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Nevo David for Gitroom

Posted on • Originally published at github20k.com

🎯 Medium vs. DEV vs. Hashnode vs. Hackernoon πŸ”₯

I have been to over 20 calls.
Many people asked me: What platform should I post on?
I think that’s a valid question but the wrong question to ask.
The real question is: What platform should I launch on?

Launch


Your blog πŸ“„

If you are in tech and want to grow your product, you need a blog that can be good for:

  • Motivated developers who wish to learn more about you.

  • Developers who are doing research about a problem and want to find a solution (SEO).

I don’t like to discuss other benefits, such as credibility and education, that can be for another post.

Now that we have established the importance of a blog, why would you want to use an external blog for your content?


Your external blog πŸ“œ

What if:

  • People are not aware that they have a problem. (Product without market dominator, such as Novu).
  • SEO has a meager amount of traffic, and the competition is stiff.
  • You don’t have enough time to wait for long-term channels.

You can use external blogs. They have a lot of mixed visitors who scour their platform daily and might be interested in what you offer.
Those platforms work in the β€œmarketplace” mode, where they promote interesting and trending articles.

Nothing stops you from posting your article on your website blog and then posting your articles to all the other platforms with a canonical link back to your website. I used a freelancer on Upwork for a few dollars to post my articles on DEV, Hashnode, Hacknoon, and Medium whenever I have a new article.

And for the question, β€œWhat platform should I post on?” The answer is: all of them.


Traffic to launch πŸš€

As I mentioned, the biggest question is, β€œWhat platform should I launch on?”
When you launch something, you send every possible traffic you currently have: Social Media, Newsletter, etc. to the platform of your choice. Your main goal is that the platform will reward you with the traffic you send. Here are my thoughts about the different platforms:


Medium

Medium is a generalized platform, and it has the most significant amount of audience for developers. If you managed to trend on Medium, you might get tens of thousands of developers reading your content. But it’s hard.

If you are starting, here is what I would do:

I would not put my launch on Medium. I will post my articles there regularly, and after a while, some publications will contact you and give you the ability to publish the post on their feed. Use it, and always post on their feed. I play with my publications between Javascript in plain English, Bits and Pieces, and Dev Genius. After a while, your audience on Medium will grow, you will get more followers exposed to your new articles, and your initial traffic can significantly increase.

Here is a trick I really liked from Ariel Weinberger, founder of Pezzo.

Ariel has the most extensive Udemy course about NestJS. When he has a NestJS-related article, he sends people to the article on Medium and gets thousands of likes. And you can do the same with different traffic sources you have.

Once you have a vast audience, you can feel comfortable to launch on Medium.

Medium


DEV

DEV is my favorite platform to launch; getting your article trending there requires meager traffic. Their algorithm is still young, so you can quickly bring enough traffic and likes to the platform to be on the top feed.

I had articles there reaching 100k views with a minimal amount of marketing.

The platform consists mainly of juniors and Javascript developers. You acquire an audience fast there; I have more than 11k followers in one year.

I feel like the platform has started getting less traffic than in the past.
It’s good enough for now, but let’s see what happens next year.

I am a big advocate for DEV, and my blog contains many tricks to get your articles trending there.

DEV


Hashnode

Hashnode is an interesting platform. It’s a blog that consists of many blogs. And on the main, there is a β€œFeatured” section for trending articles.

I think DEV made a better approach since when I go to somebody's article on DEV, I stay on the DEV website so that I might be exposed to other people's articles. On Hashnode, you remain in the personal blog, so the traffic is not circulating. As a result, I feel that Hashnode has much less traffic than DEV.

I was featured on Hashnode multiple times and got little traffic.

What I do feel is that

They get new features rapidly outside compared to DEV

The owner of the platforms is very active daily there and helps articles out.

I think there will be a significant change there in the coming years.

Hashnode


Hackernoon

Hackernoon it’s the weirdest platform of all of them in terms of design. You can post articles. You have to β€œSubmit” them. They also charge companies to post. I had one piece there, and the results were β€œmeh” compared to posting on DEV. The platform itself is super complicated, and the UX is awful. I don’t even post there regularly.

I might lack information about this platform as I am not motivated to explore it deeply. Do you think you know better what to do with it? Let me know.

Hackernoon


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Top comments (67)

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srbhr profile image
Saurabh Rai

Great article! DEV is the simplest platform to use and engagement here is pretty amazing.

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nevodavid profile image
Nevo David

It's really simple and easy!

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ • Edited

My two cents:

Medium and DEV have pretty much turned to crap (from a content perspective) over the last couple of years when it comes to development related subjects. They've been flooded with low quality posts, listicles, AI generated content, and generally nothing much of any interest. Another bizarre phenomenon seems to be the use of these sites as receptacles for homework assignments - it's common to see groups of near identical posts appearing almost simultaneously from users who seem like they could well be following the same course or attending the same college (side note: if you're a teacher setting assignments like this... please stop!)

DEV also has a pretty severe problem with bot accounts, auto followers, and pure marketing content masquerading as development articles.

Hashnode seems to have much the same content as Medium and Dev, but seems to have lower traffic levels. I also find it difficult to find stuff there.

Hackernoon - despite looking like c**p and having awful UI/UX, actually seems to have a lot of good content (or at least the quality stuff has much heightened visibility). I put this down to the fact they seem to have a review process.

I think such a process is actually a very good idea. Labour intensive for sure, but it would certainly help to prevent the 'enshittification' of these kind of sites (to use the popular term). I really wish DEV would institute such a process - it would help restore the site to the great, interesting site it once was. @michaeltharrington @ben - could this be possible?

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ • Edited

Regarding the 'homework' thing... it really isn't my imagination. I noticed from yesterday until today that a number of posts about 'binary' all appeared in fairly quick succession (do a search yourself, and order by latest to confirm this).

I investigated a little further, and a number of the posts were from users who say they are CS Juniors at AUA Armenia. I also came across this:

AUA Student profile

So it looks as if students on this CS course are being asked to do coursework on DEV.

Whilst I appreciate that it is good to learn, is it really appropriate to be using DEV for this purpose? What do you think about this?

@michaeltharrington @ben

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington • Edited

I actually do think it's appropriate!

I think of DEV as a community of folks learning together more so than a publication where every post needs to be edited and of high quality. To be honest, I'd actually encourage teachers to use the platform creatively like this; I have in the past. If teachers want to have students turn in coursework by posting DEV articles, I think that's kinda cool β€” it's a way of learning in public and seems consistent with our values.

However, I also understand that it can be distracting and not ideal to see a bunch of these posts crowding your feed. I was talking about this in Slack with my colleague Rachel (@rachelfazio) who mentioned it might be helpful if we dedicated a tag like #student or #assignment for this kinda things so that folks can hide those tags if they're not interested in them. Rachel also mentioned we could advertise this to folks in various ways (e.g. using our on-site Billboards) so they'd become more familiar with this functionality. I think both of these ideas are pretty cool and I'll most definitely be considering them.

Previously, someone also suggested that we provide away to silently or privately post... post an article without it hitting the main feed or post an article that is only visible in some contexts (maybe only visible to followers for instance). This could open up the platform to be used in other creative ways... for instance, folks taking notes for themselves could more easily do so without sharing their posts to others.

Let me think on your feedback some more and I'll be sure to share your thoughts & discuss with the team. While I don't think the answer is to stop folks from using the platform for coursework, I do understand that it'd be better if you didn't have to sift through assignments to find good-to-read posts. On the whole, we're thinking a lot more about not just how to help community members find the stuff they're interested in, but really how to help them filter out the stuff they're not interested in. Your perspective is helpful in this regard!

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ

This also sounds promising

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ

The problem with tags though is that a lot of posts do not really use them effectively or correctly - they're purely voluntary. I don't think I've seen a single post with the suggested #abotwrotethis tag or similar, making it near impossible to filter out AI generated junk. I think people don't want to stigmatise their own work, so will avoid labels that could potentially reduce views.

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

I agree that the tag route isn't perfect. You're right that it's a tough one to get folks on board with and tough for us to manually comb through and add these tags ourselves... it's only one potential part of the solution. We're going to need to come up with a multi-part solution and it will likely take some time to figure out what that is.

But again, I just don't think barring folks from creating this type of content is the right answer... that's just as hard to enforce as tagging or requires just as much manual effort. If we're going to put the effort in to remove a post, we might as well just put the effort in to add a #student or #assignment tag to it instead.

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miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot ⭐ • Edited

You've started with the whole curated trending content (presumably based on tags) - that's good... I've actively found interesting things there. The problem is still that the general feed I get is just full of stuff that isn't really "good" - and I've fiddled with my tag settings etc. You find amazing diamonds in the rough, but you have to invest some serious time.

The top N posts can be interesting, but it's limited and cross topic.

I am not really motivated to write because you have just such a short window to gather interest/engagement and I'm not trying to create a career as a celebrity blogger with the most number of followers, so I don't want to write clickbait headlines and listicles - which I found I had started to do.

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pavanbelagatti profile image
Pavan Belagatti

I completely shifted to dev.to and I like it here because of the supportive community and it is easy to write on this platform. Most of my articles are doing good on the internet because I write them on dev.to. Thanks from the bottom of my heart to all those who are sharing good content on this platform.

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dumebii profile image
Dumebi Okolo

Yuuup. Supportive community is it for me. Top notch!

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thedenisnikulin profile image
Denis

personal blogs are better than them all honesty
dev.to is full of repeated and unfiltered content, mostly for beginners, very rare to find anything good

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leob profile image
leob

Real gems are rare, but now and then you do come across them ... which always gives me joy when it happens :)

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silopolis profile image
JΓ©rΓ©mie Tarot

Remember those days when you had your stream of carefully curated blogs RSS feeds in your (preferably Open Source) reader...
Same time you could still listen to good real rap 😒

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ

It didn't use to be like that. Sigh πŸ˜”

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dumebii profile image
Dumebi Okolo

But don't you think it's so because it grants access to people to flex their skills? You see it as repeated and unfiltered, but to the person just signing up on Dev or starting out technical writing, this is their break point.
The point I'm trying to make is that Dev, IMO, is very inclusive. Inclusive in that it gives you the opportunity to start as you are (as a beginner writer with the same content someone wrote two weeks ago), and keep growing and getting better at writing and at technical concepts at large.

Now, unless you're writing in your own personal blog or for a blog with dedicated topics, these things are expected. What you learnt 5 years ago (and wrote about) is what someone is just learning and are super excited to write about as well... And the circle just keeps growing and growing like that.

I've tried Hashnode and have all my articles there, but I like the community here at Dec better. I like the reception of my articles a lot better as well.

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thedenisnikulin profile image
Denis • Edited

yep it's too inclusive
If you want to read some great tech article, too inclusive is bad
If you want to write something too inclusive is good only if you are beginner

Since I more read than write, and I am not a beginner, dev.to just doesn't work for me

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ

Yup. Agree.

There is this:
Experience level
but it seems to do very little to stem the torrent of low quality posts in my feed. I wonder if a human is actually responsible for setting this level on posts (maybe after a cursory review?) - again, maybe @michaeltharrington or @ben could offer some insight here. I really miss the DEV.to of a couple of years back

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dumebii profile image
Dumebi Okolo • Edited

@jon Randy, From what I know, the moderators are also responsible for tagging the experience level of a post/article.

Perhaps there should be a guideline to use as to decipher what should be high(er) level or not.
But that's just the thing, what will you describe as high level? Because high level is a pretty relative thing. What might seem like a beginner post to you, could be a high(er) level post to someone else.

I think why you think quality has "watered down" is because there are currently more writers than there were before. More and more people are getting interested in documenting their tech learning/career/journey, and thereby making it look like there's a duplication of ideas/posts.
So,what to do about that?

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dumebii profile image
Dumebi Okolo

@denis, so what do you suggest is the solution? Filter/review articles before they're published? That wouldn't give beginner writers/learners much of an opportunity to express themselves. Where's the community support in that?

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thedenisnikulin profile image
Denis • Edited

honestly don't know, this is quite a big problem. Maybe downvotes on posts would help, article writers would rather not post something too easy fearing being downvoted

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dumebii profile image
Dumebi Okolo

I like this idea.
The only problem is, what exactly does "too easy" mean?
Experience level varies per person. What you term as "too easy" might be the solution to a bug a newbie has been battling with for weeks. You see how these things aren't as black and white?

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thedenisnikulin profile image
Denis • Edited

yep they aren't black and white, but that depends on what kind of a website dev.to wants to be. For example, there's a Russian website habr.com with technical articles, if you want to write something on it the entry barrier is quite high, which makes articles more unique and of high quality (generally). So if dev.to wants to feature unique and good written articles they may make some tough rating system, but beginners would not be able to write anything because of it. If dev.to wants to be an inclusive website for beginners, then it would not attract much people apart from beginners, and it always will be that inclusive swamp of people solving same problems and writing about same stuff. Personally, I don't think small bugs are worth to write articles about, but I agree that beginners should probably somehow be encouraged to write if they have something interesting to write about, and this is not trivial to implement.

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ

Yeah, it's tricky... I guess they could try and funnel different 'levels' of content to their different 'properties' - I believe CodeNewbie is also run by the same team. The trouble with that though is that it kind of splits it into 'us' and 'them', and the name "CodeNewbie" may not appeal to many people writing here as they may feel like more than a total beginner.

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dumebii profile image
Dumebi Okolo

@thedenisnikulin @jonrandy, I think the solution is to implement a stricter ranking system such that if you identify with a specific ranking, only posts in that rank will come up.

This will require more people to sign up for the Dev Community moderator role and be serious about the way they rank.

Again, if I'm a React developer and I'm trying to rank an article about 'setting up docker with go', I don't think I will be able to properly rank the article seeing as I do not know what qualifies as high(er) level or not.

All in all, it's not an easy thing to implement, but measures can be put in place to make something work for everybody.

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godot profile image
Godot

Good article, one thing I love about DEV is the simplicity of its UI. πŸ˜ƒ Raw markdowns and all that. Hackernoon is indeed the most confusing interface of all!

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nevodavid profile image
Nevo David

Hackernoon is a mystery

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dumebii profile image
Dumebi Okolo

πŸ˜‚

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rizmyabdulla profile image
Rizmy Abdulla πŸŽ–οΈ

DEV is the best one to post Technology articles ❀️πŸ’ͺ

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garrrikkotua profile image
Igor Kotua

Nice overview, thank you Nevo!

DEV is definitely the best one in terms of traffic

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nevodavid profile image
Nevo David

Thank you so much Igor!

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codeperfectplus profile image
Deepak Raj
  • Medium is best of traffic and earning.
  • Dev is best for Developers.
  • Hasnode has no traffic.

I haven't used the hackernoon.

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gautamvaishnav profile image
Gautam Vaishnav

Post every where. Coz all the platforms support markdown πŸ˜…

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nevodavid profile image
Nevo David

Yes, I wrote in the article.
Post in all of them, but launch on one.

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thevinitgupta profile image
Vinit Gupta

Who else is here because of the Banner?? 🀯

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nevodavid profile image
Nevo David

Haha, good hook πŸ˜›

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chantal profile image
Chantal

DEV is amazing!

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voltra profile image
Voltra

Medium shouldn't be part of the competition. Everyone and their grand-mothers know that if an article is posted on Medium, then it's bad

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nevodavid profile image
Nevo David

Since Medium is a platform like DEV where different people post their content on.

I tend to disagree :)

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dyfet profile image
David Sugar

Hashnode immediately failed for me on accessibility. Because I am partially blind, I have to use white text on a black background to read, so I set a dark theme. Unfortunately, it seemed to take my color choice for text, but not for background, so I got white text on a white background on the login registration form.

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leob profile image
leob • Edited

Dev.to is my favorite and has been for a long time, ever since I grew tired of Medium and its "clickbait" article headers (for articles behind their "pay wall") :-D

What I noticed though lately is that Dev.to does have something of a little "spam" problem, to put it like that ...

Nothing serious - it's just that there's a large number of "bogus" accounts popping up, unrelated to development or developers - betting sites, airconditioning services, bathroom suppliers, etc - but it's only a very very minor nuisance, you can simply ignore those accounts (everybody does) and that's it.

Not a big deal, and does not turn me away from dev.to.

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alexander_kirpichny profile image
Alexander Kirpichny

I published articles on dev.to, hashnode, medium. It is very easy to publish an article on the platforms, which cannot be said about Hackernoon, where editors have to review the material. However, these sites don’t provide any opportunities for indexing in search engines. In the hashnode, due to the fact that you essentially have your own domain, you can influence this. But dev.to and medium are more complicated. My articles are not shown in Google search. I wish my useful material was visible not only to dev.to people, but to everyone from search engines.