One of the most popular posts I’ve ever written on This Online World is my post on how to make money writing on Medium.
Medium will always hold a special place in my heart.
In 2020, I earned more than $1,000 from writing on Medium, most of which was passive income from republishing TOW content.
Plus, I’ll never forget the feeling when I got an email from Medium saying I got a $100 bonus for my article on phone farming. At the time, that was the most I’d ever been paid for a piece of writing!
But, fast forward a few years and a lot has changed on Medium.
From how authors get paid to overall organic reach, any long-time Medium writers probably feel, at least to some degree, that Medium is becoming more of a business/side hustle and is less about writing for the sake of writing.
In any case, this post isn’t about Medium’s changing landscape and what I think about the platform.
Rather, today I want to break down some of the best websites like Medium you can use if you want to make money with writing but are currently struggling to get exposure on Medium.
So, if you’re looking for a list of the best Medium alternatives, this is absolutely the post for you!
Let’s get to it.
The Best Websites Like Medium
As mentioned, Medium has changed a lot over the years.
However, the main point I see Medium authors bringing up is that organic reach is down, which means earnings are down.
Now, I haven’t published anything on Medium in a while since I’ve been busy with blogging and learning how to make money on YouTube.
But, I’ve even noticed that my months of $50 to $100+ in Medium Partner Program earnings have basically dwindled to $10 to $20 a month.
I can hardly complain about this since again, I don’t really write on Medium anymore.
However, if you’re currently struggling to get views and make money by being on Medium, it might be time to try other sites like Medium to see if a new platform breathes new life into your writing.
Out of all of the websites like Medium, Steemit is probably one of the most interesting.
This is because Steemit actually uses its own blockchain, the Steem blockchain, to pay content creators with STEEM, the platform’s own cryptocurrency.
Now, Steemit is actually a tad more complicated than just writing stores like Medium and then getting paid when people read your stuff.
In fact, there are three kinds of tokens on the STEEM blockchain:
- Steem: The most basic type of cryptocurrency on Steemit, which you earn by posting, commenting, or upvoting content.
- Steem Power (SP): Having more SP makes your votes count more and the faster you earn curation rewards. This is basically like Reddit Karma and having more SP means you’re just earning more for each action. According to Steemit: “Steem Power can be converted back to STEEM through the process of ‘powering down’. This takes four weeks and you get a quarter of your Steem Power as liquid STEEM each week.”
- Steem Dollars (SBD): This was meant to stay on par with the $USD but generally sits around the value of $USD, with about 10% variation in coin price depending on market fluctuations.
So, in short, you earn Steem by creating content, taking part in contests, or even renting/leasing your SP.
Honestly, I still find this whole thing confusing, but if you look at Steemit’s homepage, it’s clear authors are making money on this platform:
Ultimately, I think Steemit is the best website like Medium if you’re a crypto fan.
Just make sure to read their starting guide so you get a comprehensive breakdown of how Steemit works!
Best For: Medium writers who are massive crypto fans!
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2. Vocal Media
When I was still writing on Medium, I used to see ads all over Facebook to sign up for Vocal Media to make money with my writing.
And, after looking into the platform, it definitely seems like a solid Medium alternative to check out.
However, Vocal really is like a carbon copy of Medium in many ways.
To make money writing on Vocal, you basically:
- Create stories
- Submit your stories to communities (these are like Medium communities)
- Earn money based on how many reads you get
One thing I like about Vocal is that they are so transparent about how writers make money.
Writers are divided into two categories: free Vocal writers, and Vocal+ writers, who pay $9.99 a month for certain perks:
- Vocal Writers: Earn $3.80 per 1,000 reads; withdraw your earnings when you earn $35
- Vocal+ Writers: Earn $6.00 per 1,000 reads; withdraw your earnings when you earn $20
Now, I will say that a $3.50 RPM (earnings per thousand readers) is kinda…meh.
I mean, when I built This Online World and got into Monumetric (which takes 10,000 pageviews), my RPM was around $14.
Now that I’m in Mediavine, my RPM fluctuates between $30 and $35.
So, it’s clear that building your own blog pays you more, but I Vocal admittedly already has an audience and lets you focus on writing.
In any case, unlike Medium where it doesn’t necessarily matter if you’re a paid member or not, Vocal+ definitely increases your earning potential quite significantly.
My opinion is to try out Vocal if you’re struggling on Medium to see if your niche performs well!
Best For: Medium writers who want to try a more transparent pay-per-view model.
Extra Reading – How To Pick A Blog Niche + 45 Ideas To Get Started.
Another site like Medium is Ghost, which claims it’s “the world’s most popular modern publishing platform for creating a new media platform”
Overall, Ghost seems quite interesting.
It’s basically a mix between Medium and Patreon, letting you turn your current audience into a business.
So, how does Ghost work for writers?
Well, Ghost features include:
- Creating your own website
- Publishing blog posts
- Sending out newsletters
- Selling premium subscriptions
So, in short, Ghost lets writers create a sleek website, publish exclusive content, and sell premium subscriptions to build an audience of paying readers…again, think Medium + Patreon.
Now, Ghost costs $9.99 per month when billed annually for a starter site, which supports up to 25,000 monthly views.
Other plans range from $29 to $199 per month depending on size:
Honestly, I think Ghost could be very lucrative for you as a writer if you’re an expert in your field.
For example, if you publish in-depth investing guides/stock tip recommendations, marketing hacks, or cover content that people would pay to read, Ghost might make sense.
Personally, I don’t think this platform is for me since I write about more general personal finance topics and side hustle ideas.
But again, if you want to build an exclusive community, I think Ghost is a nifty site like Medium to try!
Best For: Anyone trying to build a premium website with exclusive content.
Extra Reading – How To Make Money Writing Short Stories.
While we’re talking about building exclusive communities, we absolutely have to talk about Substack!
Substack actually launched in 2017, but this Medium alternative has quickly grown into an immensely popular platform for writers to create premium newsletters.
In short, Substack works like Ghost: you publish content on Substack, monetize it by gating content for paying members, and theoretically make bank.
As a Substack writer, you get:
- Your own email list
- A website for your post (hosted on Substack)
- Community engagement features
- Control over what content is free or paid
Interestingly, a lot of Medium writers I know started funnelling their Medium audiences to their paid Substack newsletters.
In my mind, Substack isn’t so much as a site like Medium but perhaps a supplementary income source or a different business entirely, but I digress.
According to Substack, top writers on the platform make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
Granted, to make money with Substack, you need a serious audience, so again, it could be worth pushing some of your Medium readers to a new, premium newsletter if you want to test the water.
Substack is free to use. You can also price subscriptions however you like, although I’ve seen many $5 to $10 monthly subscriptions.
Best For: Medium writers who want to migrate their email list to a paid subscription version.
Hubpages is also one of the oldest websites like Medium, and began back in 2006!
Now, I will say that my luck on Hubpages was absolutely abysmal; I never made more than $25 despite writing several articles, and this platform definitely gets a lot of flak.
Here’s the reason: you need a ton of reads per month to make decent money with Hubpages.
This is because, like Vocal Media, Hubpages pays you depending on how many views you get on your content (which also has a bunch of ads).
According to Hubpages, creators keep 60% of ad revenue, and you need a Google AdSense account to sign up.
Creators earn around $2 to $5 per 1,000 views on average, so I’d try Vocal as an alternative or start a money-making blog instead.
Hubpages even states: “HubPages is not a place to get rich quick! You are not likely to see significant earnings from your articles for up to two years (and that’s two years spent writing high quality articles on HubPages). When you do begin to see regular payouts, they are likely to be in a range of $50 to $100 a month.”
From what I’ve seen, a lot of Hubpages writers actually write to try and get organic traffic to get more views. This is also easier with Hubpages since the site has immense domain authority.
However, the fact that you have to write dozens or hundreds of articles, all while using SEO, to earn $100 a month seems like a lot of work.
Anyway, I had to include Hubpages on a list of sites like Medium.com since it’s incredibly popular and some authors make bank.
But, in my mind, I’d try out the other Medium alternatives or start your own blog before dabbling with Hubpages.
Best For: Writers who want to leverage Hubpages’ domain authority to rank on competitive articles.
6. News break
News Break provides local and breaking news for over 45 million monthly readers.
Out of all the websites like Medium, News Break probably has some of the most comparable reach.
According to its website, News Break receives 1.5 billion pageviews per month. Additionally, its Android app is #1 in News on Google Play and the IOS app is #2 in news on the App store.
Anyway, like Medium, News Break also has popular writing categories you’d expect, including:
- Public health
You have to apply to join the News Break Creator Program, and the process asks for your name, country of residence, email, social media links, and how you heard about News Break.
According to News Break, you hear back in 5 to 7 days if you get in. I asusme having writing samples/a decent social media profile helps the process, but I find it strange they don’t ask for writing samples.
In any case, News Break content creators earn money from:
- Ad share revenue
- Referral bonuses for inviting new writers
- Guaranteed sign-on base pay for qualifying articles
Now, News Break used to pay a $1,000 bonus for writing 12 qualifying articles (qualifying in that they had to reach a pretty high view count).
That program is over unfortunately. Now, writers earn a fixed rate for eligible articles for their first three months of writing that ranges between $25 to $60 depending on quality.
Yes, depending on quality…News Break assigns a Content Value (CV) score on your articles to determine how good it is and how much you earn.
Again, this is for qualifying articles; you can’t just submit a garbage article and get the base rate of $25 to $60.
In any case, I think News Break is a potentially more stable income source than Medium, but I’ll admit, a base rate of up to $60 plus some ad revenue doesn’t excite me much.
I mean, imagine a viral story on News Break versus Medium…or your own blog. I think you’d feel a bit cheated if your viral article paid you $60 and then some lousy $5 RPM or whatever.
In any case, if you prefer writing breaking news and local stories, I think News Break is still a useful Medium alternative to test out!
Best For: Anyone writing breaking news and local news coverage.
Other Medium Alternatives To Consider
If you’re still looking for other Medium.com alternatives, here are a few ideas to help get you inspired.
- Patreon: Like Ghost, Patreon makes it easy to create locked content premium subscribers can pay to access. This is very popular in the personal finance/investing space, but it’s just another tool you can try out.
- Write.as: This is a sleek, minimalist publishing platform that reminds me of Medium. It costs $9 per month and lets you publish your work online. This is less about making money with writing and more about creating your own visually-appealing blog without any technical knowledge.
- Your Own Blog: Again, I think starting your own blog has a higher income potential than writing on sites like Medium, but again, this requires way more work.
I seriously want to stress this last point.
I sometimes wonder if I made a mistake by not going all-in on Medium way back when.
After all, I wasn’t a first-move on the platform by any means, but hey, it was easier to get Medium views in 2018 than it is now.
And, you know, I bet if I had ditched blogging and gone all in, I might have even made more money than the $22,000 in blogging income I made last year.
But, here are some of the pros you get from starting your own blog versus writing on websites like Medium:
- Ownership: You truly own your own domain and content, so you’re not at the mercy of the platform.
- Diversity: Monetize with ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts, selling merch, and whatever else you want.
- You’re In Charge: You don’t have to worry about promotional restrictions or what content is “trendy.” Just write what you want.
- Exit Strategy: Blogs regularly sell for 30-40x their monthly profit. This means I could likely sell TOW for around $60,000 to $80,000. Good luck selling your Medium profile when you want to move on!
Of course, I still really enjoy Medium, and when I find some time, I’m going to put out some original content there.
However, my ultimate tip is to avoid restricting yourself to only writing on online publishing platforms like Medium if you want more control.
It might take more time to get your earnings up, but in my mind, the delay is worth having full control over your writing.
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Well, there you have it: the top 6 websites you can use to start making money as a writer!
In my opinion, all of these platforms have potential (yes…even Hubpages).
However, you have to have realistic expectations and put in the time. Don’t be surprised if it takes more than a year to grow a following and consistent income.
You can also read my post on the best sites that pay you for writing articles.
I actually make most of my income from freelance writing now, and I like the balance between writing for my blog and writing for some dollar bills.
But hey, decide the balance you want and don’t give up! Anything good in life requires effort, and that’s absolutely true for writing to make money!
Best of luck! I hope this list of blogging platforms like Medium helps you decide where to get started with your writing!
Extra Reading: How To Make Money As A Creative Writer.
Tom is a 24 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please visit Tom Blake Digital to get in touch!