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Cover image for I'm building a new home outside of DEV. Here's why (and where to find me!)

I'm building a new home outside of DEV. Here's why (and where to find me!)

Ben Holmes
GA Tech grad and full stack web dev all about good design, good music, and good code
・5 min read

Greetings fellow members of the DEV community! If you're one of my followers or someone new looking for excitement, thanks for clicking 👋

Before getting to the good stuff, I want to sing some praises for the DEV platform. I've been a blogger over here since early 2019, and I can't believe how much this community has helped me grow. If it wasn't for their willingness to promote and retweet new authors, I probably would've drowned in the sea of Medium and Hacker News algorithms long ago. This is why I believe that DEV is the reason I'm so passionate about blogging today.

That said, I think I've reached a point where I need start hosting all this content on my own domain as well. I've advertised my personal site a few times on here, and I'm super excited to be bringing a blog component into the mix 🥳

Why self-host at all?

Fair question! I've found quite an audience here on the DEV platform, and my SEO certainly hasn't suffered by hosting on here.

But there's a few consequences to not owning all your web content I want to address:

  1. SEO for your personal site suffers. It's pretty simple really: the more popular webpages there are attached to a domain, the more popular that domain becomes. But as it stands... my personal site has no association with my popular posts! So no matter how many views I may get, searching "Ben Holmes" still comes up a baseball player and a saxophone player long before https://bholmes.dev 😬 (and yes, I know Ben Holmes is as basic a name as they come. So I have quite the uphill battle)
  2. Having a "home base" helps with cross-posting. By having a base domain to share from, you can cross-post to any number of extra platforms for free using canonical URLs. These let you claim all that SEO goodness for your own domain while people read on the platform of their choice.
  3. If the platform dies out, so do you. Don't get me wrong here; I'm rooting for DEV's future as a platform more than anyone! But if you've seen what's happened to the Medium developer community over the years, you know that the brightest stars can die out for any reason. So it's good to have somewhere that you own so you can quickly pivot between platforms at a moment's notice.

This advice isn't unique to me by the way! I'd say these are compelling reasons for anyone to start self-hosting.

So wait... are you leaving DEV?

Absolutely not! In fact, I'll probably keep posting content that's specific to the DEV platform.

Discussion threads using the #discuss tag are a big one for me. I won't have a comments section on my personal site (for now at least), so quickly polling the DEV community for ideas is a huge win I won't be giving up.

I also learn a lot from the comments community members leave on here. I've received multiple requests to edit and clarify certain points further which I wouldn't expect to receive on other platforms.

Lastly... I love that unicorn button. How could I abandon that? 🦄

So what's to come?

Well I'll tell you one thing: I won't keep writing the same old content on this new home. Expect some new features and experiments going forward:

  • A newsletter to share out my learnings across more mediums than a static post. This could be video snippets I record, podcasts / blogs / talks / random projects I find interesting, scrappy notes that aren't quite blog-ready, and more. I also want a outlet to share some music recs, so get ready for some bangers 🎧
  • Exploration of interactive posts. Though I don't have immediate plans, it would be sweet to join the MDX bandwagon and start embedding code + components right in the post you're reading. I'm deeply inspired by teachers like Josh Comeau in this area, and love the flexibility my personal platform could bring.
  • A place for scrappier ideas and drafts. I experimented with sharing my notes with you directly over on my 4 Conference Talks post, and I'm really encouraged by the warm response! But I have so many more notes to share that don't fit into the "super inspirational" bucket. I'm hoping I can take my personal notebook (using Foam + VS Code by the way) and turn it into a public garden of my learnings you can browse. It's a pretty new idea I've seen creators like Swyx pick up; could be worth a shot!

Call to action: join the newsletter 📫

To my 7137 followers on this platform (I still can't believe I can say that 😨), don't worry! The content will keep rolling your way over here.

But if you're interested in getting the full Ben Blog Experience (TM) or just want to support me on this new journey, I'd really appreciate the newsletter subscription.

No, I will not be flooding your inbox with mindless content. I plan to keep updates short, informative, and relatively infrequent (once every 2-3 weeks is my target right now). I'll also be sure that unsubscribe button is within reach should you need it 😁

I've also written a shiny new post over here that you won't want to miss: how ES Modules have redefined web development. I'm keeping this post exclusive to my personal site until next Wednesday (when I'll cross-post over here). So to grab this top-secret-early-access preview, go give it a read 👀

✨ Sign up for the newsletter ✨

📝 Explore the shiny new blog 📝

Thanks as always for your readership, and have a great day!

Discussion (2)

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ziizium profile image
Habdul Hazeez • Edited

Nice!.

Qucik tip: In the 3rd paragraph, you are a missing a fullstop (.) in your website address. Currently, it reads `https://bholmesdev/`.

Edit: Error fixed by author.

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bholmesdev profile image
Ben Holmes Author

Ack good catch! Fixed 👍