How to make your Medium Publication look professional

Medium recently announced new customization features for publications that finally allows for personalization. This article will show you how to make your publication look great.

If you are posting your content to Medium you are already a step ahead of the curve. To take advantage of the new customization options you will need to organize your articles into a publication. If you aren’t the editor or owner of your publication then you won’t see the customization options. If you don’t already have a publication you will need to create a new one. This is really easy to do. Click on your user icon on the top right of the page. Select “Publications.” On the top there is an option to create “New Publication”. Select that.

The publication dialog allowing you to fill in details about your publication.

You’ll want to carefully name your publication because the name will be used to form the URL. Once you start posting articles and sharing them you won’t want to change the name of your publication because it could break the URL.

The description field is also important because Medium will use that to better understand what sort of content you are posting. This will be important for recommending your articles to readers who are interested in the same topics.

The publication avatar is shown at the bottom of your articles and on previews through out Medium. Here is an example one on of my articles where I’m using a black cat as an avatar image:

This is the footer that is shown below my articles that are published in Black Cat.

The publication logo is shown at the top of the navbar when reading an article. The screenshot below shows the publication logo on my publication Black Cat:

Black Cat is the name of my publication.

The rest of the “new publication” dialog is meta data that can be helpful for your readers but isn’t necessary to make your publication look great. Once you’ve created your publication you will want to edit the layout and style. To do this simply browse to your publication and click the “owner’ button at the top right of the page and choose “edit.”

This is the customized header for Black Cat — one of my publications.

I added a background image to my header and transformed it into this:

Snazzy huh?

At the top of the page you should see three options: Info, Homepage Layout, and Homepage Navigation. Start customizing your publication by clicking on “Homepage layout.”

Now you can customize the look of your publication’s homepage. The first option at the top allows you to specify the header. In my case I chose a black background and a large centered image that says “black cat.” You will want to make sure that your image uses a transparent background to take advantage of the color background. I used a png file for mine.

When selecting the color you have the choice of “bold” and “subtle.” If you choose “bold” the entire header will change to the color of your choice. If you choose “subtle” then only the html links will be colorized.

You also have the choice of using a logo, title text or both at the top of your page. I selected a logo in my example.

Trending stories in grid view with text on the photo previews.

For the next portion of your homepage you will want to add content sections by choosing the “plus” button at the top of each section. There will be a couple of options that you can choose from for how content will be filled in each section. You can choose:

  • Trending — These are your trending articles.
  • Latest — these are your latest articles
  • Featured — this option allows you to hand select individual articles
  • Tagged — this option allows you to select articles based on their tags

You can have multiple content sections. In my example on Black Cat I’ve got five content sections. You can also choose the number of articles that will show up in each section. For the example above I’ve got a “Trending” section with 3 articles. I also selected “Grid”, “show titles on the photos” and “leave space between articles” options.

The next section is my “Latest” stories section and I’ve used the “List” option with 5 stories. This section also uses my description that I entered when I created my publication for a “About your publication” section to the right.

Options for showing latest articles in a list view. Notice the “About your publication” box on the right.

The next section on my homepage leverages featured articles that I’ve manually curated. They are stories that I spent a lot of time writing and I want them to be read. They look like this:

Featured stories (where I manually select the articles).

The last part of my homepage utilizes the tagged section. I’ve got articles that I tagged with “Review” which looks like this:

Tagged story section for articles tagged with “Review.”

The last customization step that you want to consider is a main menu. You can get to this option by choosing “Homepage Navigation” at the top of the page. Mine looks like this:

Homepage Navigation builder.

This option creates a main menu on the header of your publication. It allows quick access to the tags that are most important to your readers.

Hopefully this guide will help you customize your Medium publication. You might want to also check out Unsplash for some great public domain photographs for making your articles look beautiful. I also recommend this html color selector for choosing background colors on your header. They are in hexadecimal so you will need a color selector to generate the codes.

If you get it all right your publication will look great. Medium did a great job adding just enough customization to make it your own while maintaining the beautiful look and feel of the site.

By joshkerr

Josh is an 8x startup founder and angel investor.

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