Bloggers December 8, 2020

"No marketing budget? Start writing." - Dev to vs Medium

Florian ARGAUD @IndependenceDev

No marketing budget? Start writing.

I'm looking to write some programming articles to get more visitors to my main product MistralCSS.

Medium seems to get more views but less engagement and DEV.to seems to get more engagement but fewer views but a better SEO ranking.

The choice is hard; what's your personal preference as an Indie Hacker?

  1. 24

    Write it on your blog, where you have full control over everything.

    Then, syndicate your posts to platforms like Medium and Dev.to for exposure and SEO benefits. Both of these platforms offer cross-domain canonicals, where all SEO benefits accrue to your domain. Make sure that rel="canonical"'s are indeed pointing to your blog, otherwise, you'd be shooting yourself in the foot.

    You get the exposure, grow your domain authority, and retain full control over your work.

    Also, if you want to grow your organic search traffic, make sure you write about things people are searching for. Learn the dark art of keyword research, but don't go overboard

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      A bit add-on which I found really useful, Before you syndicate you should wait till your main domain article got google indexed!

    2. 2

      This is the right answer 🙂

    3. 1

      That’s very useful info that I didn’t know about. I cross post to other sites, but just add a link at the top that points back to the original post on my site.

      I looked in the dev.to UI but don’t see anywhere on the post where I can add a canonical url. Perhaps I am miss-understanding how this works.

      How do you add the canonical url to for example a cross post on dev.to?

      1. 1

        That’s very useful info that I didn’t know about. I cross post to other sites, but just add a link at the top that points back to the original post on my site.

        Be careful with that. If the domain where you repost your original post is stronger than yours, search engines might choose them as a canonical source and rank them above you.

        How do you add the canonical url to for example a cross post on dev.to?

        I haven't used their website, but have you tried importing a post?

        It seems like you can also add your canonical URL in the markdown file.

        1. 1

          Thanks for the links.

          I haven’t tried importing, I’ve been copying and pasting the markdown from my static site, without the frontmatter.

          Looks like the easiest way is to add frontmatter to the markdown file.

          Dev.to is definitely a lot stronger domain than mine.

          I wonder if it’s worth going through all my old posts and replacing the backlink with the canonical url?

          1. 1

            I wonder if it’s worth going through all my old posts and replacing the backlink with the canonical url?

            Yes, it's worth it, unless you don't care about search engine rankings/traffic that much.

            1. 1

              I can’t get it to work using frontmatter in the post. It just renders the frontmatter in the post.

              The dashes look weird in the rendered version, when I click the edit button it looks like a regular triple dash.

              I emailed dev.to support, so hopefully I’ll hear back from them.

    4. 1

      BTW, I have 2 questions if you don't mind :

      • Stupid question I guess, but what's the correct number of words for an article? 250 / 500 is enough? I personally don't like long articles...
      • Is it better to create a blog on the website of my product or on my personal website?
      1. 2

        what's the correct number of words for an article? 250 / 500 is enough? I personally don't like long articles...

        It depends. There are no hard rules, but most SEO folks recommend covering a topic in-depth because search engines like that. Bonus points for relevant images, graphs, code snippets, etc...

        But please, don't add words simply to reach some arbitrary number. If you visit recipe websites, you'd notice that a lot of them include "personal life stories" (which, I believe, is mostly nonsense) with recipes just to appease search engines. As a reader, you have to wade through that filler content to get to the actual recipe. It's terrible.

        Also, since your domain isn't strong, I highly recommend going after low-competition keywords that still have some volume. You can use a keyword research tool, like ahrefs or moz to assess the difficulty of keywords (keep in mind that these will be estimates).

        Is it better to create a blog on the website of my product or on my personal website?

        If you want to sell your product, then absolutely write it on your company blog. If you want to build your personal brand, publish it on your personal website.

        1. 2

          Really really interesting. You just earned a new follower!

    5. 1

      Thank you very much @jmstfv !
      Never created a blog in my entire life, guess it's time to try!

  2. 6

    Those numbers sound a bit too good to be true. Blogs that feature 50 posts don't usually have 200K traffic per year. And definitely not the kind of traffic that converts this well.

    1. 3

      Yeah, you are absolutely right. I just liked the headline from this Tweet "No marketing budget? Start writing." :)

    2. 3

      Exactly.

      This (and many other twitter accounts) is just a self-help money making book in a new format.

      1. 3

        I'll use this for my bio.

    3. 2

      I replied on twitter with a similar version of that argument. Converting 1% of cold into customers.. lol ok.

      Of course that is completely dependent on price point, industry, consumer v enterprise and so on and so forth.

      Also, not every type of content is as appealing as others. Take YouTube for example, dumb content like pouring hot sauce in your eyes, or being a hot girl basically doing soft core porn has a large appeal.

      A professor discussing the latest theories on innovation has a viral coefficient of negative 7.3 and has probably like 12 views in total.

      All that being said, it's a good practice to have. Even if it's only to gain more clarity on your own ideas. But this tweet was way too wishful imho.

    4. 1

      It’s definitely not easy but it’s doable. Of course you’ll need a strategy. Want an extreme example? Backlinko has less than 50 posts and gets millions of visitors.

      1. 1

        @andreboso True but something about the exception and the rule...

  3. 4

    I would make your blog your primary content repository and repurpose that content across third party platforms like Medium and Indie Hackers. Both these platforms have proprietary features which create canonical URL's and therefore have zero implication on SEO as a result of duplicate content. Otherwise your'e giving away SEO equity to others.

    1. 3

      Never started a Blog in my life!
      Well... I guess it's time to test my writing skills!
      Be brave enough to suck at something new

    2. 2

      How do you configure the cononical url on an indie hackers post?

      1. 2

        You'll need to create a content series to do this.

        1. 2

          How do you do that?

          1. 1

            I'd like to know this too.

    3. 1

      Sorry, just saw the previous answer from jmstv.

  4. 3

    Use your own domain 🙂

    1. 1

      The magical moment when you quote someone and he/she just shows up wohoo!

    2. 1

      Hey Andre! (Hope you don't mind that I screenshot your tweet ^^' )

  5. 2

    ...

    i can tell you from nearly 20 years of publishing that the results are FAR BIGGER than what he mentioned... you DEFINITELY get better than a 1% aggregate conversion...

    ... and that's if you just do his minimum.

    ... this is effectively my entire strategy!!

    people ask why i write so much for my startup and i have used every type of data-driven justification for it but in the end... people will either do this or they won't... very rarely does data change people's behavior, especially something as critical as writing.

    i wish more folks would write. it is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing i've done for my career:

    https://www.indiehackers.com/post/writing-the-most-important-thing-i-ve-done-for-my-career-a263b054a8

    yes...

    ✅ — i am that old guy sitting around typing shit into a computer all day. yes. i am. yes. i'll own it. i'm 38 now. fuck.
    ✅ — i am that old guy who's been writing for years telling you shit that you already know. sorry, not sorry.
    ✅ — i am that guy who knows, better than most folks, that finding a simple system of writing is everything. remove distractions. all of them. that's why i even use IH as a blog for my startup! this fits with your "no budget" theme of your post too.

    ... okay students... class is open, any questions?

    1. 3

      Teacher, I agree with everything you said, can we go home now?

      1. 2

        lol. you can. lol.

    1. 1

      Make sure you're not just posting on Medium :) Highly recommend getting another standalone blog to store your articles to build up your own domain authority.

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        thank you for this advice too! I will create blog on my personal website!

  6. 2

    I did medium years ago - Does not work well. We coded a simple blog code to our SaaS, using AWS s3 as the CMS (domain.com/blog). Now we wrote our first four articles five months ago, and we see some traffic. In the last three weeks we are writing non-stop, and have added twenty more. In fact, when looking at google searches, we see keywords that folks use to arrive at our pages. And these keywords were not obvious for us. As of yesterday, we focus on articles to match those keywords. Don't forget - you still must promote your blog posts.

    1. 1

      Yea, it is interesting how many people publish and nothing happens and they think SEO doesn't work. Promote, promote, and promote. Patience, patience, and patience.

  7. 1

    Nobody mentioned hashnode.com?

    So we can write on our custom domain yet it shows in their homepage. Also can feed to dev to.

    See my blog on hashnode: blog.surjithctly.in

  8. 1

    Andrew Chen has good advice on this. Your writing should last for decades, can you trust all these platforms to last so long? I can't...

    So the best way is put it on your own website/blog, keep a copy of everything, then yes syndicate to other channels.

    Personally find that the SEO value of Medium is quite minimum, not worth my time at the moment.

    Ref: https://andrewchen.co/professional-blogging/ - his advice
    Ref: if you're a dev, try Jekyll on Github Pages - free, fast, simple - what I'm using on https://kevoncheung.com/

  9. 1

    I've got some experience writing on Medium, one blogpost on Dev.to and now started a blog on Hashnode.

    I'd say that Hashnode wins, as you can easily plug in you domain. So if you'll ever want to migrate, you can keep your old URLs.

    You can repost on Medium or Dev.to for more exposure. Good luck!

  10. 1

    I love Dev to, clean design and informative

  11. 1

    I'm using dev.to and my own jekyll blog.
    First write on your blog, next in dev.to HEADER add canonical_url: https://YOURBLOGPOST

    1. 1

      That's enough? I mean can I just add canonical_url: https://domain.com/blog-post and that's it? I thought it'd take some serious coding or scripts to it!

      1. 2

        Yes, that's enough. Here's an example article of mine that has a canonical url canonical_url: https://blog.corsego.com/how-to-code-the-subscription-business-model-saas-service-as-a-service-part-1

        1. 1

          Thanks for sharing, Yaro!

  12. 1

    @andreboso maybe you have some suggestions

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