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Why I Publish My Articles on Dev.To

claudiobernasconi profile image Claudio Bernasconi Originally published at claudiobernasconi.ch ・7 min read

TL;DR:
Last week, I started cross-posting my content from my blog on dev.to. This article features my exciting results and my view on why I decided to do that and – if you also have a blog – why you absolutely should consider doing it as well. And I also give a detailed view on why I never touched Medium and why in hindsight I am very thankful I never did.

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Introduction

I’ve been blogging for more than ten years. I just recently wrote about my journey, and since November 2018 I stick to my schedule writing a blog post every week.

The reason why I do that is that I want to improve my English skills as a non-native English speaker and writer. Further, I want to share some of my thoughts about software engineering. If my article only helps a single person I am thrilled to put in the work and share my thoughts.

I learned so much on the internet when I was younger, and of course, I nowadays consume even more content. When I first got into computer programming, there was not much content out there, but it was free. And as a child without wealthy parents, I was keen on making use of free information. I want to give something back.

Of course, despite being generous and selfless, I also want people to find and read my stuff. With my blog, I already reached a decent viewership. At least for me it great to have about 7’000 page views a month.

These stats show me that there are people interested in my content or at least they somehow got to stumble upon my blog.

Why didn’t I post on Medium?

Medium is a big platform that has a lot of articles in nearly every topic. I cannot remember the year, but suddenly more and more bloggers and writers moved their stuff onto Medium. It was hip – some writers even completely deleted their own website.

I understand that it is very convenient to be able to share your thought on a platform which only requires you to write and format your words before you hit publish.

My opinion was always that I wanted to have people on my site. I never had the intention to put ads on my content, but I wanted people to visit my site. I am not sure why I thought like that, but that’s what I wanted.

Later on, it turned out that holding ownership of my content was a smart choice. Medium started putting some content behind a paywall, and Medium also commoditized writing because they removed the presence of an author. They centered their platform solely about the content – not the authors.

Who cares about a specific author on Medium? All the articles look the same. Sure, the writing style might be different depending on the author, but the presentation of the content always seems the same or at least very, very similar.

Have you ever asked yourself who wrote a specific article and did you ask yourself if you want to follow that author to be able to read more from him in the future? I don’t need to lie; I never did. I did not care.

I assume that people who click on my website will recognize that this is a personal website where I write articles about topics I care. They also see the social buttons, and they have the chance to get in touch with me and me content. They know that they are not on a platform and I do not ask for any username and password combinations to collect more private data in exchange for a reader profile.

My setup is more straight forward. I write content and publish it on my website and people who find it useful can consume it and comment on it. They are visiting my blog with a purpose.

The rise of dev.to

I saw more and more articles written on dev.to in my Twitter feed. I think that I started recognizing dev.to as a platform in late 2018. And yes, I’m always late to the shiny things. It is also the reason why I don’t have a better Twitter handle, btw.

I have a friend who asked me why I did not share my content on dev.to, and I told him the story I wrote above. I’m very specific with how I want people to consume my content, and I do not want to give it out of my hands and let platforms earn money and take ownership of my content. I do not want to charge for my articles directly, but I do also not want anyone to take advantage of things I want to provide for free.

hen I realized that dev.to is different. I realized that dev.to offers readers to follow a specific author. I also saw that follower counts are kept hidden which gives me the feeling that dev.to puts a lot of emphasis on the content and it’s authors and less on being a platform where you need to put on stuff to have a more significant number in your profile.

Of course, it also appeals to met that dev.to is a platform from developers for developers. Sure, there are many active authors on the platform, but the topics are centered around software developers and software developing. I feel part of the show.

Creating my dev.to account

Finally, last week I gave it a try. I created my profile which was pretty simple. Dev.to does not require you to fill in a lot of information. Most of the fields are optional, and you can decide if you want to share that information publicly or not.

I did not write an entire article exclusively for dev.to, but I took one of my recent articles which I thought was helpful for the dev.to community. I picked the Starting a YouTube Channel as a Software Developer article which I originally published on my blog on March 20th, 2019.

I was astonished about what happened next. People not only started to read my article because I shared it on Twitter (which is the only thing I do to advertise my content from my blog), but people read it and interacted with it from day one.

I got three thoughtful comments of the community about the article, and I got about 800 views within five days with a weekend in between. These are numbers I usually don’t get from my blog.

What excites me the most is that people not only read and commented on my article, they also started following me. I am not yet sure about how many of those people will actually be consuming my future content, but I got a great engagement rate.

Pro tip: If you want to cross-post the articles that you published on your personal blog or somewhere else on the internet, make sure to add a statement at the end of your article where this article was originally published.

It is also important to set the canonical_url in the metadata of your post. It helps Google to understand that it is not duplicate content and it gives credibility to the source where the article was originally published.

Dev.to stats

Out of 800 views, I got about 100 followers and four comments in total. I shared another article in the meantime so these stats may be the result from both articles.

One of the reasons for this success was that people started sharing my article on their social accounts and that the @ThePracticalDev twitter handle with more than 150K followers posted a link to my article. I am not sure if every article gets featured on their twitter handle but if not, I was lucky, and I am thankful for that.

What’s in for you?

If you want to keep an eye on my articles, you can now follow me on dev.to. In my eyes, it’s a better format than subscribing to an email newsletter. I currently do not offer one.

It does not mean that I will never create one in the future, but it means that I understand if people prefer following me on dev.to instead of receiving emails.

If you follow me on Twitter, that’s great. But depending on your time zone and when I tweet the link to my article, you might miss it. Dev.to lets you keep an eye on my future content, so you don’t miss out on anything new.

If you are a blogger or writing yourself, I do not want to tell you that you need to post your content on dev.to. The only thing I want to give you is a real-world success story which lets you make your decision based on facts.

What’s next?

I will continue to cross-post some of my older articles to dev.to to give them more exposure. I will also continue to write an article every single week and if I think that it is helpful for a bigger audience and not just for people interested in me or my personal life, I will also cross-post it to dev.to.

The question of the day: Please let me know in the comments what your reasons are for either cross-posting to dev.to, uniquely writing on dev.to or Medium or if you only post your content on your personal website or blog.

This article was originally published on claudiobernasconi.ch on April 3rd, 2019.

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claudiobernasconi profile

Claudio Bernasconi

@claudiobernasconi

I'm a passionate Software Engineer, Blogger, YouTuber, and Counter-Strike player

Discussion

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I added dev.to to a list of tech sites I could publish on sometime in early 2018. Came back to it and started crossposting everything from codingmindfully.com on here at the end of last year. Traffic to my own site blew up! And being involved in a community vibe like this one rocks.

 

Great to hear your success story, Daragh.

 

Answering your question: I'm also cross-posting all articles from my blog to dev.to.

Why? Because what makes me happy are the writing process itself, and the discussion about the topics I write. I don't really care about the view count, I prefer having meaningful interactions.

dev.to is really great at making interesting discussions happen in the comments section. I think it works both because of the way the site works (every member is identified on twitter or github), and also because of the community (developers sharing knowledge).


I also have a few comments:

I stick to my schedule writing a blog post every week.

That's impressive. I'm trying to do the same but as you can see I'm rather at one post every 2 weeks.

I wanted people to visit my site

Same for me. I have a dedicated machine where I manage everything. I love the fact that I have complete control over my contents.

I do also not want anyone to take advantage of things I want to provide for free.

I don't really care. All I'm asking is attribution. That's why my posts are using a CC BY license