Medium Vs Vocal

The best premium blogging platform for writers

Medium versus Vocal — which one is the best premium blogging website for writers?

I am relatively new to both platforms. Although I’m not new to writing or blogging. My first blog was on AOL when we had to use dial-up to get online. And we had to know HTML if we wanted to do the fancy stuff we take for granted on Medium — like creating headlines, indent quotes, highlight text, or embed videos.

I’ve also blogged on Blogger and WordPress — off and on since they began. One of these days, I may move some of those blog posts here. Although, I’m more about moving forward than looking back.

I first heard about Medium in 2017. I have no idea why I didn’t jump on board then. I was probably neck-deep in some project like publishing a book or other creative venture.

Late last year, Medium got on my radar again — this time, I paid attention and started a blog. I loved it right away — clean, ad-free, easy-to-use, premium platform. It is well worth the price of a cup of gourmet coffee to support other writers and avoid annoying pop-up ads. I despise pop-ups and will immediately click off of a website that has more than one.

I have read about many bloggers that make money on Medium. Especially with the new bonuses, Ev Williams is doling out to top performers like Roz Warren, Toni Crowe, and 998 others!

I may have been on the receiving end had I not taken off the last month to go lighthouse hunting around the Florida coast. If you love to travel and nautical adventures, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get the story delivered directly to your email. Speaking of email subscriptions for readers, that’s another perk Medium offers writers!

I would love to make a full-time income blogging, but that hasn’t happened yet. I’m a writer first. If I could do something else, I would. No matter what sidetracks me in life, I always come back to writing. My muse has worn my resistance and common sense down. I’m tired of fighting it. I plan to spend the rest of my life pursing my passion for writing. It brings me the greatest joy for reasons I cannot explain. So, I’m happy to keep blogging my time away, making a few dollars a month. At least someone is reading my posts. (Hi, mom!)

My daughter suggested that I try an experiment where I write under a pseudonym and use a photo of my 21-year-old beautiful granddaughter on my profile to see if that gets my blog more attention. I considered it for a millisecond, but I just can’t do it. I can’t sell out my muse like that. I have to write from the heart come what may.

My unwillingness to compromise is probably the reason I haven’t made a fortune blogging. I have to write about things that matter to me and from my own experience. I doubt I could choke out a serious personal growth story or life lessons from a 20-something perspective. My writing has to be authentic and from my point of view. I have written under pen names many times in my life, especially poetry. But I never pretended to be younger, older, a different sex, etc.

I think making money blogging is more about writing and publishing consistently. That’s what I need to focus on. My goal is to write and publish at least 100 words per day. I have many ideas on subjects to write about, but sometimes it’s nice to write about something fresh and unexpected. That’s how Vocal got my attention.

Vocal teams up with sponsors to offer writing challenges with prizes worth thousands of dollars. I think that is a brilliant idea. Wish I would have thought of it.

What I didn’t know until recently is that Vocal also gives bonuses to their writers. The amounts are small, $5-$10, but you don’t have to have a big following or high engagement. I’m not sure what their criteria is for the bonus. Perhaps it’s for entering their writing challenges? I’m thinking that because Challenges are the only thing I have written on Vocal since I joined last month. In just one month, I made more money on Vocal than nine months on Medium!

If money was my only objective, I would choose Vocal. But, Vocal could take some lessons from Medium. As a long time blogger who appreciates features, Medium wins hands-down:

  • App — I was surprised when I went to download the Vocal app and didn’t find one. Even though the Medium app isn’t perfect and I still have to use my laptop to publish posts, I can create a draft on the Medium app, which automatically saves. I love that feature!
  • Editing — If Vocal has an edit feature, I don’t see it. Even if I proofread my story a dozen times, use spellcheck, read it aloud, scrub it with Grammarly, and do whatever else I can think of to make sure my post is perfect, there is always something I see that needs changed after I hit submit. The ability to edit after the story is published is crucial for me.
  • Formatting — Bullets, em dash, quotes, shift/enter for a line break, use of the T and K together as a reminder to fill-in-the-blank before posting…all things I am grateful for as a blogger. Thank you, Medium programmers, for making the display part of our job seamless.
  • Engagement — I don’t understand what the 50 claps are about on Medium. I know claps are how writers used to get paid on Medium, but that’s no longer the case. One clap will do, but if you do one clap when 50 claps are available, it seems like that’s saying the article really isn’t that great. Am I right? Vocal has a heart you can click on to show the writer you like their story. You can also give them a monetary tip! But that’s where the engagement ends on Vocal. We writers need more feedback than that. For a lot of introverted writers, like me, interacting with our readers is our social time. I love reading and responding to comments. I also like to follow my readers and fellow writers. Another game-changer that makes Medium the clear winner!
  • Publications — I love that you can create your own Publication on Medium. It’s a great way to find like-minded souls to connect with. My favorite publication on Medium (besides my own, of course) is The Riff, created by Noah Levy. It’s the perfect place for music-loving writers to connect. Vocal has a Community section which I guess is their version of Publications, but they create them, not the writers. They must not have received the memo, that we Indie authors like being in control of our writing. Medium is quickly becoming the perfect home for independent writers. I think I got on board at the perfect time!

I’m sure there are more comparisons I’ve missed being new to the platforms, but these are the features that stand out to me. And while I may go play in the other sandbox from time to time, Medium is home.

For those who like to skip to the bottom line for the results, MEDIUM is the clear winner. That is unless I win the $22k grand prize on Vocal for the last Challenge I entered, in which case I may reconsider. We writers are passionate about our craft, but we do have a price. Just kidding. Love you, Medium. Now, where’s my $500?!

Indie author, poet, creative soul who loves art and life in all its various forms.

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