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Should you use Medium or dev.to?

davidmm1707 profile image David MM๐Ÿ Originally published at letslearnabout.net ใƒป6 min read

Original Post Should you use Medium or dev.to?

Should you use Medium or dev.to?

Medium or dev.to

Medium or dev.to, which one should you use as a blogging platform? What are the pros and cons of each one?

I asked myself those questions too, and now, with a few weeks of experience, I can answer them.


Introduction

A few days, @tomkastek reached me on a DM via Twitter (I'm @DavidMM1707 there, by the way). He was interested in a blogging platform and was indecisive between Medium and dev.to:

It was a good question. A question I asked myself, and the best way to answer it was to try both.

I started on Medium. A few days before I saw reasons to move to use dev.to too. And I saw benefits and drawbacks of both platforms.

And I'm going to list them here, but before thatโ€ฆ


What is Medium?

Medium or dev.to

Medium is an online publishing platform. It is an example of social journalism, having a combination of amateur and professional writers and publications, and it is regarded a blog hosts.

And it looks like this:

It has cool things like a polished and clean style, publications and more. You can follow me there as DavidMM.

But, what about dev.to?


What is dev.to?

Dev.to is an online community for sharing and discovering great ideas, having debate and making friends.

It is a blogging platform? A chat room? A forum? For me, all 3 things combined.

Not as polished as Medium, but better for engaging other developers. And you can follow me there too.

Now we know both platforms, butโ€ฆwhat about their pros and cons?


Medium pros and cons

Now, my Medium pros and cons:

Pros

  • Easy to write on. Writing in Medium is easy to do and clean.

  • Importing articles. You can import your articles from anywhere to Medium. I use it to link my own website articles to Medium so I can share them there too.
  • Cool stats. You know how many people watched your post, how many read them, a % of Read Ratio, etc.

  • You get a lot of views โ€ฆif you write in a publication (More info on cons)

Cons

  • You get no views. Unless someone lets you write on their publication. I had 1-5 views per publication until someone got me into their publication. After that, I got around hundreds of views (100-450) each day.

Red for no publications, blue for publications and green when I was granted a spot at "Programming" Medium section. You can see the difference.

  • Your content aim is to be on the paywall. While a legit business model, I don't agree with that. I want my articles free and they will always be.
  • Not for programmers. It's extremely hard to post code there. I have to use a plugin to do it and to use it you have to create a gist then link it. It does it automatically but I don't like how it works. It should be copy-paste and that's it.
  • Stupid "like" system. You can vote as much as you want for posts. I had a post with +100 likes and only 11 people liked the post.

Summary

As a programmer, I don't like Medium too much. While it is good to write posts like this one (In fact, I only copied the URL of this post and I imported it, with minor tweaks and that's it), programming-posts with lots of code is taxing.

You almost get no views there unless you get spotted. Then you sky-rocket. My record was almost 500 readers in one day a few weeks after being there. And this:

Mixed feelings as a programmer: Hard to write code, Medium is not aimed as a programmers but for everybody and you don't know who is entering in your posts. But is has a "Read ratio" system so you know how many people actually read it.

And it looks clean.

But now, let's see Dev.to.


dev.to pros and cons

What I like and dislike about dev.to:

Pros

  • Aimed to programmers. 100% of your readers are programmers or people learning to code.
  • Voting system. You can like a video, give it a superlike and/or 'save' it to read it later. I have used a lot the save option to read later/having it as a learning resource.
  • Easy to write code. It's just a tag you throw and then you copy and paste the code. That's it. Zero complexity.
  • Easy to get comments. Even with several hundreds of real readers, I barely have any comment on my Medium posts. In dev.to it is hard to not get any comment and likes/superlikes in any post you create (Prove I'm right!)
  • Tag system. When you create a post, you select one or more tags. People following those tags have a higher chance to find your posts. And you as a reader can just filter out things you don't like only to find things you're interested in, on your feed.
  • Great for sharing code Unlike Medium, you can easily share code on dev.to. For example, using Markdown syntax highlighting:
const hello = (name) => {
    console.log(`hello, ${name}`)
}

You can also embed Kotlin snippets, Glitch, Codepen, JSFiddle and more.

(Thanks to Jean-Michel Fayard, Alexis Benamar and Dominik Lubaล„ski for poiting out my mistake.)

Cons

  • Uses a Markdown system. I don't like it as I don't use it normally (only to create http://README.md files), and while it has an edit and a preview view, you have to switch between both to see what you are doing. You can't import any blog to it unless you can transpile it into Markdown (Thankfully I found one)
  • When you create a user you automatically follow 50 people. Not that it is super bad, but I get like 150 followers daily and I don't know which one is real and which one automatically assigned.

Summary

I like dev.to a lot. There are only developers so 99% of the posts are potentially interesting for you, more 'human' feeling in the form of interactions (comments, likes, etc) and a great platform for developers.


Conclusion

So, answering the initial question: Should you use Medium or dev.to the answer isโ€ฆ it depends.

Wait there before hitting the 'X' or grabbing a pitchfork!

I feel like if you want to write a polished article about something related to the programming world (the hardships of being a junior developer, the problems in the industry, etc) Medium is easier to write and get views.

But if you want to go more technical, be in a community, have and give feedback, etc Dev.to is the answer.

All in all, the choice is yours. I'll suggest you try both of them and stick to the one you want. Or use both, as I do.


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David MM๐Ÿ

@davidmm1707

Software developer (Django/Vue.js). Sometimes learning, sometimes teaching what I learn at https://letslearnabout.net/

Discussion

pic
Editor guide
 

What should note is that on dev.to you can have embedded runnable snippets.

I think they are sooo much better than just a block of code.

They are documented at dev.to/p/editor_guide

For example:

Kotlin Playground {% kotlin URL %}

To create a runnable Kotlin snippet, go to play.kotlinlang.org

And embed it like this:

{% kotlin https://pl.kotl.in/owreUFFUG?theme=darcula&from=3&to=6&readOnly=true %}

Glitch

Go to glitch.com and embed it like {% glitch vuejs %}

CodePen

Go to codepen.io/ and embed it like {% codepen https://codepen.io/twhite96/pen/XKqrJX %}

JSFiddle

Go to jsfiddle.net/ and embed it like: {% jsfiddle https://jsfiddle.net/link2twenty/v2kx9jcd %}

Others

See dev.to/p/editor_guide

 

Oh, I didn't know! I'm going to update the post

 
 

I've been thinking about start writing a long time ago. But just yesterday I do it. And I was making me this question all day. Where to start? I think I'll follow your advice and make it in both places and see how is it goes. Thanks!

 

The big thing missing from dev.to is custom domain names. I'm sure there are a lot of developers (and others) that would quickly move their blog off of Medium if dev.to supported adding custom domain names to their product.

 

or, just run your own static blog (served from GHPages or wherever) with a custom domain, and cross-post to DEV with a Canonical URL back to your blog post. Better than custom-domain.dev.to or custom-domain.medium.com

 

I like your idea but I was was thinking about top level domains (i.e., I have brenton.house as my medium blog). I can still can (and may yet) do what you suggested though until they add support for custom domains.

 

Second this. It is always possible, of course, to run a blog software by ourselves on our own domain but that is not the same thing as publishing on a platform or a network.

 

Another Pros for dev.to is that its SEO is great.

My last article dev.to/adrienpoly/critical-css-wit... on critical CSS for Rails, has been in the top 5 Google results (q="Rails critical CCS") almost since day one

 

You're right on that. Most of my posts are on the first (sometimes second) page of Google. But having my own blog I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing, SEO-wise...

 

It's right. My posts too.

 

Great article, it's nice to always have a choice.

But, I don't agree with your last statement about ugly code, as markdown offers syntax highlighting as a built-in feature. You just need to add the language you used in your code snippet next to the first triple backticks at the top. (You can find the right name for your language on numerous markdown help pages)

For example:

```javascript
const hello = (name) => {
    console.log(`hello, ${name}`)
}
```

will render as:

const sayHello = (name) => {
    console.log(`hello, ${name}`)
}

PS: there are many bullet points where the bold text isn't properly rendered because the closing ** sticks to a word, you might want to check it out ๐Ÿ‘

 

I didn't know. I'm going to update the OP.

 

Markdown is amazing. I like this.

 

Great post!

As the creator of DEV I definitely have some bias, but I'll add a few posts that sort of define the values we have on this issue, and why we make some of our choices...

We really work hard to be a value-add part of the ecosystem, rather than being an all-consuming monopoly on any of this stuff. I hope our work in supporting data portability and the open web are appreciated. ๐Ÿ˜Š

And, of course, we're open source. Together with the community we'll just keep getting better and adding more value to the ecosystem that we don't entirely capture for ourselves.

 

You're MVP ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

 

Self-hostable static blogs is a great new feature.

And yes, you can tell by the number of comments and its type, that this is geared more towards developers.

 

What I'm doing is publish to my own site, then distribute it to Dev.to from there, and link to dev.to for the conversation. That way I get to maintain full control but still engage with the dev.to community.
Example: loftie.com/post/programming-music/

I used to also publish to medium but I'm getting quite literally zero views from them so I stopped, its a bad user experience anyway to get hit with that massive banner.

 

Linking the comments to dev.to is super clever.

 

I see what you did there, and I definitely like it. SMART
Will go for dev.to for now, then work on having mine later.
What do you think? Something from scratch in GitHub blog, or this whole Wordpress thing.
Thanks

 

I published an article about this exact topic: dev.to/maxkatz/where-to-publish-co.... My opinion - developers should publish on their own blog and then syndicate. This way no matter what happens with Medium, Dev.to or any future web site - your content is always on your site.

 

I have a few posts published on both platforms, and I feel like it's nearly impossible to gain traction in Medium without being behind the paywall (which I disagree with entirely), so I still post my articles there, but Dev is my first option.

 

Why do you post there if you dont agree with their hostility towards users?

 

Good question. I don't have a clear answer, but it doesn't cost me anything so I guess why not?

Good Backlinks and views to my own blog are the only reason I see on posting at Medium. If I didn't had one, I wouldn't be there.

I didn't mention it, but I do have a blog of my own, so yeah you pretty much summed it up better than I was able to.

 

I feel Medium is more for proper "articles" and "publications", not so much for discussions.

Dev.to kinda mixes things up a bit, which is good, but I often click on what I think is an article, only to find a one-liner asking a question to the community.

I'd love for that difference to exist in a more meaningful way.

 

That's what the #help is for (or it should be).

I always check how long is a post before clicking on it.

 

True, I don't have the habit of looking for those.

That either says something about the UX, or about me :)

 

My answer is on all of them, not just medium and dev.to - also LinkedIn, Steemit.com, Facebook (probably better in some dev group/page), audio version in sound cloud, anchor.co, video version - on youtube, dailymotion, vimeo, wherever is free. The core process of programming is code and run - to develop something. For the content is the same idea - test, change, test, test, test. The top spot should be the one you control (self-host), not some platform that you have account on (in User Mode). This is the Internet Game of - who would acquire the most attention (and content generation). That is what makes all big companies valuable (content, user base, attention).

 

I didn't know about Steemit.com. I might give it a try.

 

I barely have any reach there, because, it is flooded with content, like most others, but, I'm republishing my stuff there also. It doesn't take too much time. Who knows, from which hat the rabbit will appear.

 

Writing markdown was one of the main reasons I started using dev.to.

I have yet to see a fully functional wysiwyg editor that doesn't bug out after writing 2 sentences with different styling.

If I want a live preview, I usually just write the article in vs code.

 

Agreed. I actually love writing in markdown. I don't know why it's not the default for everything.

 

You should change the title for the Dev.to pro's and cons (its currently Medium pros and cons)

 
 

Sweet! Great post, just finished reading. Always loved Medium because of how clean it looks. And i've always loved dev.to because of the audience and content. This post sums it up pretty accurate!

 

**Ugly code. **While you can use your code in, it is an ugly black background chunk with the text in white. it works but it is hard to read it. Still better than the one in Medium.

Dev.to supports marking language type of the code snippet, so you can get very nice highlighting :)

The only what you have to do is to add language name after opening quotes like javascript. For example:

console.log("I'm highlighted");
 

Thanks. I edited the OP and add the code highlighting as a (another) pro for dev.to.

 

If you find writing markup really annoying, consider using Remarkable . It's a markup editor which gives renders your marktup to actual text in a parallel window. It's really helpful when it comes to writing posts for dev.to or editing MD type documents in general.

 

Thanks for the tip! I'm going to try it as soon as I can.

 

When you create a user you automatically follow 50 people. Not that it is super bad, but I get like 150 followers daily and I don't know which one is real and which one automatically assigned.

Is that true?

 

When I joined (fairly recently) I definitely wasn't assigned people to follow... Or at least definitely not 50 ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

 

Unless I get 1 follower for every 3 views because I'm secretly a future media mogul...yes.

6,054
Total Post Views

FOLLOWERS (1762)

 
 

Support the open web - host your own blog and distribute content as you wish. Don't silo your own work into something you have zero control over. Being dependent on a single vendor is just a bad idea, imho.

 

Medium asks you to pay if you go above the number of posts you can read (3 per week or something like that?). While I think that's fair when the money goes directly to the writer to support the time and effort, if you plan to share your knowledge for free the. . medium is NOT a good place. I think that there are just so many free options out there such as dev.to for you to choose from. That said, you can always sync to multiple news portals.

 

Lol! I am one of your "fake" followers you can say xD
I was automatically following you when i created the account. But hey, now I'm a real follower.
cheers.

 

I have noticed that I'm getting a lot of followers who signed up the same day I'm notified. And I have, like, ONE post, and a few comments. So now I understand: something's adding me automatically.

I guess it's incentive for me to get off my butt and WRITE A POST more :-)

 

Thanks for keeping it real :)

 

I also had this comparison back in June. DEV definitely has more audience than medium. I even gained 6k followers in 2 months because of that one post. Check it here on my blog icenreyes.xyz/posts/a-post-statist...

 

Hm, the audience is tricky.

With Medium, like you, I had between 1-4, until (I don't know why) I was spotted by somebody on a Vue publication. The articles on the publication hit +1000 views easy, as they publish every week a curated list of articles.

But yeah, by myself my posts have like 6-7 views now. On dev.to you get more reads and, more important, feedback in comments.

The followers' thing, as I said, is not real. When I started here I was automatically following 50 people (because the tags I selected).

For example, on my first day, with less than 100 views, I had 152 followers by the end of the day, almost everyone registered the same day.

Today it is my 17th day here and I have 3165 followers, that roughly makes 1 follower by every 2 views...

 

You gain more followers with more posts. I checked your profile and see that you are a consistent writer. Congratulations on that!

 

All these articles intended to compare two things and whose authors say "It depends" in the end... I believe it should be considered as a crime... separate boiler in the hell is booked for them, definitely...

Be bold! Express your opinion!!!

 

What is this vague "polish" word that reviewers throw about?

Seriously.

Why does Medium get the "polished" comment and DEV.to not?

I mean, I'm not a front-end person, and I don't do design. I really cannot see what is "unpolished" about DEV?

It annoys me. Linux reviews are (or were) the same "this is great but it's not polished like Windows" -- Um. Windows crashes all the time and Linux doesn't so why is it "polished"?

Also, Markdown is a serious Pro for DEV, not a Con. It fails back to HTML which is a huge win. Medium clearly gets in your way, like WordPress, Drupal and 95% other CMSes.

 

All Dev.to pros outweigh Medium ones.

Besides, Dev.to community is so welcome and kind. Something you won't get in Medium.

 

For me, the best DEV.to selling points are:

  • Ruled by an indi company (with pretty cool staff).
  • Really good community.
  • It gives everyone fair chances of visibility.

Great article!

 

I have shared this post with my friend who will join in Dev. He was amazed at the speed of this website; switch pages almost without loading.

 

Wow, thanks, long time ago I had a blog but wasn't updated for about eight years, now I want to start again to write and your great post helped me to make a decision.

 

Happy to see that my post helped someone :)

 

I cannot stand Medium personally. It's a platform for disgruntled woe is me posts.

Dev.to is a programming haven.

 

I would go for Dev.to the last thing you want is be in a paid wall that is not specifically for the target audience you are writing it for

 

Thank you for this post. It was very helpful to me in deciding which platform to go for.