Some of biggest problems facing music blog editors today is how to best manage their content and how to afford the costs associated with running a digital publication. As time passes and sites begin to age, these needs continue to grow, and the costs associated with handling them increase as well. Hosting in particular can be extremely costly, and most publications resort to banner ads or other intrusive/distracting money-making ideas that ultimately lower the quality of the site they’re trying to maintain.
Medium, which has been growing in popularity over the last few years, may be the solution to both these problems. Earlier today, April 5, Medium announced it had released a new set of tools to empower digital publishers. A blog update announcing the new features reads:
Medium is already home to the best writing on the internet. For publishers, we want it to feel even more like home. That means giving publications a way to express their own identities on the platform. This week we are rolling out new branding tools that will allow publications to customize color, layout, and navigation.
Right now on the web, publishers are forced to spend time and money maintaining their aging content management systems. Expensive redesigns inevitably fail to keep up with the rapid pace of technological innovation.On Medium, publishers have full control over their content and spend exactly zero time, money, or effort on tech and hosting, instead focusing their resources on producing great content and reaching new audiences.
As if free hosting, customization and content management were not enough, Medium is also introducing tools to help migrate content of all sizes, as well as advertising solutions that the company promises will be far less intrusives than the ads most sites currently rely on for income.
Along with these announcements, Medium took steps to prove people outside the company believe in its future as well by sharing a list of popular sites that had already made the decision to switch. These companies were selected and contacted by Medium over the last few weeks, and many already have sites live on the platform, including Film School Rejects. The Awl, Pacific Standard, and Electric Literature are also on board.
While these tools and the idea of no-cost hosting are pretty sweet, there are still drawbacks to using Medium that may make it hard for some to consider the switch. Specifically, the lack of customization. The sites already active each have a branding banner across the top of their sites, and from what we’ve seen it appears the layout of content is customizable to an extent, but at the end of the day it’s hard to tell one premium publishers from another with the current system. This may, and most likely will, change in time, but for now it’s hard to ignore that almost every publication hosted on Medium looks pretty much the same.
Also, Medium has not revealed any information regarding the process of migrating off their platform. The company has undergone many changes in its short life, and while the future seems bright now it may not always be that way. Should you choose to move everything to Medium, there is a chance – as there is with any platform (Tumblr, for example) that offers a solution to hosting – that you will need to come up with yet another solution down the line. You’re not exactly paying to use Medium, so you don’t get a say in how things work. By moving everything to their platform you’re putting your faith, hard work, and industry future in the hands of someone else. Is it worth the risk? That’s not for us to say, but you should give careful consideration to every decision related to hosting as will ultimately impact every other aspect of your publication.