Hey devs! Time for another installment in our Best Practices for Writing on DEV series. Today I'll share some guidelines for choosing and framing your topic.
We created DEV because we wanted to build a community around the things we all do and love: software development, computer engineering, life in the tech industry, and dreaming big about the possibilities of tech and open source. We welcome posts about a wide variety of topics that intersect these core subjects.
We love tutorials, discussion prompts, conference recaps, and personal stories. We love reading about what you’re building, and we love when you host your docs updates and changelogs on DEV! We even love a good listicle every once in a while, as long as it’s packed with value and personal insight.
Are you allowed to write about other things on DEV? Totally! We have plenty of great articles about writing, lived experiences that intersect the industry, and one pretty good one about Moose Facts. But you’ll have the best chance at growing your readership and having meaningful discussions on DEV if you’re mostly writing about dev and tech industry stuff, most of the time.
There are two main ways to interact with tags on DEV: as an author and as a reader.
When you write a post on DEV, you can add up to four tags to help readers find your content. Some tags on DEV are active communities, such as #CodeNewbie and #BrazilianDevs. We also have supported and moderated tags for programming languages, frameworks and tools, different types of discussions, and more.
Before tagging your content, take a look at each tag page to make sure you’re picking the right vibe—that gives you the best chance of connecting with your intended readers!
We’re always looking for more DEV Community members to volunteer to become tag moderators! Tag mods are essential to keeping our tags organized, on-topic, and engaging.
Learn more about becoming a tag moderator:
No matter what topic you’re writing about, you’re most likely to reach readers and make an impact if you bring a unique perspective to the topic.
You might consider a different approach: bringing in your own experience and perspective. Here are some prompts to help guide you:
- How did you learn this concept? If you learned by experimenting and making mistakes, share the story with your readers.
- How have you seen the concept implemented in real-life applications? Consider writing about interesting, edge case, or so-strange-it-just-might-work approaches you’ve seen in the wild.
- How might you approach this topic differently based on a unique use case?
- Are there any extended metaphors or analogies you could use to explain the concept in a fresh way?
Technical writing is a great tool for learning concepts yourself, and blogs are great proof of your learning journey. If you’re interested in building community, growing your audience, and improving your technical writing skills, consider the above prompts next time you approach writing a basic tutorial!
Readers visit posts on DEV for a variety of reasons: to learn something new, to get informed on industry trends, to check the docs for their favorite OS project, to share stories and build community, or even to quickly copy-paste some code and never look back.
In all of these cases, though, readers are looking for one thing in common: a clear takeaway.
Once you’ve identified the one, two, or three main takeaways from your post, consider stating them clearly in both the introduction and the conclusion. This is a common public speaking technique: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.”
If your post has more than three main takeaways, consider breaking it down into multiple posts and creating a series!
When it comes to writing on DEV, make the most of your topic of choice by using tags, bringing a unique perspective, and providing a clear takeaway!
Of course, you are welcome to write whatever and however you want on DEV, as long as it adheres to our Code of Conduct — these guidelines are meant to help you make the most of the DEV platform by improving your content writing skills and connecting with your readers.
That's all for now! Stay tuned for another installment in this series all about self-promotional posts on DEV.