Should you use Medium or dev.to? — Let’s learn about

Medium or dev.to, which one should you use as a blogging platform? What are the pros and cons of each one?

I asked myself those questions too, and now, with a few weeks of experience I can answer them.

Introduction

A few days, @tomkastek reached me on a DM via Twitter (I’m @DavidMM1707 there, by the way). He was interested in a blogging platform and was indecisive between Medium and dev.to:

It was a good question. A question I asked myself, and the best way to answer it was to try both.

I started on Medium. A few days before I saw reasons to move to use dev.to too. And I saw benefits and drawbacks of both platforms.

And I’m going to list them here, but before that…

What is Medium?

Medium is an online publishing platform. It is an example of social journalism, having a combination of amateur and professional writers and publications, and it is regarded a blog hosts.

And it looks like this:

It has cool things like a polished and clean style, publications and more. You can follow me there as DavidMM.

But, what about dev.to?

What is dev.to?

Dev.to is an online community for sharing and discovering great ideas, having debate and making friends.

It is a blogging platform? A chat room? A forum? For me, all 3 things combined.

Not as polished as Medium, but better for engaging other developers. And you can follow me there too.

Now we know both platforms, but…what about their pros and cons?

Medium pros and cons

Now, my Medium pros and cons:

  • Easy to write on. Writing in Medium is easy to do and clean.
  • Importing articles. You can import your articles from anywhere to Medium. I use it to link my own website articles to Medium so I can share them there too.
  • Cool stats. You know how many people watched your post, how many read them, a % of Read Ratio, etc.
  • You get a lot of views…if you write in a publication (More info on cons)
  • You get no views. Unless someone lets you write on their publication. I had 1–5 views per publication until someone got me into their publication. After that, I got around hundreds of views (100–450) each day.
  • Your content aim is to be on the paywall. While a legit business model, I don’t agree with that. I want my articles free and they will always be.
  • Not for programmers. It’s extremely hard to post code there. I have to use a plugin to do it and to use it you have to create a gist then link it. It does it automatically but I don’t like how it works. It should be copy-paste and that’s it.
  • Stupid “like” system. You can vote as much as you want for posts. I had a post with +100 likes and only 11 people liked the post.

As a programmer, I don’t like Medium too much. While it is good to write posts like this one (In fact, I only copied the URL of this post and I imported it, with minor tweaks and that’s it), programming-posts with lots of code is taxing.

You almost get no views there unless you get spotted. Then you sky-rocket. My record was almost 500 readers in one day a few weeks after being there. And this:

Mixed feelings as a programmer: Hard to write code, Medium is not aimed as a programmers but for everybody and you don’t know who is entering in your posts. But is has a “Read ratio” system so you know how many people actually read it.

And it looks clean.

But now, let’s see Dev.to.

Medium pros and cons

What I like and dislike about dev.to:

  • Aimed to programmers. 100% of your readers are programmers or people learning to code.
  • Voting system. You can like a video, give it a superlike and/or ‘save’ it to read it later. I have used a lot the save option to read later/having it as a learning resource.
  • Easy to write code. It’s just a tag you throw and then you copy and paste the code. That’s it. Zero complexity.
  • Easy to get comments. Even with several hundreds of real readers, I barely have any comment on my Medium posts. In dev.to it is hard to not get any comment and likes/superlikes in any post you create (Prove I’m right!)
  • Tag system. When you create a post, you select one or more tags. People following those tags have a higher chance to find your posts. And you as a reader can just filter out things you don’t like only to find things you’re interested in, on your feed.
  • Uses a Markdown system. I don’t like it as I don’t use it normally (only to create http://README.md files), and while it has an edit and a preview view, you have to switch between both to see what you are doing. You can’t import any blog to it unless you can transpile it into Markdown (Thankfully I found one)
  • When you create a user you automatically follow 50 people. Not that it is super bad, but I get like 150 followers daily and I don’t know which one is real and which one automatically assigned.
  • Ugly code. While you can use your code in, it is an ugly black background chunk with the text in white. it works but it is hard to read it. Still better than the one in Medium.

I like dev.to a lot. There are only developers so 99% of the posts are potentially interesting for you, more ‘human’ feeling in the form of interactions (comments, likes, etc) and a great platform for developers.

Conclusion

So, answering the initial question: Should you use Medium or dev.to the answer is… it depends.

Wait there before hitting the ‘X’ or grabbing a pitchfork!

I feel like if you want to write a polished article about something related to the programming world (the hardships of being a junior developer, the problems in the industry, etc) Medium is easier to write and get views.

But if you want to go more technical, be in a community, have and give feedback, etc Dev.to is the answer.

All in all, the choice is yours. I’ll suggest you to try both of them and stick to the one you want. Or use both, as I do.

Originally published at letslearnabout.net on September 20, 2019.

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Valencian Full Stack | Python | Django | DRF | Javascript | Vue | Flutter | Creator of http://letslearnabout.net/

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DavidMM

Valencian Full Stack | Python | Django | DRF | Javascript | Vue | Flutter | Creator of http://letslearnabout.net/