Substack vs Medium: Which Writing Platform Is Best for You?

If you want a way of making money writing and blogging, then you may be considering Substack vs Medium. Learn more about these platforms!

If you are looking for a way to make money writing, then you may be looking for a blogging platform. Or, you may be looking for an email marketing platform that can help you generate an email newsletter for your subscribers. Whether you are a laid-back blogger or someone who is hyper-focused on SEO, you need to find the right platform to help you. and can help you make money writing, but the platforms are very different. Which can help you make the most amount of money, and what are the differences between Substack vs Medium?

In general, Medium is a better platform if you are a blogger; however, if you are looking to generate subscribers through email, then Substack might be better. How can you figure out which one is right for you? 

An Overview of Substack

Substack vs Medium

When compared to Medium, Substack is the newer site. Substack was founded in 2017 by Christ Best, Jairaj Sethi, and Hamish McKenzie, and its goal was to give people an alternative to traditional blogging platforms.

The entire idea behind Substack is that you can make money through email marketing. If you can generate a lot of subscribers to your e-mail newsletter, you can make money quickly.

Furthermore, Substack makes more money when you make more money. Therefore, your goals are aligned with those of the platform. You could even drive people to social media platforms using your Substack newsletter. Learn more about the top Substack newsletters here!

How Does Substack Work?

Through Substack, you put together a paid newsletter with paid subscribers. Then, your readers pay a monthly fee to read your content. In this manner, Substack is both a writing platform and an email marketing platform.

If you don’t want to pay for expensive platforms, such as Mailchimp, then Substack is a better option for you. It is one of the strongest email marketing platforms available, and paying subscribers can get through the paywall to view your information on the publishing platform.

Furthermore, using Substack, you can build a brand through your custom domain. You can connect a custom domain to your publication through Substack, which is a powerful feature. You pay a one-time fee of $50, and then you can host your website using the technology you have access to through Substack.

Because it is difficult for you to rank on Google using a traditional sub-domain, the custom domain feature through Substack is critical. You can generate a significant amount of traffic through your email newsletter on Substack, driving them to your website. This can help you build a powerful brand.

  • Ease of Use: This is a very easy platform to use. There are drag and drop features that make it easy for you to not only write your newsletter but also add images and audio files. It doesn’t take you any more than a few minutes to create a professional newsletter.
  • Experience: You don’t need to have any experience to create a newsletter. The only people you have to worry about convincing are those who read your newsletter. They can subscribe and unsubscribe at will. If people want to read your newsletter, you can generate a significant income.
  • Flexibility: You can write about anything you want! As long as it is attractive to the reader, it doesn’t matter! You can write about magic, technology, business, and more.
  • You Need an Audience: It can take a lot of work to build an email list from the ground up. If there isn’t an audience for your work, you don’t make any money.
  • Fees: There are a lot of fees you need to pay. For example, Substack takes 10 percent of your money, Stripe might charge three percent per credit card transaction, and Substack might charge another $0.30 per transaction. Then, you need to pay income taxes. This adds up quickly.
  • Minimum Subscription Fee: If someone wants to read your newsletter, the minimum fee is $5 per month, which can be a significant barrier for the reader.

You need to think about these drawbacks before you decide if Substack is right for you. 

Who Should Use Substack?

If you are someone who likes writing traditional news articles, and you are looking for a way to expand your email subscribers, then Substack is an affordable way to do so. You are in control of how much you charge for your email newsletters, so you have the potential to make a significant amount of money.

An Overview of Medium

Substack vs Medium
Some websites have even moved their entire existing blogs over to Medium

Medium was founded in 2012 by Ev Williams. This is a blogging platform that has become one of the most popular options for Content marketing and start-up businesses. The Medium partner program is designed to help content creators with digital marketing by handling content management for them, paying writers for high-quality read time.

The platform has grown significantly during the past few years, so a lot of businesses have started using the platform to write articles. Some websites have even moved their entire existing blogs over to Medium. So, is this the right platform for you?

How Does Medium Work?

When you publish your work Medium, you get paid based on the total amount of time someone spends reading your work. Even though it is unclear exactly what the metric is, you should expect to get paid a few cents for every minute someone spends reading your story.

Even though this does not sound like a lot, you may have a few thousand people who read every story you publish. Therefore, the money can add up quickly. The more attractive you make your content, the more people will read your work. Then, your earnings can increase exponentially. 

Pros of Medium
  • The platform has a massive readership base. There are more than 100 million people who read the information on Medium every month. Therefore, this is a great way for you to expand your reach, getting your content in front of people all over the world. 
  • The platform is very easy to use. It only takes a few minutes to create an account. Then, you can write and publish a new post. It is just as easy to publish on Medium as it is to publish on WordPress. 
  • You do not have to worry about SEO if you publish on Medium. The platform will take care of all of this for you as soon as you publish your work. If you decided to keep your content on your own website, you would have to bring it out SEO on your own.
  • You have the option to add images and videos to your published work. This could help you make your content more attractive. 
  • The partner program pays popular writers three, four and even five figures a month.
Cons of Medium
  • Just because people are going to Medium does not necessarily mean they are going to visit your website. Traffic that flows to your content on Medium does not belong to you. A percentage of these visitors may visit your website, but most of them are unlikely to visit your personal website.
  • There are already a lot of people who publish on Medium, so you might have a difficult time standing out from all of the other authors. Someone might only spend a few minutes reading your content, which can hurt your earnings. 
  • When you publish content on Medium, you are increasing Medium’s domain authority. You are not building your domain authority. 
  • The partner program regularly changes it terms.

You need to think carefully about the structure on Medium and decide if this is right for you. 

Who Should Use Medium?

If you are tired of doing your own SEO on your own blog, then you may benefit from publishing on the Medium Partner Program. Furthermore, if you are not concerned about driving traffic to your own website, and you are not worried about your domain authority, then you may want to expand your readership by publishing your blog on Medium instead. 

The more time people spend reading your information on Medium, the more money you are going to get paid. Therefore, the earning potential on Medium is significant, and you should be able to make more money faster if you publish your blog on Medium instead of Substack. 

If you’d like to learn more, read our guide on how to make money on Medium.

The Main Differences Between Medium And Substack

Now, it is time to highlight the main differences between Medium and Substack. These include:

  • If you are looking to build your brand through SEO, then Medium is the better option. Even though Substack has gotten better with the option to add a custom domain, Medium is still significantly better than Substack.
  • The business models between the two platforms are completely different. If you are using Medium, then you will get paid based on the total amount of time someone spends reading your content. If you are using Substack, and you have access to a subscription-based model, and Substack takes a 10 percent commission. You are in control of what you’re charged. 
  • Even though you can send emails to your readers using either platform, Substack is the better option for doing this. Substack is a platform that has been specifically designed for email newsletters and writers.
  • If you are looking for a way to improve your blogging profile, then becoming a Medium writer is the better option for doing this. It has a much higher domain authority, increasing your online visibility. Furthermore, you have access to more tools that can help you drive traffic to your blog. 
  • Medium is also a great platform for connecting with other writers and business professionals, particularly in the startup and personal development spaces, as many companies have their own blogs on Medium. It only takes a few minutes to join the Medium Partner Program and start getting paid for your work.

If you think about these differences, you should be able to find the right platform for you.

Final Word on Substack Vs Medium

If you are looking to get paid for your writing, two of the most popular platforms available are Substack and Medium; however, they function very differently. If you are someone who enjoys writing a blog, then you may be more comfortable publishing your work on Medium.

On the other hand, if you are looking to reach people who subscribe to your email newsletters, then you might want to go with Substack instead. 

You should compare the benefits and drawbacks of each of these platforms before you decide which one is right for you. This is a great way for you to monetize your writing. 

FAQs About Substack vs Medium

How Much Do You Charge Your Subscribers For Your Email Newsletter On Substack?

This is entirely up to you. You are in control of how much you charge for your email newsletter. Substack will take a ten percent commission on the money you make, including the money you make for your own newsletter.

Which is the better platform to start writing fast?

You can set up a Medium account in a few minutes, publishing quickly. It might take more time to get started through Substack writing, but this newsletter platform also has significant earning potential.


Substack and Ghost are just two popular newsletter and content publishing tools. Many more exist. We’ve profiled some of the most popular. 

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  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.