Medium’s Layout: How to Adjust Your Stories to Earn the Most Money

The insights that will determine if your article receives DOLLARS versus pennies.

Question: When writing on Medium, which of the following metrics directly correlates into earnings? (Highlight the right answer)

  • Number of Keywords
  • Number of Views
  • Number of Reads
  • Number of Claps
  • Number of Comments
  • Number of Minutes Spent Reading Your Illustrious, Well-Composed, Original Work-of-Art

You’re probably thinking, “this isn’t new information — most writers know Member Reading Time equates to money,” and you would be correct, except you’re overlooking two new aspects added by Medium:

How does an author’s homepage design affect Member Reading Time?

Why are authors getting Views but registering ZERO minutes?

To answer these questions, we will assess the following changes.

Layout Change: Writer’s Homepage

Medium’s changes are most noticeable on the writer’s homepage. Authors can now optimize their homepages with a “Design” that best reflects their style.

You can alter your homepage by clicking on the “Design” link within your Settings and tinkering with the various preferences. You will be surprised how beautiful your homepage can become.

Medium’s New Layout, Medium’s New Layout, Medium’s New Layout, Medium’s New Layout, Medium’s New Layout, Medium’s New Layout
Medium’s New Layout, Medium’s New Layout, Medium’s New Layout, Medium’s New Layout, Medium’s New Layout, Medium’s New Layout
Screenshot captured by Author | Medium’s New Layout

Overall, the Design feature is a new addition, and it allows individuals to customize their landing page — providing a greater viewer experience. However, the changes do not stop there; they also include a new feature that allows readers to Preview an Article.

To understand how the Preview Mode affects your earnings, continue reading.


All stories on the homepage are automatically in preview mode for your readers to scan. This feature allows viewers to read your story’s first few paragraphs before clicking on “Read more” to continue. This idea may seem like a good thing, but it comes with a BIG CAVEAT!

If the reader does not click on the obscure green “Read more” link, the author’s minute meter will never register any minutes. In other words, you won’t make any money until readers click on the “Read more” link.

Screenshot captured by Author

This new change makes your first words of every story — critical; they will need to be captivating.

Save the meat-and-potatoes, and serve the dessert first.

Overall, think of your title, subtitle, and first paragraphs as an advertisement. Find a way to compel readers to continue reading by clicking the tiny green link at the end of the preview.

Insights into Preview Mode

With this new format and layout, inquisitive minds are already thinking:

How many words are captured in the Preview Mode — before a reader has to click on “Read More”?

Specifically, how many words before an ellipsis (…) symbol shows signifying the reader must click on the green link to continue reading?

To answer this question, I counted the number of words before an ellipsis (…) symbol showed for each of my twelve previous articles.

Here’s what I found:

The chart shows the article titles by the number of words shown in the preview. Can you spot a pattern?

The average number of words in the preview for my previous twelve articles was 112. This insight means when crafting a Medium story, your first 112 words are the most critical for success. These words are essentially an advertisement.

If you cannot capture the reader’s attention and compel them to click on the “Read more” link, your story will earn $0. However, if you make the mistake of oversharing in the preview, the reader has no incentive to continue reading.

You will have to find the right balance between carefully crafting your story’s preview and saving the essence of your writing for the middle/later parts.

Temporary vs. Permanent

Like most aspects of Medium, the newest update is subject to change. My guess is this article will obsolete in 2.5 months because a new set of updates will have rolled out.

Personally, the continually changing arena is something I find appealing.

Nonetheless, I am confident of one thing. Anytime a new set of changes are rolled out, an army of writers (including yours truly) are ready to dissect, investigate, and report back with strategies.

In other words, I wouldn’t worry about how and when Medium will change, as long as you’re willing to evolve alongside the platform.

Supporting Your Fellow Writers

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”

― Neil Gaiman

Lastly, I’ll close by adding one more topic for your consideration — Read Time.

As a writer, I aim to support fellow writers by reading their works. It is my way of paying it forward but also learning at the same time.

Here is what I mean: clicking on profiles, reading past bios, graduating past the previews, clicking on the obscure “Read more” links, and spending time reading the stories written by fellow authors.

As crucial as views, claps, and comments are to triggering an algorithm, it does not compare to the actual minutes invested by readers.

Personally, observing the writing styles of my fellow writers is a joy.

Read More From KR Franklin

Editor of Fellowship Writers

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