Starting a technical blog in 2021 - How? (Part 2)

April 10, 20216 min read#react, #gatsby, #blogging

writing blog

In the previous article, I have discussed some reasons why every developer should start a technical blog today.

One of the reasons is that it is so easy to start a blog today in comparison to some years ago. Many platforms have been created to help developers to concentrate only on writing. All tedious tasks such as hosting, distributions, marketing are being handled nicely by such platforms. We can say nowadays when you have good content and find your targeted audiences, you will be able to succeed in your content creation journey.

So you have invested your time to write up a great blog post, so where should you publish 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? In this article, I’ll discuss some options to create, host, and distribute your content.

Hosting

It’s 2021, and you don’t have to set up a LAMP server somewhere for your WordPress to host your blogs anymore. There are current 3 major developer-focused blogging platforms that we can choose to publish our blogs:

DEV

DEV is a community of developers who create and share great technical content. It’s not limited to written content, but you can also publish Podcasts or Videos on the platform.

Pros:

  • Everything is free
  • Get your own subdomain
  • Very creator-friendly. That means that your content will have a good chance to be shown to other readers even if you have just started and don’t have many followers.
  • Great source of traffic if you want to attract people to your own website.
  • A spirit of “no judgment” community. No need to worry if your content is “not good enough”.
  • Great embedded code snippet support.
  • The platform itself is open-source. You can host your own community (such as internal content sharing platforms for your companies) by yourself.

Cons:

  • No custom domain support.
  • Markdown only editor. So if you have just transited from WordPress, you need to learn basic Markdown to write content, although I’d highly recommend suggest you write your blog in Markdown.

Hashnode

Hashnode is a free content creation platform that enables developers to create a full-fledged & optimized blog mapped to their custom domain for free.

Pros:

  • Everything is free, even custom domain support.
  • Get your own subdomain
  • Community-driven distribution. Your content will be shown on other’s feeds which is great to drive traffic to your domain/website.
  • Many options to customize your blog.
  • Great integration to analytics tools.
  • Great editor.

Cons:

  • The community is much smaller than on DEV.

Medium

Medium is probably the most popular platform for written content creators, and not just for technical-focused content.

Pros:

  • Great SEO, your content will be likely to be found in Google search
  • Big tech-focused publications that accept submissions from everyone.

Cons:

  • Less traffic for starters since the articles are distributed based on popularity of the sources or if you are part of their Partner Program
  • Developers are turning their backs to Medium because of bad UX and the paywall.
  • Not many interactions with the community.
  • Still no real support for code snippets. You must use either screeshots or Gist to show your codes

Hosting your own blogs

There are many ways to host your own CMS/Website nowadays. There are 2 popular options how to host a content website nowadays:

  • Setup a web server and install a CMS software
  • Use Static Site Generator and host them for free on free hosting service (such GitHub Pages, Netlify …)

Pros:

  • You are free to customize your blog however you want.
  • You can monetize your blog as you want.

Cons:

  • Some efforts to set up hosting infrastructure. Although it is very minimal if you go with the combination of Static Site Generator and GitHub Pages or Netlify
  • You need to find your audiences by yourself.

Conclusion

All of the options are great choices to kickstart your technical blogs. It mostly depends on what kind of experiences in blogging you have had so far and what kind of interactions you want to have with your audiences in the future.

  • If you have your own domain and already have a good base audience, you can go with hosting your blogs by yourself to have better control.
  • If you are a beginner, I’d recommend you to start with DEV where you can start building up your audiences
  • If you have your own domain and don’t want to host the blog by yourself, you can consider Hashnode since it supports custom domains for free.
  • Finally, if you want to have better distribution for your content, you can consider cross-posting your content to Medium for better SEO.

In the next article, I’ll discuss my own blogging stack using a Static Site Generator framework Gatsby, hosting for free on Github Pages under a custom domain.

Photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash


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Personal blog by An Tran. I'm focusing on creating useful mobile apps.
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