You’re a freelance writer. Do you have a website? Please don’t flinch. Websites for writers are still a contentious issue, and I’ve no idea why that should be so. Your website is your silent salesperson. It helps clients to find you.
Of course, writers aren’t alone in dragging their feet on websites. Many companies do the same thing; they set up a Facebook page, and that’s their “website”.
You don’t need a website, necessarily, as long as you have a profile of some kind online, as we discussed in:
- 4 Fun, Creative Ways to Make Money Writing (Without a Website); and
- “This Is Me”: Quick Ways to Get Found With a Profile Page
There’s another option too, Medium. Medium is a mix between a blog, and a social media network. I’m lukewarm on it, but then I have lots of websites. If you don’t want to set up a site, not even a Tumblr or Blogger blog, Medium might be perfect for you.
Medium provides a fun writing experience…
I did post something on Medium, just to try it out. It’s a fun writing experience; sophisticated and elegant.
As Marcin Wichary, who works at Medium, points out:
Medium’s editor is easy to use and contains just the right amount of formatting options. It’s flexible enough to allow me to write anything from a few casual paragraphs to an epic tale of thousands of words and photos — but not so extensive that I’d spend hours fiddling with settings, only to put together something that looks bad and makes me unhappy.
There’s always a “but”, and in Medium’s case, there are several.
Let’s look at them.
- You don’t own anything. Chances are that Medium won’t lie down and die, as Posterous did, when its developers got hired by Twitter. Medium’s founder, Ev Williams, who founded Blogger and Twitter, (probably) won’t let that happen;
- You’re one in a crowd. Your articles don’t stand out as being by anyone in particular. It’s much like Google+ in that way. Readers are notoriously blind to bylines, so unless you link out to other properties, your chances of being discovered by prospective clients are limited;
- You may not get much traffic. Kenneth Reitz in “Why I Left Medium”, found his traffic declining when he moved his content to Medium.
As months went by, I found myself happily writing as my traffic slowly declined.
This isn’t the end of the world, but here’s the kicker — I couldn’t do anything about it.
Writers: You don’t need Medium. You can host your own blog on your own domain with lots of other tools and hosts. Be your own “platform”.
Medium pays some writers (but not well)
This intrigued me. Apparently Medium hires some high-profile writers, and pays them with clicks. Here’s a story about it on Gigaom.
As a rule of thumb, don’t write for any companies which pay you with clicks. (If you have your own website, you can get paid for clicks, by AdSense and other advertising networks.)
I like Medium, I think it’s gorgeous, but it’s only marginally useful for writers. It’s better than nothing. You CAN make it work for you, if you treat it like a social network. However, you need to ask yourself: will any of my prospective clients see this article?
If you’ve tried Medium, I’d love to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment, or contact me on Google+ or Twitter.