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It's impossible to get a voice in here

Rasmus Schultz on February 22, 2022

Twice now, I've spent considerable time carefully writing an article, just to watch it get 20-30 hits in the first hour, and then disappear into ob...
grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev • Edited

A few tips on how to grow here.

I now have nearly 4.5k followers here and a total of 88 articles with about 285k views. I started writing last February (and haven't written much this year) so I did that in about 11 months.

If I had done things "properly" I could have had triple that, so here are my tips:

1. You "gave up" too early

It takes a reasonable amount of effort to gain that initial traction, which is the same on any social media or content aggregator platform (unless you are lucky or willing to write pandering listicles all the time).

I didn't start getting decent traction until about article 35 so you need to triple your posts before traction will come.

2. Certain subjects do better

Anything beginner or about JavaScript will gain traction.

I find that anything other than that tends to perform poorly so if you want to grow then writing "one for them" and "one for me" is something I would recommend.

3. "Clickbaitify" your titles

Clickbait works.

But you don't have to create actual clickbait, just make your titles interesting.

Use emojis, make "an impossible claim", etc. Hell, just look at most of my titles, you will see they are clickbaity (but I am almost certain I always deliver on the promise!)

4. Comment a lot

I pick up more followers from commenting, having people check out my stuff and then follow me. Comment on other articles for quick follower gains (but make the comments useful, not just "great article" all the time!).

5. Tags matter a lot

Tagging an article with just one tag will result in it flopping.

The DEV feed algorithm is quite simple, how old is the article and how relevant are the tags (combined with interactions and comments) are essentially what determines positioning.

So use all 4 tags if you can without using tags that don't match at all!

6. Time of day posting matters

This might have changed but the peak time to post is Tuesday at 11am GMT for reactions.

And down to how the DEV feed works more reactions = higher ranking in the feed = more views = more reactions etc.

This is out of date but I analysed over 250k DEV articles to see when the best times to post are (table 3 at the bottom):

Keep going!

It takes time and effort to get noticed and grow, it is the same with your own blog or any SEO work etc.

All it requires is consistent effort and results will come!

ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke

Unfortunately (at least in my opinion), DEV still rewards quantity, plus it often fails at removing copycat content either, not to talk about bad and outdated advice. Unlike StackOverflow or Wikipedia, the open-minded welcoming spirit of DEV also leads to a huge quantity of mediocre content, and it gets hard to find the stuff (which is why I bookmarked your post on my reading list).

The short opinionated question posts are not bad, apart from adding to the noise and quantity, but I was once tempted to post something like that only for the sake of continuing a streak of "consistency". I could have posted an article that contains nothing but "null null" as well.

In my opinion, we shouldn't worry too much about "getting a voice". You do get a voice, but everybody else is shouting around you, so we, as readers, and the DEV teams, as maintainers and curators, will have to try harder to discover people who have something to say that we might be interested in.

I try to use posting on DEV mainly for myself now, giving my thoughts a direction and forcing myself to express myself in a way that can stand up to public scrutiny.

There have been more discussions like your post recenty, that I tried to quote and sum up in this article: Stop rewarding quantity!

Please don't stop writing! Do it, and don't lower your standards too much. Use DEV as a developer's diary, and eventually people will read, like, and bookmark.

andypiper profile image
Andy Piper

I hear your frustration here.

On the plus side, I've found that my own feed has become a lot more relevant based on the topics/tags and people I follow, and the engagement on the posts.

I'm also sometimes disappointed when a post I feel particularly proud of, doesn't get the level of interest or comments I'd hoped for. I've tried a few things: both social sharing to channels I have a decent number of followers who might be more engaged; promoted posts on some of those channels to drive attention; and more question-based titles intended / hoped to get some engagement. Maybe I pick the wrong times of day or week!

Having said all of that, I agree with @codenameone here, that the number of followers and/or level of social sharing is likely to be a large influence. Also, I'm personally working on two things - consistency of posting, and just, posting more in general (I really got out of a blogging "groove" over the past 10 years, and now, I'm getting much more back into it - and I'm getting personal satisfaction from that, as much as from the level of attention that the posts themselves attract).

It's an interesting and tricky discussion, for sure - I love the DEV community and ethos, and I want to see it succeed as well, which is part of why I'm dedicating more of my time to taking part across all aspects of the site. Matching userbase and volume to quality and engagement is almost a holy grail for social and blogging sites!

mindplay profile image
Rasmus Schultz

So I got 12 replies to this 5-minute rant - while the article I worked on for half a day got zero. Ha.

Well, that pretty much says it all, and confirms what several people indicated in the replies: no point in wasting your time carefully curating content.

Why did I think this site was going to be different. 😕

terabytetiger profile image
Tyler V. (he/him)

I would consider that there are different types of content and they perform differently.

Content that is in a High Engagement category like this will earn a lot of initial attention and comments etc... but will longer term be lost to time because it's a very topical/current post.

High quality/Evergreen content will perform much better long term (as long as your SEO is good). The high quality posts usually are solving a problem or providing detailed useful information for the reader. But everyone that will at some point need that information is not necessarily currently in need of the information, so they won't be looking for that article right now. But in the future when they do need that information, if you can make sure you're the result that pops up on Google, you'll get that view and interaction when they really need it.

All of my top performing posts were like this - they started with minimal views, but I've seen people consistently find and react to the articles over time. It doesn't have the same instant gratification as an overnight success post, but long term they're outperforming.

peerreynders profile image

There is the consumer perspective of this trend as well:

Now as a content consumer there are some things that can be done:

Though fiddling with these kind of knobs could also have undesirable consequences.

One issue is that you can only follow an author who you are already aware of - otherwise stumbling upon somebody is mostly a matter of luck.

Perhaps an alternate scheme could be to follow audiences (separate from author follows), i.e. have a separate (audience) feed that is populated by articles that are liked/commented by your "audience follows", i.e. commenters who have displayed interests that for whatever reasons are relevant to your own. Hopefully interests could vary enough between most individuals which may lead to more frequent, successful author discoveries.

FYI: I came across this article via It IS possible to get a voice here!

miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot ⭐

I think this is a very good point. In fact one of my practices is to read articles commented on by yourself (and three or four others) - which I have to do manually of course. This practice of reading articles commented on by those who are very knowledgeable and then following the discussion is certainly where I learn most here and I am often forced to challenge my own beliefs...

codenameone profile image
Shai Almog

Unless you have a HUGE amount of followers dev isn't a good distribution system. You need to share your article heavily on social for that. This is true for practically every blogging platform with the slight exception of medium where you can submit to a publication (but they might not accept it).

Building traction here takes a lot of time, effort and luck.

booleanhunter profile image
Ashwin Hariharan • Edited

I understand your frustration. For a long time, I used to publish my articles on, and they did extremely well...until they didn't. This wasn't due to a lack of quality, but because Medium introduced their Partner program that only promotes paywalled posts. Recently I discovered that all the cool tech crowd had moved to, so I thought okay, let me try this out.

Like you, I too believe my content is good and useful - at-least my past success on medium indicated that! I was previously an editor at freeCodeCamp, Code Like a Girl and a few other popular tech publications, so I'm well acquainted with all the blogging best practices. Despite applying them here (using the right tags, the right cover images, the right headlines, and even the right time to post), the views have been lacklustre. There are so little views that it would seem as if the articles aren't even being discovered at all.

It seems like early adopters stand the most to gain, and this site isn't very different from the others in that regard.

rjsworking profile image

I understand you perfectly even though I write about non-tech topics and don't post them here but as a reader I feel the same frustration.

In my opinion, and before this becomes a bigger pile of garbage than it already is, what seems to be the biggest problem here is the lack of moderation and it would be necessary to implement some measures.

1) Only allow publications in English. English is the lingua franca of the internet.
I'm not a native English speaker. I speak and write in English and I can read some European languages ​​but
anyone who wants to write in languages ​​other than English can always create their own blog.

2) Only allow technology-related posts and not allow any and all unrelated products and services to be promoted.

3) Allow only quality posts. Articles, excluding code examples, of less than 1000 words would not be published.

4) Implement these filters on existing content and notify authors with a deadline to make the necessary corrections to have their content visible again or to see that content permanently deleted.


andypiper profile image
Andy Piper

As someone who spends a considerable chunk of my time helping to moderate here - a community of moderators do spend time working to flag commercial promotion, off-topic content, etc. Some of your suggestions in terms of possible updates to how the content is filtered might make sense, but I'd ask you to be aware that there absolutely is a group of us working on keeping things on track. Thanks! :-)

rjsworking profile image

No offense, your work is much appreciated.

As a developer I say that it's not that difficult to check the language and /or the content length and automatically notify/inform the authors before they can publish that content without the proper corrections.

The trickiest part is create a checking system with a list of "products / services" words and notify moderators in case such content passes the previous conditions and is published.


fjones profile image

A substantial issue you notice perhaps is the weighting of engagement. Discussions naturally attract more comments, more people opening the article and interacting with it. This is less suited for long-form articles describing something.

unsungnovelty profile image
Nikhil • Edited

I think this is only natural as a community grows. The website's popularity is measured by the quantity and not quality as someone else mentioned. But that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing.

Also from the user's point of view, we always have to tailor our experiences irrespective of the platform. I get told Reddit and Twitter are really bad by many people. But my Twitter feed and Reddit has been quite relevant and good. That is because I put in a lot of effort in cleaning up things to make them relevant. It is not a coincidence. It shouldn't be necessary in an ideal world. But that is what happens as a community grows or when some things get popular.

Another point though is I might not be as good as you. I am guessing that is the case. But I know that I am better than at least some people here in And I also know that I have been in their place in the past. So is it justifiable for me to axe them now that I have surpassed their stage and have been able to use the opportunity here? I am not sure about it.

I think we just have to accept the fact that we are all coming from different levels and backgrounds. As the community grows, there will be different invisible groups inside a community. Groups of people which shares the same interests/experiences etc. What we as users need to do is find them so that we can see the most relevant things based on our experience/interests etc. This is the tailoring of experience which I mentioned earlier. I think this is necessary irrespective of the platform. And once more people do this, more people in your level will see your posts.

jwp profile image
John Peters

My story is that I've lived through about 3 or 4 great platforms become trash because of rude people, bad management, and stifling rules some of which are not known.

I no longer write any articles except for myself. For example a few years ago I wrote a few articles here on React just to determine interest. Through that interest, I was able to shift my own direction.

So I used the platform for my own research to figure out the scope of focus of the general population. Indeed, even today, React is king, while .net is near the bottom of interest here.

parenttobias profile image
Toby Parent

What might be your "why"? Why are you writing these articles, or exploring these dev considerations?

I frankly don't care if my readership skyrockets. When I write, it's either in answer to a question of my own, or to one from someone I'm mentoring. I'm writing either for myself, or for the person who asked the question. But I share them here because I know that there is value in them for others.

I can't say I don't make the effort to get 'em read, I cross-post elsewhere and share them on a few other platforms, simply to get the word out - but the reason isn't to get more folks following me. I hope that others can gain from the things I am sharing, and can expand that knowledge base and pay it forward.

Mind if I ask, what is your "why?"

mindplay profile image
Rasmus Schultz

See my answer to the reply article here 🙂

leob profile image

Truth is, has devolved a bit into "The Instagram of the developer world", it's more about looks than about substance ... if you're willing to play the game and make concessions then you can be popular - I wouldn't be willing to make those concessions, but then again I don't give a hoot about being popular, lol.

geraldew profile image

Personally I see this the other way around. As a merely occasional writer, I use this site as a free host where I can post an article - with nice handling for code extracts - that I can then email the link for to a few correspondents. Thus I don't have any expectation of site members reading them at all.

Conversely, for myself as I reader on this site, I find it is only useful for diversionary reading when that's what my mood wants. It's not a place I come to with any expectations. Over time, the rate of me seeing something worthwhile has distinctly decreased. Many others have posted about the patterns and reasons for that, so I won't add to that discourse here.

Bear in mind though, that personally I have a disinterest in anything about the JavaScript world and so for me, a lot of that failure is from the lack of an anti-tag (i.e. to exclude the bazillion posts about JavaScript).

That said, I think the question of what Dev has the potential for, yet is still falling short of attaining is an interesting topic. There doesn't seem to be any place to discuss that - as the site has a flat structure I guess it would require an agreed hashtag for that to happen. With the Forem software now having it's own site, does discussion about how it should work for the benefit of this site go there, or here (somewhere)?

felipperegazio profile image
Felippe Regazio

I agree with you and like to add some point: i think DEV lacks a better way to keep track of the posts from people we follow. The new posts comes as a "notification", but i guess it would be nice if they're were mixed on the feed with priority, maybe a feed with:

one public post
one prioritized from someone I follow

Another point is to spread "news" about trending posts on Dev and keep them on the feed while they are having been discussed. For ex: send a notification telling me "this post has been discussed a lot on the past few days, do you to take a look?" and a "trending topics" on the home would also help, i guess.

codyseibert profile image
Cody Seibert • Edited

This is basically the case for all social media. Unless you have many followers, no one is going to care about your content for the most part. Try starting a YouTube channel and you’ll see after spending hours of recording content just to have 30 views. Also, most online coding forums are geared towards beginners. The more complex a topic you post, the less people will read it.

leob profile image

Don't worry TOO much, you say the other low quality content does have a "voice" but from my point of view that tapers off as well - as soon as the "attraction" of the click-bait titles wore off I clicked less and less on them, then stopped. The time I spend on plummets as the quantity gets higher and the quality gets lower. should be rewarding quality more (i.e. push that up in the "rankings") over quantity (click bait titles and the 10-thousandth React Hooks intro), or people will spend less and less time on it.