How to Migrate your Blog Content from Medium to Squarespace
Why You Should Crosspost Your Content on Both Platforms to Maximize SEO (and How to Do It)
Just this week, we at Humanlytics decided to migrate all of our past content (including our tutorials, Q&As, and think pieces) from our Medium blog (Analytics for Humans) to our Squarespace website (humanlytics.co).
Why did we move all our blog posts from Medium to Squarespace? After all, migrating about 55 articles is not a trivial task.
As with most content and blogging platforms, both Medium and Squarespace had their own strengths and weaknesses.
At the end of the day, our priority is to develop an inbound marketing strategy using content marketing in preparation for our beta launch later this year. To that end, it strategically makes more sense for us to publish our content on our website, and then to cross-post on Medium (we’ll cover this later).
If you’re like us and want to migrate your content from Medium to a Squarespace website, I have good news and bad news.
The bad news is there are no native integrations or built-in import tools on Medium or Squarespace to support such a migration. And whereas Medium previously allowed you to embed Medium posts on other sites, this feature is no longer supported (unless you create your own solution with the Medium API).
There are migration tools and tutorials to move Medium content to a Wordpress website (and vice versa), as well as from Wordpress to Squarespace (and vice versa). However, I couldn’t find a single tutorial on Google for importing Medium content to Squarespace.
Thankfully, the good news is that you don’t need to import all your content by manually copy-and-pasting every post. Our solution is to first import your Medium content into a temporary Wordpress account, and then import the Wordpress files into your Squarespace website as an .xml file.
In this article, we will cover:
- The Pros and Cons of a Medium Blog vs a Website Blog
- How to Migrate Content from Medium to Squarespace using Wordpress
- Crossposting with Medium’s Import Tool to Maximize Your SEO
The Pros and Cons of a Medium Blog vs a Website Blog
So before we dive into how to migrate content from Medium to Squarespace, let’s start with why you should (or should not) make the migration in the first place. What are the tradeoffs between these two platforms? (If you’ve already made the decision, skip to the next section)
We briefly covered this topic in our interview with Calum McClelland, Managing Editor at IoT For All (one of the most popular blogs on the Internet of Things). In that article, Calum explains why he decided to post content on their own website blog, and repost it on Medium with canonical links.
Here are the strengths of Medium and a website blog that went into our decision to migrate our content:
Advantages of Medium
- Intuitive out-of-the-box platform: Medium makes publishing content very simple and user-friendly. It’s really fast to set up an account or publication and start writing. You can share drafts with other editors or writers on your team, and schedule future posts. And it’s 100% free (no monthly hosting fees).
- Well-designed for readability: Medium is like the Apple of blog platforms. Visual design choices like typography, font style, visual hierarchy, and spacing are already made for you. Built-in features like the abundance of white space and the estimated reading times (at the top of the article) make Medium stories very easy to read.
- Organic discoverability: On Medium, readers can follow their topics of interest and discover new articles on their home page. Readers can also follow publications and writers, and will be notified when new publication content is published. This makes it easy to build a list of followers on Medium, something that is not built-in to many website blog platforms like Squarespace. In this way, Medium has some of the benefits of a social media platform like Twitter, but optimizes for more high-quality, thoughtful writing.
- Built-in features and analytics: Many features that content writers need are built-in to Medium. For instance, Medium comes with a simple analytics feature that tracks views, reads, read ratio, referrals, and more for each story. Medium also makes it easy to embed content such as images, GIFs, Youtube videos, and plug-ins (e.g. a Mailchimp signup form).
Advantages of a Website Blog
- Maximum Control over Design: While Medium does offer some layout options for your publication, you can customize the layouts and UX design of a website blog to a much greater extent. For example, Hubspot’s blog includes different sections for marketing, sales, and customer success content, and also incorporates call-to-action cards with animations. Furthermore, you can add media such as videos (that are not on Youtube) and interactive elements.
- Builds SEO and traffic for your website: If your goal is simply to maximize views of your content, then Medium’s SEO is decent. However, posting your content on your website drives traffic to your website and enhances its SEO.
- Rich User Data: Although Medium makes it easy to gain followers, you may know nothing about them. With a website, web analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Heap Analytics can tell you a lot more about your blog readers (e.g. gender and location). You can even retarget these visitors with Google Adwords ads.
- Less Friction to Conversion: If your call-to-action or conversion goal (e.g. a product purchase) takes place on your website, it is much easier for a reader to go from your content to your conversion goal when they are already on your website.
- Ownership of Leads: As with most social platforms, the future of Medium is not guaranteed. If Medium went under, you would lose all of your followers.
All things considered, Medium is better for organic discoverability and building followers, but a website blog gives you much more design control and user information.
But you don’t have to choose between posting only on Medium or only on your website blog. You can have the best of both worlds by first posting your content on your website blog, and then reposting (or “cross-posting”) it on your Medium blog using the import tool. We will explain how cross-posting works in the last section of this article.
But first, if you’ve thought through the pros and cons and decided either (1) to post only on your website or (2) to cross-post on both Medium and your website, you’ll have to move all your past Medium content to your website blog.
If your website blog is on Wordpress, check out this tutorial on how to move content from Medium to Wordpress.
If your website blog is on Squarespace, then read on!
How to Migrate Content from Medium to Squarespace using Wordpress
There are four main steps to moving content from Medium to Squarespace:
- Export Medium content
- Import in Wordpress
- Export Wordpress content
- Import in Squarespace website
1) Export Medium content
The first thing you’ll have to do is export all your Medium posts as HTML files in a .zip file. You can request this .zip file at https://medium.com/me/export.
This can only be done by author (i.e. all the posts published under your name), not by publication. So if your publication has multiple authors, you’ll have to do this step for each writer.
Once you’ve downloaded the .zip file(s), you may want to delete all the posts or drafts that you do not want to import. To do this, simply uncompress the .zip file(s), delete the unwanted posts, and then recompress them into another .zip file.
2) Import in Wordpress
Next, you’ll want to create a free Wordpress account (if you don’t have one already). This account will only serve the purpose of migrating your data, so feel free to delete the Wordpress account or website after you are finished.
Go to wordpress.com and click on the “Get Started” button. Then click on “Start with a website.”
Choose a theme and a free site address (it doesn’t really matter since this is just for migrating your content). Choose the “Free” plan by clicking on “Start with Free.” Then create your account with a username and password.
Once you’ve created an account and your site is live, click on “My Site” in the top nav bar to open the side bar. Then click on “Settings” at the bottom of the side bar. At the bottom of the Settings page, click the “Import” tab (My Site >> Settings >> Import).
On the import page, click “Start Import” in the Medium section. Then drag your .zip Medium export file into the box.
It’ll take some time to process the uploaded file. If you have multiple authors or contributors on your blog (and you want to preserve the correct authors on your Squarespace website), you’ll have to create a new Wordpress account for each author, add them to the Wordpress site as Admins, and import their respective posts.
When you import an author’s posts, Wordpress will then prompt you to match the posts in the .zip file with the correct person. When you have the right person, click “Start Import.”
Importing will take some time. Wordpress will notify you if and when it is successfully uploaded.
Here is a detailed tutorial on how to move content from Medium to Wordpress from the Wordpress support page:
You’re halfway done! Now all you have to do is export your Wordpress content and import it into Squarespace.
3) Export Wordpress content
To export your Wordpress content, you have to go to your WP Admin dashboard.
You can get to this dashboard by adding /wp-admin to the end of your site’s url (e.g. example.wordpress.com/wp-admin). Once there, hover over “Tools” in the sidebar and click “Export.”
Click “Start Export.”
Click “Posts.” Select which posts you want to move to Squarespace. Then click “Download Export File.”
This will download an .xml file that you’ll use to import into Squarespace.
4) Import in Squarespace
Log in to your Squarespace account. In the sidebar, go to Settings >> Advanced >> Import/Export.
Once there, click “Import,” and then “Wordpress.” In the pop-up window, click the Advanced tab. Drag your .xml file into the XML Export Upload box.
Once it’s successfully uploaded, your content will appear in the “Not Linked” section of the Pages panel (which is by default hidden from your website visitors).
To enable your imported content and make it visible, hover over the page title in the side bar, and click the gear-icon next to the title. Check “enabled” and hit “save.” You can now move the page by drag-and-dropping it to a navigation section.
Now that your content is live on your Squarespace site, you can now configure your authors, categories, and tags.
For more info, check out the Squarespace guide on importing from Wordpress:
Congratulations, you’ve officially moved your content from Medium to Squarespace!
Crossposting with Medium’s Import Tool to Maximize Your SEO
As I mentioned earlier, what I recommend (and what we are doing at Humanlytics going forward) is publishing content on your website blog, and then cross-posting on Medium. This gives you the discoverability and follower-building benefits of Medium, as well as the SEO and control benefits of using your own blog.
However, if you simply copy and paste the content from your website to Medium, you risk hurting the SEO and search rankings for both your Medium blog and your website blog.
As this Medium help page explains, “Sites that publish an over abundance of duplicate content without indicating a canonical link may be penalized in search engine rankings.” That’s why I strongly recommend using Medium’s official cross-posting tools: the Migration tool, Import tool, and Wordpress plugin. These tools automatically ensure that the source it is importing from is assigned as the “canonical link.”
What is a canonical link, you may ask?
“Search engines use canonical links to determine and prioritize the ultimate source of content, removing confusion when there are multiple copies of the same document in different locations.”
Because Medium’s tools automatically add canonical links to prioritize your original content posted on your website blog, Medium can only add to your SEO, not subtract from it. It’s a win-win.
And how do you check to make sure the Medium post has the correct canonical link?
After the post is published, right click and click “View Page Source”. Ctrl-F (or Cmd-F) for “canonical.” The first result will highlight the link you imported from, and it should match the URL of your website blog post.
So the workflow going forward should be:
- Publish a post on your website blog
- Repost on Medium using the Import tool
- View Page Source for the Medium post to make sure it has the right canonical link
I hope you found this tutorial helpful! If you run into any trouble along the way, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d love to help.
Some possible next actions:
- Migrate & Cross-Post: If you’re currently using Medium as your blog, consider moving your content to your website blog to get the benefits of both platforms. Going forward, use the Medium import tool to cross-post your website content on Medium.
- Optimize: Once you’ve migrated your posts onto your website, organize your content with categories and tags to present visitors with your most engaging content. Add a clear and engaging call-to-action at the end of every post to create a conversion funnel on your website (e.g. content >> video >> product page >> checkout).
- Monitor: Use Google Analytics to track traffic (e.g. sessions or users), engagement (e.g. average session duration), and conversions (e.g. page value) on your blog pages. Over time, identify the “winners” in your content portfolio that get the most traction, and create more content with similar topics, keywords, and style.