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How Much does it Cost to Create a Medium clone?

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Yuri Musienko
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Medium is a site that provides its users with a platform to publish their articles. Launched by Blogger and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams in 2012, it has become one of the most popular private and corporate blogging platforms in a few years thanks to its clean design, ease of use, and rich features. In this article, we'll tell you how to build an online publishing platform like Medium and how much it costs.

What affects the cost of development?

Complexity of the project. The cost of creating a clone depends most of all on two factors: the complexity of the project and the location of the developer company. Complexity means the number and depth of working through of platform functions. In the case of developing a platform for publishing blogs, the gradation is as follows:
  • Simple - up to 400 hours to develop. It is a simple website where you can read and publish your texts using a relatively primitive editor. The design of the site and articles is template, it's just a copied design of Medium with minimal changes. There are no such things as API integration, recommendations, premium access, etc. In addition, simple projects usually run on only one platform (web interface).
  • Average - from 500 to 800 hours. Such projects have advanced functionality and design tailored for a specific niche and target audience. There is integration with important APIs (for example, with social networks and payment systems), an advanced editor, responsive design, support for multiple languages and a mobile application (Android and iOS).
  • Complex - from 800 to 1500 hours. These are online platforms like Amazon, YouTube and Facebook. They have a unique design, maximum uniqueness and a large number of API integrations. In the case of creating a clone, this means the presence of such things: a Readymag-level editor, geotargeting, pulling images and videos from Instagram, YouTube and other platforms, recommendations based on neural networks, support for all platforms, etc.
Developer location. Your Medium clone should be easy to use, have a unique design, a reliable backend, and a high level of security for sensitive data. This can only be achieved through custom development, which is best left to a full development company like Merehead. Since only in this case you will receive a guaranteed high-quality product, and not a template clone script.

The cost of hiring such a company depends mainly on its location. So, the average developer rate in the United States of America is $ 95 per hour, in Western Europe - $ 67 per hour, in Eastern Europe - $ 32 per hour. Interestingly, the quality of work of specialists from different regions is, in fact, the same, so Apple, Google, Microsoft and other IT giants quite often outsource a part of their project development to "cheaper" countries.

Here is the estimated cost of creating a clone, depending on the complexity of your project and the possible location of the developer company:

How Much does it Cost to Create a Medium clone

How much does it cost to create a Medium clone

The clone development process consists of the following stages: market research, design development, coding and testing. Further we will give a brief description of these stages and indicate their approximate cost.

Market research cost

As with launching any website, building an online content publishing platform like Medium starts with defining a project concept. You must clearly understand what kind of platform you are creating and what audience it will be targeting. Because if you just clone the design and functionality of Medium and then release that project to the market, then it is unlikely to be successful. People simply won't have a reason to use your site, and not Medium, Tumblr, Steemit, Textpattern or another popular platform.

To make your site popular, you need to conduct market research that will help you understand what unique user value will motivate people to use it. This value could be niche orientation, unique functionality, new business model, improved security, or simply support for a specific language.

The cost of marketing research depends on its depth:

  • Top-level report - from $100 to $1000. This is a surface scan of the industry, which will provide answers to the most basic questions: the wishes of the target audience, the pros and cons of competitors and the main trends. Typically, this analysis is carried out through the study of open marketing and statistical data, and not our own research.
  • Full market report - from $1500 to $8000 (most companies spend from $ 3500 to $ 4000). Such analysis implies deeper market research, including through our own surveys and focus groups. Thanks to them, you can study the audience, competitors and trends in more detail, as well as highlight promising niches.
  • Detailed market report on the product - from $15000 to $35000 (mostly companies spend about $25000). Such research provides the most detailed information about the market, target audience, competitors and trends. At the same time, the document gives a forecast for the development of the market and the chosen niche, which takes into account both current trends and the possibility of new ones and their impact on the market, niche, competitors and preferences of the target audience.

The cost of website design development

How Much does it Cost to Create a Medium clone

The process of creating an application design - from the frame to the animated prototype. Source

Once you have decided on the concept, you can start developing the design of your Medium clone, which will be focused on the chosen niche and target audience. The creation of such a design consists of the following steps:
  • Wireframing – from14 to 140 hours, or from $448 to $4480. Web designers create multiple sketches that outline the main screens, interface elements, and transitions. A brief description of all elements, processes and functions is given. The purpose of the wireframe is to show a structure with very simple interface elements and content placement.
  • Creation of a layout of the interface - from 14 to 210 hours or from $448 to $6720. The next stage creates a static representation of the site design with medium and high accuracy, which allows you to understand how the Medium clone will look like in the end. This allows programmers to understand what and how to implement in the code. In addition, a layout is a great way to attract potential investors for early project financing.
  • Creation of a working prototype - from 7 to 200 hours or from $224 to $6400. At this stage, an interactive prototype of the interface is created, where all design elements (buttons, transitions, videos) work. Thanks to this, you can understand how a completely finished website and / or application will work.

Cost of creating basic functions

Reader Panel - 150 hours or $ 4800. Regular users log onto Medium to read articles. Previously, all publications were free and available without the need for registration. Now, without registration, you can read only a few texts. In addition, a couple of years ago, the authors had the opportunity to make access to their content paid through a subscription.

Here are the features readers need:

  • Registration, login. You can create a new Medium account via email and Google, Facebook, Twitter or Apple accounts.
  • Content search system. This is a simple search using keywords and filters: topic, people (persons), tags and content type (stories, publications).
  • Profile customization. The ability to change the nickname and avatar, add a short story about yourself, slightly change the interface, etc.
  • Text chat, comments. Readers should be able to communicate with each other and leave comments under the publications.
  • Payment solutions. It should also be possible to link the account to a bank card or electronic payment system in order to subscribe to a premium subscription to the platform as a whole or to a competitor.
  • Ratings and reviews. This is an optional feature, but you cannot do without it. Sites like Medium can rate both publications and authors.
  • The system will inform you about new texts of your favorite authors, the upcoming end of the subscription, platform updates, and more.
Writer / Author Panel - 500 hours or $16000. Now, anyone can publish texts on Medium. It is enough to register and use a fairly functional editor. In this case, you can use not only text, but also images, gifs and videos. We also implemented pulling media from YouTube, Twitter, GitHub, Kickstarter, SoundCloud, Instagram, etc.

Here are the features authors need (in addition to those implemented for readers):

  • Text editor. On Medium, authors work through a relatively simple text editor like WYSIWYG (acronym from English - What You See Is What You Get). It allows you to publish regular articles, personal notes, stories, photo stories, massive essays and journalistic investigations. The design of the texts is "clean" and does not contain advertising inserts from the platform.
  • Co-writing of texts. Medium supports collaboration on text: co-authors and reviewers can comment on drafts and suggest edits. Only the author of the text can make edits.
  • Premium access. The opportunity to monetize your writing on Medium appeared in 2017. Authors can restrict access to their publications only to those who have subscribed to them. The site also added a general premium subscription for $ 5 per month, giving access to content that is created with the support of Medium.
  • Statistics, reporting. Authors can view information about their own texts: shows, reads, time of reading, recommendations, comments, etc. Key data is presented in the form of graphs.
  • Marketing tools. These can be notifications to subscribers about a new publication, discounts for regular subscribers, etc.
  • Payment solutions. Since authors can make their texts paid, they should also be able to withdraw the earned funds to bank cards, electronic payment systems or cryptocurrency.
Administrator panel - 200 hours or $6400.The functionality of this panel provides the administrator with up-to-date data on the state of the platform and makes it possible to manage users, content and payment instruments.

Here are the main elements of the admin interface:

  • Control panel. This is a dashboard with data about the platform: traffic, number of users, number of new and old texts, etc.
  • Member management. Allows you to ban and delete both regular users and authors. The reason for the ban may be incorrect behavior or articles in which there is racism, insults on religious grounds, drug propaganda (instructions for making and using), etc.
  • Content management. Administrators cannot change or make edits to the text on Medium. If the text does not comply with the rules of the site, the administrator can recommend the author to change it, if this did not happen within a certain period of time, then the text is simply deleted.
  • Payment management. Allows you to set the size of the subscription and what the subscription applies to. It should also be possible to set the minimum and maximum subscription size for authors.
  • Reports and analytics. Allows the administrator to get a summary of all key business processes for recent periods.

What you need to create a Medium clone

Technology stack. Medium is written using the Node.js and Go (for images) programming languages. The editor with which the authors write articles is developed based on the Tiny Moxiecode Content Editor (TinyMCE). TinyMCE is built for easy integration with JavaScript libraries (React, Vue.js, AngularJS and Bootstrap) and Joomla! and WordPress. The server side of the platform was originally built on the basis of AWS: EC2, S3 and CloudFront. In 2017, AWS integration was expanded with EBS, Route 53 and RDS for Aurora.

When creating a clone, you can use similar tools as well:

  • Hosting — Google, Azure.
  • Content delivery network — Cloudflare / Amazon CloudFront.
  • Programming languages — Node.js, Java, PHP and Ruby on Rails.
  • Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) — Firebase, Parse, Oracle and Red Hat.
  • Database — MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL and MongoDB.
  • Analysis, reporting, statistics — Google Analytics or Mix Panel.
  • Payment services — Braintree, Stripe, PayPal.
  • Data backup — Amazon S3.
  • Geo targeting — API Google Maps and Google Places.
  • Push notifications - Twilio, Push.io, Firebase, RabbitMQ.
  • SMS, voice communication and phone check — Nexmo, Twilio
  • Nginx messaging queues — AWS Simple Queue System
  • Log management — Logstash, ELK Stack.
  • Deployment — Docker and Ansible
  • Load balancer — Nginx.
  • Security — Spring Security.
  • Email — MailChimp Integration.
  • Code repository — Git.
For the mobile version of the clone:
  • Programming languages — Kotlin for Android, Swift and Objective-C for iOS.
  • Architecture — MVVM for Android; MVC, MVP and MVVM for iOS.
  • IDE — Android Studio and Xcode for iOS.
  • SDK — Android SDK and iOS SDK.
Development team composition:
  • Project manager.
  • 1-2 iOS developers.
  • 1-2 Android developers.
  • 1-2 Front-end developers.
  • 1-2 Backend developers.
  • 1-2 UI / UX developers.
  • 1-2 QA specialists.

Summing up

The cost of creating a Medium clone ($ 32/hour)

How Much does it Cost to Create a Medium clone


How Much does it Cost to Create a Medium clone? key takeaways:

#1. What affects the cost of development?
#2. How much does it cost to create a Medium clone
#3. Market research cost
#4. The cost of website design development
#5. Cost of creating basic functions
#6. What you need to create a Medium clone
#7. Summing up

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Yuri Musienko
Author of the post
Merehead is a leading development company

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