Red-hot blogging tool Medium just got a facelift

Ev Williams Illustration Twitter MediumMike Nudelman/Business InsiderEv Williams, CEO of Medium.

Medium, the red-hot blogging platform that recently raised $US57 million (£37.1 million) in funding, just got a facelift. The site has a new logo, and a suite of a new features to accompany it.

Founder and CEO Ev Williams announced the news — where else? — on Medium on Wednesday night, writing that the company is introducing “a slew of updates to bring Medium to the next level and in the process make it more powerful, more fun, and more democratic.”

Medium also held a press conference in San Francisco to discuss the changes. These include revamped apps, the inclusion of “mentions” to tag other Medium users in posts, and an API that lets users write in third-party apps and then publish to Medium.

Williams, also one of the Twitter cofounders, created Medium in August 2012. It has quickly grown to become the place to self-publish online, especially for the tech community. As Williams points out, everyone from Bono to Melinda Gates to author John Green has posted to the site in the last few weeks. The company says more than 20,000 people publish on Medium each week.

Medium’s clean interface also makes it a favourite for brands and promotional blogs looking to get their message out: “Medium has become a dumping ground for a different generation’s press releases,” my colleague Biz Carson wrote last month. In addition to its self-publishing tools, it has a number of in-house publications — including tech vertical Backchannel.

As part of this new update, Medium has been rebranded, eschewing its old black-and-white serif M in favour of a new isometric, gently shaded letter. Here’s a before-and-after:

In late September, Medium raised $US57 million, in a funding round that reportedly valued the company at $US400 million (£260 million). Investors included buzzy Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, along with Google Ventures, Greylock Partners, and others.

So what’s changed in Medium? In addition to the new logo, there are — as previously mentioned — new apps for mobile (iOS/Android), the introduction of mentions that let users tag others in a similar way to how you can @-someone on Twitter, and an API that will let external apps and word processors publish content directly to Medium.

Another significant change is letting anyone use custom domains with Medium (a feature that had previously been tested with a small pool of users). This means your Medium site can become your homepage, and you get to keep your original domain name. Band Stroke9 already does this with their site; Programming blog is another example.

It’s an attractive prospect for startups and other small businesses looking for a clean interface to promote themselves and don’t mind ceding technical control to Medium — and puts Medium in competition with more established publishing platforms like WordPress in the process.

Medium also says it is improving editor tools “to make writing easier” on the site.

Williams says there are more changes coming in the months ahead (as you might expect, with $US50 million in the bank), and that Medium will be “exploring new ways for professional and independent content creators to connect with both brands and their readers.”

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