Scrolling through the latest articles one can see that most of the articles have no reactions and no comments. Even if we scroll down to articles posted 10-20 hours ago.
I bet I am not the only author here on DEV whose articles are barely read. Looking at my dashboard many of my articles don't even hit the magic 25 views to show a real number and even the ones that pass it are mostly under 100 views.
Even worse a "view" doesn't even mean the visitor has read the article. The title might have been interesting, but the content might have made the person run away.
The fact that the total number of likes and bookmarks is often closer to 0 than to 1 just rubs it in.
I often think it is not worth the time I put in the articles if so few people are interested in opening them and so few like them. Yet I constantly see 4-600 new articles on DEV every day.
Newcomers and stars?
Is it the case the case that, beside a few successful authors who get lots of views and lots of reactions to their articles, most of the posts are by hopeful newcomers who post a few articles and then leave?
Is it the case that most of the people for most of their articles get almost no reactions, but once in a while they have one success?
I guess I am not the only one feeling these results to be disappointing. If you have been publishing on DEV for a while, how do you justify spending time on your articles? How do you motivate yourself?
Top comments (12)
There is a problem with DEV.to in general. The quality of posts is often very low and aimed at beginners, and especially focused around web development. Certain types of posts get a lot of attention, eg. lists of things. There has been discussions on this before. It may discourage more complex posts because it's the wrong audience. But what DEV has become is a very beginner friendly platform. Even if not everyone gets a lot of views they still make it possible for any post to hit it big. But sometimes it feels more like a discussion forum than a blogging site.
My personal opinion is that you shouldn't be writing to get likes and fame. See it as an opportunity to sharpen your own knowledge through writing. Writing a blogpost requires you to thoroughly research the topic and make sure what you write is correct (at least if you aim for good quality posts). While there may still be mistakes, you will have learnt many things.
I run my own blog (hosted on Github Pages) where I occasionally write. I mainly write because I think it's fun and I rarely advertise it. I may share a link if I have a relevant post to something being discussed. I have no statistics on it so I have no idea if some of my posts have even been read by anyone. I feel like that takes the stress out of writing. I'm not obligated to satisfy an audience. I do want people to consume what I write, but I don't actively care whether a post succeded or not because I wrote it for my own sake.
I doubt this problem (if we can indeed characterize it as a problem) is special do DEV. It might be just more visible to us here. I like that it gives people an opportunity to publish and I think it makes it easier to get noticed than if one was just blogging on his/her own website.
You had quite a good point about writing to oneself and not caring much, or at all, if others actually read it.
Unfortunately, and I do not mean to discourage you, welcome to the world. Your first social media post won't get any likes. Your first DEV post won't get a lot of views. Your first published app will get two total downloads, and one of them will be your mom. "Build it and they will come" has always been a lie.
If you want to suffer from popularity you've got two choices: write lowest-common-denominator engagement-bait, or write high quality, unique content and wait a long time. I've done my fair share of both.
The first kind of content is easy to write, gets a few thousand views the week it comes out, and then it's over. The second kind is much harder to write and starts out slow, but over the course of several months rises in Google results and backlink references until it reliably provides a few hundred hits a month.
What are these hits good for? I don't know. Feels good to be seen, I guess.
It also stems from the biases of dev.to: dev.to is for webdevs and beginners - I have data to prove it. If you happen to write about other subjects, chances are you'll have trouble shining on dev.to. But hey, you are not writing only for the stars, do you? I personally like the achievement of publishing, whether or not the act is rewarded/recognized by others.
Write about what you love, make good articles, and be patient. Who knows, it may change in the future (thanks to you).
While I cannot read 100% of all articles, if the title is not matching with what I want to read I don't click it, example being that the first 10 articles where not interesting or not with technology I want to learn or already work with, so I would not click/read that.
Another example: "🎯 9 Essential React Hooks Every Developer Should Know"
I never used React, so I am not going to click on it. But your post was also somewhat of a "What is this? A I might as well check it out see what his opinion is". And I share yours there is not a lot of traffic here, but that is also the reason I don't really write anything.
Blogging doesn't make you a better programmer out of the box. It helps you, if you don't know anything about the subject to explore it, or you can help others with information that you have gathered if you already know the subject.
And some days I have reported over 25 bot accounts spamming nonsense on dev.to 😥 so I am not sure how long it's going to take before they completely spam the site. It feels like there is no bot protection at all sometimes.
Thanks. Regarding spamming, have you seen my post about it and about the tool I built to help fighting it?
Welcoming new authors 💖 and fighting spam 🗑️ on DEV
Gabor Szabo ・ Jan 11 ・ 3 min read
Once I read that there are a number of title types that create a lot more clicks. One of them is having a number in the title. Just like the one you gave an example. So no surprise many people will use such title. Some of them might have actually valuable content behind them.
Agree, spamming is the dark side of this era. It is everywhere, no platform has escaped them. On medium, there are follow for follow posts, on LinkedIn people are spamming same content right and left. One influencer post something and of it gets good engagement then 100's versions of same stories with slight changes starts floating.
It is disheartening sometimes to someone who genuinely wants to create a content but get no engagement and this copy paste post generate thousands of engagements.
Sigh... End of rant... 😅
I think that you write for your sake, first. Writing is an expression. It releases you from something (a thought, in general). You end up sharing your knowledge and experience. It can help others, sometimes. This can make you feel good. Writing is practice, and it helps remember what is written better. Reading your own answers, posts, etc., from the past once in a while helps a lot.
Someone may read it or not. Someone may not approve or respond to it - this should not matter and this should not affect your motivation at all. When you write for points, likes, etc., your writing can lose its originality (tracking these is fine for understanding that your writing is reaching someone). Often, a few people reading your post should be good enough. That said, you can become a better writer by learning how to write well.
You have all of my empathy.
I'd say that on DEV and other platforms, some topics drive more reactions than others.
Articles around those topics get many views.
If you're aiming for views, write articles on topics people like to read about.
How to stay motivated?
Enjoy the process of researching and creating content, more than the final work.
Build the habit of writing and avoid aiming for virality.
Virality will happen, but when you least expect it.
And when it happens, you'll start attracting more views, followers and opportunities.
Focus on what you can control (which is creating quality content) and keep going!
I feel you. I am in same boat. There is hardly any traction on my post. It is disappointing.
But, to be honest I started writing online just couple of months. So in a sense it was somewhat expected since I usually write about beginners stuffs and the posts may not be polished one or adding significant value. So sometimes I wonder what is the point, but then everyone has to start from somewhere.
And as you have mentioned many hopeful starts but give it up after sometime only one of them succeed. What if that one shown determination and stayed on course without worrying about views and likes.
The hope that it could help someone, someday. And sometimes I wrote things down in a blog or in a wiki because I know it might even be useful for myself. I already ended up on one of my answer on StackOverflow, searching for the exact same thing many years later 🤔.
You raised the best question here:
I mentioned to the github in dev. I don’t think they have fixed it. This problem is also the same as gab.com
Algorithm: i think social media platform has made the popular author(s) or frequent writing author to be in more popular. It will lead to social media platform to be very monotonous and only same group of authors’ articles to be seen. In other words, newcomers or authors who post very intriguing and fun topics once in while become very omissable. This has to be changed.
The reason i chose Dev over other communities as i like about developers’ sharing about their developer life journey. Like how they become developers, overcome obstacles, learning journey and what they would like to achieve.