does not provide specialized tools or features to improve reach and SEO.

Substack vs Medium – Pros & Cons

Let’s round off the pros and cons of both platforms to get a sound idea.

Medium Pros & Cons

Here are the pros and cons of Medium.

Medium Pros

  1. Medium stands out in terms of SEO. That helps writers with content reach and better online visibility.
  2. You can easily start and set up your blog on Medium in no time.
  3. You can submit your articles to various publications, ultimately increasing your ability to attract readers if they are approved.
  4. Medium has a massive in-built audience that can read your content.
  5. Medium has a very user-friendly, minimalistic, and sophisticated UI.
  6. There’s a set and affordable rate for all readers.
  7. You do not need any coding knowledge to set up your blog.
  8. At Medium, you can get a custom domain to stand out with your own personal brand.
  9. If you have a high-quality article that is original and well-written, Medium’s advanced algorithm can pick it up and promote it on its homepage and email.
  10. The Medium Partner Program is a great feature that allows writers to monetize their content.

Medium Cons

  1. You do not own content on Medium.
  2. From a reader’s perspective, Medium’s monthly limit of only 5 free articles is too low to understand the value of the content offered on Medium or any other platform.
  3. Writers who are not a part of the Medium Partner Program have limited and less effective ways to monetize their content.
  4. There are no features or tools for community building and management.
  5. The competition is too high on Medium for writers to break in.
  6. Promoting third-party products or earning through affiliate marketing is strictly prohibited on Medium.
  7. Medium’s Partner Program is only available in 33 countries, which deprives many countries of the opportunity to benefit from Medium.
  8. You cannot display ads on your content.
  9. Medium does not offer any special native features or plugins to customize your blog or boost SEO.
  10. There’s a lot of uncertainty about whether your content will be ranked or not, keeping in mind the high competition.
  11. It’s hard for writers and creators to build an exportable email list.
  12. Overall, Medium is still very conventional in terms of monetization and features.

Substack Pros & Cons

Time to check out the pros and cons of Substack.

Substack Pros

  1. You get complete ownership of your content at Substack.
  2. Substack allows you to connect with your audience directly.
  3. Multiple authors can co-author articles with Substack.
  4. Substack is well-suited for established writers who have a solid reader base, as it allows them to avoid building an audience from scratch.
  5. You can set up your subscription packages and pricing with Substack.
  6. Substack is a modern and constantly evolving platform. You can incorporate several content types with Substack, i.e. podcasts, videos, articles, etc.
  7. You get a custom Substack domain of your own.
  8. Substack permits third-party product promotion and affiliate marketing.
  9. You don’t need any coding knowledge to set up your email newsletter and blog.
  10. Substack stands out in terms of data portability. You can easily import or export data such as your email list and blog content.

Substack Cons

  1. There’s no in-built audience at Substack. You will have to build your audience from scratch to be able to monetize your content.
  2. Substack lags behind in terms of SEO, which can negatively impact writers and creators. It requires more effort and cost to optimize your content for search engines.
  3. The platform has very limited internal marketing features.
  4. There are no features or tools for community building and management.
  5. Third-party app integrations are very limited.
  6. Substack takes a significant portion of your revenue. It charges a 10% fee on your paid memberships, and you also have to cover the Stripe fees of 2.9% plus 30 cents per payment.
  7. The platform only offers one payment gateway, Stripe.

Substack vs Medium – Which Platform Is Better?

Here comes the big question. Which publishing and writing platform is better?

It depends on what your goals are and where you stand as a writer or creator.

Both Medium and Substack are phenomenal platforms for creators and writers. There’s a reason they are going strong and are considered industry leaders.

Choose Medium If:

As a beginner starting from scratch, Medium is a great option. You can easily set up your blog and start writing, and its built-in audience can help you reach more readers.

It will also help you build your portfolio and get global exposure. Plus, Medium has a higher domain authority.

However, joining the Medium Partner Program requires hard work. Additionally, please note that the program is not available in all countries. Furthermore, you will not have ownership of your content.

Choose Substack If:

Substack is an excellent option for established writers or creators looking to enhance their email lists and monetize through email newsletters. Additionally, it’s helpful if you want to experiment with or monetize other forms of content, such as podcasts and videos.

The best thing about Substack is that you have complete ownership over your content.

However, Substack may not be the best platform for beginners, as it requires building an audience from scratch.

Additionally, Substack has a lower domain authority, meaning that you will have to take care of SEO yourself.

Bonus Tip: Take Your Monetization To The Next Level

Here’s a bonus tip for you to take your monetization to the next level.

Today, creators, experts, and writers are actively harnessing the power of communities. Their goal is to boost reach and enhance the impact of their content. Most importantly, it’s all about making your paying members feel at home and giving them a sense of belonging.

This is where both Medium and Substack lag and lack prominently. Medium and Substack have no specific community building and management features. The only sign of a community exists only rarely in the form of threaded comments.

That’s why one needs special platforms that enable you to complement your content with a community.

Enhancing the way you present your content matters a lot. You can turn your content and expertise into online courses. You can add certifications, webinars, live events, group discussions, and drip content to your community members. This will help you establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

You need to provide your paying members with the best value and create ease for them.

Now, for all of this to happen, you need special platforms to allow you to host your content and community in the same place. That will make things easier easy for you and your paid members.

Let me give you an example.

Consider GroupApp alternatives

GroupApp allows you to host your content – including articles, video content, online courses, and resources – alongside a community, all in one place. alternatives

Plus, you can:

  • Set up your membership packages with desirable prices.
  • Offer your content in any form, with access levels according to different membership packages.
  • Hold live events and webinars with GroupApp’s event feature.
  • Share ideas and content with your community members.
  • Build online courses using a robust course builder.
  • Maintain a secure content library with easy access for community members.

In addition, GroupApp provides a user-friendly iOS app that allows you to manage your content and community at any time, from anywhere.

Furthermore, it offers pricing plans to fit every budget.

Overall, GroupApp is a versatile and flexible all-in-one learning community platform.

Experience the ultimate ease of GroupApp with a free account today!

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