This article was originally posted on my personal blog
Let me start by saying that I recommend you start a tech blog. By sharing your knowledge and writing it down, you learn more. It also encourages you to try new things so that you can write about them as well.
But if you're here then you are probably already considering it. So where should you start your tech blog? Should you use DEV, Hashnode, or Medium? Or should you consider starting a personal blog of your own, without using any of these platforms?
The charm of DEV, in my own experience, is the community. Everyone on DEV is respectful and encouraging. Whether you're a junior or a senior, you'll find your voice and place there. You can share experiences, tutorials, advice, or show off what you are learning. It's basically a "no judgment" space, which is great if you're still unsure about how to write or what to write about.
At DEV you'll also have a great source of traffic. Out of the three platforms, DEV drove the most traffic to my blog posts, and I think the reason behind that is simple yet very important: everyone is "featured" in a sense. In other platforms in general (not just the three mentioned here), veterans or big writers/bloggers might have their articles seen more. It would take you time to build your audience to then start having readers. However, with DEV, people can easily see your articles on their feed whether you have 0 followers or hundreds. The reason I find that important is that it gives everyone a chance to be heard.
I think DEV only has two drawbacks. The first is that you can't have your own blog on their platform, with your own name and customization, or with a subdomain or custom domain. The second is that their editor is fully in Markdown. So, if you're not familiar with it you might find it a hassle.
Hashnode is another great platform for blogging. Having a blog on Hashnode can be very similar to hosting your own personal blog. You can change the name, use a sub-domain or your custom domain, and customize the blog with so many options. You can change the colors, enable dark mode, enable newsletter opt-in for your blog visitors, and even allows integrations to Google Analytics, Hotjar, Facebook Pixel, and much more. You can almost do anything you would do in a personal blog with Hashnode.
Hashnode's editor is very easy to use. It also relies on Markdown, however, you also have a toolbar with options that you can use, so you don't really have to know Markdown to use it. The community at Hashnode is similar to that at DEV which is also a plus.
However, from my own experience, it's not easy to get much traffic in Hashnode. I'm not sure if it's because your articles aren't shown often in people's feed or which reason it is exactly, but you wouldn't generate the same kind of traffic you would at DEV. On the other side, writing on Hashnode can get you featured on daily.dev which can get people to see your article more.
Medium is probably the most famous out of the three, and not just in the technical world. Medium is a big platform that offers an easy-to-use editor, your own blog with a subdomain or a custom domain, customization to your blog from colors to the look and feels in general, and newsletter opt-in to your visitors.
Getting traffic on Medium, however, is tough. Medium prioritizes articles from big blogs on their platform or authors who are enrolled in their Partner Program. If you're neither, your articles probably won't be seen much by anyone. Another way people can see your articles is if you submit your publication to another big blog, meaning that your article appears as part of another blog, but this requires a special invite from the blog itself so that you can submit your publications. I personally have been submitting mine for gitconnected's Level Up Coding blog as I have been invited as an author on it before, and that's how I mainly get traffic on it.
Another thing is that on Medium you don't really have much interaction with others in the community. Generally, readers on Medium just read your article, and if they like it enough they'll give it "claps", but not much interaction happens (at least from my own experience).
Starting a personal blog definitely gives you more freedom. However, depending on the kind of CMS platform or blogging experience you are going for, there are setups and costs that you need to consider. Especially if you're still a beginner, you might find it hard to manage your own hosting.
Personal blogs have a big perk which is you have a better chance at monetizing them, but even that can take some time as it is not easy.
If you are interested in starting your own blog and you're looking for ways to do that cost-free, here are some suggested reads you can look through:
- The Things You Can Do For Free: The Ultimate Guide
- Deploy a Free Website With Jekyll and GitHub Pages
All 3 platforms are great choices. It mostly depends on what kind of blogging experience you are going for.
- If you're looking for a place where you can write freely and also interact with others in the community, start at DEV. If you're looking for a place where you can also do that with less traffic, but have more freedom, go for Hashnode. If you're looking for a platform where you can write easily and also have some freedom in your blog, go for Medium.