Why You Should Put Your Content on Both Medium and Your Own Domain

TL;DR - Summary

Host your blog articles on your own domain and then Import (don't cut and paste) your articles to your Medium publication.

Medium hides the Import tool, as of this writing it is at: https://medium.com/p/import

What follows is a 1,000+ words on exactly why this is right thing to do, but if you're the trusting sort you don't need to bother with that and can just do what I say above and stop reading.

Why You Should Believe Us

We're just one of the 130,340,891 different websites on the Internet. Why should you believe us? We could be trying to trick you into taking control of your own content and how it's represented.

Well, Don't believe us.

Instead, believe Rand Fishkin (Moz Founder and SEO Expert) who recommends this very article.

Why You Would Want to Use Medium

Medium (the long form publishing and social site, not the sweatshirt size that Americans are increasingly unable to fit into) is a powerhouse in terms of driving traffic.

No less a luminary than David Hanneimer Hanson (DHH) wrote about why they were moving their long standing and well trafficked Signal V Noise blog to Medium.

“Medium has a wonderful community and readership that reaches far beyond our natural sphere of influence. Between just RECONSIDER and The day I became a millionaire, I’ve had more than 500,000 people see those articles. We just weren’t getting those numbers hosting Signal v Noise on our own island.”

And this may seem like an open and shut case, you get more views on Medium. You're not putting fingers to the keyboard for people not to read your words.

But the Internet now has a history, and things are more complex.

Why You Would Not Want to Use Medium

Digital Sharecropping

We've been down this road before. Depending on how old you are you may or may not remember: Tripod, Angelfire, Geocities, LiveJournal, MySpace, Blogger, etc.

If none of those names triggers a wince on your face, I can sum it up as: they are all where the party used to be. What do you do when you have dozens or even hundreds of articles locked up in a platform that suddenly goes offline? Or even worse, stops being cool?

These CTA's Today, tomorrow who knows?

Maybe it's not even that bad, maybe it's just that Medium (which has raised $132 million dollars) decides one day that providing free, beautiful and clean blog publishing to everyone on the Internet isn't going to net them at least 1.3 Billion dollars (they need at least a 10x exit to satisfy the VC firms) so they start slowly sliding ads into your posts, hijacking your links, and other increasingly unsavory things.

I'm not saying for sure that those things are going to happen, only that:

  1. They've happened with every other platform that has come before.

  2. If you're unprepared - they will own the words you sweated over writing and you won't have a choice or say in it.

Medium is already experimenting with profit sharing of subscriber dues across viewed posts, which is good, but still potentially concerning.

Channel Priorities (aka Medium Doesn't Care about Google How You Care About Google)

Every profession has it's never ending battles. If you're a developer you have continual fights about whether to indent code with tabs or spaces. If you're an ice cream tester you're always arguing with people trying to "push the rum and raisin".

And if you're an SEO, you've got a never ending fight of just how bad it is to have your blog be at blog.domain.com (subdomain) versus domain.com/blog (subdirectory). Nobody credibly argues that it's great to split your content onto two separate sites, only that it isn't outright horrible. For what it's worth, I've only ever seen people getting improvements from moving to a sub-directory.

Join the fight! Stop sub domain'ing today!

Which wraps back around to Medium. It's by definition a separate site and not the optimal place to put your articles (even if you spring for a custom domain for your Medium publication) if what you want is long term search traffic (which you really, really do) - Medium is not the best place to achieve that.

“Medium is ephemeral social traffic. Not long term Organic Search traffic.”

What's often left unsaid about most Medium traffic is that it's social traffic as opposed to organic (search) traffic. In large part, DHH was able to hit such huge traffic numbers because his content on the SvN blog was featured in Medium's official publication, their daily and weekly emails, etc. You're unlikely to reach such similar heights.

You Can't Take Your Audience With You

One last reason to consider not using Medium might be that while you can build a large audience on the site, you don't own that relationship in the same way you do an email list. Ask any Vine superstar with hundreds of thousands of followers how they're doing today and most will say: "Stop bothering me. I'm late for my media arts class at the local community college."

![](https://ucarecdn.com/69e64efe-be88-46f4-918b-9eac06e89385~5/nth/4/) ![](https://ucarecdn.com/c2980639-9d88-420c-8d8a-eff94ed911a6~6/nth/5/)
Jonny wrote a cool post about the `&` symbol, but how do I follow him outside of Medium?

They're in the same predicament that you'll be if you rely too heavily on people hitting the "Follow" button on your Medium publication. What do you do when the music stops and you can no longer connect with the audience you've painstakingly built? Are you going to need to go back to school and sit through 20 undergrads "video essays" about their favorite Chipotle or are you going to build an email list of interested subscribers?

Having Your Cake and Eating it Too

So with all that in mind, here is how you can slice the Ev Williams-ion knot of what to do and:

  • Remain in control of your work and destiny.
  • Leverage Medium for what it's best at (social traffic)
  • Insulate yourself from future platform issues.

Step 1: Publish your Content on your own Domain

You may already be doing this, but if not go ahead and setup Wordpress, Ghost, or (if you're a manic like us) build your own blog platform or Content Management System (CMS). This will set you up to do all of the necessary on page/site technical SEO work to build up your brand and organic search traffic.

Step 2: Import your Articles to Medium

Create a Medium account for your business (The most straightforward thing to do is create a Twitter account for your company and then use that to create a new Medium account).

While logged in as the correct account, browse to: https://medium.com/p/import

You're going to want to bookmark that page (or heck, come back here) as it's not terribly intuitive to find within the Medium publishing settings.

Importing a post to Medium (as opposed to just copying and pasting into a new Medium article) sets a special link in the HTML source of the Medium article, the rel=canonical tag which will be set to the URL you of the article you imported from.


This won't be seen by anyone reading the article, but to Google or other bots indexing the page it tells them "treat this page as a different format of the same content that is at the canonical URL."

Often this same tag is used within a website to indicate things like special mobile or print versions of pages. It's a very well established system of specifying that the related page is not duplicate content and it's a net positive for the SEO of your actual site and domain.

Step 3: Enjoy Your Social and Search Traffic

By taking a little time up front to plan out how to syndicate your content you can greatly increase your reach while not sacrificing any future benefits.

P.S. If you found this useful, you're going to love our Email Subject Line Tester

Get More Opens With Every Email Send

Are your email subjects marking you as spam?
Are you being filtered as a 'Promotion' instead of a 'Priority'?

Start the test

Find out instantly.


If you like this article, you'll like our Subject Line Tester